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!!
SPRING! In my neck of the woods, this means cherry blossoms blooming, lil green leaves sprouting up everywhere and sanity-saving sunny days of playing outside. Perhaps it means taking up running again and getting some fitness up in this muffin top??
It definitely means busting out the piping bags for some extra pretty Spring-in-your-step cakes. I love the look of the buttercream ribbon rose cake – the ribbon rose is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a tight little ribbon of buttercream that forms an adorable mini rosette. This whole mint green/peachy rose look is giving me a serious 1990s Laura Ashley vibe/Cabbage Patch Kids/Anne Geddes mega vibe which of course I’m very into…
I was just telling Teddy about what it means to make someone that you love feel good. He was telling me that for Easter, he would give me the Easter eggs which he didn’t like the look of… so I said what would really be special is if you gave me the one that was actually the one you really liked. Then I started telling him about the time when my sisters and I were kids, and Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage in 1982, those rock-hard-faced dolls were the most coveted toy of Christmas that year, each with a signature scrawl on their butt. My sister Shelley wanted a brown-haired one, that was her big wish – I wanted a brown haired one too… but when we tore into those wrapped tell-tale boxes, my sister ended up with a red-haired one and I got the brown-haired one. HUGE TEARS erupted from my sister as she was so sad she didn’t get her brown-haired one… I immediately went over to her and told her she could have mine (even though I really wanted the brown haired one too!) and I ended up with little ginger Arianna with the carrot-orange braids. This is probably my first memory of being empathetic and compassionate, at 6 years old. NOT TOO SHABBY, LITTLE ME!
A few weeks ago Teddy and I made strawberry ice cream from scratch, and the frigging waffle cones too. Other things we’ve made together include pancakes, waffles, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, banana chocolate chip muffins… he loves cracking eggs, even though I’m holding my breath every time he does it (entirely non-gracefully, with large shards of shell embedded in yolk and whites). I want to give him these baking experiences, and to show him that things don’t have to come from a store, and to spend time with him in the kitchen (also so he thinks my job is cool, hehe). I’m guessing 20 years from now he will look back and appreciate baking with mom… :P
Yellow Vanilla Cake with Pink Buttercream Ribbon Roses
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 7×2 inch round cake pans by spritzing with vegetable oil (or rubbing with unsalted butter) and parchment paper lining, trimmed to size.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until combined. Add the vanilla extract.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the whole milk, beginning and ending with the flour, until combined and a batter forms, about 30-60 seconds. Do not overmix.
Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans; bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Make The Buttercream
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the egg whites and granulated sugar. Whisk them together by hand, just until they are combined so that the egg whites don’t begin cooking by themselves.
Fill a sauce pan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the mixer bowl with the egg white mixture on top to create a double-boiler. The water should be kept at a simmer but should not touch the bottom of the bowl. The double-boiler acts as indirect heat for the egg white mixture.
Occasionally stirring, heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 155 to 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer. The mixture should be very hot to the touch and the sugar should have dissolved.
Once the egg white mixture is hot, carefully return the bowl to the stand mixer. Fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed for about 8-10 minutes. When done, the meringue should hold shiny, medium-stiff peaks and be cooled to room temperature. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.
Swap out to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, begin adding in the room temperature butter a couple tablespoons at a time. I pretty much just “cube as I go” with a sharp paring knife, cutting little pieces into the meringue bit by bit.
Once the butter has been mixed in, add the vanilla extract.
Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until silky smooth, creamy and shiny.
Remove 1/2 cup of buttercream for tinting a peachy pink shade; I used maybe 1/8 teaspoon total of pink mixed with peach gel food colouring.
Add about 1/8 teaspoon total of leaf green and sky blue gel food colouring to the rest of the buttercream and mix for another minute on medium speed to incorporate colour.
Assemble The Cake
Once cake layers are completely cooled, level your layers with a serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion to remove any cake domes.
Place a dab of buttercream on a cake board or cake plate and place the first layer, cut side up, in the center, pressing down to adhere gently.
Using an offset spatula, frost the layer with an even layer of buttercream.
Place the next cake layer on top, cut-side-down, pressing gently down to adhere.
Frost the next layer as you did the first layer.
Place the final cake layer on top, cut-side-down, pressing down gently to adhere. Make sure all your cake layers are in an even stack.
Begin frosting a crumb coat of buttercream starting from the top of the cake and working your way down and around the sides. Use a cake bench scraper to smooth as you go.
Chill the cake for 20 minutes in fridge or freezer to set the crumb coat.
Remove cake from fridge and do a final coat of buttercream, using your cake bench scraper to smooth.
Place the remaining green buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a small leaf tip and set aside.
Place the peachy-pink tinted buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (such as Wilton #104).
Using the flower nail, pipe a dab of buttercream on top, then place a parchment paper square on top to adhere to nail. Using the petal tip, hold the piping bag with the tip’s wide side down. Squeeze out buttercream at the same time as you turn the flower nail to create a tight little ribbon rose; you can make them smaller by doing less rotations or larger by continuing to pipe more rotations.
Remove the rose and parchment paper and place on a tray; once you’ve done all your roses, chill the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the roses.
The roses will now be pretty much frozen and easy to handle – gently place the roses on your cake in a border-like pattern, spacing them evenly.
Using the piping bag fitted with the leaf tip, pipe leaves all around the ribbon roses (or in any pattern which you like!)
This post is sponsored by the new Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer! When Cuisinart Canada invited me to create my favourite baking memories, I made this bunny cake, and now this childhood Cabbage Patch Kids inspired cake.In the run up to Mother’s Day on May 14, Cuisinart Canada is celebrating time spent and shared in the kitchen – they’re encouraging people to share their favourite baking memories and to bake new memories too. You can enter to WIN your very own stand mixer in Cuisinart’s Bake New Memories contest. They’re giving away SIX of ‘em. Submit a short story of a baking memory or a recipe photo including the hashtag #bakenewmemories and you will be entered into a random draw for a Cuisinart Precision Master™ Stand Mixer and the Grand Prize of a “Cuisinart Kitchen”! Full contest rules and HOW TO ENTER here! Thank you Cuisinart for sponsoring this post!
K. Get ready for an NYC blaster of Cherry Bombe Jubilee madness and goodness. It was the weekend of my life. Surrounded by incredible, inspiring, powerful and bad-to-the-ass-bone women, (also, many gorgeous women – Jubilee style was INSANE) … so many women in food whom I’ve admired and/or adored for years – truly amazing. I also got to reconnect with old pals, connect IN REAL LIFE with internet pals… sheesh, NYC! It was fun. So now I’m about to blast ya with photos. BLAST!
I red-eyed overnight into NYC from Vancouver, so I could get there on Thursday morning. My plan was to keep things chill and not have an insane “list” of hotspots to chase down but to instead FOCUS ON FRIENDSHIP.
Like catching up with this beauty/cutie Emily!! Emily and I met over ten years ago, when I used to play music in bands and tour all over – we would stay at her house, “the Mansion” – an amazing old mansion in Crown Heights with suites on each floor and plenty of room for sprawling bands and into-the-night rangers. We’ve kept in touch all these years and seen each other grow and expand into food life – Emily and her sis Melissa are the bad ass sister duo behind Four and Twenty Blackbirds!
The exterior of their first shop in Gowanus.
Melissa and Emily in their working kitchen in Brooklyn! Emily gave me the full tour of the bustling kitchen, employees making fillings, huge bags of King Arthur flour, buckets brimming with sloshing yolks, smiling staff baking off pies and packaging individual slices, and crimp-master Rica, who was slamming through stacks of pie doughs, crimping a mile-a-minute!
Turmeric tonic custard pie – so delicious, citrusy and creamy – I’d never tasted anything like it and I loved it. They have a whole range of custard flavours like their beloved matcha, but also hojicha (roasted green tea), black sesame and this turmeric beauty. I also love their overall brand design so much.
Ok. It looks like I’m not wearing pants in this. I guess technically I’m not wearing pants, I’m wearing DRESS SHORTS. Cherry Bombe and Amazon Kitchen were hosting a special dinner at Sunday Suppers that evening and I got home pretty late from my Pie Journey of Natty Gann with dear Emily – I was staying with my good friends Amy and Stephen, but Amy wasn’t home yet, so I slammed on this outfit that I had only mentally put together not actually tried on … and asked Stephen to take a picture of me in it so I could see, of course! (YOU’VE DONE IT)… I wanted to try other things on but it was getting late. In the end I kinda felt like I was wearing my dad’s old oversize baggy t-shirt but I had to roll with it and ACCEPT my choice, haha. Pants Free Canada.
I was solo-jamming it to the Sunday Suppers space (incidentally, a 3 minute walk from where I was staying! Yay!) because my pal and main “I don’t know anyone else” support was Molly, but Molly’s flight was delayed yet again… so I was nervous. But of course as soon as I entered the (incidentally, BEE-YOOTIFUL!!) space, anxiety melted away as I met so many amazing (and friendly!) women, including Kerry, Claudia, Allie and Donna of Cherry Bombe!
So so pretty. Loved the mix of vintage flatware and touches of pink in everything.
The kitchen! I admit it got pretty hot in herre Nelly style from the heat of the cooking, the gorgeous hot breath of the babes in the room, and probably my armpits alone but it was pretty much perfect. I got to sit beside Donna who is my Anne of Green Gables kindred spirit because HER DOG’S NAME IS TEDDY. AND MY CHILD’S NAME IS TEDDY. Also, she is funny and sweet and totally put me at ease.
Amazon Kitchen! Carmen and Antonia (and another woman, sorry I’ve forgotten her name) were awesome and friendly. Plus any company who supports Cherry Bombe – me = fan.
Oh just a light rosé cheers with my new friends Deb and Erin! But seriously they were both smart, funny and nice and we got into talking about babies real quick. Deb has this adorable, sort of airy way of speaking then she just crushes life with hilarious witty little zingers. Erin is strikingly pretty and full of jokes too (and pregnant with her third!). I was an immediate fan of these two.
Turmeric followed me around NYC and I am not complaining about that. I think I had some every day in one form or another!? That only just occurred to me. High five, turmeric. The food was so delicious, delicate and artfully presented – I was too busy chatting away to snap proper pics.
So pretty, so artful! Hand by Donna.
K I looooved this impossibly subtle (I just reminded myself of Francine Pascal there, “impossibly blonde”) flavour of roasted beet ice cream with pistachio, sunflower seed crumble and pink sea salt – I couldn’t get a good photo of it without getting too Asian-taking-pictures-of-food so I snapped a few unsatisfactory iPhone blasts and accepted my situation, hehe.
Killer sister style – Donna and Diana (of The Jewels Of New York)! Pretty sure Diana was wearing a lightly crushed velvet emeraldy-green dress – I was really feeling my oversized T-shirt vibe next to these fashion beauties!
Not too sweet, with crucial crunch and perfect amount of salt.
Wow wow I love Kerry Diamond! Cool AF and she has been so supportive of me these past few years. Kerry, you don’t even know, my adulation is strong. (ok I just googled “adulation” to make sure that wasn’t some weird perverted word I didn’t know the exact meaning of…all good.) Also I was pronouncing turmeric wrong all weekend. Crikey!! Blame Canada.
Friday morning I met up with Michelle from Hummingbird High! We went deep-blogger-gossip (all on lockdown, of course) while I enjoyed my very first fried chicken and waffles experience at Pies n Thighs! We didn’t know what the little party ball on top of the waffles was, Michelle thought it might be a sausage – so I volunteered as tribute to try the thing, and it was not a meat product but in fact a BIG OLD BALL A BROWN BUTTAH. Cinnamon maple-y butter? 500 calories later… oops.
After I ate this rather filling breakfast, I was off to meet another pal – my friend Judy, who I had never met, and knew online back in 2007 or something, when she had a teeny cupcake business and I had my teeny cake business. We kinda found each other again on Instagram and I started following her and based on her captions and pics I was like, “ok, this lady and I would definitely be friends in real life.” And I was right!
We met at this adorable nautical themed sandwich shop called Saltie. I was getting a real lady-power vibe from the place which I was obviously a fan of. The sandwich I had was pretty bonkers, chicken liver paté, ham, pickled vegetables and jalapeños and a whole lotta mayonnaise on house-baked focaccia – “EFFING DELICOUS” is what I have to say about that. I also got a Saltie sunrise, which was in fact good old turmeric and hibiscus party combo in a cup. My only complaint was the stools are these tiny uncomfortable squares of wood and the corners jammed into my butt and thighs in a not-so-comfy way – I know that restaurants want you to eat and vacate, but dang those stools were sizeist!
Ok back to JUDY. She was just as cool and nice as I imagined, and we had a blast dinking around for a few hours. She still bakes a little but she is a full time NICU nurse which I RESPECT. Imagine working with and helping all those teeny little babies?
Milk Bar was next door to Saltie and yes, the dream of 2006 is alive in New York because I really wanted to try the cereal milk soft serve that I’d read about for so many years. I ordered it with the salty cornflake crunch and it was $7. It was good, but kinda pricey in my Canadian opinion, and since I’d made it at home before I kinda preferred my homemade cereal milk ice cream, hehe. But fun to finally check out Milk Bar (except the cookies looked very sad in their individual packaging, it had a real 7-11 preservatives feel to it, I thought…) but still, I love Christina Tosi and this wicked empire she’s bricklayed!
Classique vibes!! Soft serve shot!
Do you love a horrifically lit iPhone photo of what looks like unappealing food? Sorry … but the food in the pic was actually DELICIOUS … Warm freshly baked bread and thick smears of tangy cultured butter … omg. And thin, rich salty slices of prosciutto, enjoyed along with many other dishes at The Four Horsemen in Brooklyn. I don’t know shit about wine but my good friend Amy does, and so do the servers – it was cool to listen in on wines being savoury and stuff. My favourite dish might’ve been the dessert, which looked like a bowl of chopped up salmon poke but was actually a delicious ginger sherbet topped with orange granita, the ice cream was spicy and not too sweet and the granita on top made it so refreshing – (I obviously need a restaurant column, amirite? REFRESHING)… it was like the classiest Screamer possible.
Amy, Middle Part Sung, Christy (also from Vancouver but now living in NYC!)
Then Saturday arrived!!! I had a terrible sleep because I was so nervous. Why?? Because I was speaking on a food blogger panel with a superstar group of women who I gotta admit, I felt a bit out of my league. Joy The Baker, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, Molly Yeh and Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes – all these ladies have had a lot of experience now, book tours, TV segments, interviews ‘n stuff … I imagined what my worst case scenario was, which was literally shitting my pants on stage – and I was pretty sure that wouldn’t happen. FINGERS CROSSED! I was riding in a cab to the Highline Hotel that morning, doing some mindful meditation type stuff to calm my nerves – and all of a sudden, JOURNEY came on the radio – not just any Journey song, but one of my 4 year old son Teddy’s favourites – Faithfully! I basked in the glory of that hilariously delightful rock ballad and felt it was a special message from home to tell me to “CALM DOWN, CHINESE PUMPKIN.”
Then a few minutes after I showed up at this beautiful venue, I met up with Michelle, and Molly, after years of being online blog buddies – finally real life buddies!! We also hung out with Yossy, who is like strikingly gorgeous, BTW. If you want to feel like a plump garbage bag, sit next to beautiful and stylish Yossi for a bit!! (She is also so talented and nice!)
Ok. Do you know who this is?? JULIA. Julia Turshen!! I am mild-to-medium in love with Julia and Grace, my FAVOURITE lady POWER COUPLE. What’s not to love?? They’re both so talented and caring, both tireless champions of women, activists in their own right, and so inspiring. So when I saw Julia walking up to the venue, I kinda yelled out “JULIA!!” in a very excited and non-chill way, I tried to reign it in but it was too late. Anyhow, all’s well that ends well, because THIS TWEET.
The awesome crowd at Jubilee! I stayed for every panel and talk but all of my pictures look like this one – so I don’t have good visuals but I was truly moved, either emotionally, or into action, by the women who presented. I loved the ease in which Barbara Lynch and Kristen Kish possessed, their deep kinship so evident by their conversation – loved Barbara’s liberal usage of swear words and her hoarse smokey voice. I’m excited about her new book Out Of Line. So right after the interview, I was in an elevator with Kristen – she definitely radiates celebrity, obviously because she is one, but she’s also supermodel gorgeous – tall, willowy and with a very streamlined killer style – I thought about asking for a picture but she was in what seemed like a very stressed rush to get somewhere and was madly pushing the close door buttons – a flight, I assumed – soooo, anyway I was scared in the way that a beautiful celebrity can make a regular person feel scared, soooo not the best time to ask for a selfie!
Shakirah of Nourish | Resist was on a really great panel – A Recipe For Tomorrow: Food, Social Justice, Action – introduced by Krystal of Karma Pop and Blk // Sugar, pictured in the middle. I loved what Margarette Purvis said about inviting a woman to your table that might not normally have a seat at that table. I was also inspired by Erin of Ovenly, I didn’t know Ovenly was a social enterprise, 40% of their staff are ex-inmates or refugees/recent immigrants. I love this from Ovenly: “We plan to grow nationally, and we will do it progressively.” Proving you can have a successful, aesthetically pleasing, strong female-fronted business while also having giving back to the community and world as part of your business model. I’m also inspired by their strength and ambition and I can’t wait to see what’s next from them!
Christine Muhkle interviewed Elisabeth Prueitt - Christine referred to the room as giving her “lady power vertigo” which I loved. They spoke about some of the sexist bullshit that just floats around like a turd in the food scene, particularly Liz being referred to as “Chad’s wife” in one interview, and the hilarity and astonishment that a column called “Working Mom” can even exist. Elisabeth runs a baking empire at this point and raises her 9 year old daughter, who has significant health challenges – I admire her greatly! Jessica B. Harris in conversation with Julia Turshen was really moving. I am so looking forward to digging in to High On The Hog. Jessica talked about how she never eats with someone she doesn’t like – kind of brilliant advice – and the treasuring of friendships – how so many of her friends are no longer here (including Maya Angelou). I was sitting amongst a gaggle of amazing food bloggers/friends and I gulped and couldn’t help but think of how much I love my friends and that yes, one by one, everyone would be leaving this Earth at some point. Home in Vancouver, I promptly invited some gals over for dinner with Jessica’s words in mind.
Snack break!! I was looking forward to this the whole day, even though my stomach was not being my friend due to nerves – I could barely eat, but I was not going to miss out on Brutus Bakeshop x Jam Stand’s ADORABLE cupcakes – I’m kinda obsessed with the gorgeous and super cool Lani from Brutus Bakeshop now. Her cake style is insane and I loved how she shared her brilliant stencil technique, one I had never seen before! (Plus she’s a mama too!)
DIANA!! Love her creativity and style, and these lil smoothies by Jewels of New York x Anita’s Yogurt (PLEASE BRING YOUR BONKBONKS COCONUT YOGURT TO CANADA!) were the dang cutest.
Was this a mirage? I walked into the green room and Joy was typing away at her laptop and I asked her “Let it be Sunday?” … Jocelyn and I got straight into talking babies (A THEME OF THIS JUBILEE WEEKEND?) and both Joy and Jocelyn were so open, funny and chill (also possibly very tired.) They are popular for a reason, because you feel this urgent need to befriend them!
Then this happened … it was our time to speak at Jubilee! Since I arrived on Thursday I was making sure to take in little moments of this experience. To savour and appreciate all that was happening, and to remember that two years ago at this time I was lying in bed with debauched buttsanity™, nausea and my hair coming out from chemo. And now I’m being group-hugged for a picture with all these wonderful powerhouse famous bloggers and Daphne Oz???
My goal was not to physically soil my pants on stage and I achieved that goal. My sisters and mom and friends and husband just told me to BE YOURSELF when I told them I was so nervous about this panel … and I thought, yeah. It’s really all I can be. And in the end, the panel was REALLY FUN. I surprised myself with thinking it was fun talking in front of hundreds of people! The panel will be broadcast in the future on Radio Cherry Bombe – so stay tuned!
After the panel I met some real nice women! Like these awesome gals from Pineapple DC! Other awesome women I met but didn’t get a snap with: SUSAN SPUNGEN, who I fangirled, but loved her down to earth/friendliness. Also, Yana Gilbuena, Filipina chef extraordinaire who is spreading the deep gospel of Filipino food through her Salo Series pop up dinners across the USA and beyond – loved her energy, bright smile and commitment!
Me and Amy posing in front of the Jubilee neon!
Me and Donna posing in front of a dolly. Behind the scenes, y’all!!
We walked around in the sun after Jubilee was over – and just happened upon Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment … hehe. I went back to Amy’s apartment, we marvelled at all the good stuff in the gift bag, I had an old-fashioned prepared by Stephen … and I conked out into dreamland, ready for the next day at the Jubilee Marketplace!
You totally want a Four and Twenty Blackbirds tote now, don’t you?? It was sooo fun getting to catch up with Amy. We have a long history of friendship, from being in an all-female fantasy new wave band together, to worshipping Siouxsie Sioux, to many art and film projects… and both being bridesmaids in each other’s weddings… I love you Burgertime!
Cutest little polka dot tea towels (I got one of each) at Dimes.
I met a new friend, Leanne, at the Miss Jones Bakes stand! I wasn’t sure if getting a sweatshirt that called myself a babe was lite-conceited. But it was so fluffy and comfy and I love the vintage-collegiate font. I idiotically already got gel food colouring on it when I got home though. Oh well.
Claudia Wu, creative director and awesome person at Cherry Bombe!! Amazing T-shirt! Chinese Pumpkin!! All in one convenient photo.
Beautiful Hawa of Basbaas hot sauces – so good! I brought two jars home in my suitcase, all snuggled up in my socks and underwear, and I’m so excited to dig in to the spicy tangy goodness of these sauces!
Molly! With the side pone to end all side pones, repping some delicious ingredients like Kerrygold butter (NOT AVAIL IN CANADA, SHEESH, Canada dairy laws!) If you want to see me being a creepy fan of my own friend, here ya go!
I red-eyed it home and watched three episodes of Atlanta and it is so hilarious and thoughtful. I fell in love with the entire cast and can’t wait to polish off the whole season! And THIS SWAG that I crammed almost entirely into my suitcase … so spoiled.
And we come FULL CIRCLE back to pie. I hand-carried these pie slices on the plane from NYC to Vancouver and fretted about everyone else’s moves around me, so worried someone was going to swing a stray arm and whack my bag of pie slices by accident … I was on EDGE about these pies. These pies went through the X-ray machine at JFK. But they made it home, as did I, with visions of Cherry Bombe Jubilee dancing along in my head, playing back scenarios to try and figure out if I had acted like a turd or not, but… oh well. Turd or no turd, I just gotta be me. The deepest namaste DEEP gratitude goes out to Cherry Bombe magazine for inviting me out to this year’s Jubilee… it was so immensely special for me and an experience I won’t soon forget. xo Lyndsay
Aiyahh. How cute are these funny little pink bunny cut up cake buddies? I wasn’t sure if a sleeping bunny might be a little on the creepy side. But I rolled with it. This tutorial is going to show you a few things. One – how to colour your own shredded coconut. I’ll just tell you right now. Do you have a large ziplock bag? Do you have some pink gel food colour or regular old watery food colouring? Do you have shredded coconut? Combine all that in your ziplock bag and shake it like your life depended on it. Before you know it, you will have PINK TINTED coconut. It’s that easy, snowball.
Two: how to make two round cakes TRANSFORM into the cutest (maybe too steely-eyed?) chill bunnies just relaxing on a plate, being all cool bow-tie casual. A coconut-covered bunny cake brings back both fond and hilarious memories for me - it was my mom’s go-to cake concept in the 1980s, and my sisters and I had plenty of bunny cakes with gumdrop noses and licorice whiskers to go along with ye olde pizza parlour/bowling birthday parties.
Initially I was going to bake two 9 inch round cakes and make one single bunny cake, based on the awesome tutorial I found from Homan At Home. But then I got charmed with the idea of making mini bunny cakes, so I ended up getting three mini bunny cakes out of the two 9 inch round cakes. If you wanted to make one larger bunny cake, the basic idea is identical – you’ll save one round cake for the bunny’s face, and the second round cake gets “cut up” into two ears and a bow-tie, respectively.
Here I’m punching out 4 inch rounds to make 3 mini bunny cakes.
Using a sharp paring knife, cut out the bunny ears from the round cake. I cut the first bunny ear, which is the oblong leaf type shape, and stacked it on top of the other side of the cake, using the first bunny ear as a template of sorts. Then, the middle part becomes the bow tie!
Arrange the cake on a plate with the cut-up pieces so you get the idea of the shape.
Frost the top and sides of the round cake with a good helping of pink buttercream (recipe below!).
Now, cover the cake with the shredded pink coconut – I found the best way to do this was to pour the shredded coconut onto the same sized plate, then sort of “dip” or dunk the frosted cake into it, patting the coconut in with my fingers. The coconut sticks easily to the buttercream. For the sides, I rolled the cake like a wheel in the coconut and it stuck perfectly.
Position the bunny ears to your liking!
Nestle the bowtie right up in there.
Colour the reserved vanilla buttercream a happy shade of green! (recipe and instructions below).
Fill your piping bag with an open star tip and pipe away! I piped the sides and top in the little drop star pattern.
I finished the bowties by placing a large malt ball candy in the centre. I used store-bought fondant for the eyes, nose and inner ears – but grocery store candies and shoestring licorice will work great too!
Pink Coconut Bunny Cut Up Cake
For The Coconut Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 400 ml can of high quality coconut milk (not reduced fat)
For The Buttercream
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
dash of milk
gel food colouring in electric pink and leaf green
For The Pink Coconut + Decor
4 cups of unsweetened shredded white coconut
1/4 teaspoon pink gel colour (or use grocery store food colouring in small 1/4 teaspoon increments until desired colour is reached)
For the eyes, nose and inner ears, I used store-bought coloured fondant - though I realize many don't have those things on hand, which is where grocery store candy comes in handy! (I rhymed.) Starburst works great for a little pink nose, just warm it up in your hand first to make it more pliable! Any round circular candies work great for eyes, and black shoestring licorice is the classique choice for whisker action!
Make The Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil; cut out parchment paper circles to line pans.
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, shredded white coconut, salt and baking powder until combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the pure vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low until gently but thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl; do not over mix the batter.
Divide batter evenly into prepared 9 inch cake pans. Bake in the middle rack of the oven, turning pans halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely in pans on wire racks.
Make The Buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the icing sugar 1/4 cup at a time until the icing sugar is incorporated. Add the vanilla and dash of milk.
Now, crank that dial to maximum and let it whip into a fluffy buttery sugary frosting.
Remove about 1/3 of the buttercream out of the stand mixer bowl and place in a separate medium bowl. Add the pink gel food colouring to the stand mixer bowl and beat on high until the colour has incorporated.
Using a spatula, colour the reserved buttercream with the desired amount of green gel food colouring – I used 1/8 teaspoon to get light green, and a little more for the slightly darker shade.
Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip (I used a small French multi-pronged open star tip) with the green buttercream and set aside.
Assemble The Cake
Remove the cooled cakes from their pans. Using a serrated knife, level the cake, then follow the instructions as noted above in the photos!
I’m pretty excited to make the full sized version of this guy for Easter dinner with my family! If you have a major hate-on for coconut, you can using buttercream to pipe the fur using either a multi-opening grass piping tip or any star piping tip. Happy bunny making, my friends! xo Lyndsay
This post is sponsored by the new Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer! When Cuisinart Canada invited me to create a favourite baking memory, my mom’s bunny cake was the first thing that popped into my head and I’m pretty stoked on how my take on them turned out!In the run up to Mother’s Day on May 14, Cuisinart Canada is celebrating time spent and shared in the kitchen – they’re encouraging people to share their favourite baking memories and to bake new memories too. You can enter to WIN your very own stand mixer in Cuisinart’s Bake New Memories contest. They’re giving away SIX of ‘em. Submit a short story of a baking memory or a recipe photo including the hashtag #bakenewmemories and you will be entered into a random draw for a Cuisinart Precision Master™ Stand Mixer and the Grand Prize of a “Cuisinart Kitchen”! Full contest rules and HOW TO ENTER here! Thank you Cuisinart for sponsoring this post!
“Mom!! Try to poo a lot so then you’ll have a baby!” Teddy said this to me yesterday out of the blue. Just imagining what his furiously-working-overtime little 4-year-old brain is parsing together about how babies are made makes me laugh/smile/cry… He’s been asking for a baby sister for a year or so now. “Time to get pregnant in your tummy, ok mom??” is another tidbit he’s thrown at me, as if I can snap fingers (or labia) together and out of my vagina flies a fully formed baby girl. Other things Teddy has said lately: I’ll tell you what you are! You’re just the bun of a hot dog! or Go away, ya bum clown!!! (referring to, what I can only guess is human butt cheeks dolled up in clown makeup.) Things Teddy doesn’t know/remember/understand: his mama had breast cancer, and may or may not have any viable eggies, and is also 40 years old, an age by which reproductivity takes a deep nosedive. His mama has already tried implanting one frozen embryo into her uterus, but it swam away and didn’t want to stick. She has two more frozen embryos on ice, and will try implanting those sometime soon, but the longer she is off of her Tamoxifen, the more terrified she is of cancer coming back.
Today is International Women’s Day, and it feels more pertinent than ever. How did women’s vaginas ever become reduced to being called a pussy? Do vaginas look like hairy little cats somehow? The vag is one powerful organ. Oh, a pussy? Yeah, babies come out of those – vaginas are basically superhuman. So I made a cake for the vagina today. xo Lyndsay