black sesame cake (a story)

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Repetitiveness and discipline are the secrets of cake decorating. The art comes from the meticulous technique, the way it does for a dancer.
Ron Ben-Israel

I laughed the entire time I was making this cake. Laughed at myself.

So I had this vision in my head that I wanted to execute– a small, mini, tall cake with clean layers, and naked frosting. Because for the longest time, I’ve just been in love with the many naked cakes of the world. There’s less frosting (usually overly sweet, and just a nuisance), you have more layers in between your cake layers and show those off, plus it lends itself better to floral decorations, or just minimal decorating.

And I wanted to do it with black sesame, black tahini, and banana, with as little sugar/fat as I can get away with. For a higher flavour and nutritional payoff.

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Stir, stir, stir. Oh, the batter seems a bit too wet. That’s okay, I’ll just bake it a little longer. (Note: I have an irrational fear of over mixing, and over baking). Take it out of the oven– first thing I notice, the 2 cakes are of uneven height. That’s okay, I’ll just trim the taller one once they’re cooled.

I busy myself for a few hours, and now it’s slightly past midnight. I prefer to bake at night, and shoot the next morning. This can only happen on non-busy weekends. I usually don’t get a chance to shoot with natural light on a weekday– I’m up before it’s bright, and back as the sky is dimming.

The cakes have cooled, and I whip out my KitchenAid mixer to beat together my mascarpone frosting. Dad: “you know, if we lived in an apartment, you wouldn’t be able to do this”.

Yes, Dad. I’m lucky we have cool neighbours. I mean, they tolerated twelve years of my piano practicing. Who can be cooler than that? Continue reading →

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Almond Mascarpone Loaf

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If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
– Bruce Lee
I feel as though I’m overly aware of the (slow) pace and the mundane everyday-“going-ons” in my life, to the point where I scrutinize and analyze and think about where I want to be and where I should be (and why aren’t I there already?!). It may have to do with being in the social media age, and seeing people’s highlight reels flash in front of us daily. Actually, it probably has a lot to do with it– I scroll through, looking at snapshots of people’s lives and wonder how they got there, what steps they took, how they felt, and wonder if I have it in me to get to the same place. A double-edged sword. It’s motivating, but discouraging at the same time.
But also, I feel like I’m not really taking advantage of the gift that is “the present” (that was bad), carpe-ing those diems, doing hugely transformative things every day. And I think that’s also it– it’s like I expect myself to be able to reinvent and shape my life instantly into what I envision it to be, when it might be happening already (albeit slowly), or I might need to invest some more time in certain areas of my life.

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Tiramisu-Mocha Birthday Cake

Birthdays are celebratory for sure, but it doesn’t feel the same as when you were a little kid. You wouldn’t have thought about your parents growing old. Wouldn’t have considered that they aren’t as invincible as they appear to be. Wouldn’t have yet noticed the grey hairs springing up on their heads overnight.
But I have yet to see the day where my mom isn’t able to find something I lost. And my dad is still a superhero in every way possible.

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Salted Honey Mascarpone Banana Bread

I am a banana bread freak, plain and simple. Over the years, I’ve experimented with many, many different variations, and all sorts of combinations of fat/sweetener/flours/flavours: creaming the butter, vegetable oil, coconut oil, avocado, apple sauce, greek yogurt, mascarpone, buttermilk, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, no sugar, peanut butter, tahini, black sesame, cherry, chocolate, almond, oat flour, spelt flour, whole wheat flour, coconut flour etc. etc. etc.

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