One Bowl Chocolate Square Bear Cake

square bear cake recipe

pink square bear cake by cococakeland

I know. I just can’t stop with the kawaii faced animals… so I made you this buttercream frosted square bear cake!  Fluffy vanilla buttercream and a moist dark chocolate single layer square cake, mixed in one bowl, poured into the cake pan and baked. But surprise – this little bear buddy was baked in my new Panasonic 3-in-1 Steam Oven! I’m not sure if you’ve sensed it, but I feel like microwaves are making a comeback. They are kind of the secret thing that many kitchens use, whether it’s to melt butter or make chocolate ganache or any number of other uses. We have never had a microwave as a family, much to my dear mother-in-law’s annoyance! For reheating meals, we always put a pan in the oven, preheat the damn thing, bake for ten minutes or so and hope for the best… or we would reheat on the stovetop, and soil a pot or two in the process. I kinda dreamed about the ease of something like a microwave but couldn’t mentally commit. Until I met this sweet little friend.

panasonic steam oven

I have made steamed Chinese buns daily using the handy dandy and ridiculously easy Steam function. I’ve used the Microwave function to re-heat my miso veggie bowl leftovers for lunch, which I used to eat cold out of the fridge like a sad sack. I like to call our new Panasonic 3-in-1 Steam Oven THE MAGICAL BOX! Hehe. And perhaps most excitedly, I baked my one bowl chocolate cake recipe in it using the Oven function and it baked as though it was cooked in a traditional oven. I’m excited to share this square bear cake recipe and tutorial with you!

buttercream frosting cake

Bake and cool your cake completely. Crumb coat the cake, and then fill a piping bag fitted with a multi-opening grass tip with the rest of the buttercream to make the bear’s fur.

grass tip for fur

Pipe the entire cake – sides and top! Make the fondant pieces – a white muzzle, two black eyes, a little black nose and pink cheeks and ears. I use a wooden BBQ skewer cut to size to insert into the ears for placing into the cake.

bear cake by coco cake land

Press down all the facial pieces to adhere and slide the two ear skewers into the top of the cake!

square bear

This little square bear is an easy, no-carve way to make a sweet little animal cake for your next party or celebration! Slice into small square and enjoy!

square bear cake

One Bowl Chocolate Square Cake

16 slices

For The Cake

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached 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
  • 1 400 ml can of full fat high quality coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For The Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • drop of pink gel food colouring

For The Decorations

  • 2 inch ball of white fondant
  • 2 inch ball of black fondant
  • 3 inch ball of pink fondant
  • wooden BBQ skewer cut to size
  • Piping bag fitted with a large multi-opening grass/fur tip

Make The Cake

  1. Press the OVEN setting to preheat the Panasonic 3-In-1 Steam Oven to 350 degrees. Spritz an 8 x 8 inch square cake pan with vegetable oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to size and place into the pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed to combine.
  3. Add the eggs, coconut milk, vegetable oil and pure vanilla extract and mix until combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, using an offset spatula to level the batter.
  5. Place into oven and bake for 20-22 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake and inspect it to make sure it comes out clean with only moist crumbs.
  6. Let cake cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

 

Make The Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and pink gel food colouring on low speed to combine.
  2. Once combined, beat the buttercream on high speed for about 3-4 minutes until frosting has doubled in volume.

Decorate The Cake

  1. Using an offset spatula, frost the cake with a layer of buttercream, smoothing as you go. You can use a cake bench scraper if you wish.
  2. Fill the piping bag with the remaining buttercream. Pipe the entire cake with fur.
  3. With clean and dry hands, make the white fondant muzzle by rolling out fondant to about 1/4 inch thickness. Punch out a circle shape using a large circle cookie cutter or rim of a cup. Gently pull the shape into an oval muzzle and set aside onto parchment paper.
  4. Roll out a small amount of pink fondant and use the opening of a clean piping tip to punch out little circle shapes for the cheeks. Set aside. Pull off a 1/2 inch piece of pink fondant and mix with 1/2 inch piece of white fondant, creating a lighter pink shade. Using the original pink, form bear ears using your hands. Add “inner ears” using the light pink fondant, using a tiny amount of water to adhere the inner ear to the pink ear. Insert wooden skewers into each ear and set aside.
  5. Roll out the black fondant and use the opening of a larger clean piping tip or a small circle cookie cutter to punch out two large circles for the eyes. Set aside.
  6. Pinch a tiny piece of black fondant into a small oval for the nose.
  7. Place the facial pieces onto top of the cake to make the bear face.
  8. Insert the ears into the top of the cake!

 

square bear cake recipe

square bear cake recipe

panasonic steam oven

This post was sponsored by Panasonic Canada’s 3-In-1 Steam Oven, aka the counter top appliance that has given LIFE to our family, haha! I feel like this oven could be your future game changer too so go check out the magic at Panasonic Canada. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Coco Cake Land baking and caking! xo Lyndsay

Unicorn Cake: A Tale Of Two Horns

kawaii unicorn cake by cococakeland

unicorn cake by cococakeland

WHO CORNED IT BETTER!? A tale of two horns, The Case Of The Buttercream Kawaii Unicorn Cake by Lyndsay Sung. I dunno why, but for some reason the unicorn cake has always been my nemesis. My kryptonite, the sparkling green mega-crystal that has doomed me into stress levels unknown to womyn. Yes there are a gazillion mystical unicorn cakes out there and the original design by Jenna Rae Cakes is indeed AWESOME! It gives all the necessary hints of a unicorn – swirls and twirls of dreamy buttercream hair, the sometimes phallic horn(y) horn, ears and for the face – two simple lines for eyes, sometimes eyelashes – but without providing a full face. I really wanted to design a unicorn cake in my own style – and the hard part was – THE MOUTH. Now I know why none of these cakes have mouths. Doing a uni-mouth on a round cake is hard!! It’s a horse snout, so there needs to be a semblance of snout-ness… but a snout can also sometimes skedaddle into pig face territory … another unicorn cake fear of mine…

kawaii unicorn cake by cococakeland

The one above, was my first unicorn attempt in quite a while, made for an amazing old client of mine who happens to have the coolest kids. Five-year-old Banksy requested a rainbow unicorn cake for his birthday, and I would never deny making a rainbow unicorn cake for a kid named BANKSY! So while this was my first unicorn in several months, I DO have one in my upcoming cake book Coco Cake Land but his little face will be a surprise until the book is released, hehe. I wanted to try a top-of-the-cake unicorn face and a different piping style for the fur. So, once again I took to my sketchbook:

unicorn drawings

A lil dainty smile for my friend Uni???

unicorn drawings

Or, no smile, like this No Mouth Joe? (They also look kinda like the cutest Carmen Miranda haired unicorns.)

unicorn drawings

Teddy tried his hand at a unicorn too – CUTE!

kawaii unicorn cake by cococakeland

I tried several looks for this guy, no mouth, mouth, different nostrils, etc etc… frantic texts to my sister with a bunch of photos asking her to choose… Sister’s response: “You’re overthinking this.” But in the end, No Mouth Joe it was!! The more I look at this guy’s face, the more stoked I become. He is pretty darn cute. And again, “no mouth” sometimes feels “cuter”, Hello Kitty style, than mouth…?

unicorn's buttercream mane

No Mouth Joe’s beautiful buttercream mane!

smiley unicorn cake!

NEXT up, a month or so later, I got an email from ANOTHER favourite old client Rose – her daughter Ava was turning ten and requested… yup, MY OLD PAL UNICORN! I took it as another chance to fiddle with the design and have some fun with the face.

unicorn cake by cococakeland

Once again, I had finished everyyyything to my satisfaction, until the face/mouth combo. I took the teensy mouth off, put it back on, took it off, then put it back on – I thought the smiley face was pretty cute! Then I decided to try an extra smiley unicorn cake with the happy overjoyed closed eyes, hehe.

smiley unicorn cake!

In the end, I think I love this one too!!!

puffy letter stickers

Also: YAY for short three letter names so I can use my fave new puffy pink neon letter stickers from the Japanese dollar store!!

unicorn's buttercream mane

And a buttercream rosette and drop star mane never to be forgotten, with a dash of sprinkles. Sigh. I’d love to know what your favourite one is – No Mouth Joe, or Smiley Eyes?? Either way, this was a fun exercise in cake design! I have a feeling the next one will look different again… and so ends the first saga of A Tale Of Two Horns… xo Lyndsay

Black Panther Cake For Genius Kitchen

black panther cake

black panther cake

My latest column for Genius Kitchen is now live – this kawaii Black Panther cake!!! Royal purple vanilla cake layers, black cocoa buttercream and my favourite detail – the sparkly silver glitter NECKLACE! You can find both the recipe AND the step by step tutorial on Genius Kitchen.

black cocoa powder buttercream

black panther cake

Now I want to talk a little bit about how obsessed I have become with this incredible movie. I am NOT a superhero movie fan. There are zillions of them it seems, and not one of them in the last several years has peaked my interest (except Thor, which was pretty entertaining, hehe). There is so much power and agency in Black Panther! The women are FIERCELY strong and their intellect and equality is a given. The production value and Afro-futurist design of the sets is bonkbonks. There is comedy, there is terror, there is deep sadness, there is JOY! I cried throughout the movie. One thing I’ve realized is, I am a feeler of my emotions at every level. If I want to BAWL my way through Black Panther in the movie theatre, I will do so. I will use my popcorn butter-soaked napkin to lap up the salty tears of GIVING MYSELF OVER to a film. I need to horse-blinder myself when I go to a movie I’m thrilled about seeing – I will take it all in so hard and feel it with every ounce of me. When T’challa returns home to Wakanda, the first time we see Wakanda as they are flying overhead – TEARS. When T’challa gets buried in the magical red dust and drinks the purple flower juice and reaches the spiritual plane where his just-passed father is – TEARS COURSING DOWN MY FACE. Don’t even talk to me about Queen Mother Angela Basset and little sister Shuri’s face when T’challa (SPOILER ALERT) gets thrown over the freaking waterfall to his death. I died a little with them too. Then, when they FIND him barely alive packed in ICE!??? TEARS!!!! Another part that ripped my heart out was when T’challa carries a dying Kilmonger up out of the darkness to see the Wakanda sunset as he dies. You realize Erik never stood a chance in life, and how life could have been so different for him had he been raised in Wakanda. I’ve fallen in love with each of the characters, and the (ahem, BEE-YOO-TIFUL actors who play them. The google runs deep, very deep. Can I just gaze at Lupita N’yongo’s gorgeousness forever? Can I duplicate every one of Michael B Jordan’s sartorial LOOKS? The guy has the BEST SWEATERS and he has influenced my current fashion style. Exhibit A:

mila zovko sweater

I’m kind of belly-shirting in this somewhat cropped sweater but I am channeling MBJ’s love for patterns and fine knits. (This Italian fabric knit sweater is by Mila Zovko).

black panther fan art

I have passed my obsession for Black Panther down to my little 5 year old. He is way too young to watch this movie yet but I have relayed every single detail of the story to him. He is currently saving up for this Black Panther Lego set. And this past weekend we did painted cardboard portraits and of course he made a BLACK PANTHER MASK.

black panther fan art

black panther fan art

black panther fan art

#BLACKPANTHERFANART !!!

mom and lyndsay black panther movie

Here is my 73 year old mom at Black Panther 3D, and me, a 41 year old Chinese Canadian woman and mother and feminist, enjoying the shit out of the best movie-going experience I’ve had in a long ass time (um, I saw it again with my husband a few days later, hehe). It just feels so glorious that this movie is doing YUGE BOX OFFICE numbers right now – a film that celebrates the power and beauty of Africa. My favourite article contextualizing BP within the current cultural landscape is this one: The Audacity of Black Panther. Ok, have you seen it yet?? xo Lyndsay

Yo-Kai Watch Jibanyan Cake!

jibanyan cake by coco cake land

yo-kai watch cake

A few weeks ago on my Instagram Stories I posted my very first fondant covered Totoro themed cake, which I made for my little baby nephew Brody. Now, on his TENTH birthday – I’m still making him his birthday cakes – like this Yo-Kai Watch Jibanyan cake! Yep, who?? What?? Honestly it’s so hard to follow the trends of the elementary school child these days, but now that my own little guy is five years old I often hear about this kind of stuff – Pokemon this, Yo-Kai Watch that, ding dong this, bing bong that … I can’t really keep up. I just pretend to know a little bit about Pokemon. I haven’t bought one damn Pokemon card pack for Teddy yet and I’m determined to keep it that way, haha! He has his little tattered collection of cards in a plastic Ziploc bag (I think he has like 15 cards)…? I must admit though, Pokemon are damn cute and about 80% of them would make adorable cakes!

yo-kai watch cake

I’ve made sooo many cakes for my nieces and nephews over the years – it’s so fun to look back at my progression and the CUUUUTE pics of my my nieces and nephews over the years. This Kermit cake I made for Brody when he turned four, and then this Angry Birds cake when he turned five… (I love looking back at these posts too because suddenly Teddy pops up in there… life is crazy…) It was around Brody’s Angry Birds cake that I started transitioning more into making buttercream cakes versus fondant covered ones. I still love the clean designed look of fondant but, let’s be honest, buttercream is so much yummier!

yo-kai watch cake

As always I draw out my designs before I attempt them on my cake. This is SO helpful for me to do – once I have the basic sketch then I end up playing around with sizes for the ears, eyes, mouth etc on the actual cake. I just keep adjusting it until I think it looks pretty cute, hehe. People have asked me why every page in my sketchbook has a giant X through every page… am I THAT HARD ON MYSELF that I X out all my drawings?? Um, no. My five year old Teddy drew an X on every page so I would have “more room to draw.” Four spaces to draw instead of one space. THOUGHTFUL, right? Hehe.

jibanyan cake by coco cake land

I was also told by Teddy to NOT FORGET THAT BITE THING out of the side of Jibanyan’s ear. Okey doke. He told me why this wild-eyed orange cat had a bite outta his ear but… sometimes moms glaze over this type of information.

jibanyan cake

yo-kai watch cake

Happy tenth birthday Brody! I can’t believe you’re in the double digits!!! xo Auntie Lyndsay 

Eggies Flower Crown Bunny Cake

Eggies bunny cake by Coco Cake Land

Eggies flower crown easter bunny cake

Squeeeee! You know when you do a happy dance and punch the air in VICTORY when you make something you’re excited about? My kitchen got a whole lotta air punches when I finished this kawaii HERSHEY’S EGGIES flower crown bunny cake! EGGIES are so adorable with their pastel speckled crisp candy shells and creamy chocolate centers – a perfect textural addition to a creamy buttercream cake!

bunny cake drawing

crumb coat

This cake is a lot of fun to work on and it’s easy to pull off! Start off with an 8 inch round layer cake baked using your favourite recipe. My simple vanilla buttercream recipe is 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature, 4 cups of icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. Beat this on high speed for three to four minutes until fluffy. Frost and fill your cake, give it a crumb coat, power chill it in the freezer for 10 minute to lock in the crumbs, and then add a final smooth coat of vanilla buttercream. For the flower crown, divide the remaining buttercream into three bowls – about a 1/4 cup each into two small bowls, and the remaining into another bowl. Tint the smaller amounts with gel colouring: leaf green and violet. The larger amount will be tinted with pink gel colouring. With gel colouring, a little goes a long way so start with a toothpick’s tip amount!

Eggies candies

Fit your piping bags with a leaf tip, a #104 petal tip for the roses and a small French multi-pronged open star tip. If you are new to piping flowers, here is a good video on how to make a buttercream rose - I do a similar method except I place a dab of buttercream then a square of parchment paper on my flower nail first, then I freeze the roses in the freezer until firm, making them easy to handle and place on my cake! Or, you can skip the flower nail altogether and simply make beautiful little rosettes as part of your flower crown! Piping a leaf is very easy, just squeeze and release the piping bag and a leaf shape will form.

bunny cake

I rolled out pre-coloured fondant and punched out circle shapes using the bottom edge of a piping tip. I hand-shaped the little pink nose and the mouth. For the ears, simply roll two pieces of white fondant, flatten, add the pink inner ear using a tiny amount of water to adhere, and then insert a wooden BBQ skewer cut to size into each.

easter bunny cake tutorial

To start decorating, place the eyes, cheeks, nose and mouth onto the cake, pressing gently into the buttercream to adhere.

easter bunny cake tutorial

Place the bunny ears into the top of the cake. Now we will make the EGGIES flower crown! Bring your buttercream roses out of the freezer (if using) or have your piping tips ready!

easter bunny cake tutorial

Begin making the crown – place an Eggie into the buttercream, pressing in to stick. Add a buttercream rose.

easter bunny cake tutorial

Now, you can go where the rhythm of the crown takes you – I like to try and keep the EGGIES, flowers and leaves somewhat balanced by spreading out the colours and textures. Pipe a drop star, a rosette, a squiggle of green leaves – the leaves are great for filling in any empty spaces between EGGIES and flowers!

flower crown bunny cake

Keep going…

Eggies flower crown easter bunny cake

And… STOP! When it’s time to serve the cake, you can reserve extra EGGIES to place into the top of each slice so everyone gets a colourful candy addition to their cake slice!

flower crown bunny cake by coco cake land

floral crown candy cake

coco cake land bunny cake

I hope you give this flower crown bunny cake a try – of course if would be so cute for an Easter dessert, but it would also shine like a bunny diamond for an upcoming birthday. This post was sponsored by HERSHEY’S Canada! Share your own creation this Easter and you might be recognized with an EGGIES Star. Be sure to use #eggiescreations when you post. Thank you for supporting the delicious brands that keep Coco Cake Land’s cake boat afloat! xo Lyndsay 

Blue Totoro Cake!!

blue totoro cake

totoro cake by coco cake land

Oh man. I’ve made a few Totoro cakes in my cake life but this blue Totoro cake has gotta be one of my favourites. In January 2015 I was supposed to make a cat cake for Tracy, for her niece’s birthday. I had just found out I had breast cancer. I still wanted to go ahead and make it because I hate not fulfilling commitments and didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was crying because I was so overwhelmed and stressed out but thought, oh I can do still do this, I can make this cake. But I really couldn’t, and my dear sister recognized that, and she helped me cancel it and of course everyone understood. Now, it has been three years since that time. I haven’t really written about it yet because in so many ways it feels so overwhelming that I don’t even know where to start, and I feel so grateful for the last year of 2017 I’ve had, of feeling healthy, and enjoying life with my husband and son and getting to do some fun traveling and camping together. To feel like I have my creativity back, and life not dominated and dictated by injections, doctor’s appointments, blood work and dreaded trips to the cancer agency – I never want this feeling to end. The freedom of getting to worry about silly small things, and not big scary things, just for a while, to continue this nice patch of life without too many harsh bumps in the road. Yes, I finally got to make Tracy a cake, for her niece Kelly – this crazy-eyed kawaii blue Totoro cake! It did feel full-circle to make this for her – it reminded me of 2015, and made me feel extra grateful for today.

stamped cake flag

totoro cake by coco cake land

It is a gift for me to feel healthy, strong, happy and creative. It’s not an every day every moment set of feelings, and to be a little carefree is a little risqué, because cancer is a horrible beast and it is my greatest fear (apart from ORCA WHALES, yikes.) Yet it feels so good to live life normally.

blue totoro cake by coco cake land

Hooray for birthdays! Never forget that every one is worth celebrating. Even the ones where your hair is turning grey and the deep lines show up on your face, and your boobs (or one and a half boobs) hang down jusssst a little lower. Breathe it all in! xo Lyndsay

Chloe’s Caticorn Cake

caticorn cake

caticorn cake

I’ve made a few rainbow caticorn cakes in the last coupla months, inspired by my OG rainbow caticorn cake I made for Saya back in the fall. Since my first initial post, I was fielding a few emails from excited bakers and moms who wanted to try it out – so I changed the post into a rainbow caticorn tutorial of sorts with a few handy dandy tips. This cutie pie I made amongst the crush of Christmas madness back in December for my sweet pal Phanie’s daughter Chloe’s birthday. The excellent thing about having a cake making skill is that you can trade this for other goods and services. So since Phanie is an amazing photographer, I traded Phanie two cakes for a holiday family portrait sesh. The other cake I made was for Phanie’s son Malcolm’s birthday, on Boxing Day. We had just hosted Christmas Day dinner at our place the night before and were dashing off to Whistler on Boxing Day so I did not get proper photos of the super cute bunny with a “carrot” nose cake I made for Malcolm… You can see a few incredibly sweet snaps of Malcolm’s bunny cake with carrot nose here. I’ve written about my admiration for Phanie before on this blog – she has her own blog called Moses Moses Moses in which she writes in detail about the actual trials and tribulations and great joys of life – raising her children, making art, trying to maintain a sense of self, the struggles and frustration, highs and lows, and bittersweet joy of motherhood. She lays her heart bare in her posts, something I wish I could do more. I feel like I waffle between “OH LOOK AT THIS CUTE CAKE I MADE” and “I HAD CANCER AND CAN NO LONGER HAVE CHILDREN” and “R.I.P. PATRIARCHY”…  I haven’t quite found my Goldilocks-approved just-right, but for now I also think that is ok… xo Lyndsay 

Instagram Heart Emoji Cake for Genius Kitchen

Instagram Heart Emoji Cake

Ok I’m holding pretty good on my promise to slam up some more content on my BLOGEROO! I started a new column over on the jam-packed delicious food website Genius Kitchen! I put a call-out on my personal Facebook page asking for name suggestions for the column because at the time, my brain was frazzled and I could not think of anything clever for a column name that encompasses pop culture, celeb gossip (hehe) and all things au courant. My friends went WILD with suggestions. My personal Def Leppard-inspired suggestion was Pour Some Sugar On Me… but here are my favourites from my friends/relatives: Frosted Tips, Batter Chatter, Another One Bites The Cake, Beat It (I felt this could be misconstrued, LOL), Wake n Cake (perhaps a little too weed-friendly), Cake On Me (A-ha reference!), Cake n Bake, ‘Zertgeist (so random), Dessertations (offered by my British friend Cam), Cake Pop (my fave) and the winner … Cake Life!

Instagram Heart Emoji Cake

I wanted a new challenge in 2018, and I’ve written cake tutorials and freelanced many times in the past but not since my diagnosis have I really written for another website – in fact, my editor Hannah had initially written to me during 2016 while I was still in treatment and I only just found her email a few months back! I’m so glad to have re-discovered her email and to start back into freelance writing a bit. So welcome to Genius Kitchen Cake Life, with your host… ME! :) My first cake is this Love-Day-friendly Instagram Heart Emoji cake, based on… yep, the purple super smile heart in Instagram Stories, hehe!

Instagram Heart Emoji Cake

You can get the full Instagram Heart Emoji Cake tutorial over on Genius Kitchen – and look out for little old me doing some silliness in the Genius Kitchen Instagram Stories too! Happy caking, my friends! xo Lyndsay