I made this CAYOOT piped rainbow buttercream flower cake for another local school’s cake walk – one of the teachers follows me on Instagram and has asked me for a few years now to make a cake – so this year I rolled up ye old sleeves and power-piped out this cake. It was supposed to be a three layer affair but wuh happened was, I stayed out *late* the night before because my dear pal Amy was in town from NYC. Therefore, karaoke. Therefore, old man Winter L Sung went to bed later than her usual. Therefore, Teddy wakes up at his regular 630am “the sun is up!!” time and it doesn’t matter that L Sung went to bed at 2am. Therefore, bleary-eyed, and still humming “Live To Tell” – I dropped one of the cake layers onto its poor freshly baked face, just as they were coming out of the oven. Fart. Other bangers we belted out included “Wonderwall“, freaking Cranberries “ZOMBIE” … haha… I went for it with a little Boyz II Men “End Of The Road” (um, not in my range – those boyz can SING!) and so many more. Phil Collins “Easy Lover” also mighta snuck in there…
I used a few of my favourite piping tips for this: good old classic open star tip Wilton 1M, plus it’s brother from the same mother 4B, and a sweet little leaf (sweetleaf??) tip, which I like to use to fill in any “bald” spots. I pretty much just piped where the wind took me – and tried to step back and make sure colours and patterns were a bit balanced. My only real thought was: cover this muthah in bright frosting to entice a CHILD to choose it. I hope it worked. xo Lyndsay
Summah, babies!! Sorry, I’ve been listening nonstop to Two Dope Queens and it has been affecting my casual times Canadian vernacular. Listening to a current podcast is very 2017 of me which I am somewhat proud. Starting Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode 1 is very 2008 of me, which I am also proud, because millions of people have said to me “WHAT??! You’ve never seen BREAK-ING-BAD??” like I’m a Chinese tree dwarf with no cable (spoiler alert: I don’t have cable.) I know the reason why I never watched it before: SHIT IS INTENSE!! I had nightmares and woke up in the middle of the night mind-spiralling about the moral and ethical dilemmas in the show. K, the acting is REMARKABLE. I’ve watched three episodes so far, hehe. Ten years lattttterrrrrr! Back to baking now: strawberry pavlova! Doesn’t the word macerated just feel so medieval, so macabre, so masochistic?? No need to be so dramatic, guys. It’s simply fresh straw-babies (HELP) covered in sugar and a gentle squeeze of lemon left to sit until it becomes this juicy syrupy topping. Ice cream, pavlova, whatever you need, maceration will be there.
This is the perfect summer dessert because: LAZY EASY CRUNCHY CRISPY CHEWY SWEET CREAMY FRUITY TANGY fuggedabout it plonk it down slice in and serve seconds, should there be any left. To be honest, I could eat an entire pavlova like I was emotionally eating Hawaiian pizza.
Macerated Strawberry Pavlova
12 messy slices
For The Macerated Strawberries
1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of salt
For The Meringue
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Prepare Additional Ingredients
If using, pit some fresh, sweet cherries, rinse some blueberries or blackberries, pluck a few organic edible petals.
Macerate The Berries!
In a medium bowl, stir together the sliced strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and pinch of salt to cover the berries. Let stand at room temperature until syrupy and juicy.
Make The Meringue
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Cover a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and pinch of salt in and beat on high speed until firm.
With the mixer on high speed, slowly add the granulated sugar until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the vanilla.
Using a spatula, carefully dollop the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper, spreading it with an offset spatula into a semblance of a disc, about a 9 inch pillowy round.
Bake the meringue in the oven for 11/2 hours, then turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside the oven to dry out further and cool completely in the oven, about an hour or two.
Make The Whipped Cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken.
Sprinkle the sugar in, then add the vanilla and continue to whip until stiff creamy peaks form.
Assemble The Pavlova
Carefully remove the baked and cooled meringue from the parchment paper and place on serving plate or cake board.
Generously dollop billowy whipped cream on top, spreading the whipped cream to the edges of the meringue.
Spoon the macerated strawberries on top, adding any other fresh fruit you might like.
Finish with a few edible flowers or mint leaves, or leave as is!
Back in March 2017, my entire family took a very special trip to Maui – my mom, my dad, my sisters, husbands and all of our kids, a trip a few years in the making, as my dear dad hasn’t been able to travel due to health issues and had finally gotten the okay from his docs that he could take a trip! We went to his most beloved place, the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Someone recently said to me that “Hawaii is the theme of your family” and that’s pretty much true – whether it was my dad’s Hawaiian themed 70th birthday party, or my own wintry vintage Hawaiian themed wedding on a snowy day in January – and, just this past Father’s Day, Hawaii themed!! Because why not.
Palm tree dangling in the warm tropical breeze of Maui.
Wildcard shave ice combo: POG, grape and Melona, with vanilla ice cream on the bottom!
(The inspiration for wanting to make a chocolate mac nut pie – Leoda’s pies in Maui! So so delicious and totally worth a trip there)! Here is Alana’s definitive Maui guide which will help you plan your next vacation! PLUS: of course, Alana of Fix Feast Flair’s chocolate caramel macadamia nut tart recipe! The only thing I added was a dusting of Maldon salt for a sweet and salty textured addition, and I made regular whipped cream instead of mascarpone – but I loved the tangy creme fraiche flavour in both the caramel and the ganache! So good! Thanks so much Alana for the recipe! Sigh. Dreaming of Hawaii once again… xo Lyndsay
A Little Pep In Your Step: Easy Peppermint Chocolate Ice Cream
It is so very hard for me to believe my lil boy is going to be starting elementary school next year. It was only yesterday that he looked like this, and I was a crying heap of a mess with milk-engorged leaky boobs and a floppy postpartum tummy wondering what the f*ck I was doing. Newborn-baby-time was the craziest time. Now, he is almost FIVE, which pains me so deeply, watching bittersweetly as his legs elongate further every day, feeling so proud of the sweet, thoughtful and wild boy he’s become, yet so heartsick with yearning. His new school is just a few blocks away in our own neighborhood, which makes me happy. They hosted their annual school carnival so I volunteered to make two cakes for the cake walk!! I figured I knew I would be donating cakes in the future so may as well start now! Plus, we would attend the carnival too just to get Teddy excited about his school, and get him used to the walk! So I made these two cake walk cuties: ruffly edges, sprinkles, bright colours, and vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream.
The carnival was a blur of games, bouncy castles, cotton candy buckets, hot dogs and tables full of cakes donated by parents – they had over 100 cakes for the cake walk! We had two little red tickets left to blow at the carnival before we had to get home for bedtime – wild man Teddy had already been burning the candle at both ends running around, bouncing, playing games and having a blast. I kind of sensed that entering the cake walk at this final hour was probably creeping into meltdown territory, and before I could explain to Teddy about the cake walk – i.e., that only one person wins a cake… he had already presented his tickets and ran off to stand on a number while Bruno Mars kicked in. The walk was on. The adult boogying began. The kids danced like no one was watching. The music stopped. The number was drawn… and it was not ours!! When T realized he didn’t win I immediately saw his little face and body crumble into a million disappointments and the tears began to pour out with a big, overtired wail of sadness…
Thank God for the bucket of cotton candy, his eyelashes blinking with tears and a look of sheer sadness on his face as he emotional-ate blue sugared fluff until a stained blue moustache appeared. And, now apparently for his upcoming 5th birthday we are having a “cake walk theme” whereby “you can make all the cakes, mommy!” Hmmm…. PS I can’t believe it’s already Summer with a capital S. We’ll be celebrating Christmas again before you know it. xo Lyndsay
I’ve been arm-pit deep in the final weeks of crunch-time book production, my friends. I’ve been reshooting lots of cakes and coming up with news ideas on the fly and just slam-jamming it all at my wonderful editor and just hoping I’m on track. That squeal of ridiculous excitement when I nail an idea in my head butts up against crippling self-doubt – all wrapped up in a future-book with a publishing date of August 2018, more than a year from now – but I know it will creep up on me, and knowing what my life has been like in the last decade, I wonder what this year has in store for me. On the opposite end of cake book madness, I’ve been deep into savoury-ish cooking these days – some of which I’ve been documenting on my *new* Instagram account, Snackblaster! I can’t tell if I’m going to start a new food blog dedicated to snacks and weekday meals. In the meantime: I went “early-1990s-is-cool” with this mocha dacquoise cake I made for my dear sister’s birthday!
The crispy chew of the chocolate meringue, with rich chocolate ganache and the melty creamy goodness of coffee swiss meringue buttercream, and the juicy acidic tang of raspberries makes this mocha dacquoise A-OK, light yet rich. I love the intense flavour of freeze dried strawberries and couldn’t resist a light sprinkle of them for both colour and texture too.
8 ounces good quality semi sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
For The Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup of egg whites (about 7 to 8 large eggs)
2¼ cups of granulated white sugar
2½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure coffee extract
For The Decoration
Cocoa powder for dusting
Freeze dried strawberries
Organic edible flower petals
Make The Meringue
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper – using a marker, trace two 9 inch circles on the underside of each paper. In a large bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. With mixer running, gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gently sift in the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa mixture in three additions, carefully folding after each addition until mostly incorporated – mixture may deflate a little but don’t panic! :)
Transfer meringue to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open circle tip. Starting just within the marked circles, pipe meringue in a large swirl/coil, starting from the outside circle and ending in the middle. Bake for 2 hours. Once 2 hours are up, turn off the oven and allow the meringues to dry out completely – I had them in there for another 4 hours.
Make The Ganache
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the cream on medium heat until it has almost reached a low boil and steam is rising. Remove from heat.
Add the chocolate, ensuring the chocolate is covered with the cream, and let it sit untouched for ten minutes.
After ten minutes, gently whisk together into a thick, glossy chocolate ganache.
Allow to cool until thickened enough to be spreadable, about 1 hour, or power-chill it in freezer for 30 minutes to quicken the process, being careful not to freeze it!
Make The Buttercream
Ensure the metal bowl of your stand mixer is completely clean, dry, and free of grease. A quick wipe out with a halved lemon, then rinsed and dried, will be sufficient.
In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and the sugar and mix on low to combine into a sugary slurry. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place on the stovetop on medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to make a double boiler situation, ensuring the mixer bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Heat the egg and sugar mixture until it reaches 160°F on a thermometer, or is hot to the touch, whisking occasionally—this usually takes me about 5 to 7 minutes.
Carefully return the metal mixing bowl to the stand mixer, with the whisk attachment in place. Now, bring the mixer up to high speed and beat for 8 to 10 minutes until you’ve created medium-stiff peaks and it’s a billowy sticky cloudy meringue. Whipping the meringue will also help cool down the bowl; make sure your meringue has cooled sufficiently before adding the butter—the bowl shouldn’t be hot, but more neutral/warm.
Swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time, until all the butter is incorporated—it will look like a thick soup at this point. Add the coffee extract, then bring the speed up to medium-high and beat until a fluffy silky magical buttercream has formed, about 2-3 minutes.
Put It All Together
Remove the dried meringue discs from the parchment paper and set the first disc on a cake board or serving platter.
Using an offset spatula, spread the meringue disc with one half of the cooled and thickened ganache mixture.
Frost the top of the ganache with a generous amount of the coffee buttercream.
Carefully place the second meringue disc on top of the coffee buttercream, pressing in gently to adhere.
Spread the second half of the ganache on top of the disc.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a large multi-pronged French open star tip with the coffee buttercream and pipe drop generous drop stars on top of the ganache.
Decorate with fresh raspberries, a light dusting of cocoa powder, crushed pieces of freeze dried strawberries or raspberries and torn edible flower petals!
Cake will last a few days in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long – I think it tastes delicious cold from the fridge, the meringue remained both crispy and chewy. You can make it ahead, just reserve the decorations and add right before serving.
It’s kinda the right time for strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, guys. This strawberry buttercream gets a power-blast of deep juicy strawberry flavour from a double whammy mix of strawberry puree AND freeze dried strawberry powder, the use of which was inspired by Yossy’s beautiful raspberry cake. Side warning: freeze dried strawberries are a little bit like crispy crack cocaine, they make your morning cereal WAY special.
With strawberry season around thy little corner in mind, here is a very delicious strawberry swiss meringue buttercream recipe for you – ready to be piped in soft pink ice cream clouds on top of your favourite cupcake base, or slathered on a layer cake decorated with fresh berries, edible flowers and mint leaves.
Puree strawberries with 1/8 cup sugar and a pinch of salt until smooth.
Make The Strawberry Powder
Using a kitchen scale, measure out one ounce of freeze dried strawberries to make two tablespoons worth of powder (or, use approximately 1 cup freeze dried strawberries.)
Process in a food processor until finely powdered. Let the strawberry dust settle for a minute before opening the food processor up.
Make The Swiss Meringue Buttercream
In the metal bowl of a stand mixer, whisk to combine the egg whites and sugar.
Set the bowl resting on top of a small saucepan filled half way with water on high heat; do not let the metal bowl touch the water.
Allow the egg white and sugar mixture to heat up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius), stirring mixture occasionally with whisk.
Carefully remove metal bowl and place onto the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Whip the mixture on high speed for 8-10 minutes until glossy, fluffy stiff peaks appear and bowl is cool to the touch.
Swap out the whip attachment for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium, begin adding pieces of room temperature butter to the mix, a few at a time. I just hold the 1 pound block of butter and slice cubes off it off into the meringue.
Once the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high until a thick, creamy buttercream has formed.
Turn the mixer down to medium-low and slowly add the strawberry puree, then the strawberry powder.
Beat on medium-high again to incorporate. Buttercream can be stored for up to 1 week in the fridge; bring to room temperature and gently re-beat before using.
I was never certain I wanted to be a mom. It was hard to imagine it or picture it for me. I didn’t have adamant feelings either way – I kind of thought I would have a kid one day, but “one day” kept creeping up, and in my 30s I thought, shoot. I’m still not totally sure… but maybe I better start trying?? I wasn’t sure, on Christmas Eve morning, when I peed on the stick and two prominent lines appeared. I still wasn’t sure, waddling around at 9 months pregnant, my stomach housing a somersaulting alien. Then, birth day arrived, a hot summer day in August, announced with my water breaking at 6:30am, a splash of tinged-pink fluid on the bathroom floor. Hours later, waves of contractions and moaning and pulling at my hair. Quiet in-between moments in the bathtub at the hospital. Then, counting down from 10, like a football game – cheers from my team: “you can do this Lynds!!!”… gushes of fluid, an insane feeling of physical pressure in your lower body, an absolute and primal urge to shit out a watermelon - and suddenly, that final push. Out came a waxy-covered baby with tiny bits of old-man balding pattern hair and what looked like a wide nose and cute little eyes, a little baby boy plopped onto my chest. I gazed at him in utter shock. Suddenly I was a mother.
Almost 5 years later, life with my Teddy is wild and hilarious. He is a pretty easy guy to be around – he is sweet natured, funny and mischievous. It is the hardest thing yet the most amazing thing. I feel so lucky I get to be a mother. If I had waited a while longer, it could’ve easily never happened.
To make this buttercream flower typography cake, you will need one recipe for your favourite cake, such as this Martha butter vanilla cake. I don’t recommend a box mix for this, as you want a cake that has a sturdier crumb. You will also need 1 recipe for vanilla buttercream, and gel colour in a few shades to tint the frosting. Piping bags fitted with an assortment of tips will also be your friend: I used Wilton 1M, Wilton 4B and a small leaf tip. The sneaky thing about this buttercream flower cake is, there are no flower nails needed – just easy piped rosettes and drop stars. Thank you Milk and Water Baking Co for the cute piping inspiration!
Make the cake batter according to the recipe instructions; prepare a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet by spritzing it with vegetable oil cooking spray and cutting a piece of parchment paper to size. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread batter to edges. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake is springy to the touch and has pulled away from the edges of the pan. Carefully run your offset spatula along the edges of the cake, then let cake in pan cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Transfer to the freezer to power-chill it. This will make it easier to trim out the letters, but be careful not to freeze the cake – you just want to firm it up.
While the cake is chilling, make the vanilla buttercream from this recipe. Divide the buttercream in half; divide one half into three smaller bowls, tinting each bowl its own colour – blue, purple and green. Colour the remaining buttercream pink. Then, cut out a template for the letter “M” using a piece of paper – mine is about 5 inches tall. I used a 4 inch round cake ring to punch out the letter “O.” Remove the cake from the freezer and place template on top, trimming out carefully with a sharp paring knife.
Arrange the first layer of letters on a piece of parchment paper.
Using the pink buttercream, fill the cakes using an offset spatula.
Place the second layer of cakes on top.
Frost the entire cakes in the pink buttercream. Once finished, place in freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
Fill your piping bags with assorted decorative tips and start piping!
Drop stars are simple to make – squeeze the piping bag in a short burst, release then pull upwards.
Rosettes are made by squeezing the piping bag and rotating counterclockwise in a a tight circle.
The piping bag fitted with the leaf tip is great for filling in any naked patches and adding bits of greenery to your buttercream flower patch.
Crank some tunes or a podcast and start piping! HOT TIP: Once I finished piping the letters, I chilled the cakes in the freezer for 20 minutes to set the buttercream – then I used my sharp paring knife to trim a bit of buttercream floral overhang in the indents of the M’s – to define the letter shapes a bit more. You’ll want to do this when it’s frozen so the buttercream is solid and easier to pare.
Now cut yourself a slice, mama! Or make this for your own mama, a favourite Auntie, or a strong female figure in your life, or someone who just wants to eat some freaking cake. This concept would also work as a monogram cake, a number birthday cake or wedding initials.
I also want to give a special shout out to my sweet friends Erika and Robyn – who are celebrating their first Mother’s Day with their adorable two month old baby Olympia! I am so happy for you guys and your amazing little family! Strong as a muthah. xo Lyndsay
Banana coconut cream pie might very well be the food of the angels. (The banana angels?) Can you picture it? So much dreaminess, like angels swan diving into tropical whipped cream coconut clouds. Throw a little drizzle o’ salted caramel on there and everything feels alright in the world for a quick cream-pie minute.
I kinda love how caramel sputters and spurts in a crazy almost-boiling-over madness. I feel like a weird-scientist when I’m making it.
I made this with a classic pate brisee crust but you could switch it out to the ever-easy graham cracker crust and you’d be just fine, if you’re feeling anti-pie-dough. I also love the added texture of a graham cracker crust in a cream pie. Or, go grocery-store-frozen-pie-shell – there’s no judgement when the hankering for cream pie is nigh! I wanted to add toasted coconut curls to this but the grocery store was out – another nice addition for a little textured crunch! Just add the toasted coconut right before serving so it stays crunchy.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt, pulsing for a few seconds to combine.
Add the cold butter, and pulse until mixture comes together enough to still have large pieces of butter – a few seconds.
With the machine running, slowly add the ice water through the feed tube in a steady stream, until dough barely holds together. Pieces of butter should still be visible and dough might seem a bit crumbly, but do not add too much water – 15-20 seconds.
If dough doesn’t hold together and is too crumbly, add an extra tablespoon of cold water and pulse for a few seconds.
Tear off a large, long piece of plastic wrap and place on your work surface.
Carefully place half of the dough onto the plastic wrap, forming it loosely and lightly into a flattened disk of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap.
Do the same with the second half of dough, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
Remove the dough disk from the fridge; on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round, a bit less than 1/4 inch thick.
Place dough into a 9 inch pie plate, pressing gently. Trim off overhang, and crimp pie dough edge with a fork (or a classier pattern!)
Prick the dough all over with a fork, and brush with beaten egg, if using.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Freeze pie shell until firm, about 20 minutes.
Line chilled pie shell with parchment paper and blind-bake using pie weights, rice or dried beans.
Bake pie shell for about 15-20 minutes, then remove the pie weights, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling.
Make The Filling
In a medium bowl, gently whisk the egg yolks and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a friendly simmer (do not boil) and cook, whisking intermittently, 3-4 minutes.
Whisk a quarter of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks.
Add the remaining hot milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid any “cooked egg yolk situation.”
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until a custard forms. It will thicken quite a bit and there will be bubbles – about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer filling to a clean medium bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the filling to avoid a “skin” forming (gross but true.)
Power-chill the mixture in the freezer for 30-45 minutes until cooled.
Slice two just-ripe bananas and layer them in the bottom of the pie shell – the bananas also help the crust stay crisp, acting as a barrier between the pudding and the shell.
Once the pudding is cooled, pour the mixture on top of the banana slices.
You may have some leftover but it makes a perfect pudding snack for your next snack attack.
Make The Whipped Cream
Place the metal bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
Attach metal bowl to base and attach whisk.
Place heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk until soft peaks form.
Dollop on top of the coconut filling and use an offset spatula to spread whipped cream to the edges. Or, use a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip to pipe happy little whipped cream stars all over the pie.
Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour before serving.
Make The Salted Caramel
Place the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, stirring to combine.
Heat over high heat, swirling the pan, until the sugar turns a medium golden amber colour – 8-10 minutes.
You don’t want it to get too dark as it takes on a burnt flavour (which many people like!) so remove from heat once you’ve gotten to medium golden amber.
Very slowly, add the cream in a slow stream, whisking at the same time – be careful as the mixture will bubble up, but soon calm down.
Add the butter, salt and vanilla, stirring to combine.
The caramel will thicken as it cools – you can speed the thickening process by refrigerating it or power-chilling it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Once it’s completely cool, have it on standby to drizzle over slices of pie as it’s being cut. Yeah boyeeee.
Creamy coconut pudding atop sliced bananas, with pools of salted caramel nestled in vanilla whipped cream – DREAMSVILLE!!