Casual Times One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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This is kind of the set-it-and-forget-it of the chocolate cupcake recipe world. It’s the recipe I’ve been using for years, tweaked over time. It’s rich, dark, chocolate-y. Tender, not-too-sweet (Asian style!) and the secret ingredient is: full-fat coconut milk! Which keeps it…oh Gawd what’s another word for moist? It does give the cupcakes the slightest coconut-flavour but I barely notice it. It’s frosted with the easiest chocolate buttercream using only four ingredients. Sprinkle to your heart’s content and you have the perfect birthday party cupcake. Snap. I made these cuties for my sweet nephew Tanner’s 6th birthday – he is wild about lizards so I hand-drew the lizard cupcake topper!

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

1 dozen cupcakes

For The Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat high quality coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For The Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make The Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners of your choice.

  1. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the eggs, coconut milk, vegetable oil and vanilla
  3. Beat on low speed until fully incorporated, about two minutes.
  4. Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or a large spoon, evenly distribute the batter into your lined cupcake pan.
  5. Bake on the centre rack for 14-18 minutes, turning pan halfway through. Insert a wooden toothpick into the centre of a cupcake to check doneness; do not over bake.
  6. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.

Make The Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  2. Turn the mixer off. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
  3. Turn the mixer back on at very low speed to slowly incorporate – once the icing sugar and cocoa powder has been absorbed (i.e., isn’t a dust storm!) turn the mixer on HIGH and beat until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
  4. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip with the chocolate buttercream; apply chocolate buttercream swirls to your cupcakes and adorn with sprinkles.

Cupcakes will keep in the fridge, tightly sealed, for up to 4 days – bring back to room temperature before enjoying!

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chocolate cupcake sprinkles - coco cake land

These babies can easily be “vegan-ized” as well, which I’ve done countless times. Simply use egg replacer, such as Celimix, instead of eggs. Frost with a dark chocolate ganache made with dark chocolate and coconut milk. Happy baking, sweet pals! xo Lyndsay 

Fuck Cancer Cake

cancer cake - coco cake land

On Monday I had my final herceptin IV treatment at the cancer agency. I had been counting down from 17 and it was finally the last one. For months prior, in my head I imagined what the day might be like – happy, jubilant, free. I had wanted to throw a huge backyard party loaded with balloons, flowers and cake. I had an idea for this “Fuck Cancer Cake” post, a companion piece to my breast cancer cakes. But then, when Monday rolled around, I felt altogether different. I was sitting in the chemo chair, trying to feel brave as the nurse counted to three before poking the needle into the port bump on my chest, my bionic body part. I kept looking at my husband for reassurance of some kind. The medicine began flowing in and my mouth filled with the taste of it – the last time I would taste that?? My last IV. But there was no feeling of joy or freedom that I had imagined. Instead I found myself feeling… numb. Then just… petrified all over again. A dam broke, and the tears came pouring out. It didn’t help that the two women also receiving chemo across from me were both in for recurrences. I held onto Rich’s hand and sobbed.

I just want this all to be over. I don’t ever want to come back here.” 

cancer cake - coco cake land

My IV bag emptied into the hole in my chest, the nurse pulled the needle out and I got a band-aid to cover it up. We got out of the cancer agency and I came home to beautiful white hydrangeas from Rich and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, my request. When we pulled into the driveway, Teddy was waiting for us with his nanny Cor and his smile was huge – I scooped him up and told him mommy just had her last “special medication appointment!” and I tried to feel happy. We ordered dinner from our favourite pizza place and did a small toast between the three of us. My mom came by with pink peonies and my sister dropped off a bouquet and treat.

fuck cancer cake - Coco Cake Land

fuck cancer cake - Coco Cake Land

rainbow cake slice - Coco Cake Land

fuck cancer cake - Coco Cake Land

buttercream rainbow cake - Coco Cake Land

We put Teddy to bed at dusk. I laid in Rich’s arms while he allowed me to sob into his chest. I couldn’t stop crying. I think I had been keeping it together and feeling strong and good for a few months now. But now with the final treatment I could finally let go. I cried for those who weren’t finished treatment and might never be finished. I cried out of worry, fear. I felt so overwhelmed and inarticulate. I cried out of relief that I was finished but still uncertain of whether or not all of this treatment has worked. I cried thinking about how much I love my husband and son and how I never want to leave them. And then I just decided to let those feelings be. Sometimes I can’t wrap my feelings up into a succinct idea or thought or expression. I don’t know when I will feel whole again. So instead, for now, on a teensy minuscule piece of the internet… a Fuck Cancer cake. xo Lyndsay 

Cakes + Hair + Photos

drippy cake with flowers - Coco Cake Land

Lyndsay of Coco Cake Land with cakes

I got new photos taken. Mostly because I felt like I was living a hair lie with the long and flowing locks in my old pics. And then also because I’ve been feeling like a fresh little daisy of life. Like perhaps I’ve been born anew lately. Things feel like they’re looking up as I veer along towards my final IV treatment for breast cancer. I filmed my first ever online cake class for Craftsy (a post on that coming soon!). I’ve been feeling healthy and fit with my once-a-day(ish) gym regime. I’ve been getting more fun little work projects which involve my favourite things – baking, styling and photographing. Life with Rich and Teddy feels loving and good. One final needle poke into my chest, where my ugly bump of a port is, while they pump in medicine that is hopefully tracking down and murdering any stray cancer cells. Please God let it be over. Please Goddess let it be done.

But no more talk of that, because look: I’m sprinkling lil sprinklies onto a cake!! 

pink drippy ganache cake - Coco Cake Land

I’m so happy with these photos. My beautiful pal Stephanie of The Pauhaus took them. She is a breath of fresh air, a starburst of talent and creativity. Plus she is an incredible mom to three little turds (she calls them the shitstains) and I’m in awe of that. She wears and writes her heart deeply raw on her sleeve and that’s been inspiring to me – the insane ups and deep downs of motherhood, family and relationships. Like I wish I had the balls to splay it out there as openly and honestly as she does. The photos were taken in my home kitchen where I work and create all of my cakes.

adding sprinkles to cake - Coco Cake Land

FROZEN IN TIME CANDY PLACEMENT.

piping buttercream onto cake - Coco Cake Land

WHY SO SERIOUS!?? WHY BE NORMAL!?? (you gotta love that Why Be Normal bumper sticker.)

drippy cake with flowers - Coco Cake Land

BECAUSE I LIFT WEIGHTS I could do this photo. This is not for the weakling-armed. This is some Chinese Lady Popeye spinach-munching business.

Serious portrait - photo by The Pauhaus

I’m a serious baker. I’m a serious person. I am actually the opposite of both of those things. But I’m wearing my favourite apron, that is the truth.

Serious portrait - photo by The Pauhaus

K. You’ve looked the other way for a bit. Look THIS way now. Yes, look!

wildflower face - Coco Cake Land

Because you went to art school, hold up this vase in front of your face. ART!!! (I love these gorgeous wild and wonderful flowers by Our Little Flower Company!) But seriously I love a good flower face pic.

cake collection - Coco Cake Land

Moody cakey times.

Lyndsay of Coco Cake Land

If your face resembles a Chinese Pumpkin, you may as well laugh about it. FLAUNT THE PUMPKIN. Thank you so much Phanie for snapping these pics for me! You are a magical unicorn and I truly admire you! xo Lyndsay

Coconut Mini Cakes + Creamcheese Frosting

coconut mini cakes recipe - Coco Cake Land

MINI CAKES ARE CUTE. People freak out over teensy things – like TINY DONUTS! (The only thing that would make that video BETTER is if a teeny tiny mouse on hind legs took a nibble out of it!) While these coconut mini cakes with cream cheese frosting would probably kill a small mouse (death by gluttony, unstoppable goldfish appetite style) they are a perfect size for us humans! Plus they might just make people squeal with CUTE-AND-MINI-OBSESSED delight.

coconut mini cakes recipe - Coco Cake Land

coconut mini cakes - Coco Cake Land

So much fun for a birthday party or potluck – fluffy coconut cake topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting, sprinkles and hot pink edible carnation petals. You can also adorn with large curls of unsweetened coconut!

coconut mini loaf cakes - Coco Cake Land

Coconut Mini Cakes With Creamcheese Frosting

8 mini cakes

For The Cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of unsweetened shredded white coconut
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (not low-fat)
 

For The Frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1½ cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • dash of pink gel food colouring

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (or spritz with vegetable oil) a mini loaf pan. 

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the shredded coconut and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on big speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs and pure vanilla extract to combine.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry mixture in three batches, alternating with the coconut milk and ending with the dry mixture until combined, about 45 seconds. Do not over mix!
  5. Evenly distribute cake batter into the mini loaf pan cavities, filling about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking after 15, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing onto wire racks.
  8. Once cooled, use a serrated bread knife to level the domed cake tops; flip the cakes over (cut side down) and lay them flat on wire racks.

 

Make The Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; with the mixer on low speed, add the icing sugar one half cup at a time and add the pure vanilla extract.
  3. Once the icing sugar is incorporated, (you can also add a drop of pink gel colour at this point!) beat the frosting on high speed until fluffy.
  4. Fit a piping bag with an open circle tip. Fill the piping bag with the frosting and pipe “blobettes” along the tops of the mini cakes.
  5. Adorn with sprinkles, edible flowers and/or coconut curls!

Cakes will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge before serving and let the frosting come back to room temperature before eating.

a bite out of cake - Coco Cake Land

More for coconut lovers (like meeeeee!) : 

My coconut haupia cake recipe… gulp!

These tangy delicious blackberry coconut milk yogurt popsicles!

Coconut donuts with coconut milk glazeeeee

Haupia chocolate cream pie recipe…!

A vegan chocolate ganache pie using coconut milk!

Happy baking and coconutty-eating, my friends! xo Lyndsay 

 

Drip Drop: How To Make A Drip Cake

how to make a drip cake - Coco Cake Land

how to make a drip cake - coco cake land

Oh, the glorious beauty of the drip. My first experience with the drip was years ago, seeing this beautiful dark chocolate raspberry cake by Rosie of Sweetapolita. What makes the drip so appealing? I love its artful streaks, and the drama of the drip – it certainly has a painterly quality, a nod to modern art. And of course, the Australians brought the drip to worldwide attention – Katherine Sabbath (have you read my interview with Kat? It’s a goodie!) and Nikki of Unbirthday Bakery are two of the women who helped kick off the drip cake revolution – I swoon over their insanely colourful cakes, bursting with chocolate shards, meringues, buttercream dollops, sprinkles and fresh flowers in a rainbow of colours.

instax photo of pink drippy birthday cake

pink chocolate ganache drip cake - Coco Cake Land

I’ve made a few drip cakes in the last few years too – notably this birthday beauty, which was my homage to Katherine Sabbath, and then this chocolate peanut butter and jam drip cake! I hadn’t ever coloured white chocolate ganache before – I had tried it once and my ganache completely separated and looked like barf- white chocolate ganache behaves differently than my usual ganache recipe, I have since learned! I made this vanilla bean buttercream pink drippy ganache cake for my wonderful friend Phanie of the Pauhaus! I loooove how she styled the party for her mom’s 60th birthday!

unbirthday inspired drip cake with flowers - coco cake land

raspberry and flowers drip cake - coco cake land

Here are my top tips for how to make a drip cake: 

1. Treat your ganache gently. Use high quality white chocolate such as these white chocolate “wafers” – set 1/2 a cup of them in a small, shallow bowl. In a small sturdy saucepan, heat up 1/4 cup of heavy cream to a low boil, being very careful not to scald it. Carefully pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, making sure the chocolate is covered by the cream – let this sit for ten minutes undisturbed. Then, using a small wire whisk, slowly mix together until a creamy ganache forms. Add a tiny amount of gel food colouring to achieve a coloured ganache – I used Americolor electric pink.

2. You want to cool your ganache down enough to make it “drip-able.” If you used it straight away, it would be too hot and would melt the buttercream, plus it would be way too runny. You want the consistency to be thick enough to drip but not too thick that it’s set and won’t drip at all. I like to power-chill my ganache in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

3. Once your ganache has cooled down, test out the dripping consistency using a small spoon. If it’s still very runny and warm to the touch, chill it for a few more minutes until it’s cooled down.

4. Work on a cake that has been chilled. This way, the buttercream is set and you avoid any chance of a warm ganache melting your buttercream.

5. If you want to have more control over your drips: apply the drips first, one by one, with a small spoon. Using a cake turntable might be useful here – turning the cake as you go around it applying the drips. LESS IS MORE when first applying the drips – start with a tiny amount, say 1/4 teaspoon, and watch how far the drip travels – if you want a longer drip, add a little more ganache to the top of the drip – if you want a shorter drip, use a smaller amount of ganache on your spoon for the next drip.

6. Once you’ve applied each drip with a spoon, then you will want to cover the top of the cake with ganache. Pour the ganache a small amount at a time to the centre of the top of the cake, carefully using an offset spatula to gently coax the ganache to the edges without dripping down.

7. Love the wildcard look of ganache drips falling wherever they may? Simply pour the ganache on the top of a chilled cake, and use your offset spatula to spread it to the edges – and let the drips fall over the sides of the cake! Beautiful chaos!

8. Before you add anything on top of your drippy top, make sure the ganache has set first – you can set it by power-chilling it in the fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Once your ganache is set, you can pipe little blobettes of buttercream on top, add fresh edible flowers (such as garden pansies, pictured!) and fresh fruit. The decorating possibilities are endless!

unbirthday inspired drip cake with flowers - coco cake land

vanilla bean buttercream pink drip cake - coco cake land

Are you on the drip cake train?? My favourite drip cakes:

I love Cakes by Cliff - SO artfully pretty, he is an office worker by day and a cake designer by hobby – he was the first person I saw doing an upside down drip! Clever!

My pal Jenn of Bakedown Cakery – her drips are the most symmetrical I’ve seen and she loves loads of colour, chocolate and florals for toppers.

This dreamy teal and fuchsia jam packed cake by Unbirthday Bakery!

This ice cream cone cake is one of Katherine’s Sabbath’s iconic numbers, I think!

Tessa’s peanut butter caramel popcorn cake!! DRIPS!

Betsy of Nine Cakes made this watercolour-like painterly cake!

This gold drip cake and a mini video that shows you how to make it! Must try.

Have fun dripping it up, cake pals! xo Lyndsay 

Layered Birthday Drippy Cake Recipe!

classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting recipe - coco cake land

pink drippy cake - coco cake land

YAY for cake – and EXTRA BIG FULL CAPS YAY for the release of my sweet pal Tessa’s Layered cake book! Tessa is the creative force and pastry chef behind Style Sweet Ca – and her new cake book is exactly what I imagined it would be! Full of beautifully styled, DROOL-INDUCING photographs and packed with thoughtful and creative flavour combinations – there is an inherent Martha-like trust in which bakers put into Tessa and her recipes, and for good reason. The book feels meticulous, stylish and professional, with plenty of tips, tricks and options for frosting and styling your cakes for maximum wow factor.

pink drippy cake recipe - coco cake land

I admire Tessa so much for not only her cake making mastery and prowess, but also her creativity in coming up with unique flavour combinations (riesling rhubarb crisp cake! blood orange thyme cake! pink peppercorn cherry cake!) and her eye for styling – her cakes always looks modern, polished and screen-licking-delicious! Not only is Tessa immensely talented, but she is a kind, sweet and thoughtful friend! I think this book will really become a cake bible for many – I am so excited to recommend it!

Layered cookbook release

pink drippy cake recipe - coco cake land

To celebrate the release of Layered, I made Tessa’s classic birthday cake – a rich yellow cake with a fine crumb iced with a chocolate fudge frosting. I added pink drippy chocolate ganache, piped vanilla bean buttercream dollops and teensy crispy gold chocolate pearls! I made a three layer cake using three 8 x 2 inch round pans – I know not everyone has three cake pans lying around, so you can certainly bake the cake in two pans, you’ll just need to halve the layers to create four layers. Make sure your cake layers are completely cooled before you halve them! 

slice of birthday cake

pink drippy cake recipe - coco cake land

The key to the drippy cake recipe – apply the drips first with a small spoon, then add additional (still spreadable) ganache to the rest of the top of the cake, using an offset spatula to gently coax the ganache to the edges without dripping down. (Some people apply the drips using a piping bag or squeeze bottle).  I found also that “less is more” when applying the drips. The drip all depends on the consistency of the ganache – you want it to be cooled down, but still drip-able. I found that after making my ganache on the stovetop, a power-chill in the freezer fro 15 minutes was enough to set it to a more slower-dripping consistency. Still, apply the drips by the 1/4 teaspoon for better control over the drips.

pink drippy ganache chocolate cake - coco cake land

YAY Tessa!!!

pink drippy chocolate cake

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting (and Pink Chocolate Ganache Drip!)

12-15 slices

For The Cake

  • Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for the pans (I also used parchment paper cut into rounds)
  • 3 1/4 cups (425 g) cake flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (3 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole milk

For The Fudge Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks / 340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 1/2 cups (690 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream or whole milk
  • 8 ounces (225 g) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For The Ganache

Make The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8×2 inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined.
  5. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack fro 15-20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans – then, tread gently – they are tender!

Make The Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Pour in the cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and mix until smooth.

Make The Ganache

  1. Place the white chocolate in a small shallow bowl (I used a cereal bowl) and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream on medium-high heat to a low boil – be careful not to scald it!
  3. Carefully pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, making sure the cream covers the chocolate.
  4. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Add a tiny drop of pink gel food colouring and very gently whisk the mixture together until combined. You will have a smooth pink white chocolate ganache!
  6. Let the mixture cool and thicken enough to your liking – I power-chilled mine in the freezer for 15 minutes before using.

 

Piping Buttercream Details

  1. Before piping onto the pink-ganache-covered cake top, let the ganache set up by allowing it to sit for about an hour until firmed up.
  2. To add buttercream blobette details, fill a piping bag fitted with a French open star tip (I used Wilton 4B) with the remaining chocolate frosting.
  3. Pipe out pretty little blobettes along the edge of the cake to create a border; top with tiny gold candies or dragee type sprinkles.

 

Layered cookbook release

Want to win your own copy Layered?! Simply leave a comment below with your personal favourite layer cake combination! (Mine is chocolate and peanut butter, yoinks). Contest open to residents of Canada and USA only. Winner will be chosen randomly! CONTEST NOW CLOSED – thanks to all those who entered!

pink drippy chocolate cake

pink drippy chocolate cake

Congrats again dear Tessa!!! Here’s to many more years of cakey friendship! xo Lyndsay 

To Touch A Dolphin

triple scoop ice cream cone in mexico

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

I can’t remember where my fear of LARGE MARINE MAMMALS originated from but certainly reading an excerpt from the book JAWS found on a family friend’s bookshelf as a young child did not help. The cover of the book alone was enough to terrify – a lone woman swimming at the surface in grey green water, a gargantuan great white shark wildly blasting up through the water, teeth gleaming, ready to rip through flesh – ugh. I didn’t even see the movie until I was an adult, but throughout childhood a fear of sharks in swimming pools, pristine lakes, sandy beach shores, even a bathtub. From this fear, another fear emerged – that of an orca whale silently, massively, gliding like a silent predator underneath a boat. A weirdly specific fear.

arches of cabo san lucas

luxury sailing cabo adventures

We just came back from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – a wonderful trip to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. I’d only ever been to Cabo once before, as a 14 year old – my memories of this consisted of being bewildered by all the drunken, screaming adults in Corona bikinis, the overt stench of loose morals and the searing dry heat and going on my first and only horseback ride in jean shorts – my butt still remembers the continually galloping bouncy ass-pain. This time around we stayed at Riu Palace, a palatial all-inclusive resort that was essentially a dry-docked cruiseship – a very large and well kept resort right next to a beautiful beach, with two huge pools, a swim-up bar and an entertainment crew that worked from dawn til dawn.

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

glass bottomed boat cabo san lucas

In Cabo, tourism rules – and they have a very well oiled machine that trots along, pulling up shuttles full of mostly white people with brutal sun burns to enjoy the many splendours of Cabo in the form of excursions – swimming with whale sharks, sunset sailboat cruising, glass bottomed boats, and swimming with dolphins. There was no way in hell I was going to swim with a whale shark, as I would’ve had a panic attack, shit myself then drowned, most likely. I did however, meet a dolphin. My new thing post-breast-cancer is to rise to new challenges. Even if that challenge is getting eaten alive by a captive, mentally insane dolphin. Her name was Belle. She was smiling, although I think her face just looks like that. I felt kind of terrible about supporting her captivity by paying to meet her. We were led out into the hot sun to a docked area, where each dolphin had their own giant ocean water pen. Into the water we went – led like life-jacketed prisoners about to be murdered by dolphins, down a set of stairs onto a slippery with sea-slime ledge, which we shimmied along, stomach-deep in water. We were told to keep our backs against the wall. A man in a wetsuit and wraparound sunglasses holding a plastic cooler tightly to his chest was the dolphin trainer, and with each command performed, Belle the dolphin would be rewarded by an icy fish down the gullet.

crazy kid in mexican wrestling mask

mexican coke bottle

Now it was time to touch the dolphin. We were told to place our hands flat against the surface of the water and Belle would glide along, allowing us to touch her belly, her back and fin. Her skin felt like a wet rubber boot – very durable, like I could wear dolphin skin boots and splash around in rain puddles. Then, we were given the option of touching her tongue. Her mouth gaped wide open, the trainer held his hands against her shining teeth – it was a panting pink muscle and felt like… a rubber boot. Sidenote: I just googled “do people eat dolphins.” I wasn’t sure. But yes, people eat dolphins. Dolphins vs pigs – both incredibly smart, incredibly cute – dolphin bacon?

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

Finally, it was time to shake the dolphin’s fin and get a kiss from the dolphin, or kiss the dolphin on its mouth. Belle came gliding up to me. I put my hand out and she stood balancing out of the water (her core must be INSANE) while I lightly touched her fin. Two friends holding hands for a moment in time. Then, with a hand gesture by me, Belle popped out of the water, facing me, ready for a kiss on the mouth. I stared at her, frozen in fear – for a split second imagining her mauling my face with her Joker-like smile. She didn’t maul my face. I didn’t kiss her on the mouth. She kissed my cheek and she was thrown a fish. Another side note: anchovies were aplenty at the all-inclusive resort buffets! I had deconstructed Caesar salad with almost every meal, romaine lettuce, layers of salty oily anchovy, parmesan, crunchy square croutons and dressing with a squeeze of lime. Admittedly, I wondered what Belle’s whole fish snacks tasted like. Cold cold sashimi to fill her blubbery rubber belly.

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

We truly had a marvellous time in Mexico! And I touched a dolphin and I liked it. Happy birthday Cool Gamma T! Thank you for the fantastic trip! xo Lyndsay 

San Francisco Treat

Miette old fashioned cupcake

Last week my sisters, mom and I went on a GALS ONLY trip to SAN FRANCISCO to celebrate my mom’s birthday! Our family has such a fondness for the city – we grew up visiting there at least once a year, and we had a shared family apartment close to Chinatown. We power-ate and power-walked our way through the city, meeting up with friends along the way. Man it felt great to be alive. Breezy warm San Francisco sun, a trip loaded with such cute shops and snacks. (pictured above - Miette‘s old fashioned cupcake! I finally got to sink my teeth into one of these cartoon beauties! Soft tender chocolate cake with a marshmallow-y blobette of icing and little red candy peanut!)

humphry slocombe trio of ice cream

Man we went wild for the Ferry Building. So much goodness crammed into that beautiful space. SO much good food. At least one or all of us ate at Out The Door pretty much every day. I had the roast pork bahn mi which I scarfed down like a porky pig eating its own brethren. The salad rolls and house made peanut sauce… oh I want it again now! ^__^ Plus, this triple threat of super cute CONES from Humphry Slocombe! Blue bottle coffee, matcha with black and white cookies and “secret breakfast” – bourbon and cornflakes! All so good.

chantal guillon macarons - hayes valley SF

Cutie macarons from Chantal Guillon in Hayes Valley.

Bi Rite Creamery salted caramel cone

Our awesome friend Andrea drove us all around SF so we could stuff our faces! I honestly didn’t think I could ingest another thing but then this salted caramel kid’s cone from Bi-Rite Creamery appeared out of nowhere (ie, I ordered it like the ice cream pig I am) and it was so good. Such a deep, almost burnt caramel flavour!

Mr.Holmes Bakehouse cruffin

Why isn’t this bakeshop called Mister Cruff n Stuff? NAME CHANGE ALERT! Mr.Holmes Bakeshop‘s cruffins were wild and crazy and most importantly DELICIOUS. My excellent food-crazy sis Gyoza Girl Eats dragged my mom here and lined up for these babies at 7:45am – she brought home a box crammed with goodies! Eeks. So good. Honestly there’s something so smurfy cute about the above cruffin – white chocolate rapsberry, filled to the muffiny brim with raspberry cream and topped with that jaunty little marshmallow hat.

pistachio eclair - B Patisserie

We pretty much sprinted into B Patisserie on our last morning in San Francisco while Andrea waited in the car – kouign amann to go, and this heavenly pistachio eclair!

Liho Liho Yacht Club San Francisco

Y’all know how much I love Hawaii. We had such a fun meal at Liho Liho Yacht Club – pictured, tuna poke on nori cracker and beef tongue in poppyseed steam bun! Service was excellent (so friendly) and ambience was chill and energetic! (um, we lined up at 430pm to get in – so maybe that’s the early bird diner experience!)

Liho Liho Yacht Club San Francisco

This Baked Hawaii was the cutest little dessert ever – caramelized pineapple ice cream with torched meringue, reminded me of my mom’s “pineapple dessert” from the 1980s in the best way possible.

Family pic at Petit Crenn

We had the loveliest lunch at Petit Crenn! A minimalist room but brimming with warmth and style – I loved the mismatched silverware and the navy and white striped aprons of the kitchen staff. I’ve been crushing on Dominique Crenn ever since I heard her interviewed on Radio Cherry Bombe – so talented, articulate, calm, funny, meditative – and she loves kids – CUTE! She is also in the current issue of Cherry Bombe!

Smoked trout tartine at Petit Crenn

A perfectly tender omelette, briny from fish stock, and smoked trout tartine – we also had the mushroom tartine, the mussels, little gem salad and the softest pillows of gnocchi. Serious compliments to the kitchen.

Chef Edward Lee at Petit Crenn

FOOD NERD ALERT! Chef Edward Lee was sitting at the counter, enjoying a meal by himself until SOME PUMPKIN FACED EXCITED CHINESE LADY WITH SHORT HAIR interrupted him … Hehe. No, he was very friendly and maybe surprised to be recognized… he is very unassuming and nice.

blogger friends!

Blog pal meet-up! Finally got to meet cool online buddies Michelle and Nanette in real life, as well as reconnect with the wonderful Jenn who was visiting SF as well! We hit up Craftsman and Wolves. I am even more into this place now that I know they are into metal.

craftsman and wolves whipped coffee and yuzu, coconut puffy dessert

My favourite was this whipped coffee, yuzu and crunchy coconut crust PARTY PUFF from Craftsman and Wolves! I honestly can’t resist a puffy looking dessert.

mommy in SF

My wonderful mom, in the lobby of the Palace Hotel, a truly palatial experience indeed! Thank you LS for this wonderful trip!

Teddy and Easter egg

Of course I missed my little munchkin Chinese Gloworm! Here he is all dressed up for Easter. I know, I know. Dressed up for Teddy is a collared shirt and clean Vans. Dude’s a t-shirt guy!!

easter family pic

batter bakery bunny cookie - san francisco

I brought back home these cutie Easter cookies from Batter Bakery for RT and Teddy! Hours later when he was almost asleep in bed for the night, Teddy called for me in tears, told me that he was sad that he had eaten his bunny cookie… I asked if it was yummy and between tears he said “yes”… I explained it’s better to eat it when it’s fresh, and that it was a special treat to enjoy, but I could understand that he was sad that it was gone… Hehe. PARENTHOOD!

easter family pic

Home with my sweet guys, and feeling happy, with energy, and excited for fun projects, sunny picnics and good things in which the future holds. Spring weather, sunshine and flowery trees can do that to a person… Hope you are well, too, my friends! xo Lyndsay