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.

Mackerel Pate

Hello my friends!

Today I’ll be making a delicious fish sandwich spread. As you might know, I make our bread at least once a week and of course, I want the best sandwich fillings to go with it.

My very favorite will always be butter and orange marmalade, but tuna salad, and BLT are close contenders.

We do have the usual Turkey and/or Ham with cheese and mayo quite often too.

My mom was taking about how she eats some canned mackerel more often now as it is very good fo your health, so imagine how excited I was when I found these at Trader Joe’s.

I was going to mix it up like my tuna salad but figured out I can make a more tasty spread using cream cheese. It makes a thicker spread that you can thin out using some mayonnaise. I hope you’ll like it!

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Ingredients:

1/4 red onion, chopped

4-6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pinch of Salt

1 6oz can mackerel, drained

1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped

*you can add 1 – 2 tablespoons mayo to loosen up the pate if you like it more spreadable*

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix together onions and cream cheese.

2. Add garlic powder,

3. Ground black pepper,

4. And salt.

5. Open the can of mackerel and drain well.

6. Place the fillets in the bowl.

7. Mash and mix everything together.

8. Add in chopped eggs.

9. Mix well. Add mayonnaise if using.

10. Spread on a thick slice of toasted bread.

11. Enjoy!

Bunny/Heart Cake Pops

I recently got back into making cake pops, as I discovered a whole bunch of molds made of silicone and plastic.

I ordered a lot of them to start experimenting again after not making it for about 5 years. I also ordered some fondant molds and luster powders for decorating.

It was an easier process back then. Just mix up a box of cake mix and bake as directed. Cool and crumble into little pieces, mix in about half a tub of ready made frosting and make little round balls. Dip into melted candy melts and cool.

Nowadays there are an infinite number of shapes and designs, one much more detailed than another.

For this post, I am using my bunny mold and heart mold, making cake pops without sticks. I will post a photo of my other cake pop with sticks at the bottom.

If using the ELB to make a cake, follow these recipes https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/01/electric-lunchbox-71-yellow-cake-and-chocolate-cake-boxed-mixes/ Add about a tablespoon of frosting to the cooled, finely crumbled cake to start, adding a bit more as needed to achieve a play dough like consistency.

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You will need the following:

A silicone mold with the shape of your choice

A box of cake mix, any flavor you like (I used chocolate)

The ingredients needed to prepare the cake (usually eggs, oil, and water)

A tub of ready made frosting (I used Butter Cream and Cream Cheese flavored frosting)

Chocolate or candy melts

Sprinkles, edible glitter, metallic spray, any other decoration as desired

1. First, you prepare the cake mix according to the directions provided on the box.

2. Pour into a greased 13×9 pan and bake as directed on the package.

3. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.

4. For these type of molds, you’ll first coat them with a layer of melted chocolate or candy melts, fill it with cake pop mix after it sets, then add another layer of chocolate or candy melts to seal.

5. To do that, melt some chocolate or candy melts in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring until melted and smooth. Pour about 1 tablespoon into the mold and work it up the sides with the back of a spoon. Try to coat the inside of the mold evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or so to set. You can add another, thin layer to reinforce the shell if needed after it has set. Return to the fridge to set again.

6. While the shell is in the fridge, place the completely cooled cake, cut into pieces, in a food processor and pulse until finely crumbled.

7. Transfer to a bowl.

8. Add about half of the frosting and mix well. You want it to have a consistency similar to play dough.

9. Take the chocolate shells from the fridge and fill with cake pop mixture.

10. Press gently but firmly to fill throughout the mold.

11. Make sure to leave some space on top for another layer of chocolate or candy melts.

12. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate or candy melts over the filling.

13. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon then a straight edged spatula to remove excess.

14. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes or so.

15. Carefully unmold the cake pops. Tada! Aren’t they beautiful?

16. Pictures at the bottom are the traditional cake pops that have sticks.

These make the perfect birthday cake for our current Covid-19 situation. They’re individually portioned and easy to wrap up and give out.

I hope you’ll like these!

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!

Chicken Satay

Right after I was done with college, my mom, dad, and I got into this habit of driving around without a destination, just looking to relax and unwind. In the process, we got to try a lot of different restaurants all over Luzon, in the Philippines.

One of our favorite was Thai restaurants. The delicious Chicken Satay, bagoong rice with green mangoes and scrambled eggs, and delectable peanut sauce served with it is enough to keep us dreaming till the next Thai meal. Rounded out with Thai Iced Tea and we’ve got fuel enough to take us wherever that full tank of gas can go.

Fast forward 21 years later, allergic to shrimp, I have not been able to eat this in a restaurant because of possible cross contamination. So what was I to do? Make it at home, so that I am sure of what went into my food!

This is a very delicious meal, even without the Bagoong rice. If you are not allergic to shrimp, I recommend you try this with the Bagoong fried rice. I did provide an easy guide at the very bottom of this article.

2 pounds chicken breasts, sliced into pieces about 1”x2.5”

MARINADE:

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped red chili, optional

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons minced ginger, or ginger paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

SAUCE:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/3 cup water

Procedure:

1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients until well blended.

2. Add chicken slices and mix well to coat evenly.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight, to allow the chicken to absorb the flavors. In the meantime, soak short bamboo skewers in water.

4. Skewer 3 – 4 pieces of chicken in bamboo skewers and set aside.

5. Grill until done on one side, then turn to cook the other side. I used my stovetop griddle/grill plate as it was too cold to grill outside today.

6. Repeat with all remaining chicken skewers.

7. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. *Forgot to take a picture of this sauce! Sorry! I will update once I make it again!

8. Serve with chicken and rice. Enjoy!

*This is usually served with fermented shrimp paste rice. My son and I are both allergic to shrimp so we do not serve it this way. If you do want to make it, though:

Heat a pan and add some canola oil. Saute minced garlic until golden then add chopped onions. Cook until onions are golden and soft. Add a few spoonfuls of bottled bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). Mix well and add cooked rice. Stir to heat up the rice and distribute the shrimp paste evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with scrambled eggs sliced in long strips.

Microwave Mochi

Microwave mochi was one of the food that me and my coworkers at Brentwood made one fun day.

I purchased a few of the microwave Mochi makers from Marukai (now Tokyo Central) in Gardena, CA. We brought in boxes of Mochiko rice flour, sugar, and any filling we want to eat! There was strawberries, mangoes, coconut, chocolate, peanut butter, truffles, peaches, blueberries….anything and everything you can imagine.

We made batches upon batches and quickly formed the hot mochi into little balls with our chosen filling inside. Then quickly pop it in our mouths. We had an hour lunch so we had time to make our mochi and enjoy it too.

I really like the mango filled ones that I then rolled in desiccated coconut. That was yum!

So here I’m sharing the basic recipe! It’s easy to make and takes 5 minutes or 9 minutes depending in which method you follow!

You’ll need:

Microwave Mochi

1-1/2 cups mochiko (rice flour)
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
Katakuriko (potato starch) or kinako (roasted soybean flour), for dusting
1 cup tsubushi an (mashed bean paste) or koshi an (smooth bean paste)

Lightly coat a microwavable tube cake pan with cooking spray.

Mix mochiko, water, sugar and salt in a bowl.

Pour mixture into pan and cover with plastic wrap or a microwave cover.

Microwave 3 minutes on low, then 3 minutes on medium and 3 minutes on high, for a total of 9 minutes.

OR microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Cool in microwave 5 to 10 minutes, then turn onto a baking pan sprinkled with katakuriko, kinako, or cornstarch. Cut into 16 pieces using a plastic knife.

Dust hands with katakuriko or kinako and flatten each piece. Place 1 tablespoon an (or any filling of your choice) in center of each piece. Bring edges together and pinch to seal. Shape as desired.

Note: This recipe is based on microwave wattage of 1,000. Depending on your microwave wattage, cooking time may need to be adjusted.

Variations

>> Add fresh strawberries, peanut butter or sweet chestnut covered with bean paste.
>> For chocolate flavor, stir 1/4 to 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips into mochi batter before cooking.
>> Add a few drops of food coloring into batter for color variation.
>> A few drops of flavoring (strawberry, grape, orange, blueberry, etc.) may also be added.

Electric Lunchbox #91: Strawberry Nesquick Mochi

I always have this big can of Nesquick Strawberry mix as my son loves it mixed in his morning mug of milk. I started buying it when I was pregnant, as I didn’t like chocolate then, so was happy to see they offered it in strawberry flavor! It was the only way i could drink milk then. I guess it got passed on to my son! 😊

When I was making the mochi recipes for the ELB, I happened to see the can of Nesquick and immediately thought of using it as flavoring. And here is the result of the experiment!

I would add more Nesquick next time as the flavors and color was minimal. Otherwise, the mochi was chewy, sweet, and delicious enough for a snack.

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

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mochiko rice flour

1/4 cup sugar

2- 3 tablespoon Nesquick Strawberry drink powder

1/2 cup water

Katakuriko or cornstarch for dusting

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix rice flour,

2. Sugar,

3. Nesquick powder,

4. And water,

5. Mix well until blended.

6. The mixture will be thin, see photo below.

7. Spray the medium or large ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

8. Pour mochi mixture into the bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB, and check if mochi is set. Add more water to the base and steam longer if needed.

10. Dust the top with katakuriko or cornstarch.

11. Turn out onto a plate dusted generously with katakuriko or cornstarch.

12. Using a plastic knife, cut mochi into bite sized pieces.

13. Dust with more katakuriko or cornstarch to prevent sticking.

14. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

A peanut butter cookie rolled in granulated sugar, and topped with a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kiss!

This was one of my favorite cookies growing up. I think I first saw it in a magazine, a Betty Crocker Cookbook, or in a Hershey Chocolate Cookbook. I love milk chocolate so I made it, and again, and again.

I haven’t made it in a long time (maybe over a decade!) so since I was off for 5 days partly because of my second Covid-19 vaccine, I planned on baking a batch, excited to see if it still tastes the same as it did before. I wasn’t well after my Thursday vaccination (like the first dose, only not as bad) but was well enough on Valentine’s Day, so I made it then.

It didn’t disappoint at all. My son peeled the kisses but needed to do some math problems so I made the cookies myself. It was quick and easy, although I would recommend using an electric mixer because the dough is quite stiff.

For the peanut butter, feel free to use crunchy or smooth, whichever you like or have on hand. I like crunchy but keep some smooth PB in the pantry to use for sate sauce and Asian noodles. I used crunchy PB, as I like the crunch it lends to the cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar, to roll dough in

36 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, place butter,

3. Sugar,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Peanut butter,

6. And egg.

7. Beat well using an electric mixer , until combined and smooth.

8. Add flour,

9. Baking soda,

10. And baking powder.

11. Beat well until mixed.

12. Scoop up about a tablespoon dough and roll into a ball.

13. Drop into a bowl with granulated sugar. Roll to coat.

14. Place in an ungreased cookie sheet.

15. Repeat with remaining dough, making 36 balls.

16. Line them up 2 inches apart on 2 cookie sheets. They will spread a little as they bake.

17. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown.

18. Immediately press a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie.

20. Remove cookies from cookie sheets and onto wire racks.

21. Cool completely.

22. Serve! You can also drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Makes 36 pieces.