Oh Sweet Day!

Baby Gender Reveal Cupcake

July 21, 2014 by Fanny | 14 Comments

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Over the past weekend, I made these cuties for one of my special friends who’s expecting her first child. The idea came up pretty quickly because I’ve made these before for one of my clients. Nothing brand-new, but this is one of the recipes that I would love to revisit over and over again. These cupcakes look chic on the outside and adorable inside. They aren’t only great for revealing baby gender, they can be customized for any party celebrations or holiday events. I made a couple extra for my kids who were fighting to eat all so they could see the colour inside.

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The cupcakes taste incredibly chocolate-y with the moist chocolate cake and the decadent ganache. The inside can be filled with buttercream, cream cheese frosting, or mostly used marshmallow frosting for fauxstess cupcakes. Again, I used my beloved one-bowl chocolate cake recipe which is unbelievably easy that a mind-blowing result.

Ingredients (12 regular sized cupcakes):

Chocolate Cake
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Blue or pink food coloring paste
Chocolate Ganache
100 grams dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
 

Directions:

To prepare cupcake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix until smooth and liquidy.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, about halfway full. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.

To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla and heavy cream, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.

Transfer 1/3 of the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a small plain pastry tip. Set aside.

Add coloring paste, one drop at a time, to the rest of the buttercream, continue beating until the color is nicely blended.

Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon or two of frosting. Replace top.

To prepare ganache, place the chocolate, heavy cream and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Grab each cupcake with its bottom, dip cupcake in the ganache to coat the top, let excess drip off. Place cupcakes in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the ganache.

Pipe a question mark with the reserved buttercream on each cupcake.

To Ethan and Maya – A family of five

July 17, 2014 by Fanny | 0 comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

It’s been over two weeks since my cousin Kaman arrived Vancouver. We all met her first time when we went to Hong Kong early this year. Already you both started to get crazy with this 16-year-old as if she were made entirely out of chocolate ice cream. Over these two weeks, you guys have become intensely possessive of Kaman. Like when we try to have a conversation, either one of you will crawl up into her lap and place your entire body in front of her face so that I cannot see her. So annoying that I have to tilt my head to one side in order to finish my sentence!

Kaman is going to stay with us for at least the next five years planning to finish high school. Huge obligation and responsibility for us considered I am still an amateur mother learning to parent the very young of you both. But Kaman has become so much a part of our family, so very close to you both, so helpful, easy-going and generous. A teenage girl with a good heart.

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I love this picture of you all, and I hope she remains a lifelong big sister so that I can show this to you when you are older.

Love,
Mommy

To Ethan and Maya – Eight years passed

July 15, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

Your father and I got married today eight years ago. Sooner or later, he is going to share with you one of my most annoying shortcomings that has never been overcome – my inability to deal with systems that have anything to do with directions.

Last week I had to go to downtown by Skytrain. Last time I took public transit, it was years ago when I was working in downtown. Every day I had to go on the same route to and fro, because I was scared to be taken somewhere else if I didn’t. What if I missed a stop and then out of a sudden I landed in Minnesota! In order to make sure I wouldn’t go to Minnesota, your father had to check the Skytrain station map in advance and brief me thoroughly, like which station to transfer, which platform I should go. If I don’t normally walk faster than he does, he would basically need to count how many steps I would need to take from one spot to another, just to be extra safe. Nobody wanted to go to Minnesota.

Last week after I successfully arrived downtown, we texted each other.

Me: I was a little late.

Your father: Really? Why it took so long?

Me: First of all, it was a long ride. Then I missed one station and I had to ride back.

Him: Oh! So it took an hour for the ride? That’s really long!

Me: You know there are two lines to the destination.

Him: Yes. But the one I told you is faster.

Me: I took the other.

Him: WHAT?????? You are really stupid on these things.

Me: Damn you!!!!!

Him: No wonder it took an hour! I told you to take another one!

So, your father, the King of Not Remembering Anything Even When He Was Told A Minute Ago, was trying to complain about my inability to manoeuvre the highly complex and intricate public transit system when just days ago he searched for his missing cell phone for the whole afternoon only to find it on the couch where it was supposed to be. Let’s recount how that episode played out:

Your father looks for his missing cell phone all over the house before he decides to drive back to the store where he visits that morning. Having no luck at the store, he tries to call his cell again, “You found my cell?”

I say, “Your son found it! Not me. Because if I had found it I would have made a point of telling you that YOUR WIFE, THE ONE WHO HAS TO REMIND YOU WHAT’S FOR DINNER WHEN YOU ARE JUST TOLD TEN SECONDS AGO, found your cell.”

Here we’ve just participated in the most stereotypical married-couple fight in history. And you both may start to go back to your rooms only to find your eyes are going to get stuck in the back of your heads.

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Love,
Mommy

Mini Cherry Shortbread Pie

July 14, 2014 by Fanny | 10 Comments

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I know a lot of people who are not really into cherry dessert. Baking with cherries sounds really gross to them. Some even have a hard time facing an apple pie because cooking fruits to them is nothing but YUCK!

I happen to be the opposite who loves to bake with fruits. I can’t really recall which fruit I haven’t tried to bake with. Maybe durian? Well, the thing is I don’t even like to eat durian.

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One of the perfect reasons to bake with fruits is you can make use of those not-really-good-for-eating ones, like these under-ripped cherries. They are cooked with sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest for a little while, before they become a bowl of tasty sweet cherry filling that goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream.

I reserved some to make these mini cherry pies. They are not crazily sweet like the traditional ones, thanks to the buttery shortbread crust which helps balance the flavour. The size is good for a single serving, wonderfully perfect to pair with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche.

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Ingredients (10 mini pies):

Shortbread Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cherry Filling
4 cups cherries, pitted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup and 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
 

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt.

Cream butter and powdered sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Gather dough and form a dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill.

To prepare filling, combine the cherries, sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water into paste. Add the mixture and lemon zest to the cherries. Keep cooking until it thickens. Allow the cherry filling to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 2/3 of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 4-inch rounds. Gently fit the dough rounds into the bottom of the prepared muffin tin. 

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons cooled cherry filling into each cup.

Roll the remaining dough out and cut into 1/3 inch width strips. Lay 3 or 4 strips over the filling, evenly spaced, and then weave with the remaining strips diagonally. Adhere the ends to the edge of the shell.

Bake the pies for 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove from oven and let the tart shells cool a few minutes before inverting and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Maya – Only if it comes in my size

July 14, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

Dear Maya,

You’ve been refusing to put on anything that is not a dress. Every morning I try to make you wear the other non-dress outfits that only fit you this week, but won’t next week because you will grow another foot taller.

Last week I successfully put this jumpsuit on you. In the midst of crying and stumbling around naked, you asked, “Does Queen Elsa really wear this all the time?” I answered, “Yes! That’s how she collects her magic powers before she put one the blue dress.”

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Love,
Mommy

Peach Cupcake

July 7, 2014 by Fanny | 10 Comments

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Summer fruits are my love. They are sweeter, more colorful and tons of varieties. Besides berries, my favourites are stone fruits, especially peaches and nectarines.

I love to cut them in small pieces and put them in plain yogurt for a refreshing and healthy breakfast. They are great for making popsicles or sorbet too. Even in baked good, like these cupcakes.

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These cupcakes are light, moist and very fruity, perfect base for the sweet and peachy buttercream. The cake itself would be great as breakfast muffins too.

Ingredients (12 regular sized cupcakes):

Peach Vanilla Cake
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup diced firm peaches
Peach Whipped Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup peach puree
1 to 2 drops of peach food coloring paste
 

Directions:

Preheat over to 350F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Gradually add oil and vanilla, mix until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the buttermilk, mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Fold in diced peaches.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.  Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar incorporates with the butter.  Add vanilla, heavy cream and peach puree, continue mixing until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium high, beat for another 5 to 8 minutes until light and fluffy.

Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a preferred tip and frost the cupcakes. Garnish with a sliced of firm peach on each cupcake.

12 Summer Fruit Dessert

July 1, 2014 by Fanny | 4 Comments

Check out 12 Summer Fruit Dessert

by Oh Sweet Day! at Foodie.com

We are all suckers of fresh berries. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry…My kids eat berries by bowls. I have to keep that bowl of blueberries away during meal time, so they won’t be distracted and focus on that plate of pasta.

The thing is it’s kind of okay if your kids prefer eating berries over the sandwich or pasta. At least it feels okay because fruits are not junk food. You want them to eat fruits instead of candies or chips. So be generous and buy lots of summer fruits, feed your family or use them to cook or bake.

Summer fruits are full of vibrant colours, aromatic flavour and delicious taste. I love to bake with them, decorate my cakes with them, or just look at them. Trust me, it will make you happier!

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First Row

Mango Mousse Cake

Cherry and Walnut Buttermilk Cake

Fresh Mango, Coconut and Lime Ice Cream

Second Row

Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Tartlet

Fresh Mango and Strawberry Popsicle

Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Cake

Third Row

Lemon Blueberry and White Chocolate Cream Cake

Fresh Berry Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Blueberry Cream Pie

Fourth Row

Chocolate Cake with Mango Mousse and Nutella Panna Cotta

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Ultimate Blueberry Cupcake

This post is brought to you by Foodie.com.

Fresh Mango and Strawberry Popsicle

June 29, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

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Make these and your kids will love you more! I guarantee you!

Summer holidays started a little sooner that I expected, thanks to the teacher strike. And what happens now is every few days my house will become a day camp where my kids and their friends hang around at the backyard, splashing in the pool, scooching down the water slide, climbing tree, and having sweet treats, like these popsicles.

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Fresh, fruity, natural, fun, eye-catchy, versatile…these frozen treats are perfect for the whole world. Instead of mixing the fruit puree together, I decided to go for a fun striped effect by layering mango puree and strawberry puree and freezing them in stages. You can use any kind of berries, or you can try peach, nectar, cherry, even citrus would be a great idea.

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Ingredients (6 to 8 popsicles):

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh strawberry, hulled and halved
3 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
 

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Chill in refrigerator for an hour.

Puree cooled syrup, lemon juice and strawberries until smooth. Set aside.

Puree mango chunks until smooth. Strain and set aside.

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of strawberry mixture into the bottom of the popsicle mold. Freeze for around 30 minutes until set.

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of mango puree into the popsicle mold, on top of the strawberry layer. Freeze.

Push popsicle sticks into the frozen mango layer. Continue with the another layer of strawberry and mango.  Freeze until solid.

Mango Mousse Cake

June 24, 2014 by Fanny | 8 Comments

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This cake looks awesome and tasty and mango-licious, doesn’t it? And it’s true that every part of the cake was delicious. The mango mousse was smooth and flavourful. The mango glaze gave the cake an elegant look. Except the cake base. It was dense. Too dense. Not what I thought it would be, which should be airy and light.

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When I re-did it and tried to figure out what went wrong. I found out that the mousse, although it tasted incredibly yummy, it was a bit on the loose side. Not that it was liquidy, but it should have been a bit more solid. And that’s why the cake absorbed too much moisture when the un-set mousse mixture was poured over the cake base, and after hours of setting in the fridge, it became moist but overly dense.

And the reason why the mousse was not at its right consistency? Well, just because I didn’t have enough amount of gelatin, and was too eager to go ahead and make the cake anyway. HUGE.MISTAKE. I know I should know better considered how long I’ve been baking for. But you know, human beings do make stupid mistakes sometimes.

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So, follow through the recipe and use the right amount of ingredients! I’m saying this not just for making this cake, but for general cooking.

Ingredients (one 8-inch layered cake):

Sponge Cake
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mango Mousse
3 cups mango puree,
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup fresh mango cubes
Mango Mirror Top
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup and 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup mango puree
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an un-greased 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom. Set aside.

In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, whip eggs and 1 cup of sugar on high speed for 5 minutes, until light and triple in volume.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture on low speed, and mix until just incorporated.

Spoon about a cup of the cake batter into a bowl, and stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Add the mixture back to the cake batter and stir by hand until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan evenly and smooth the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the centre of the cakes spring back when gently pressed. Let cool completely in the pans.

Run a pairing knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper, and slice the cake into 2 equal layers. And place one layer back at the bottom of the springform pan.

To prepare mango mousse, combine mango puree, sugar and lime juice in a bowl. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup water, let stand for 5 minutes. Dissolve over medium-low heat, and stir into puree mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Whip heavy cream until it becomes stiff. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into puree mixture. Then fold in remaining whipped cream.

Sprinkle the mango cubes over the cooled cake layer in the pan. Pour the mango mixture over. Smooth the top, place another layer on top of the mousse. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

To prepare the mango mirror layer, dissolve gelatin in 2 tablespoons of water.

Combine remaining water and sugar in a saucepan and heat on medium low. Stirring continuously until sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove from heat when it starts to simmer then add the dissolved gelatin. Stir until the gelatin has completely melted. Add the mango puree and let cool at room temperature.

Once it has cooled down, pour the mixture slowly on top of the chilled mango cake that is still in the springform pan. Cover the top completely. Allow to set for 10 minutes in the fridge.

Keep the cake in refrigerator before serving.

To Ethan and Maya – You 2014

June 23, 2014 by Fanny | 4 Comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

2014 is just halfway through, and I couldn’t help but posted these pictures of yours. Because they totally represent your relationship over the past months. When I talked to other moms about how you both transitioned from fighting every minute to hanging together for hours peacefully, some of them with older kids tried to calm my excitement, and implied to me that this would say something very different in ten years when one kid steals the other’s phone and loses it. Or leave the other one to replace the toilet paper in the bathroom, or one of you hums that one song the other one hates and refuses to stop.

That reminded me “Or being on the phone for hours.” See? “The” phone. Singular. Kids, we grew up with only one phone and it was attached on the wall. And you know what, we lived through that.

One evening last week, you both were transitioning from one game to another: hide and seek, fort building, sliding across the hardwood floors in your socks and accidentally crashing a wall. Depending on the resulting thud and its volume, sometimes I just let it go and wouldn’t bother to check the amount of blood.

Then you both ran over to me on the couch. Maya, you brought your fists in front of you and asked Ethan to guess which hand you had a toy in. Except the toy was so big that you couldn’t fully wrap your hand around it and half of it was visible. I had to bury my mouth in a blanket to muffle my laughter. And you immediately whipped your head in my direction with a look on your face that suggested I was ruining your trick and could I please die slowly.

Ethan, you glanced knowingly at me and pointed at the hand holding the toy.

“UGGGGHHHHH! PICK AGAIN!” your sister grunted and shouted.

You blinked several times as if you couldn’t believe that you shared this kid’s DNA and touched the hand holding the toy.

“NO! PICK AGAIN!”

“THIS ONE! I SAID!”

Unable to comprehend why this was happening to you, Maya, you threw the toy three feet away and then started screaming angrily, “you keep picking that hand! You just keep picking it and picking it and picking it”

I couldn’t handle it any longer and started cackling. At one point, Ethan, you and I locked eyes for a very brief yet special moment. I could tell that you were so happy that I was there to witness this with you. The accidental hilarity that is your three-year-old sister.

Whatever happens in ten years, I will just enjoy what it is now. And this is the two of you side by side every day to create something magical.

Love,
Mommy

P.S. I looked back to your pictures of 2012 and 2013. And I think my ovaries just exploded.

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