Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Sweets!

For many, Christmas is their most favorite holiday of the year and I made quite a load of goodies this year. First, French Macarons in three colors and flavors. The green one is filled with ganache, the red one is filled with hazelnut cream, and the gold one is filled with light caramel cream. I made five dozens and some extra for a Secret Santa dinner that us girls were having. The girls' macarons were packed in cute little chinese to-go boxes. =)

Secondly, Dr. Mike requested that I make four dozen Xmas themed cakeballs for him as a gift to the nurses he works with at the hospital. He requested them to be red velvet in flavor.

Next, sweetheart Kim, requested that I make anything that I wanted for her and her family. I suggested the Pumpkin Cheesecake since it was a big hit at the Thanksgiving party and also it was the perfect flavor for the holiday. =)

Lastly, Pecan Nut Bars! Have you ever had this craving to make something, no matter what time it is during the evening? That is what happened to me last night haha... My best friend John, brought over a pecan bar that his love made and one piece just didn't satisfy my craving... I wanted more! So at 10:00 PM last night, I decided to make some. After it was done baking, you're suppose to let it cool and harden over night in the refrigerator. Not me, I immediately cut myself a piece and ate it while it was still warm. MY GOSH it was sooo good! Today I cut them all into bar pieces and drizzled them all with bittersweet chocolate which gave it a balance in taste. I still have a lot if any of you would like some haha. No really, I'm not kidding.

You can tell that this piece was cut while it was still warm... Look at that caramel, its like its melting down the crust... MMMmmm

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake, Banana Nut Cupcakes & Mickey Mouse Cake

Last week, my good friend Sandra who I met through Culinary School, asked me for a favor to make a cheesecake for her and her husband's 14th year Anniversary.

This chocolate cheesecake was made with melted chocolate. The crust is an oreo cookie crust because it is Sandra's husband's favorite crust. I decorated the top with chocolate whip cream and sprinkled some cocoa powder over it. Sandra had me write a special message on their cake saying "Happy Anniversary Stud Muffin".

Happy Birthday Michael Le!!! My good friend Michael Le's birthday was last weekend and I made him some banana pecan cupcakes. The cupcakes were made with riped bananas, and fresh pecans that were handpicked and cracked by my family. I made a caramel buttercream to top it. One of my close girl friends, Linda, was studying for her nurse final exam so I saved a cupcake for her and sent it off to her.Later she responded back with: , "After studying for about two hours I suddenly got hungry. I went down stairs and open the frigde and saw a cup wrap in foil. Is it?? (heard holy background music) It is SANDIA DELICIOUS CUPCAKE!!! It gave me the strength to study...Now can I have another one? Lmao...Thanks Sandia! =]" And because it made her day, seeing her response made my day too =)

A picture of Michael Le and I after he got cupcaked!

Last but not least... Diem, Ashley's friend who I made the baby shower cake for (the one topped with a baby crib) in the previous posts has a little daughter named Chloe who had a birthday party and Chloe wanted only one theme for her birthday... Mickey Mouse! =) We agreed on a winter theme for her cake. The flavor was vanilla with chocolate icing. I put extra icing on there because Diem said Chloe loves chocolate icing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Potluck

Our annual Thanksgiving friends get together was hosted at my house last weekend! We did a potluck thanksgiving food theme and everyone's dishes were very yummy =). Every year I would make the Turkey with one or two dishes. This year I added, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Butternut squash soup (I made this last year also), Stuffing, Gravy, and Seasoned Veggies.

I took up the courage and made my very first Thanksgiving Turkey (think 8 years ago?) for our very first year's friends gathering. I was super nervous on how it would turn out because back then, I worked with recipes by the book when I was testing things out. I've mistaken teaspoon for tablespoon once, and my mashed potatoes turned out SUPER salty LOL! My best friends ate it, and one of them (Duyet) still makes fun of me till this day... haha. So, back to the subject, after that salty mashed potato incident, I've decided to just go by taste instead of measurements. My turkey turned out to be a success and the bird was eaten to the bone. From that day on, I got into cooking and baking, and eventually went to Culinary School.

The idea of making a Pumpkin Cheesecake this Thanksgiving was inspired by my friend Adam from Facebook, who asked me if I knew how to make one and well, I've never made that flavor before so that got me wanting to give it a shot. The consistency, texture, and taste of the pumpkin cheesecake turned out well. The I put more pumpkin in this one than what it was originally asked and it still turned out great. The bottom is a lemony sponge cake, and the top is piped whipped cream with holiday spice!

I was pretty happy with it and so were my friends. I usually stuff my turkey with stuffing but this year I decided to just make the stuffing on the side. The butternut squash soup was made from roasting the squash a bit in the oven, cooking it with my very own soup base on the stove, and then pureeing it to a creamy-like smooth consistency. Cream was also added to it.

The Turkey was marinated over-night. I brushed it with butter just right before I put it in the oven (at 350 degrees F) and basting the turkey at every interval. This one took about four to four and a half hours to bake.

The only difference I did with the stuffing this year was adding veggies to it. It had some corn, green beans, and carrots that was cooked beforehand then tossed in with the stuffing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Cakeballs

My little red velvet cakeballs are decorated into little Turkey's and fall leaves sprinkles! The body is coated with dark chocolate. Feathers are made with candy corn, the head and face are made from whoppers, heart sprinkles, and small candy bites... =) Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Black Forest Cake, Beach Ball Cakepops, Bathroom Cake, Baby Shower Cake!

Happy Birthday Aunt Ginny!!!!Gabe’s mom’s birthday was this past weekend, and I know she loves cake with a bit of rum in it so I made her my version of a Black Forest Cake. Inside it was layered with cream, cherries, and a cherry rum sauce. The cake turned out really moist. We had lunch at Aunt Ginny’s favorite brunch restaurant…yuM! There was a lot of laughter, smiles going around. Caleb (Gabe’s baby nephew) was there too and he was walking everywhere with those little cute chubby legs of his!

Layla, I remember meeting her briefly, super cool gal! I loved chatting with her. =) Well, last weekend she requested some of my cakepops for a birthday celebration that she was throwing for her mom, brother, and son! What they shared in common was the beach so I made beach ball cakepops for them. These cakepops were flavored with chocolate cake and chocolate butter cream icing, and coated with white chocolate. The colors were hand painted with food color.

Michael, Gabe’s high school friend, wanted a custom designed cake for his sister’s birthday, Michelle. He and his sister shared a very memorable and funny moment that was taken place in the bathroom of their old house when he was six years old and when Michelle was four. It’s kind of gross, so I will just leave out the story……. Haha. I got to meet Michelle and her boyfriend, Son, over the weekend. All of us don’t reallyyy call Michael by his first name, we call him by “Cfu” which derived from his game name confucius, to confusion, to cfuzion (if I remember that story correctly…), and we call him Cfu for short because there are sooo many Michaels in our circle of friends. Even though I haven’t known Cfu as long as I’ve known my other friends, he is a very genuine guy and easy to hang out with. He also loves basketball with a paSSION!

Gabe and Cfu have been friends since summer school during their high school days. Apparently, the story goes, that Gabe beat Cfu one on one in basketball once. Gabe likes to gloat over that story whenever he can… Of course now, Gabe has a super small chance to even beat him one on one, let alone run faster than him… haha

The bathroom cake is a red velvet cake filled with cream cheese icing. The layout of this cake was inspired from Cfu's hand drawn sketch of their old bathroom. The sink, toilet, and bathtub were placed exactly the way he had drawn it. Their old bathroom was all white, and very simple so this was the image that he had given me. I wanted the walls to have some texture, so I gave it the "brick-wall" look. The floor was also traced out in "tile-like" patters. There wasn't poop in their shared moment though... haha... I just added that in for fun. The sink was made with rice crispy treats so it could hold up its posture. I added tooth brushes for them and made a tube of Crest toothpaste (which was the toothpaste they used when they were kids). The mirror was cut-foil. I wasn't worried of the foil being consumed since it was on the wall, otherwise I would've hand-painted the mirror.

Last but not least, I did a baby shower cake for Grace who's Raymond's wife. Raymond and Gabe have been friends since middle school and during high school, Raymond, Raymond’s little brother Simon, and Gabe would give each other rides to go play outdoor courts basketball. I’ve seen Raymond and Simon play, and they’re really good! I remember when Gabe brought me over to play with them and I noticed that Gabe and Raymond have really good basketball chemistry. In basketball, they speak to one another with signs of looks, finger pointing, and eye blinks!

I met Grace around last year. We attended their beautiful wedding that was also dated last year. They’re both really down to earth and good people. They’re also very hard working! As a couple, they’re so cute, they even laugh the same way. =) They recently bought a new house! Congratulations you guys!!!

Grace requested a baby shower cake and wanted the cake to go with the theme of their gift, which is this baby crib blanket set. This cake had two flavors, the top tier is carrot cake, and bottom tier is strawberry cake. Both filled with cream cheese icing! The baby girl bear has a matching dress and flower on her head to go along with her quilt. The quilt was made with a bottom layer of white fondant, and square-cut purple fondants. All flowers and butterflies on the cake was hand painted. ABC blocks were added on the bottom for a natural baby-ish touch. The quilt that the bear is sitting on, was inspired from the baby crib blanket set link above. Grace wanted the cake to have the mother's name, Ann, and the father's name, Kin, on there so I placed it front center on the top tier cake. I painted on a butterfly underneath their name to give it more of a flow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloweeny Cakepops & Cupcakes!

Hello readers! Halloween is probably one of my favorite holidays of the year because you get to dress up and be who EVER you want to be!

Last week I got to dress up my cakepops, and cupcakes to little monsters, wicked witches, ghosts, and more!

My favorite is probably the green three-eyed monster cakepop!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tiramisu, Hello Kitty Cupcakes

Happy Birthday Gabe!!! My boyfriend, Gabe's birthday was last week so I made him his favorite cake, Tiramisu. We had dinner with his family and everyone loved the taste and texture of the Tiramisu. Gabe took four slices home and generously gave the rest to his family. He was tempted to take the whole thing home! Funny thing was, when we had friends over, he told me not to say anything about the cake being in the fridge so he can have it to himself haha...

Since he lovessss chocolate and rummy cakes so much, I decided to add extra chocolate shavings to his cake. The decor almost makes it look like a Black forest. Each lady finger sponge cake layer was soaked with rum, cream, and cocoa powder. This cake was definitely yuM!

Happy Birthday Nicole!!! Gabe's niece Nicole turned one this past weekend. Her parents (PeiPei & Eddy)had her birthday party at their Sunday Church. Eddy (Gabe's older brother) told me that he met PeiPei at that exact church, married her there, and had Nicole baptized there as well. Everyone there treated each other like family with their warm birthday wishes and chatter. PeiPei lovessss Hello Kitty so she had a Hello Kitty birthday theme for her daughter. Nicole was so pretty dressed up in her cute little outfit and she had a bow on her head like the Hello Kitty did hehe.

Each Hello Kitty cupcake was Strawberry flavored with cream cheese icing. The kids at the party devoured all cupcakes with little to none left on the cupcake stand. Seeing all the happy faces made me feel like a little girl again. =)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Battleship and Cakepops

Angela, needed a custom designed cake for her grandfather's 80th birthday. I had chatted with her briefly and she said her grandfather served in the navy and she would like to have a battleship cake for him. Angela sent me some pictures via email of the battleship her grandfather served on, as well as two insignias. Here are the pictures:

I put much thought on how to design this cake. I wanted the insignias to be on the bottom corners and the top corners to have an american flag, and a compass. BUT I couldnt think of what to put between the flag and the compass... And leaving it blank, to me, felt really unsatisfying and incomplete haha... I thought about it all night, then when I woke up it hit me! Why not draw a gridded map! Yay! =D The drawing managed to be finished minutes before Angela arrived. I snapped some quick pictures and brought the cake to her. She was very surprised and happy on how it turned out. Later, I heard from Tony that her mother cried when she saw the cake. I was very pleased and touched by her mother's reaction.

Happy Birthday John! I have made cakeballs in the past with different flavors such as, vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, red velvet, carrot, banana, lemon... the list goes on. I was gonna make a birthday cake, but I wanted to make something fun, light-hearted, and carefree because thats how John's personality is and I thought that he would love it once he sees it! So I turned my cakeballs into cakepops! I made some with nuts and some without it just in case some people at dinner couldnt eat the ones with nuts on them.

(From left to right: Catherine, John, Michael)

(From left to right: Gabe, me, John, Linda, Duyet)

John, Duyet and I have been great friends for a long time, and we celebrated his birthday last week. We went to eat dinner at Tony's Mexican Restaurant. The food was really good and their margaritas were tasty! Everyone had a few rounds of margaritas (not me though, since half a glass would give me the buzz already!). The night ended too fast.... We all hardly see him since he is very busy. We miss you already John!