The Toof About Teeth: Tooth, Watermelon + Banana Sugar Cookies and Blog Friends

sugar cookie cuteness - Coco Cake Land   banana face sugar cookie - coco cake land

I’ve got deep sugar cookie piping and decorating fever right now, guys. I blame Vickie, Baked Ideas and Holly Fox for getting me all hyped on the cuteness and also ENDLESS COMEDY POSSIBILITIES that are sugar cookies. Watermelon slices, bananas with faces and a big old goofy TOOTH? Yes. Yes you can.

TOOTH sugar cookie! by Coco Cake Land

cutie collection of cookies - Coco Cake Land

I will compare last year to hiding in a box. It’s hard to want to get out and be social and meet people when you look and feel like a giant cancer turd. So many of my days were spent lying in bed feeling puffy and grey, hating my bald head so hard, bleary-headache-ill-depressed and just wanting the time to pass so I would feel better, so my hair might come back. Just praying for those hours to go by. 2015 (aka 2015: Shitstorm of Buttsanity) ended and 2016 is looking good. I just came back from a hilarious girls trip to Los Angeles, filled with everything fun – major laughs, Eggslut, cocktails, road trip to the desert, impromptu singing, power shopping, snacks galore, feeling the friendship love. Plus, I finally got to meet Kelly of Studio DIY in person! I wanted to make her something special but a cake was out of the question – too wild to try and bring that on the plane! But colourful crazy sugar cookies?? Yes.

sugar cookie cuteness - Coco Cake Land

Meeting blog pals in real life is kind of anxiety-inducing! You feel like you know a person because you get glimpses and snippets of their lives online, you might share a sense of humour or love for colour, you might exchange emoticons often on Instagram – but a face to face meeting? I always feel nervous. Blogger blind date! Also, I still feel out of my element with my short, borderline-Ellen DeGeneres hair – it’s not my hairstyle of choice so it’s not quite “me” as I would choose to represent myself. Plus, online, you can frame your life and personality, curate what people see – I mean I feel like I do a pretty honest job of being myself online, but still – you always worry if your in-person self might disappoint someone who is expecting an explicitly online self, you know? HOWEVER – no need to fret of course – the meet-up was FUN! We met up at Sqirl and Kelly was wearing probably the cutest outfit ever. The sorrel pesto rice bowl and ricotta jam on toast was SO GOOD. And we just sat and talked and laughed it up and it was lovely. I’ve decided it’s my goal to meet up now with all my online buddies who I’ve gotten to know. Real Life Friends! Because what is life without connection and friendship! (and tooth cookies).

sugar cookie cuteness - Coco Cake Land

fruity cutie banana and watermelon sugar cookies - Coco Cake Land

As you can probably tell I’m light to medium obsessed with sugar cookie decorating these days! Sugar cookies are too much fun. And I am also one of the weirdos who likes to eat them, rock-hard royal icing and all. Yum yum. I’m so happy I carried these cookies like a delicate flower cradled like a newborn baby bird through security from Canada on a plane to America. AMERICA! Hehe. Friendship commitment!

fruity cutie banana and watermelon sugar cookies - Coco Cake Land

Plus: Here are some excellent sugar cookies that are cruising around the inter web right now!

The great dog debate and the cutest dog cookies ever by Steph of I Am A Food Blog!

The MEANING OF KAWAII is in these cookies!

Holly’s jewels and gems are BONKBONKS good. “ROYAL ICING GAME ON POINT!”

Art deco sugar cookies by Diana of The Jewels Of New York

Cutest colour palette cookies from Acorn Milk Sweets! 

Looking forward to meeting plenty of new pals in 2016!! Thanks as always for reading! xo Lyndsay 

Spelt Banana Buttermilk Bundt Cake Recipe (with Chocolate Chips)

spelt flour banana buttermilk bundt cake recipe - coco cake land

spelt flour banana buttermilk bundt cake recipe - coco cake land

Bundt first, cake – what a FIST-PUMPING moment of triumph it is when your bundt cake un-moulds itself without sticking to the pan like a bastard from hell! I remember my earliest days of cake making and not “greasing” the pans. Terrible amateur mistake, one that could turn a person off of baking for years. For layer cakes, I always use vegetable oil spray AND parchment paper round and then more spray. Layers pop out like a casual dream. Bundts, on the other hand, are scary. No parchment paper, only you, butter, flour or veggie oil and all those bumps and crevices for cake to lock into and never come out. Moral of the story: GREASE THAT MUTHAH well. Don’t cry over stuck bundt.

spelt flour banana buttermilk bundt cake recipe - coco cake land

Spelt banana buttermilk bundt cake with chocolate chips! A recipe to please children (okay, my child) and to use up over ripened bananas. A recipe to get the fibre flowing. A regular-shitting child is a happy child. Or so the old saying goes. A happy child is a happy parent. Cakes make children happy. “Healthy” cakes make adults happy to feed to children. A “treat with a twist!” And low in sugar, too. Unless you milk-and-sugar-glaze it like I did, but then, it just looks so pretty glazed I couldn’t not glaze. Also: I’ve been trying to use my bundt pans these days. Nothing sadder than an unused Velveteen Rabbit style bundt pan, unloved, untouched. Touch the bundt. Make the bundt. Eat the bundt.

buttermilk chocolate chip banana bundt cake

Spelt Banana Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Chocolate Chips

16 slices

For The Bundt Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup of coconut sugar (or golden brown sugar)
  • 4 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

For The Milk and Sugar Glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

Make The Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray down your 9 inch bundt pan with vegetable oil or butter, and lightly flour with spelt flour.

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the spelt flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, vanilla extract and bananas.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, then the other half of the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.
  5. Gently fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  6. Bake in the centre rack for 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean; start checking for doneness around 45 minutes depending on your oven.
  7. Let cool in pan for 15-20 minutes. Using a small rubber spatula, gently loosen the bundt cake away from the pan without breaking the cake. Place a large wire rack on the top of the cake pan and invert cake, releasing the cake onto the wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cake is cool, use a spoon to add the glaze; decorate with raspberries or banana chips.

Make The Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and milk until a glaze forms, adding additional milk one teaspoon at a time to get your desired consistency. If you find you’ve added to much milk, simply add more icing sugar to thicken.

spelt flour banana buttermilk bundt cake recipe - coco cake land

spelt flour banana buttermilk bundt cake recipe - coco cake land

Happy bundting, friends! xo Lyndsay 

Donuts, Cupcakes and Cherry Bombe Magazine

donuts, cupcakes + feminism - Coco Cake Land

donuts, cupcakes + feminism - Coco Cake Land

Hands up if you dislike the word “blogger.” When you say you’re a blogger as your profession, there’s inside-eye-rolls and thoughts of “that’s not a real job.” Even I can’t take it seriously in my mind and I’ve been blogging since 2008. Of course I used to have a cake business attached to it, but now it’s just me, my camera and my computer, typing away til my eyes are bleary. It’s certainly not a 9-5 job – and I suppose it falls in line with the long list of random jobs I’ve had in my life, starting from my first job making DECORATIVE FRUIT BASKETS in the moldy freezing-cold basement of a long-gone family grocery store in Vancouver. I’d “shop” for the fruit first, rolling a grocery cart through the fresh produce aisles, piling the cart high with goods. Then, the fruit gets piled in a Jenga-like fashion to create a mound, all nestled in made-in-China brightly coloured weaved baskets, wrapped in plastic wrap and topped with a sticker-peel, cheap shiny bow. At least as a fruit-basket-maker you could count on a bi-weekly paycheque – not so much with blogging!

donuts, cupcakes + Cherry Bombe magazine - Coco Cake Land

donuts, cupcakes + feminism - Coco Cake Land

However… I got this nice email recently: “Your cake blog has been one of my absolute favorites since I found it a few years back; you are such an inspiration to me aesthetically as well as with how you live your life and how super real you are in a sea of plastic blogs.” Sometimes you just sit in your dark little room editing your photos in your pyjamas with a side plate of snacks and a milky hot tea and you really have no idea if people are reading, or caring whatsoever at what you’re putting out there. I mean, yes there’s google analytics. But without those emails, without comments from readers – it could all just be flash-in-the-pan “I found you on Pinterest and I’m gonna rip on your cake idea and I have no idea who you are and I don’t carrrreeeeee” visits. So when you get a genuine response from what you put out in the world, it truly means a lot.

donuts, cupcakes + Cherry Bombe magazine - Coco Cake Land  

You can imagine my stokage level when Kerry of Cherry Bombe sent me an email in the fall asking me if she could interview me for their upcoming issue. Stokage level: HIGH. (I’ve been a fan of Cherry Bombe magazine since before I even read an issue – just the CONCEPT of the mag – it brings together all of my favourite things: food, beautiful photography and design, and inspiring women.) Back in October when I posted my Breast Cancer Cakes, I really didn’t have any idea how people might respond. To me, it combined the heartache of last year’s cancer diagnosis and treatment with a blast of cakey inspiration; my blog had become about cancer and cakes, so why not literally create a cancer and cakes project? The post ended up reaching a lot of people, a lot of women. Cancer patients, friends, family, fans. Even my own oncologist! And it opened a door to an interview with Cherry Bombe!

Cherry Bombe magazine - Coco Cake Land interview

Chinese Fugazi Mom! Cool as a pickle!

Cherry Bombe magazine - Coco Cake Land interview

Reality Bites – there could be no better article title. Because I saw this movie many many times in my late teens (and no, sadly it doesn’t hold up – dialogue, OUCH!) and I know the soundtrack by heart and maybe even christened my place the Maxi Pad. Plus, I call my current growing-in-post-chemo-pixie-cut-by-accident the “Chinese Winona Ryder.” The universe is pulling some magic.

donuts, cupcakes + feminism - Coco Cake Land

The Cherry Bombe vibe is one that feels based in community, building women up, being inspired by fellow women. It’s mature, innately feminist – it feels non-milennial – no race to the top, no image-card-based website that endlessly updates in a fervour of faster, now, immediate, click-bait, drowned in hashtags – Cherry Bombe doesn’t even share content on their website – readers must wait patiently for the next issue to come out, to savour those pretty, nicely-weighted pages, to pore over the issue like I would pore over the latest Sassy magazine as a teen.

donuts, cupcakes + feminism - Coco Cake Land

I think I’m beginning to finally feel comfortable with writing whatever I like on my blog. If I want to review Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I guess I will. If I want to talk about infertility, I will. If I simply want to post a super cute cake, that is what I shall do.

donuts, cupcakes + feminism - Coco Cake Land

And now, I’m going to leave you with this: The Runaways performing Cherry Bomb live in Japan. Because this is the song that runs through my head every time I see the magazine. I’m seriously thrilled to be a part of the Cherry Bombe community. xo Lyndsay The Blogger

Mom’s Pink Birthday Cake + Star Wars??

pink party cake with sprinkles - coco cake land   pink party cake with sprinkles - coco cake land

We all gathered for Chinese food for my mom’s 71st birthday last week at New Town Bakery, where the bau sits nestled and warm in huge steamers, the staff run around in bright orange shirts (that matches the decor) and the jook runs freely, piping hot. You can peek into the kitchen to see 6-8 Chinese cooks in white paper hats standing at stations, the clang of giant utensils against woks mixed with the hot steam of frying in the air.

I brought this cute and frilly pink cake to New Town and we sang happy birthday amongst the cluttered dishes and balled up soiled napkins and general chaos of having six kids under 7 out for dinner. We sang Happy Birthday loudly and proudly, the server brought a set of mismatched plates from the 80s and a giant serrated knife for the cake.

pink party cake with sprinkles - coco cake land

A few days later, my husband and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary on January 13th, also marking 15 years together as a couple. WHAT!? Yes, our relationship is like a pimply teen, stretching its gangly legs towards adulthood. A decade and a half and its flown by like changing channels, these are the days of our lives. Naturally, we went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens to celebrate.

my kid's mini dinosaurs and a pink party cake - coco cake land

Here are my thoughts, which I’ve decided to randomly share like a teen YouTuber doing a reaction video, on my cake blog. STAR WARS SPOILER ALERT, nerds! Back away! SPOILER ALERT!

Rey. Damn, she is awesome. Whip-smart, powerful, strong – the one scene in the whole movie that made me choke up is when she hears the young child crying, and she follows the voice down the stairs and discovers it’s her own memory of being abandoned as a young girl. Since then, she’s fended for herself in the dry desert landscape of Jakku, spending full hard-labour days scavenging metal and parts from old ships to trade for meal portions. I love the look of that space-future vacuum-packed food portion she receives, and you feel her hunger, her thirst. PLEASE PLEASE don’t have her captured and chained up in a Jabba the Hutt-induced slutty slave costume in future movies. PLEASE JUST LET HER BE COOL and feminist and not sexualize her.

Man, Star Wars has a lot of sadness. Dead parents, abandoned children, children taken from families to be trained to kill as storm troopers. I asked Rich afterward, how are storm troopers not totally depressed? What do they have to live for, why do they even get up every morning? Or do they live out of fear? Do they have any teensy glimpses of happiness at all? I guess they’re basically suicide bombers, their only reason to be is to kill. In the movie, they do get blasted and pegged off like swatting flies and their lives are shown to be meaningless. I hate how easily and non-chalantly people (even the bad guys) are killed in movies.

Finn. Love it. A deserter, and he steps up to be a rad character. Also, he’s not white. The whole movie is racially diverse (and creature-diverse!) and gender-diverse, everyone just chit-chatting away with each other and flying X-wing fighters and dinking around behind computer screens – gals, guys everyone competent. From a very base level approach, if I were a young girl or boy watching this movie, it would appear to me that anyone and everyone can do anything – the women can annihilate, fly planes, slide down giant sand hills, kick serious storm trooper ass and it’s natural and normal for either gender. Of course Han Solo has some incredulousness towards Rey’s abilities but it’s sort of like new order trumps old order – in this Star Wars, it’s the white gal, the black guy and the giant furry oversized bear-dog that cruises off into the galaxy as the heroes.

I liked how the dialogue wasn’t boringly serious but had some real zingers. Overall the movie had a campy feel, almost veering on Spaceballs – like when Kylo Ren loses his MIND after Rey escapes and is slashing the place up with his glowing red man-stick and it shows the hallway with two storm troopers about to come into the room and then realizing Kylo Ren’s having a spazz attack and being like – Oh hell no, and backing away…

Leia. Sadly, General Organa kind of sucked. I didn’t feel her General-ness, and I found Carrie Fisher’s acting to be stiff as a board; her acting was so glaringly bad against Harrison Ford’s effortless Han Solo. Yes, older woman can be powerful (She’s a General!), sexy (Han’s love interest), strong (General!), motherly (aching for the loss of her son, also motherly to Rey). I was getting a community amateur theatre vibe from her bad acting and to me it stuck out like a sore thumb.

Han Solo. SPOILER ALERT, nerds! I’m still in shock! Nooooo! Why kill off the coolest vintage character? Every time he’s on the screen, there’s some jazzy funny dialogue or he’s goofing with his main squeeze Chewie or just being altogether charismatic. Now who is going to stop horrible Kylo Ren? Wood board Leia?? Kylo Ren is beyond a jerk to me now! I felt some empathy for him when he removed his helmet for Rey. But not now. Argh. Also, as my friend Steph and I noted: THE BRIDGE. DON’T GET ON THAT CRAZY ASS SKINNY BRIDGE WITH THE 1000 FOOT DROP AND NO SIDE RAILINGS.

Chewbacca. Guy can do a lot with howling. I felt like he should’ve been a LOT more sad and in deeper pain after Han. Same with Leia!! The love of your life is gone! One forlorn look off in the distance is not good enough!

Poe Dameron. Dude’s voice is like smooth chocolate by a warm fireplace spread with a bearskin rug. I feel like he was lit BEAUTIFULLY like a matinee idol in those first scenes! I clapped when his character came back. Obviously I knew he couldn’t be dead yet but still, the clap came. Side note: I’ve come across some very interesting fan art featuring Poe and Finn smooching and more. LOVE IT!

BB-8. Thank GOD for this cute little guy! The round and chubby little droid that could provides some cuteness relief from all the terror. He’s the loyal dog.

C-3PO. As annoying as ever! I’ve never liked him. He’s the Big Bird of Star Wars! His only redeeming quality is that he’s shiny gold in colour.

The orange wrinkly fish faced lady Maz Kanata. I get that she’s supposed to be the wise black reggae free-bird lady, a motherly figure, a strong female presence to encourage and guide Rey. Yoda-ish? Her and Yoda could get married and have babies, some green, some orange.

Captain Phasma. A terribly boring character with a wickedly cool outfit, and a bummer that she is relegated to a trash compactor joke…

The big freaky hologram Tales From The Crypt guy. Ugh, just ugh. Pure evil! Andy Serkis has certainly pigeon-holed himself as far as roles. Gollum gone giant and WAY more evil.

The entire set design and production was so amazing, so 80s, so perfectly in line with the original Star Wars movies. All I remember about The Phantom Menace etc was the booooring long over-explanatory dialogue and the lack of good story. The Force Awakens was just simply a FUN movie with a good old fashioned story with characters you can glomp onto and invest in and fall in love with. I know, I know – it’s also a bloated capitalist BILLION DOLLAR MARKETING POT BELLIED PIG MACHINE and it’s disturbing how omnipresent it has become in our culture, product and merchandising ram-jammed down our throats. But if you go into it with open arms, a child’s heart and the hope that you might simply be entertained, you certainly will be.

pink party cake with sprinkles - coco cake land

And back to my beloved mom… She babysat Teddy for us so Rich and I could sneak off for a night of romance a.k.a. go to Metrotown to see the new Star Wars in 3-D. I was even too full to get popcorn. Every year on our anniversary, I like to bring out our wedding photo albums and guest book, and look through the stack of photo booth pictures Rich and I have taken through the years – from our first photo strip, as smooth baby-faced early 20-somethings, through a range of haircuts, styles, facial hair, glasses, no glasses, wrinkles, grey hairs  and present day ones with the addition of Teddy. I had read our guest book earlier in the day and noticed that my mom had never signed our wedding guest book! So she signed it when we were at the movies, and here’s the last line:

“Love you both! Happy happy anniversary, Love Mom!

PS: May the force be with you!”

Cheers To Life: Maui + 1 Year Since Cancer Diagnosis

shave ice maui

One year ago I was standing in the kitchen, probably dinking around on my Instagram, maybe power-snacking on some leftover Christmas chocolate, when I got the phone call from my family doctor.

The same wonderful doctor who delivered Teddy – I can still hear her counting down from 10 when it was time to push the head out during labour – like a seasoned coach – confident, strong, guiding. Those countdowns from 10 – I could do that! I could push for ten seconds! Then all of a sudden, a release – my son’s head came through in a rush of fluids, adrenaline pouring through my system, time stood still and all of the pain and contractions screeched to a halt. My baby was plonked onto my chest, in a sea of jubilation. “His name is Teddy!” I said. 

cloudy tropical day - maui

On the phone this time, her voice was quiet, hushed, but firm. “Lyndsay, we got your biopsy results back.” She couldn’t quite say it. “It’s C.”

Cancer. She went on to say she had already made various appointments for me to get everything rolling, and fast. An appointment with a surgeon in a few days and other scans and tests were organized and ordered. My sisters and I were deep into planning mode for my mom’s 70th birthday. I remember hosting 60+ women at my house for high tea, everyone so happy and celebratory, and me trying to stay afloat with this bizarre, horrible new information. Just gotta get through. A few times I had to hide in the bathroom and cry.

tropical flowers in maui

It’s been the weirdest year. In January I was diagnosed, in a blur of shock and fear. I started IVF treatment to try and preserve embryos before chemo and it failed, and I was devastated. In February, we went to Disneyland, breast cancer diagnosis and all, as the trip had been planned for half a year. When I got home, I had surgery for partial removal of my right breast. In March, my beloved grandmother passed away. The same month, we found out my husband had gotten into his first choice residency program here in Vancouver. We decided to try one more round of IVF to see if we could get any embryos to freeze, and we ended up with three. In April I started chemo. In May, my husband graduated from medical school. June and July was more chemo, then in August a break from treatment – camping, and my son Teddy’s 3rd birthday. My hair started to duck-fuzz back to life. In September I did 20 rounds of radiation. In October I wrote this breast cancer post about my treatment. Then I finished out the year continuing my Herceptin treatments – 6 more to go!

And finally in December: a FUCKING TRIP TO MAUI! YES. We celebrated. We celebrated being alive, hard. In the most mellow way possible. Meaning, we lazed around in the tropical golden sun and soaked it up. Warm waves, so many turtle sightings it was like visiting old friends, delicious food and splashing in the pool.

giant bougainvillea flowers, maui

Hair today, hair tomorrow! The little hairdo that could. I feel like the Chinese 1990s Winona Ryder and I am so so so happy to have a hairdo. “WILL BRAKE FOR GIANT BOUGAINVILLEA BUSH”

hawaiian sun pass-o-guava nectar juice

Ice cold calorie-laden sugar-loaded pass-o-guava-nectar but I don’t caaaaaaare (GLUG GLUG GLUG)

cloudy hot day in maui

Hazy cloudy pool day.

wailea, maui

Party dog on the beach! Nap? Fuggedabout it. Run run run instead.

kinaole food truck maui

We ate from this Kinaole Grill Food Truck four times. Garlic shrimp, mahi mahi, guava pulled pork, coconut shrimp all on beds of soft seafood fragrant rice, with wild greens topped with feta and macadamia nuts. It’s parked one block from the beach, so we’d go at 5pm and eat it on a beach blanket for Maui sunset.

wailea, maui sunset swim

Sunset swim.

maui-5

Sweetness.

sunny beach in wailea, maui

Beach exploring in Wailea.

giant bougainvillea flowers, maui

More photos in front of giant bush!

swimming pool splash

Crazy 3 year old splash.

sweet maui style

Maui style – U Can’t Touch This

maui sunset, wailea

My not so little baby.

sunglasses in maui

Me feeling the deep Maui vibes. (with hair! Almost 6 months of hair growth post-chemo.)

Time will pass. It keeps rolling. Slippin’ into the future, and there’s nothing we can do. Through good times, and bad. Sickness and health! For as long as we all shall live. I started the year on fear. I ended it with a snowy hug, at our mountain cabin, crunching through forest in the dark on snowshoes with my husband, peace and quiet abound, overwhelmed with all that has transpired this past year but feeling happy, content, strong, full of love. Ready for good things. Here’s hoping 2016 is a sweet one.

Aloha, life! xo Lyndsay 

Chocolate Nutella Cake + 2016 + Yahoo Food’s Blogger Of The Year!!!

nutella chocolate ferrero richer cake - coco cake land

2016, the year we start teleporting through magic screens and Jetson around the skies on interplanetary highways and robots pretty much rule the earth. 2016, the year in which life continues to resume. Flashback to last week, Christmas holidays: Christmas casual at my mother-in-law’s place in Victoria for the holidays, her place is so cozy and comfortable you could melt into those reclining chairs and stay a lifetime. I was wearing jogging pants and a cozy sweatshirt, letting it loose in no bra and just finished a huge plate of Thai food takeout while watching TV. Classy times. Thumb-scrolled over to Facebook and clicked on my Coco Cake Land page. Notification: “Yahoo Food has tagged you in a post, 8 hours ago.” What’s this, I thought? Perhaps they shared my unicorn ginge house…

A click, then a yelp/gasp/confusion: YAHOO FOOD’S BLOGGER OF THE YEAR: LYNDSAY SUNG OF COCO CAKE LAND stared at me in the face. What in the jogging pants Thai food hell?????

chocolate nutella ferrero richer cake - coco cake land

Yep, that’s right. We food bloggers are real people. Jogging pants wearing, food-eating people. Some of us have one and a half boobs. But seriously, to be recognized like that… after this past year that has been crammed full of cancer and loss. I was so surprised, but so happy. And I felt inspired to keep blogging. So thank you, Yahoo Food, for making me feel proud of my posts this past year and for giving my mother the chance to mass-email everyone she knows with the link. I am pretty stoked to be a part of an incredible community of sweet bloggers, many whom I can call my friends. Pretty pretty neat, and can I just say once again with gratitude and excitement – “Ya-muthah-effing-hoooooooo!!!!” I’m glass-half-fulling 2016.

chocolate nutella cake - coco cake land

And this chocolate nutella cake! Yes, this one – I made it for my husband for his birthday in December. He loves chocolate hazelnut so I crammed as much choco-haze goodness into this as I could. The filling is straight Nutella, with chocolate ganache drip and everyone’s favourite nutty party balls (Ferrero Rocher) on top.

chocolate hazelnut nutella cake - coco cake land

I love you RT! Thank you for looking after me this past year, and for being the coolest dad to our Teddy. And to my wonderful readers and friends – Happy 2016! Thank you for being here and I truly wish you all the best this year! xo Lyndsay 

Happy Birthday Dad! Mint Malt Ball Chocolate Buttercream Drippy Cake

chocolate drippy cake with mint malt balls

Is everyone eating kale already? Or are we still cool to push “holiday weight gain 2015″ to a deeper level?? How about we think about chocolate a little with this mint malt ball topped chocolate buttercream drippy cake? I made this jumbotron chocolate beast for my wonderful dad’s birthday.

chocolate drippy cake with mint malt balls

Let me give you a taste of the magic that is my dad: Gerry Sung. He used to work in the fruit and vegetable wholesale business until he retired. He loves Hawaii so much his email signature is “Aloha.” He wears Hawaiian shirts all year round, and has a bulging collection of vintage Hawaiian shirts, many that were his own father’s. He looks tough and possibly Asian-gangster-like sometimes but he is the most generous and big-hearted person, with a hilarious sense of humour. He liked to terrify my sisters and I’s potential boyfriends when we were in high school. After retiring, he volunteered doing mountain safety patrol on the local ski hill for over a decade until he collapsed one morning on the mountain, only to be flown via helicopter to Vancouver hospital and straight into open heart surgery for a tear in his aorta. He survived this surgery, which had a 20% survival rate. He is a rock. A strong, broad-shouldered, forever-moustached Chinese rock. He is an encyclopedia of cars and loves Porsches in particular. He loves spam musubi, all meat, every dessert, all treats, and my cakes, especially. He laughs at all my jokes, and I laugh at his. He is an amazing grandpa, and dad. He “likes” every one of my posts on my Instagram, and turtle thumb-types emails to me from his iPhone, like this recent one:  “Just wanted to tell you how much I love you and I am so happy you are such a toughie battler and are doing well. Love dad. Aloha”

chocolate drippy cake with mint malt balls by coco cake land

Yeah. Gerry Sung rules the school. PS – here’s how the cake looked after my son wanted to help decorate! Love you so much, dad!!! xo Lyndsay 

Unicorn Gingerbread House!

unicorn party house - gingerbread! - coco cake land

Party like a unicorn! What would a unicorn party look like? Rainbow milkshakes, piles of perfect pastel meringues, a BONKERS UNICORN CAKE in its unicorn likeness … because everyone likes to eat something that looks like themselves, it’s fun, it’s frolicky, it’s cannibal-y … Yep. Today we have a casual times gingerbread A-frame house. I’ve always loved an A-frame house. So snowy-Germanic-romantic, so ski-lodgey good. So here goes. Ginge house. Let’s do it. I used this Martha Stewart gingerbread house recipe, except I omitted the cloves (I loathe cloves! Doesn’t that sound like someone who has a lisp saying I love clothes?) and black pepper. The recipe will make enough for 3 of these A-framers, whose sides are 5 inches tall. You can find templates for the A-frame house here! Make your dough, chill it for at least an hour, roll it out and use a sharp knife to cut out your house. Don’t forget to bake your unicorn cookie, or any other cut-out cookie extras you want to help adorn your house! Bake and let cool completely. Make a batch of royal icing for your house “glue.”

gingerbread house tips - coco cake land

Hot Tip #1: Ice your designs on your house BEFORE you assemble. You’ll have more control working on your designs while they’re flat. Use a very small open circle tip to pipe dots and lines!

gingerbread house tips - coco cake land

Hot Tip #2: Frost some royal icing glue all up on a cake board and stick down your A frame sides. You MUST hold them in place for at least 5 minutes or so until the icing starts to set; wait at least 30 minutes until totally dry before adding the rectangular sides.

gingerbread house tips - coco cake land

Add the sides with a delightful amount of royal icing adhesive! The beautiful part about royal icing – it LOOKS LIKE SNOW which makes your house extra darling, extra Wintery and snowy cute.

gingerbread house tips - coco cake land

Hot Tip #3: If, like me, even though you made your house from a template, the roof isn’t exactly perfect, use some of those extra cookies you baked off to add a cool-guy special solar-paneled roof. Hehe.

gingerbread house tips - coco cake land

Hot Tip #4: Swap out your piping tip for a mini open star tip for that ruffly snowy look!

gingerbread house tips - coco cake land

Swag up the sides. Swag it. Practice this on a piece of parchment paper first if you want, or just go for it! Casual gingerbread house times!

icing a unicorn cookie - coco cake land

Hot Tip #5: Outline your unicorn with the royal icing fitted with the small open circle tip; make a small bowl of “flood” icing by adding a few drops of water to the icing until the icing is of flooding consistency. If you overdid it with the water, simply add more icing sugar to thicken it up a bit. I applied the flood icing with a spoon and then used a wooden skewer to gently coax the icing out to the edges.

unicorn gingerbread house - coco cake land

Candy decorating time!

unicorn gingerbread house - coco cake land

Let your iced white unicorn completely dry. Then, using edible markers, add a face, stripes for the horn and sweet flowing hair. Or, you can pipe all of that on. My unicorn sort of looks like a polar bear with a stick on its forehead and a purple wig. I am okay with this.

unicorn gingerbread house - coco cake land

Hot Tip #6: Add a GUMMY ICE CREAM CONE FENCE and your unicorn party house is complete!

unicorn gingerbread house - coco cake land

Happy unicorn gingerbread house making, my friends! PS SHOW ME YOUR GINGERBREAD~ ! Leave me a link in the comments! I am seriously excited about ginge houses this year.

unicorn party house - gingerbread! - coco cake land

I’m also DEEP into Buche de Noel! I soooo wanted to try and make one this year but time is dwindling and I don’t think I’ll be able to. (BUT LOOK AT KELLY’S AMAZING TIE DYE YULE LOG CAKE!) One day, Buche. One frigging day. xo Lyndsay