Japanese Strawberry Short Cake

Strawberries are pretty tasty this time of the year. I had been purchasing them from farmer’s stands and farmer’s markets as they are always good, unlike other places where it’s hit or miss.

They’re quite expensive though, at $5 -$8 per green basket, but totally worth it as they are sweet and delicious all the way through. I like eating them just as is, after washing. No need for anything else as they are very tasty…and fragrant.

There are no green sour patches on these at all. And since they are so good, I decided to make a cake for my mom’s birthday. I have quart of whipping cream and a dozen home grown eggs in the fridge so I’m all set.

I had been trading loaves of sourdough bread for eggs with my co worker once a week, so the eggs I have are really fresh. Which is important, as the cake is a simple sponge cake recipe where in your ingredients need to be really good and fresh for it to taste great. The frosting is a simple, lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, and topped with the best tasting strawberries you can find, this will be a cake you will make over and over.

We had to go to a soccer game at 9 am so I baked the layers and let it cool upside down for 20 minutes while we got ready, turned them right side up to cool completely while we were gone. I then whipped the cake, sliced the strawberries, and put the cake together after lunch, then chilled it for an hour before driving it over to my mom’s. Busy day!

I did not expect a lot of requests for this recipe so I did not photograph anything while whipping up the first, full sized cake. I did not have the time to either as I was rushing to get it done before we had to leave. However, since I did get a few requests, and since there was no left overs after it was demolished at my mom’s, I decided to make another, smaller cake for our home.

I halved the recipe and baked them in two 5-inch round cake pans. They were filled and frosted the same way as the full sized 8/9 inch cake. It was just enough for 6 slices, 2 each for me, my husband, and my son.

So here it is. There are a lot of steps but it is easy and the results are more than worth it. Feel free to break the steps down like I did to fit your schedule. I promise you will be amazed with the end results.

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Ingredients:

275 grams eggs

124 grams sugar

146 grams cake flour

45 grams milk

14 grams melted unsalted butter

1 pound fresh strawberries

500 grams cold heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans with parchment paper cut to fit.

2. Combine eggs and sugar in a small metal bowl. You will make a makeshift double boiler using the bowl and a small saucepan.

3. Place bowl over a small pan with simmering water.

4. Cook, stirring, until a thermometer reaches 98F.

5. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

6. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 4 minutes.

7. Lower speed to medium and beat until ribbons form, about 5 more minutes.

8. See the videos above to determine when to stop. You should be seeing clear ribbons in the batter. This is important as this cake has no leavening, aside from the air trapped in the egg mixture.

9. Sift flour into a bowl to aerate it.

10. Place milk in a microwave safe bowl.

11. Place the butter in the bowl too.

12. Heat the mixture for 30 seconds and stir to melt butter.

13. Fold in 1/3 of the flour into the egg mixture until combined. Repeat twice more to use up the flour.

14. Slowly add the milk and butter mixture and stir to combine.

15. Do not overmix as you need the air in the mixture to make your cake light and fluffy. Mix just until combined.

16. Pour into the prepared pans. Drop the pans from about 2 inches from the counter to release any big bubbles.

17. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

18. In the meantime, slice a few of the strawberries into thin slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

19. Remove the cakes from the oven when done.

20. Invert them onto a cooling rack sprayed with nonstick spray. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

21. Turn them right side up and cool completely.

22. Unmold and peel off the parchment paper.

23. In the meantime, pour the whipping cream in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.

24. Wash, rinse, and dry a few strawberries left whole. Cut them in half lengthwise if desired.

25. Place on cake layer on the serving plate.

26. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over.

27. Top with sliced strawberries, trying to follow the shape of the cake. Cut the strawberries if needed.

28. Top with a little more whipped cream, just enough to cover the strawberries.

29. Top with the second cake layer and gently press down.

30. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.

31. Top with whole or sliced strawberries. Chill until set, about an hour or so.

32. You can serve it like this or decorate with melted chocolate.

33. I used melted Hershey’s sugar free chocolate to pipe zigzags on the strawberries I used to top my mom’s cake. You can also pipe it across the top of the cake.

34. Slice it carefully, serve and enjoy!

35. See how beautiful this cake is? Yum!

The picture below is my mom’s 9 inch cake, all lit up, with the chocolate topped strawberries and chocolate greeting on the side. It was totally out of this world delicious.

Electric Lunchbox #92: Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Bananas Foster Cheesecake! Minus the flame as I had never done it, so it’s still scary for me to light up my food and watch the flames dance on it. 😊

This cheesecake has bananas in it too so you get to taste a hint of it, but together with the caramelized sugar and bananas ever so slightly toasted in butter…pure heaven in every bite!

Making it in the ELB makes sure you only get a small portion, not too much, so that there is no need to summon much will power. 😊

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients for the crust:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional

Ingredients for the filling:

1 bar (8oz) cream cheese

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 small banana

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Ingredients for the topping:

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 banana, sliced

1 tablespoon Bacardi rum

Procedure:

1. For the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs,

2. Butter, and brown sugar (if using) together.

3. Place in the big ELB bowl. You can line the bottom with a parchment paper, cut to fit, to make it easier to remove the cheesecake later. You can also add parchment paper slings to make it even easier.

4. Press the mixture down with a spoon. Set aside.

5. Make the filling: In a bowl, place the cream cheese,

6. and brown sugar.

7. Beat well with a hand mixer until mixed.

8. In a small bowl, mash the banana for the filling.

9. I use a fork and just press down on the bananas until they look like this.

10. Add the mashed bananas to the cream cheese mixture.

11. Add the vanilla,

12. Salt,

13. And egg.

14. Beat everything together until well mixed.

15. Pour over the prepared crust and smooth the top using the back of a spoon.

16. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

17. Carefully open the ELB and set the cheesecake aside to cool while you make the topping.

18. Melt butter in a small saucepan.

19. Sprinkle the brown sugar over.

20. Add the cinnamon next.

21. Cook over medium low heat until it melts completely.

22. Place the banana slices on the mixture.

23. Lower heat and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping the bananas over once.

24. Pour the Bacardi rum over and let it heat for a few seconds.

25. Remove cheesecake from the bowl and place on a serving plate.

26. Pour the caramelized bananas over the cheesecake.

27. Serve and enjoy!

Apple Cream Torte

Before COVID hit, my son and I regularly visit the local library and enjoyed checking out books and magazines. I love to read and was hoping my son would too, so even if I’m tired, just came from work, running on fumes before picking him up from school, I try to make it a point to enjoy the library days we have.

This recipe is one that I saw while thumbing through a Sunset Magazine, waiting for my son to select his books to check out. I often snap photos of recipes and my phone has more than 10,000 pictures that I need to sift through soon. My Fuji apple tree has some ripe fruits right now and I remembered this recipe, and just had to try it!

Lovely flavors, easy to make and just delicious! This will be a regular dessert in my home! I hope you try it as apples are in season and tastes really good right now!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds Fuji Apples

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar for dusting

Whipped cream, or ice cream, for serving

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

2. Cut apples in half, remove core and stems. Peel apples and slice into 1/4 inch slices crosswise. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and thickened, about 2 minutes. Lower speed and add cream and vanilla paste. Beat until blended.

4. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the bowl with wet ingredients and beat until combined.

5. Carefully stir in apples, coating and separating the slices with the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and level the batter in the pan.

6. Place the pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the rim to cool completely.

8. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve plain, or with whipped cream, or ice cream if desired. Enjoy!

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Berry Chantilly Cake

This is without a doubt, one of my favorite cakes. I made this recipe because I was craving it for a few days, but did not want to drive 25 miles to get one from Whole Foods. It was also back in June/July, where in everyone was still weary of going out and getting exposed to COVID 19.

Lucky, I had some berries and the rest of the ingredients on hand. So a little experimenting took place right away since I was off that day. *Still contemplated driving to just pick one up, I mean it IS easier than preparing each part of the cake and putting it together, but experimenting won in the end.*

Somehow, this recipe ended up published a few weeks back, with only photos in the article. I am sorry to those who got that post. I wasn’t intending to post it yet, but between a full time work, house work, garden work, distance learning for my son, sports practices, time for Yuki (our dog), and experimenting on recipes on top of actually making 3 square meals a day, I wake up way before the sun comes out and go to sleep at almost midnight everyday. I might have scheduled it to be posted when I was half asleep without even realizing it. I know I do end up ordering some things online unintentionally around midnight sometimes. 😱 Again, apologies!

But….here it is now! Thank you for your patience and understanding and for all your kind words! It truly helps a lot! ❤️

Cake:

4 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Pinch of salt

Chantilly Cream:

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

4 oz mascarpone cream, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

Syrup:

1/4 cup raspberry jam

2 tablespoons water

Berries:

1/2 – 1 cup strawberries

1/2 – 1 cup blueberries

1/2 – 1 cup raspberries and/or blackberries

1. Prepare two 6 inch round cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit. Spray with nonstick spray and set aside.

2. Cake: Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer), beat together eggs and sugar in a bowl for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in almond extract and vanilla paste.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt. Add to the egg mixture and gently fold in until mixed.

4. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake at 350F for 20 – 25 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool completely

5. While the cake is cooling, prepare the Chantilly Cream: Beat together cream cheese and mascarpone cream using a hand mixer until blended. Slowly add the powdered sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.

6. In another bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold half into the cream mixture until well mixed. Add the other half and fold until blended. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the cake.

7. Prepare syrup by mixing together raspberry jam and water in a small bowl until it is thin enough to use like a glaze. Set aside.

8. Wash and dry berries. Roughly chop about half of strawberries and blackberries for the filling. Leave the blueberries and raspberries whole. Set aside. *Use whatever berries you have, a combination makes it look really pretty but if you are missing one or two or only have one kind, that is okay too. It will still be delicious!

9. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake layer into 2, crosswise. This will give you a 4 layer cake to fill with berries and cream. Lay one cake on a platter and spread with some raspberry syrup. Top with some chantilly cream, spreading until almost to the edges, then top with some berries. Repeat layering twice more and top with the last cake layer.

10. Frost the top and sides with the remaining chantilly cream and top with berries. Refrigerate until right before serving. Enjoy!

Dole Pineapple Whip

Disneyland!

I love Disneyland. But the lines to get anything or ride anything was always insane. We’d spend the whole day there but only get to ride 4 or 5 rides if we get lucky!

Disneyland has been closed for a while now due to COVID 19. I know that a lot of us miss going but I’m not really sure “when” I’ll feel it’s okay to go. This recipe came about as a gentle reminder of what it’s been like and it will tide us over until the time comes that we can go enjoy Disneyland again.

A Disneyland treat that we have to have every time we go there is the Dole Pineapple Float (aside from everything else that is a “must try”)!

A couple of years ago I saw the Dole mix for sale in Amazon and of course, I bought it! At around $30 for a 4 pound bag, it is a lot cheaper than buying it in the “happiest place on earth”. Plus you get to have it anytime, in your own home! Like times right now…when Disneyland is closed.

Straight out of the ice cream maker. Yum!

It took a bit of tries to get this just right as the instructions on the back of the package is meant for business sized batches. I read through the reviews in Amazon and got this perfect proportion for home sized ice cream makers.

Disclosure: I have 4 ice cream makers. 😱 (This girl’s gotta have options!) Two of them have built in compressors and the other two uses salt and ice, both of which has an electric option to stir, and one that allows you to work for your treat by manually churning it. Totally hard work!

At one time I also had those that needed the liner to kind of live in your freezer. If you know me, you’ll know my freezer doesn’t have that big a space to lease. And who remembers to put those things in the freezer 24 hours before you need them? Definitely not me. Not convenient for cravings that suddenly come out of nowhere.

Of course, the easiest to use are the one’s with compressors. You basically just plug it in, pour your mixed ingredients in and wait….and that is what I used today as this was a spur of the moment treat. Yes, after a few cool days, we’re back at 106 HOT today!

I used the Lello Nemox gelato chef for this batch and we were enjoying this sweet, cold treat 30 minutes after I poured in the mixture. I hope you’ll try this soon! It is so good I think I might just have to make another batch.

Ingredients:

1 cup Dole Pineapple Soft Serve mix

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk

1 1/2 cups cold water

1. Mix everything in a medium sized bowl until the Pineapple mix is dissolved.

2. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions.

At the start of the 30 minute wait….

3. You can pour some cold pineapple juice into a glass, scoop some of this soft serve and place a cherry on top – or do as I do and just grab a bowl and dig in. Bliss!

28 minutes later…..

4. Enjoy!

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Electric Lunchbox #52: Banana Bread

I need to go to the grocery store today and as I was looking at my kitchen, I found a lonely banana that was spotted and a little too ripe for eating.

Banana bread!

BUT there was just ONE banana! My usual banana bread recipe needs a full cup of mashed bananas, which is about 3-4 whole bananas.

So I went ahead and bought my groceries and realized that I did not have a banana bread recipe for the ELB! Perfect opportunity! I hope it turns out good so that I could post it!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1 small banana, mashed – over ripe is the best!

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon canola oil (you could use melted butter too!)

1 medium egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of baking powder

Pinch of salt

Procedure:

1. In a small bowl, mix the mashed banana, brown sugar, canola oil, egg, and vanilla.

2. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir just until combined, do not overmix.

3. Grease or spray the medium or large ELB bowl. Pour batter in and cover with foil. Place in the ELB base.

4. Add 2 ELB cups water in the base, cover, and let steam until done, about 35 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the cover of the ELB and check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the bread. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done. If there is wet batter on the toothpick, add 1 ELB cup more water and steam again until done.

6. Cool for a few minutes, then run a knife along the edges. Invert onto a serving dish.

7. Ta-da! Happy to tell you guys that it worked – deliciously!! 😋 Enjoy!

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Electric Lunchbox #48: Key Lime Pie

Pie. In. The. Electric. Lunchbox.

This blew my mind! And it did not even take too much tries to get it right!

Summer to me, is embodied in beaches and grilled food, citrus and blueberries, peaches and watermelon. As we slowly move into Fall, I want to hold on to some summer a little longer before pumpkin, and cinnamon, caramel, and apples take over.

So here is a Key Lime Pie made in the ELB. I’m quite sure you can make this into a regular lime pie, or even a lemon pie! Just replace the key lime with your chosen citrus.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Crust:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons condensed milk

Juice of 3 key limes (3 1/2 tablespoons)

Zest of 1 key lime (1 teaspoon)

Topping:

1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 key lime

Line the bottom bowl (or top bowl of the 3 tiered ELB) with parchment paper cut to fit the base. Spray with a nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together crust ingredients until combined. Press onto the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the parchment paper lined bowl. Set aside.

In another small bowl, beat egg yolk and sugar until thick, around 2 minutes. Add condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest. Beat until combined. Pour over crust and cover with foil.

Place on the base and add 3 ELB cups of water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

Cool the pie on a wire rack and chill for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

Whip cream, sugar, and a pinch of lime zest until stiff. Spoon or pipe onto pie and sprinkle with the rest of the lime zest.

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Electric Lunchbox #33: Cherry Clafouti

Clafouti! This recipe is for a French custardy dessert that is a perfect use for summer’s sweet cherries!

I had vanpooled for work during the last couple of years I worked at UCLA (140+miles/day)and was in a group of 11 people. Some would leave, and got replaced, but the rest of us, we got to be really close. When traffic is really bad, we’d stop by McDonald’s in Gardena for ice cream, or even a combo meal, while I sometimes did a quick run at the nextdoor Japanese grocery store. Or when there is just a few of us, we’d detour to a Church’s chicken in Norwalk. Or to Knott’s Berry Farm for the chicken dinner and boysenberry pie….I love those times, as I am saved from thinking what to cook for dinner!

We’d meet up for dinner, dimsum, and we have group texts….they were an amazing group! Even now, well over 8 years since my last van ride, we still keep in touch. One passed away a year ago, others retired, but we’re still friends and chat almost every day.

This recipe is from Jerome. He is French and would talk about foods (our van’s favorite topic) that he miss a lot. This was one of them. And he taught us how to make it.

I hope you like this easy, refreshing recipe. I’ve seen the cherries substituted with other summer fruits, but to me, cherries are essential to this recipe. I tried adding a drop of almond extract (just because I love cherries and almond combo!) in the custard mix, and of course it tasted awesome.

Pitting the cherries.

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1/2 pound cherries

2 eggs

4 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

125 ml whole milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Vanilla sugar to serve*

1. Grease the big bottom bowl of the ELB. Place the pitted cherries in and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and salt.

3. Add flour, milk, butter, and vanilla. Blend well.

4. Pour mixture into the bowl with the cherries. Cover with foil and set on the ELB base.

5. Place 3 (120ml) little cups water in the base. Cover and let steam until done, about 50 minutes.

6. Carefully open the lunchbox and insert a skewer into the clafouti. It should come out clean. Add more water and steam longer if necessary.

7. Place the bowl on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate until cold. Unmold onto a serving dish and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Serve cold.

*vanilla sugar – you can purchase this or make your own. To make it: bury 1-2 vanilla beans that were split down the middle in a cup of sugar. Make sure to cover the container. Leave for about a week. Use for a hint of vanilla in your coffee, tea, or desserts.