First off, Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom!!!! Found time to type this up to greet her here with a cake delicious enough to be served on a birthday!
I mean, that totally got my attention! Italian food is one of the best food in the world, hands down, but did you know they actually have a breakfast cake? As in a cake traditionally eaten for breakfast?? 😋 The few Italians I know who grew up in Italy remember eating a citrusy cake for breakfast. Must be so nice!
I can’t wait to try this as when I mentioned it to my son, he was equally excited to try it too. He said “why can’t WE eat cake for breakfast too?” And I told him I’ll make sure we will have it for breakfast one day!
Unmolded this☝️before chilling it completely. Notice the sunken area on the upper left.
Lesson learned: Be patient! Chill it overnight before unmolding. 😊
ChocoFlan! This is a rich, delicious chocolate cake with a beautiful layer of creamy flan sitting on top.
I first had this over a decade ago when my Cuban coworker at UCLA brought it for a potluck. It still amazes me how the layers switch when baking. You get a bit of yummy chocolate cake, a thick, creamy flan, all topped with caramelized sugar syrup…what more could you ask for?
This cake is easy to make and truly beautiful that you can bring it to any gathering and it’s sure to wow everyone lucky enough to have a slice…or two!
You’ll need a 12-cup bundt pan to make this as it rises almost to the top when baked. Most bundt pans I own have a capacity of 10 cups, so be sure to check your pan!
If you only have the 10 cup mold, set some of the cake batter aside for 2-3 cupcakes, or make a couple of small individual Choco flans in a ramekin with some of the syrup, flan, and cake mixture. The baking pan with water will also catch any overflow batter, so you should be fine.
The flan layer on this cake is thick, just the way I like it. You’ll get a good proportion of flan to chocolate cake in every bite, I promise!
2. Spray your bundt pan/s with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
3. Pour sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until deep brown, about 10-15 minutes. Keep swirling the pan when it starts to turn golden and remove from heat right before it reaches the color you want as it’ll keep cooking. You don’t want to burn this.
4. Using heavy oven gloves, immediately pour into prepared pan/s. Set aside.
5. Pour all flan ingredients into a blender and pulse until well mixed.
6. Pour over caramel layer.
7. Place the bundt pan/s in a large baking dish. Fill baking dish with water halfway up the bundt pan. We are steam baking this, baine marie style!
8. Now carefully place the entire set up in the middle rack of your preheated oven. Close the oven and set your timer to 20 minutes.
9. In the meantime, prepare your Cake layer:
10. In a bowl, beat together devil’s food cake mix, oil, egg yolks, and water until blended. Set aside.
11. Grab another bowl that it is clean, dry, no traces of oil or grease, or any speck of egg yolks. Wash and clean your beaters and dry them, too. Then beat egg whites in the bowl using clean beaters until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in 1/3 into the cake mixture until mixed. Fold in another 1/3, mix and then add in the last 1/3. Fold in until no more traces of the egg white can be seen.
*If you are crunched for time, you can also just place ALL the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat for about 2 minutes on medium to high speed. The cake won’t be as light, but I’m quite sure no one will notice!*
12. Carefully remove the pan from the oven after 20 minutes.
13. Slowly pour the cake mixture over the flan. Cover with foil, lower the oven temperature to 350F, and bake for 55 minutes more, or until cake is fully baked. Check if cake is done by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake, it should come out clean.
14. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight before unmolding.
15. Place a plate on top of the bundt pan and carefully invert the whole thing. You would hear/feel the cake drop onto the plate. Carefully remove the bundt pan and serve the cake!
*You might want to fill the bundt pan with water now to facilitate removing the caramel that is stuck on the bottom. It will dissolve on it’s own, no need to scrub, but it will need time, like a day or two!*
A few weeks ago, while on one of my rare break times at work, I came across this article about a Chocolate Chip Cookie that allegedly made Elon Musk go back for seconds. Wait, what? Did I read that right?
So of course, I read the whole article. The baker’s boyfriend works at Space X, and his desk is near Elon Musk’s office. So when the cookies were seen, he asked the bodyguard to get some. And then more.
I just wanted to go home and try the recipe she shared after I was done reading the article. But of course, I had to finish work before leaving.
So, a few hours later, I was able to prepare it. Lucky for me, ingredients for chocolate chip cookies are always in my pantry. 😊
I doubled the recipe so that I could share, and made it in the Thermomix so that it came together really fast.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks
1. Place the butter in a bowl. You can use a stand mixer or a hand held one. I used the Thermomix to make life easier.
2. Add the brown sugar,
3. And the white sugar. Mix together over low speed for 3 minutes.
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the vanilla extract,
6. And the egg (eggs in the photo as I doubled the recipe).
7. Mix for about 15 seconds, low speed.
8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
9. Stir in the flour,
10. Baking soda,
11. And salt into the butter mixture.
12. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds, until just combined.
13. See the texture on the photo above.
14. Add in the chocolate chips, (love Trader Joe’s chocolate chips!)
15. And stir until incorporated.
16. Transfer dough into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
17. Next day, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Preheat oven to 350F.
18. Drop 2 tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets.
19. Leave 2 inches of space between the dough balls as these spread out a bit.
*You can also scoop the dough, place it on the sheets, touching is fine, and freeze them. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and bake as needed. See above photo.*
20. Bake in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are golden, but the middle is still soft.
21. Slide the parchment or silicone mats directly onto the counter and cool for a few minutes. When set, about 5 minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy cookies while they’re warm and gooey!
We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.
I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??
Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!
You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.
I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.
I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊
I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!
115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge
12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.
1. 10 am to 11 am
In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.
Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.
Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.
Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes
2. Bulk 11:15-1:15
Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.
Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?
3. Proof 1:15- 5:15
Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Transfer dough to the pan and cover.
Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.
Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.
4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.
5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.
6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.
7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.
*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*
8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.
*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!
Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!
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 cream, 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.
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!
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.
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.
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,
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.