Yule Love It, I Promise. Bûche de Noël

buche de noel

Bûche de Noël recipe

LOG JAM 2020! I conquered my Christmas 2020 baking goal, which was to make a Bûche de Noël aka LOG JAM aka Yule Log Cake. Life felt pretty jammed there for awhile, didn’t it. Now, with the vaccine on the horizon, things feel a little more hopeful for 2021 – the thought of hugs, gatherings, dinner and cocktails out with friends, DOING STUFF TOGETHER again – could it be possible! I hope and pray for a brighter new year, and health and happiness for all.

There is something very deep 1980s about LOG JAM. Maybe it reminds me of the Christmases of my childhood – a dusting of icing sugar, lil shroom zoomie mushroom buddies, candied rosemary and tart cranberries… I imagine it on a dessert table at my childhood home on a vintage silver platter, next to a cut crystal dish filled with my mom’s chocolate almond brittle, foil-wrapped chocolate bells in red and green, my Poh-poh’s Christmas pudding topped with brandy sauce and whipped cream – being without family this year for Christmas is making me feel extra nostalgic.

buche de noel

Teddy and I have been watching The Great Canadian Baking Show together – it’s our new little ritual. When the opening credits pop up, it’s my job to remark “OOOH, NANAIMO BARS!!” and we share a nerdy little chuckle. It’s peaked his interest in baking, and it’s renewed mine, too – which is a nice feeling after a year of anxiety and squashing of creative juices. Bûche de Noël was one of the challenges in the first season and it got me stoked to finally try making one!

pumpkin roulade

I read so many recipes and tutorials on how to make a yule log cake – I was going to do a chocolate one, but at the last minute (uh, this morning) I decided I would try my friend Sprinkle Bakes’ recipe for pumpkin sponge cake! Check out her bonkers birch bark yule log cake – she is one of my favourite creatives in the baking community, her work is always so precise yet with a vintage/cartoony feel which I love. I filled the cake with a cream cheese whipped cream, and the exterior log is frosted with a simple Nutella chocolate buttercream.

meringue mushrooms yule log cake

Meringue Mushrooms are my fave

I had originally made some little tiny toadstool mushroom sugar cookies for my Bûche de Noël project – but when I iced them, they looked awful, so I switched gears to the classic meringue mushroom. I really love the toadstool mushroom look, so I tinted half of the meringue red for the mushroom caps! I added a little dusting of icing sugar (because, snow.) I did a truly garbage job of putting the caps onto the stems however – I tried melting white chocolate to use as my glue, but it clumped up – so I used a chopstick to kinda smear some of it onto the underside of the cap, then literally JAMMED (log jammed?) the stem up into the cap. I do not recommend my method as it was sketchy as heck, but you could be smart and melt chocolate properly, or you could use a dollop of the Nutella buttercream to adhere the cap to the stem.

yule log cake

Bûche de Noël

12 slices

For The Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

For The Creamcheese Whipped Cream

Recipe from Beyond Frosting
  • 8 ounces (1 pkg) full fat cream cheese, cold
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For The Nutella Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 11/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

For The Meringue Mushrooms

  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

Make The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 15″ x 10″ jelly roll pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until thick and pale.
  4. Add pumpkin puree and and mix on low for a few seconds to combine.
  5. Add flour and mix on low speed until combined, about twenty seconds.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
  7. Bake for 13 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched in the center – be careful not to overbake.
  8. Remove the cake from oven and let it cool for just a few minutes. You want to roll the cake while it is still warm!
  9. Spread a large tea towel out on a work surface and sprinkle the towel with the powdered sugar. Use your hands to spread the sugar evenly over the towel. Immediately turn the baked cake out onto the tea towel and roll the cake and towel together starting at a short end. Let cool completely before filling.

Make The Whipped Cream

  1. Start with a cold mixing bowl – place the bowl of your stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the fridge or freezer to chill, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Using the paddle attachment, beat the creamcheese until smooth and free of any lumps, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed.
  3. Swap the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, slowly stream the heavy cream into the bowl until everything combines and appears liquid.
  4. Beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. Add the icing sugar and pinch of salt and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Place in refrigerator until ready to use. Leftovers can be dolloped on Sunday morning waffles.

Make The Nutella Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder, Nutella, vanilla extract and pinch of salt on low speed to combine.
  2. Once incorporated, beat on high speed until doubled in volume, about three minutes.

Make The Meringue Mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  1. Pour the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place it on top of a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continually until the mixture reaches 150 degrees Farenheit or the sugar crystals have dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. Raise it up to high speed until stiff, glossy and durable – about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide meringue into two separate bowls.
  4. In one bowl, gently fold in red gel food colouring until you get your desired shade.
  5. Fill two piping bags fitted with an open circle tip – one with the white meringue for the mushroom stems, and one with the red meringue for the caps.
  6. Pipe mushroom stems by squeezing piping bag then pulling upward.
  7. Pipe mushroom caps by piping a meringue kiss-like shape, then using a dampened finger to press gently on it to remove any point.
  8. Bake for 1 hour in the oven; turn off oven and let them dry out for another hour. If you find they are still seeming sticky, leave them in the oven with the oven turned off for 2-3 hours more (but be careful they don’t end up browning too much). Do not open the oven while the meringues are baking. Any variation in temperature can make the meringues crack. Store meringues in an airtight container for one week.

nutella pumpkin yule log

To assemble the cake, get a large cutting board ready.

  1. Unroll your pumpkin sponge cake and spread it with an inch thick layer or whipped cream.
  2. Carefully re-roll the cake and refrigerate until firm, about ten minutes.
  3. Remove cake from fridge and trim the log by making a diagonal cut, about four inches of cake.
  4. Place your cake and the cut piece on your serving platter, pressing the cut piece against the main log to create a little branch situation.
  5. Carefully frost the whole cake with the Nutella buttercream using an offset spatula. Using a fork or your offset spatula, drag your fork along the log to create bark ridges.
  6. Dust the cake with icing sugar (SNOW!) and decorate with the meringue mushrooms and candied rosemary and cranberries, if desired.

For a visual guide, Sprinkle Bakes details how to roll your sponge cake – folks, it’s easier than you think! It was my first time making a roulade and I was sweatin’. But, as long as your cake recipe is spongey and pliable, and you roll the cake into its shape while it’s still warm, you’ll be A-ok! Happy end of 2020, world. LOG JAMMED! May 2021 shine bright with hope! xo Lyndsay

The House(s) That Gingerbread Built

snowy gingerbread house
gingerbread house with fairy lights

How’s your year going? Yeah. I hear ya. I don’t think I’ve been the only one in a braindead, uncreative funk. What, with a pandemic to worry about and all. BUT – December 2020! It’s frigging Christmas again! So here we are, keeping to ourselves, with provincial health protocols banning social gatherings of any kind, inside or outside – and we’ve got a gingerbread house or three to bake, build and decorate. It was a weekend long project – but what else is there to do!? It’s kind of the best time to upgrade your ginge-b making skills!

jolly rancher stained glass windows

I’ve been wanting to try the whole “melted Jolly Rancher candies as stained glass windows” effect for years. Last year I bought the candies, made the dough … but was so pooped out by the holiday season the dang houses never got made, let alone the cool candy windows. The Jolly Ranchers ended up being little power pellets on our long, solitary daily walks through the Spring Covid months. Teddy’s tongue would be blue or green or purple, but at least we got to see cherry blossoms and get fresh air, hehe.

gingerbread house jolly rancher windows

Is that a gingerbread house door with a gumdrop doorknob just lying there strewn in some sugary snow? It sure is. BUT LOOK AT THOSE WINDOWS! It’s as simple as can be – before you bake your house, punch out windows in your gingerbread house panels. After you’ve done your initial baking of your gingerbread house pieces, drop a few candies into each window hole and bake at 375 degrees for around three to six minutes – the candy melts, fills the hole and … WINDOW PARTY! Let cool completely before assembling your house.

gingerbread house swag
gingerbread hospital

Now onto Rich’s amazing little Hospital on Fire gingerbread house! He did a LOT of windows, which I recommend, because the effect is shiny and cool. (Did I mention Jolly Rancher windows? Haha). One tip: make sure you have a big enough entrance way (door, archway) somewhere on your house to easily insert those little battery powered flickering tealight candles. Or, jam a bunch of fairy lights into the gingerbread house holes like I did for these photos.

gingerbread hospital
gingerbread hospital
sugar moat

Okay, on to Teddy’s ADORABLE gingerbread house! He had the idea to make a sugar moat around the house with gummy fish floating in the water (leftover Halloween candy, yay!). We turned to the internet to teach us how to turn regular old white sugar blue – super duper easy. Dump a few cups of white sugar into a zip top plastic bag. Squeeze a drop or two of blue gel food colouring into the bag, seal it up – then gently knead the colouring into the sugar. Took about two minutes to turn blue.

teddy decorating gingerbread house
gingerbread house with sugar moat

We have a very exciting plan for these houses. We are going to… eat them. Throw on a Christmas movie, each sit with our houses in our laps… chomp chomp. I’m an idiot for not adding any caramel M&M’s or much candy to my house. No, I won’t eat my plastic horse. I asked Teddy how many days it would take him to eat his house. He said three. I don’t think I’ll be able to get through too much of mine, but – CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE.

procrastibaking book by erin gardner
procrastibaking book by erin gardner

I got the delightful gingerbread recipe AND templates from my awesome friend Erin Gardner from her book Procrastibaking! The book is absolutely jammed with so many delicious easy recipes, and it’s kinda the perfect book to bake through during these stay-at-home-and-gain-pandemic-weight times. She loves crunchy sweet and salty peanutty caramelly things like me, and I’ve dog-eared the whole darn book. Isn’t her gingerbread house ADORABLE!? Honestly, staring at my ginge house is bringing me some quiet joy. Like, yesterday I just tripped out on the house, staring at it dreamily, imagining I was in some Bavarian Christmas Fantasy on a brisk but pleasant evening.

family of gingerbread houses

I’m not sure if I’ll get around to posting anything else before 2020 is over but my other Christmas plan is to make a pretty rippin’ Buche De Noël – found this recipe that looks like a blast! If I happen to photograph my buche I’ll post it. Otherwise, I am wishing you all health, happiness and peace through this holiday season, and into 2021. xo Lyndsay

Vegan Fried Chicken Recipe

vegan fried chicken

vegan fried chicken salad

You’re confused, I know. A vegan fried chicken recipe on a cake blog?? Yep. I’ve been experimenting with vegan cooking, eating and baking over the last several years and this vegan fried chicken recipe blew my fragile little mind and I felt the need to share. Especially since everyone loves a crappily lit iPhone photo! Crispy, salty, flavourful, juicy?? How could tofu do this. HOW. Well, the fine folks at Sweet Simple Vegan came up with it, and the “chickeny” texture of the actual tofu comes from one easy hack – freezing the tofu, TWICE, before using. The tofu freezing method is a trick they learned from Mary’s Test Kitchen and it is so … cool, hehe. 

vegan fried chicken recipe

The great thing about this recipe is you can use whateverrrr spice mix situation you want. Karaage vibes? Garlic, ginger, sugar, soy, salt and pepper. KFC vibes? Follow Sweet Simple Vegan’s exact spice mix for their vegan KFC fried chicken. I went with whatever I had in the cupboard, which happened to be garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Just be warned – once you make this, you won’t be able to stop. Serve on top of brown rice and salad to pretend you’re being a bit healthy. Or slam into a burger bun with hot sauce and pickles. (Note, you will get your fingers coated in batter-y-ness when prepping this dish, but fear not – you can wash your hands.)

close up vegan fried chicken

Vegan Fried Chicken

8-10 pieces

For The Tofu

  • 1 16 oz package of medium firm tofu
  • Two cups of Faux chicken broth or Vegetable broth such as Better Than Bouillon

For The Buttermilk

  • 11/2 cups plant milk (I used unsweetened soy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For The Coating

  • 11/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • Flakey sea salt and more fresh ground pepper to finish

For Frying

Enough vegetable oil for a shallow fry-up! 4 cups or so.

Prepare The Tofu

  1. You need to freeze and defrost your tofu twice to get the right texture, so really you could just keep blocks of tofu in the freezer until needed.
  2. Once the tofu is thawed for the second time, press the excess liquid from it by laying the tofu between two cutting boards. Use paper towel to blot up any more liquid.
  3. Gently apart the tofu into chicken wing-esque pieces – don’t worry if you end up with some weird small pieces, you can batter and fry those too.
  4. Place the broken up tofu piece carefully into the vegetable broth to marinate, about 15 minutes.
  5. Now it’s time to set up the dredging stations! In one shallow medium bowl, stir together the plant milk and apple cider vinegar. It will begin to thicken quickly, forming your “buttermilk.”
  6. In another medium sized bowl, combine the flour, seasonings and panko crumbs.
  7. Side by side, line up the marinating tofu, the buttermilk, the flour mixture and an additional plate to lay the finished pieces.
  8. Carefully remove the marinated tofu and submerge into buttermilk, then place into the flour mixture to coat. Place finished pieces on the plate. Once you are finished coating all the pieces, you can repeat the process for extra coating crunch!
  9. If your tofu falls apart, don’t fret – just squish the pieces back together as best you can, and once it hits the hot oil, carefully press pieces together using metal tongs to reform shapes.

Fry The Tofu

  1. Heat your vegetable frying oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot until it reaches 350-375 degrees.
  2. Carefully place your coated pieces into the oil to crisp and brown, turning pieces as needed.
  3. Place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle generously with flakey sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Serve while hot and crispy!

vegan fried chicken

Kinda fun, right? If you still want to make cake, here’s a vegan cake for you! Happy frying, friends! xo Lyndsay 

Vegan Buttercream Rose Cake

vegan buttercream rose cake

vegan buttercream rose cake slice

SHEEEEEET CAKEEEEEE! The ultimate crowd pleaser at a family reunion, 100 guest-list birthday party, high school graduation, etc… often procured from megastores and supermarkets, frosted hastily by power-professionals churning them out by the icing-from-a-bucket dozen. Except this one is a perfectly cute little square, topped with a garden of buttercream roses, made on a very hot day in July, made to celebrate the adorable and awesome Amy Ho’s new baking book: Blooms And Baking! Amy is so talented – one look at her Instagram and you will fall under her whimsical, fantastical spell of perfectly rendered cupcakes, cream puffs, cakes and cookies. Blooms And Baking is jammed with beautiful photos, recipes, step-by-steps and decorating tutorials, all focused on adding unique floral flavours and design to your desserts!

blooms and baking cookbook

Blooms and Baking!!! Amy of Constellation Inspiration is such a gem. I also love how she combines her Chinese heritage, her love of flowers and cakes and everything cute, into her amazing blog and Instagram.

blooms and baking amy ho

--  LYNDSAY SUNG AUTHOR + BAKER + BLOGGER cococakeland.com

Since I am on a deep plant-based tear right now, I gently swapped out just a few ingredients to make this a vegan buttercream rose cake! I used Ener-G brand egg replacer instead of one large egg. Note on egg replacers: I find that some egg replacers thicken up your batter toooo much – Bob’s Red Mill was a bust for me. But Ener-G stays loose and doesn’t make your batter into a thick gummy blob. Amy’s one bowl chocolate cake bakes up into a moist, springy delight, and topped with a myriad of buttercream roses?? You’ve got a flower-power winner.

vegan buttercream rose cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Piped Buttercream Roses

16 pieces

For The One Bowl Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • egg replacer equivalent to one large egg
  • 1 cup cold coffee
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For The Buttercream

  • 1 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Melt Organics buttery sticks)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • splash of plant milk if needed

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Spritz a 9 x 9 inch square cake pan with vegetable oil and line with parchment paper if desired. 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the egg replacer, coffee, oil and vinegar and mix until no streaks of the flour mixture remain.
  2. Scrape down the side of the bowl to make sure no clumps remain.
  3. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  4. Bake the cake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Make The Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and vegan butter on high to combine, about one minute.
  2. Add the icing sugar and pure vanilla extract. Pulse mixer on lowest speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  3. Divide buttercream amongst bowls to colour individually for buttercream roses, drop stars and leaves.

Decorate The Cake

  1. Make a whole whack load of buttercream roses!
  2. You will need a large flower nail, parchment paper squares, piping bags and a few petal piping tips – Wilton #103 or #104.
  3. Cut 1×1 inch squares of parchment paper.
  4. Watch Amy pipe buttercream roses here!! Instead of a cupcake, add a dab of buttercream to a piping nail. Stick a piece of parchment paper on top of it. Then, create the center bud of the rose – then the petals!
  5. Freeze all of your buttercream roses until firm, about twenty minutes, before placing them onto your completely cooled cake.
  6. Fill in the gaps and holes with drop stars and piped leaves.

vegan buttercream rose cake

vegan buttercream rose cake

Happy baking, piping and eating, cake pals! xo Lyndsay 

Put It In Your Bag And Pipe It: Rainbow Buttercream Cake

how to make a rainbow cake

rainbow cake tutorial

Do you like a rainbow top hat made of buttercream??? You are in luck!! Though I wouldn’t recommend wearing this on your head. However, if you wanted to make this rainbow buttercream cake for your next Pride or birthday party, I would definitely approve. A big old rainbow thumbs up.

put it in your bag and pipe it

piped rainbow cake cococakeland

rainbow cake slice cococakeland

rainbow piping bags

rainbow cake crumb coat

rainbow cake layers

piped rainbow cake cococakeland

I made this rainbow buttercream cake to celebrate PRIDE – it’s got all the classic hit colours of the rainbow flag, all piped in various cute shapes. I used my favourite piping tips – 1M open star tip, 4B multi pronged open star tip annnnnd my friend #234 fur/grass tip to pipe this rainbow beauty. Here’s another rainbow cake I made last year for Pride in a different colour palette. The options are endless for your rainbow buttercream cake!

rainbow cake cococakeland

rainbow cake tutorial

Did you know I have a YouTube channel??? Yeah, I didn’t either. You can watch me frost this cake in a tiny dinkly iPhone video in hyperspeed below! Maybe there will be more extensive (and possibly more professionally filmed, hehe) videos in the future!

Happy piping, cake friends! xo Lyndsay 

Banana Milk Bubble Tea

banana milk bubble tea recipe

Three cheers for homemade bubble tea! My sister gifted us with a do-it-yourself bubble tea kit, including these awesome reusable metal straws. Having just had bing soo at a local Asian desserts spot, I washed the cups out with hot soapy water like a NERD so our homemade bubble tea would look just like the shops. For some weird reason, Rich, Teddy and I ALL LOVE a banana-flavoured thing. Real banana, faux banana, any old banana flavour – we are fans! This banana milk bubble tea is so simple to make, it’s really just a banana milkshake smoothie type thing, and you can control the consistency by adding ice, or adding more ice cream, or more milk. Plus, you can even easily make this vegan by using oat milk and plant based ice cream! So yes, blending up a bunch of ingredients in a smoothie is very simple. Making the “bubbles” aka pearls aka tapioca PARTY BALLS is also very easy! The dried brown tapioca pearls kind of look like little rabbit turds. BUT FEAR NOT! Once you cook them, they will look like… glutinous black tadpoles. BUT FEAR NOT AGAIN! Once you soak them in a simple syrup, and then spoon them into the bottom of your cup, then fill with delicious icy creamy banana milk, they become those chewy-sweet satisfying bubbles once again. Hehe.

banana milk bubble tea

Banana Milk Bubble Tea

3 servings

For the pearls

  • For each serving, 3 tablespoons of dried tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

For The Banana Milk

  • 3 medium bananas, ripe, unpeeled and frozen
  • 3 cups + of whole milk (or plant based milk)
  • 3 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream (or plant based ice cream)
  • Ice cubes, if desired

Make The Pearls

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to thicken and cool.
  3. In a small saucepan, boil water. Add the dried tapioca pearls, and cook on medium heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so pearls don’t stick to the pot.
  4. Drain the pearls in a colander over the sink; let cool slightly.
  5. Add the cooked pearls to the simple syrup, allowing them to soak up the syrup, about twenty minutes. I put mine in the fridge for this time period.

Make The Banana Milk

  1. Place the ripe, frozen bananas, milk, ice cream and ice, if using, in a high powered blender and… BLEND!
  2. Add more milk if you want a looser consistency, or more ice if you want a more slush-like consistency.
  3. Spoon syrup-soaked pearls into the bottoms of three large cups.
  4. Pour the banana milk on top, plunk in a reusable bubble tea straw and enjoy immediately!

banana milk bubble tea

Pearls should be eaten within a few hours of being cooked, so just cook enough for each serving. You can find dried tapioca pearls online or in bubble tea shops. You can also experiment and add in grass jelly or any other favourite bubble tea add-ins! Happy blending! xo Lyndsay 

Yuanyang Coffee Milk Tea Cake

yuanyang coffee milk tea cake

yuanyeng coffee milk tea cake-5

What is your favourite bubble tea? We very recently put on masks and scarily hit up THE MALL to get bubble tea at Chatime with Teddy’s cousins. Everything with Horrible Covid feels terrifying until you do it. The first time I went grocery shopping in March, I had so much anxiety. Now, wearing masks in stores and sanitizing your hands constantly is this terrible new norm. The mall was fairly sparse, most people were wearing masks and staying far apart from each other. We parked right by the food fair entrance and whisked in to pick up our taro slushes with pearls and banana milk teas with pearls… little hits of normalcy, my first bubble tea in many months! It also reminded me… that I never posted this DEEEELICIOUS Yuanyang coffee milk tea cake I made in the Fall! Sheesh.

hong kong coffee milk tea cake

yuanyeng coffee milk tea cake

I wanted to make a special cake to commemorate my sweet friend Cynthia‘s brilliant cookbook A Common Table – a drool-worthy book seriously slam-jammed with every delicious thing you want to eat, comfort food with Asian and Southern (!!) twists. Cynthia has a recipe for Hong Kong style coffee tea in her book – brewed coffee, and milky tea made with condensed milk, combined to create a caffeine blast of flavour! This cake features coffee milk tea soaked vanilla cake layers, coffee milk tea swiss meringue buttercream, crispy cute meringue kisses and fresh raspberries!

coffee milky tea buttercream cake

coffee milky tea buttercream cake

I love the little milky tea bits speckled throughout the buttercream. The buttercream has a few steps, but the tea flavour is so lovely – you steep the tea in melted butter, strain the butter and re-chill the butter until it’s roughly room temperature. It’s a butter-steeping trick I learned from the amazing Tessa of Style Sweet! Another trick I’ve discovered when making swiss meringue buttercream – swoop up a bit of the whipped meringue right before adding the butter. Pipe the meringue into kisses onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and voila – you’ll have crispy cute textural decorations for the top of your cake!

hong kong coffee tea cake

hong kong coffee tea

Yuanyang Coffee Milk tea Cake

6-inch round 3 layer cake - serves 10 to 12

For The Coffee Milk Tea

Recipe from A Common Table by Cynthia Chen McTernan
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Ceylon or English Breakfast tea bags
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup strong coffee, hot
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

For The Vanilla Cake

Cake recipe adapted from Icing On The Cake by Tessa Huff
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil

For The Coffee Milk Tea Buttercream

  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup loose ceylon or English breakfast tea leaves (or four tea bags)
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 to 8 large eggs)
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure coffee extract
  • 2 tablespoons coffee milk tea mixture
  • pinch of salt

For The Decoration

  • Fresh raspberries, gently washed and dried
  • Meringue kisses
  • Piping bag fitted with open star tip filled half way with coffee milk tea buttercream

Make The Coffee Milk Tea Soak

  1. Steep tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the baking soda, then the coffee.
  3. Stir in the evaporated milk and the sweetened condensed milk. Add more sugar to taste, if desired.
  4. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  5. Set aside 2 tablespoons of coffee milk tea for adding to the buttercream.

Make The Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line three 6 inch x 2 inch round cake pans with parchment paper. 

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk to combine.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and oil.
  5. Gently stir everything together until the batter is smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean with only moist crumbs attached.
  8. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Make The Buttercream

  1. In a medium sauce pan on low to medium heat, combine the butter and the loose tea leaves until the butter melts. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for another 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the butter through a fine-mesh-sieve set over a bowl and refrigerate until it reaches softened butter consistency – 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisking to combine.
  5. Fill a medium saucepan with water and place it over medium-high heat.
  6. Place the stand mixer bowl on top, creating a double-boiler effect (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water.)
  7. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) on a candy thermometer.
  8. Carefully move the mixer bowl back to the stand mixer.
  9. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white and sugar mixture on high speed for about 8-10 minutes until it reaches medium-stiff peaks. The mixture should have cooled down now to room temperature.
  10. If making meringue kisses, fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with up to one cup of meringue. Pipe drop stars on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake until dried out and crisp. 
  11. On the stand mixer, swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment.
  12. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla paste, tea infused butter and remaining 1 cup of butter about a tablespoon at a time.
  13. Once incorporated, add the coffee extract, pinch of salt, then the first tablespoon of coffee milk tea and turn the mixer to medium-high and beat to combine; add the final tablespoon and beat on medium high until buttercream is thick and lustrous.

Decorate The Cake

  1. Place a 7 inch round cake board or cake platter of your choice on a cake turntable. Add a dollop of buttercream, then place the first cake layer on top, levelling if need be. Using a pastry brush, soak the layer with coffee milk tea. You can be fairly generous with the soak – you don’t want it to soak so much that it loses structure, so start with one layer of soak, let it seep into the layer then add additional soak layers.
  2. Once the layer has been soaked, spread a generous amount of coffee milk tea buttercream on top. Repeat with the next two layers.
  3. Frost the entire exterior of the cake, using a cake bench scraper to smooth. Chill first layer of buttercream in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge and add a second layer of buttercream, again using scraper to smooth, if desired.
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip with remaining buttercream (any leftovers can be used for future cupcakes!).
  6. Pipe drop stars on the top of the cake, nestling fresh raspberries and meringue kisses amongst the piping, in a pattern that pleases you. Reserve additional berries and meringues for serving!

 

coffee milk tea cake

Serve this cake up with … yup, ADDITIONAL CUPS OF YUANYANG COFFEE MILK TEA, if you so desire! Hehe. You could even chill your cups of coffee milk tea and add pearls!  (I just learned how to cook them, super easy – I’ll post about it soon!) I want to congratulate Cynthia on such a beautiful book – not only are the recipes so crave-worthy, Cynthia’s writing is so soothing, and the photography just as comforting!

a common table cookbook

Happy baking, cake pals! and PS – my favourite bubble tea is roasted milk tea with pearls, taro slush with pearls, or BANANA milk tea with pearls … xo Lyndsay