My baking pal Lauren Ko busted out a pretty spectacular pie book this past fall – Pieometry! Her pie designs are so precise, geometric and modern, and the recipes are total bangers – like cardamom coffee cream tart, or pumpkin black sesame pie, or basil lemon! Or, go the savoury route – tomatillo short rib pie, or a caramelized onion and potato tart. You getting hungry yet? Not only is the cookbook loaded with incredible recipes, step by step photos and pie basics, it is also beautiful to look at – you’ll be proud to have this one on your coffee table!
My wonderful mom turned 76 this month. I was hoping to have her over for her favourite fancy pizza, but alas, gathering restrictions were renewed again. However, pitch and putt golf is currently allowed – so we masked up and got in some winter casual golf instead! The THWOCK of a golf club clocking a golf ball into the air sure is a satisfying sound, hehe. It was a muddy and chilly affair, but there was no one else on the golf course and we laughed and sloshed our way through nine holes and had a blast. Rich described my golf look as “longshore fisherman” but I prefer “longshore fisher person”.
I made my mom this bright and cheery Pieometry lemon tart – as high tea lemon tarts are one of her favourite treats! It was very simple to make – I followed Lauren’s instructions for her cookie shortbread crust, made the lemon curd filling on the stovetop, filled the crust with the curd, baked it again for a few minutes to set. While the tart was setting, I whipped up some meringue using the leftover egg whites from the curd, piped it onto the cooled tart and then brought out the old handheld kitchen blowtorch to toast it up. Finished it with fresh raspberries for pops of colour! The recipe in Pieometry is called “Life of the Tarty” and is a lemon basil curd, but I omitted the basil this time around!
Lemon Meringue Tart
For The Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup (142 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (57 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
For The Lemon Curd
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup (237 milliliters) fresh lemon juice, from about 8 lemons
- 4 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For The Meringue
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup of sugar
- pinch of salt
Make The Crust
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture by smushing the cubes with your fingers, working until a homogenous dough forms. The resulting dough should be smooth and supple.
- Press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, using your palm to flatten it into an even layer. Place the tart on a baking sheet to catch any butter drips that occur during baking and to provide stability as you transfer the tart shell in and out of the oven.
- Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.
Make The Lemon Curd
- Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF.
- Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and massage together, making sugar very fragrant.
- Pour the sugar into a 2-quart saucepan. Add the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks and salt and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat so mixture is warmed through. Add the butter gradually and stir until all the butter has melted. Continue cooking over medium heat until mixture is thick enough to coat a spatula, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the corners of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and strain the curd through a fine-mesh-sieve.
- Keep the baked tart crust in the tart pan on its baking sheet. Pour the curd into the tart crust and smooth the surface using an offset spatula.
- Bake the tart for 5 to 10 minutes, just to set the filling. The edges should be solid while the center retains the slightest of jiggles.
- Cool completely before adding meringue.
Make The Meringue
- Set the metal bowl of your stand mixer fitted on top of a small sauce pan filled a quarter full with water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.
- Place on stovetop and heat the water to a gentle boil on medium heat.
- Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking to combine.
- Continue to heat the egg white mixture until a digital thermometer inserted into mixture reads 160ºF.
- Carefully remove the metal bowl from the saucepan and place into stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whisk the mixture on low speed for one minute until frothy. Add a pinch of salt.
- Increase the speed to medium-high speed and whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip with the meringue.
Assemble The Tart
- Pipe drop stars or a decorative border on top of the cooled lemon curd tart. You can fill the entire tart or leave some bright yellow tart visible.
- Using a handheld kitchen blowtorch, toast the meringue until lightly browned. You may also broil it in the oven, but watch it like a hawk – 30-60 seconds, or until toasted brown.
- Finish the tart with fresh raspberries if desired.
- Extra meringue can be piped onto a parchment covered baking sheet and baked for one hour at 200º until crispy and dry.
Keep the tart refrigerated until serving! We made parfaits with the leftover lemon curd, baked meringue and raspberries, with scoops of frozen yogurt. Never trash your leftover fillings, frostings and accoutrements! Haha. If you want to pick up a copy of Pieometry, order it through your local indie bookstore – they could definitely use the support during these Covid times. And… Happy birthday, Mom! Glad you could have a fun day despite the ding dong pandemic. xo Lyndsay
LOG JAM 2020! I conquered my Christmas 2020 baking goal, which was to make a Bûche de Noël aka LOG JAM aka Yule Log Cake. Life felt pretty jammed there for awhile, didn’t it. Now, with the vaccine on the horizon, things feel a little more hopeful for 2021 – the thought of hugs, gatherings, dinner and cocktails out with friends, DOING STUFF TOGETHER again – could it be possible! I hope and pray for a brighter new year, and health and happiness for all.
There is something very deep 1980s about LOG JAM. Maybe it reminds me of the Christmases of my childhood – a dusting of icing sugar, lil shroom zoomie mushroom buddies, candied rosemary and tart cranberries… I imagine it on a dessert table at my childhood home on a vintage silver platter, next to a cut crystal dish filled with my mom’s chocolate almond brittle, foil-wrapped chocolate bells in red and green, my Poh-poh’s Christmas pudding topped with brandy sauce and whipped cream – being without family this year for Christmas is making me feel extra nostalgic.
Teddy and I have been watching The Great Canadian Baking Show together – it’s our new little ritual. When the opening credits pop up, it’s my job to remark “OOOH, NANAIMO BARS!!” and we share a nerdy little chuckle. It’s peaked his interest in baking, and it’s renewed mine, too – which is a nice feeling after a year of anxiety and squashing of creative juices. Bûche de Noël was one of the challenges in the first season and it got me stoked to finally try making one!
I read so many recipes and tutorials on how to make a yule log cake – I was going to do a chocolate one, but at the last minute (uh, this morning) I decided I would try my friend Sprinkle Bakes’ recipe for pumpkin sponge cake! Check out her bonkers birch bark yule log cake – she is one of my favourite creatives in the baking community, her work is always so precise yet with a vintage/cartoony feel which I love. I filled the cake with a cream cheese whipped cream, and the exterior log is frosted with a simple Nutella chocolate buttercream.
I had originally made some little tiny toadstool mushroom sugar cookies for my Bûche de Noël project – but when I iced them, they looked awful, so I switched gears to the classic meringue mushroom. I really love the toadstool mushroom look, so I tinted half of the meringue red for the mushroom caps! I added a little dusting of icing sugar (because, snow.) I did a truly garbage job of putting the caps onto the stems however – I tried melting white chocolate to use as my glue, but it clumped up – so I used a chopstick to kinda smear some of it onto the underside of the cap, then literally JAMMED (log jammed?) the stem up into the cap. I do not recommend my method as it was sketchy as heck, but you could be smart and melt chocolate properly, then you won’t have that problem! :P
Sprinkle Bakes details how to roll your sponge cake – folks, it’s easier than you think! It was my first time making a roulade and I was sweatin’. But, as long as your cake recipe is spongey and pliable, and you roll the cake into its shape while it’s still warm, you’ll be A-ok! Happy end of 2020, world. LOG JAMMED! May 2021 shine bright with hope! xo Lyndsay
How’s your year going? Yeah. I hear ya. I don’t think I’ve been the only one in a braindead, uncreative funk. What, with a pandemic to worry about and all. BUT – December 2020! It’s frigging Christmas again! So here we are, keeping to ourselves, with provincial health protocols banning social gatherings of any kind, inside or outside – and we’ve got gingerbread houses to bake, build and decorate. It was a weekend long project – but what else is there to do!? It’s kind of the best time to upgrade your ginge-b making skills!
I’ve been wanting to try the whole “melted Jolly Rancher candies as stained glass windows” effect for years. Last year I bought the candies, made the dough … but was so pooped out by the holiday season the dang houses never got made, let alone the cool candy windows. The Jolly Ranchers ended up being little power pellets on our long, solitary daily walks through the Spring Covid months. Teddy’s tongue would be blue or green or purple, but at least we got to see cherry blossoms and get fresh air, hehe.
Is that a gingerbread house door with a gumdrop doorknob just lying there strewn in some sugary snow? It sure is. BUT LOOK AT THOSE WINDOWS! It’s as simple as can be – before you bake your house, punch out windows in your gingerbread house panels. After you’ve done your initial baking of your gingerbread house pieces, drop a few candies into each window hole and bake at 375 degrees for around three to six minutes – the candy melts, fills the hole and … WINDOW PARTY! Let cool completely before assembling your house.
Now onto Rich’s amazing little Hospital on Fire gingerbread house! He did a LOT of windows, which I recommend, because the effect is shiny and cool. (Did I mention Jolly Rancher windows? Haha). One tip: make sure you have a big enough entrance way (door, archway) somewhere on your house to easily insert those little battery powered flickering tealight candles. Or, jam a bunch of fairy lights into the gingerbread house holes like I did for these photos.
Okay, on to Teddy’s ADORABLE gingerbread house! He had the idea to make a sugar moat around the house with gummy fish floating in the water (leftover Halloween candy, yay!). We turned to the internet to teach us how to turn regular old white sugar blue – super duper easy. Dump a few cups of white sugar into a zip top plastic bag. Squeeze a drop or two of blue gel food colouring into the bag, seal it up – then gently knead the colouring into the sugar. Took about two minutes to turn blue.
We have a very exciting plan for these houses. We are going to… eat them. Throw on a Christmas movie, each sit with our houses in our laps… chomp chomp. I’m an idiot for not adding any caramel M&M’s or much candy to my house. No, I won’t eat my plastic horse. I asked Teddy how many days it would take him to eat his house. He said three. I don’t think I’ll be able to get through too much of mine, but – CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE.
I got the delightful gingerbread recipe AND templates from my awesome friend Erin Gardner from her book Procrastibaking! The book is absolutely jammed with so many delicious easy recipes, and it’s kinda the perfect book to bake through during these stay-at-home-and-gain-pandemic-weight times. She loves crunchy sweet and salty peanutty caramelly things like me, and I’ve dog-eared the whole darn book. Isn’t her gingerbread house ADORABLE!? Honestly, staring at my ginge house is bringing me some quiet joy. Like, yesterday I just tripped out on the house, staring at it dreamily, imagining I was in some Bavarian Christmas Fantasy on a brisk but pleasant evening.
I’m not sure if I’ll get around to posting anything else before 2020 is over but my other Christmas plan is to make a pretty rippin’ Buche De Noël – found this recipe that looks like a blast! If I happen to photograph my buche I’ll post it. Otherwise, I am wishing you all health, happiness and peace through this holiday season, and into 2021. xo Lyndsay
You’re confused, I know. A vegan fried chicken recipe on a cake blog?? Yep. I’ve been experimenting with vegan cooking, eating and baking over the last several years and this vegan fried chicken recipe blew my fragile little mind and I felt the need to share. Especially since everyone loves a crappily lit iPhone photo! Crispy, salty, flavourful, juicy?? How could tofu do this. HOW. Well, the fine folks at Sweet Simple Vegan came up with it, and the “chickeny” texture of the actual tofu comes from one easy hack – freezing the tofu, TWICE, before using. The tofu freezing method is a trick they learned from Mary’s Test Kitchen and it is so … cool, hehe.
The great thing about this recipe is you can use whateverrrr spice mix situation you want. Karaage vibes? Garlic, ginger, sugar, soy, salt and pepper. KFC vibes? Follow Sweet Simple Vegan’s exact spice mix for their vegan KFC fried chicken. I went with whatever I had in the cupboard, which happened to be garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Just be warned – once you make this, you won’t be able to stop. Serve on top of brown rice and salad to pretend you’re being a bit healthy. Or slam into a burger bun with hot sauce and pickles. (Note, you will get your fingers coated in batter-y-ness when prepping this dish, but fear not – you can wash your hands.)
Vegan Fried Chicken
For The Tofu
- 1 16 oz package of medium firm tofu
- Two cups of Faux chicken broth or Vegetable broth such as Better Than Bouillon
For The Buttermilk
- 11/2 cups plant milk (I used unsweetened soy milk)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For The Coating
- 11/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
- Flakey sea salt and more fresh ground pepper to finish
Enough vegetable oil for a shallow fry-up! 4 cups or so.
Prepare The Tofu
- You need to freeze and defrost your tofu twice to get the right texture, so really you could just keep blocks of tofu in the freezer until needed.
- Once the tofu is thawed for the second time, press the excess liquid from it by laying the tofu between two cutting boards. Use paper towel to blot up any more liquid.
- Gently apart the tofu into chicken wing-esque pieces – don’t worry if you end up with some weird small pieces, you can batter and fry those too.
- Place the broken up tofu piece carefully into the vegetable broth to marinate, about 15 minutes.
- Now it’s time to set up the dredging stations! In one shallow medium bowl, stir together the plant milk and apple cider vinegar. It will begin to thicken quickly, forming your “buttermilk.”
- In another medium sized bowl, combine the flour, seasonings and panko crumbs.
- Side by side, line up the marinating tofu, the buttermilk, the flour mixture and an additional plate to lay the finished pieces.
- Carefully remove the marinated tofu and submerge into buttermilk, then place into the flour mixture to coat. Place finished pieces on the plate. Once you are finished coating all the pieces, you can repeat the process for extra coating crunch!
- If your tofu falls apart, don’t fret – just squish the pieces back together as best you can, and once it hits the hot oil, carefully press pieces together using metal tongs to reform shapes.
Fry The Tofu
- Heat your vegetable frying oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot until it reaches 350-375 degrees.
- Carefully place your coated pieces into the oil to crisp and brown, turning pieces as needed.
- Place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle generously with flakey sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Serve while hot and crispy!
Kinda fun, right? If you still want to make cake, here’s a vegan cake for you! Happy frying, friends! xo Lyndsay
SHEEEEEET CAKEEEEEE! The ultimate crowd pleaser at a family reunion, 100 guest-list birthday party, high school graduation, etc… often procured from megastores and supermarkets, frosted hastily by power-professionals churning them out by the icing-from-a-bucket dozen. Except this one is a perfectly cute little square, topped with a garden of buttercream roses, made on a very hot day in July, made to celebrate the adorable and awesome Amy Ho’s new baking book: Blooms And Baking! Amy is so talented – one look at her Instagram and you will fall under her whimsical, fantastical spell of perfectly rendered cupcakes, cream puffs, cakes and cookies. Blooms And Baking is jammed with beautiful photos, recipes, step-by-steps and decorating tutorials, all focused on adding unique floral flavours and design to your desserts!
Blooms and Baking!!! Amy of Constellation Inspiration is such a gem. I also love how she combines her Chinese heritage, her love of flowers and cakes and everything cute, into her amazing blog and Instagram.
Since I am on a deep plant-based tear right now, I gently swapped out just a few ingredients to make this a vegan buttercream rose cake! I used Ener-G brand egg replacer instead of one large egg. Note on egg replacers: I find that some egg replacers thicken up your batter toooo much – Bob’s Red Mill was a bust for me. But Ener-G stays loose and doesn’t make your batter into a thick gummy blob. Amy’s one bowl chocolate cake bakes up into a moist, springy delight, and topped with a myriad of buttercream roses?? You’ve got a flower-power winner.
Vegan Chocolate Cake with Piped Buttercream Roses
For The One Bowl Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- egg replacer equivalent to one large egg
- 1 cup cold coffee
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
For The Buttercream
- 1 cup of vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Melt Organics buttery sticks)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- splash of plant milk if needed
Make The Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Spritz a 9 x 9 inch square cake pan with vegetable oil and line with parchment paper if desired.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the egg replacer, coffee, oil and vinegar and mix until no streaks of the flour mixture remain.
- Scrape down the side of the bowl to make sure no clumps remain.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
- Bake the cake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
Make The Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and vegan butter on high to combine, about one minute.
- Add the icing sugar and pure vanilla extract. Pulse mixer on lowest speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Divide buttercream amongst bowls to colour individually for buttercream roses, drop stars and leaves.
Decorate The Cake
- Make a whole whack load of buttercream roses!
- You will need a large flower nail, parchment paper squares, piping bags and a few petal piping tips – Wilton #103 or #104.
- Cut 1×1 inch squares of parchment paper.
- Watch Amy pipe buttercream roses here!! Instead of a cupcake, add a dab of buttercream to a piping nail. Stick a piece of parchment paper on top of it. Then, create the center bud of the rose – then the petals!
- Freeze all of your buttercream roses until firm, about twenty minutes, before placing them onto your completely cooled cake.
- Fill in the gaps and holes with drop stars and piped leaves.
Happy baking, piping and eating, cake pals! xo Lyndsay
Do you like a rainbow top hat made of buttercream??? You are in luck!! Though I wouldn’t recommend wearing this on your head. However, if you wanted to make this rainbow buttercream cake for your next Pride or birthday party, I would definitely approve. A big old rainbow thumbs up.
I made this rainbow buttercream cake to celebrate PRIDE – it’s got all the classic hit colours of the rainbow flag, all piped in various cute shapes. I used my favourite piping tips – 1M open star tip, 4B multi pronged open star tip annnnnd my friend #234 fur/grass tip to pipe this rainbow beauty. Here’s another rainbow cake I made last year for Pride in a different colour palette. The options are endless for your rainbow buttercream cake!
Did you know I have a YouTube channel??? Yeah, I didn’t either. You can watch me frost this cake in a tiny dinkly iPhone video in hyperspeed below! Maybe there will be more extensive (and possibly more professionally filmed, hehe) videos in the future!
Happy piping, cake friends! xo Lyndsay
A BLUE Arctic Fox, no less! I realized I never shared this “How To Make A Fox Cake” Youtube video tutorial I made with CBC Arts! So here ya go!
Happy fox-cake-making! xo Lyndsay
Three cheers for homemade bubble tea! My sister gifted us with a do-it-yourself bubble tea kit, including these awesome reusable metal straws. Having just had bing soo at a local Asian desserts spot, I washed the cups out with hot soapy water like a NERD so our homemade bubble tea would look just like the shops. For some weird reason, Rich, Teddy and I ALL LOVE a banana-flavoured thing. Real banana, faux banana, any old banana flavour – we are fans! This banana milk bubble tea is so simple to make, it’s really just a banana milkshake smoothie type thing, and you can control the consistency by adding ice, or adding more ice cream, or more milk. Plus, you can even easily make this vegan by using oat milk and plant based ice cream! So yes, blending up a bunch of ingredients in a smoothie is very simple. Making the “bubbles” aka pearls aka tapioca PARTY BALLS is also very easy! The dried brown tapioca pearls kind of look like little rabbit turds. BUT FEAR NOT! Once you cook them, they will look like… glutinous black tadpoles. BUT FEAR NOT AGAIN! Once you soak them in a simple syrup, and then spoon them into the bottom of your cup, then fill with delicious icy creamy banana milk, they become those chewy-sweet satisfying bubbles once again. Hehe.
Banana Milk Bubble Tea
For the pearls
- For each serving, 3 tablespoons of dried tapioca pearls
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
For The Banana Milk
- 3 medium bananas, ripe, unpeeled and frozen
- 3 cups + of whole milk (or plant based milk)
- 3 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream (or plant based ice cream)
- Ice cubes, if desired
Make The Pearls
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Remove from heat and allow to thicken and cool.
- In a small saucepan, boil water. Add the dried tapioca pearls, and cook on medium heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so pearls don’t stick to the pot.
- Drain the pearls in a colander over the sink; let cool slightly.
- Add the cooked pearls to the simple syrup, allowing them to soak up the syrup, about twenty minutes. I put mine in the fridge for this time period.
Make The Banana Milk
- Place the ripe, frozen bananas, milk, ice cream and ice, if using, in a high powered blender and… BLEND!
- Add more milk if you want a looser consistency, or more ice if you want a more slush-like consistency.
- Spoon syrup-soaked pearls into the bottoms of three large cups.
- Pour the banana milk on top, plunk in a reusable bubble tea straw and enjoy immediately!
Pearls should be eaten within a few hours of being cooked, so just cook enough for each serving. You can find dried tapioca pearls online or in bubble tea shops. You can also experiment and add in grass jelly or any other favourite bubble tea add-ins! Happy blending! xo Lyndsay