Lemon Curd Matcha Cake

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Y’all must know by now how I can’t resist helping with parties, especially showers. Last month Cheryl and I threw a joint baby shower for two of our friends expecting within a month of each other, and it turned out to be simple get-together sharing small bites among good company. Cheryl’s DIY decorations were a lovely touch for the relaxed event, and she’s posted tips on making floral arrangements like the ones seen here.

Originally I planned on purchasing all the food for the shower, but my hands itched to make something, and I gave in. I based this cake off a recipe I found on the back of a box of cake flour my mother-in-law gave me to try, and the lemon and matcha pairing was inspired by the mothers-to-be. Both May and Tina love matcha flavored desserts, and Tina is a huge fan of the color yellow. Remember her sunny bridal shower? Can’t believe that was already two years ago!

So how did the cake turn out? I’m typically extremely critical of my own baked goods, but this cake I loved. Between its fluffy texture and the marriage of flavors, it’s a definite keeper of a recipe. Well, except for the chunky frosting (notes on the frosting below say that it will appear curdled if there’s not enough butter), the cake still tasted great.

Congratulations to all our friends having babies! Among our friends, it feels like we’ve been averaging a birth a week! It’s such an exciting time, and it’s so much fun seeing your families grow.

p.s. And Happy Anniversary to my dear husband Tim. Four years ago, we shared a matcha cake similar to this one, and to this date, that day is still the best day of my life. I love you!

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Categories: Recipes

Kolaches

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Being March 2.. y’all must be excited for today! Why? Well, it’s Texas Independence Day! It’s been a tradition of mine to celebrate the day, which really just means proclaiming it to the world. And occasionally I’ll bake some Texas-themed things too.

This year I’m proud to share with you this kolache recipe. Kolaches are pillowy pastries of dough wrapped or filled with fruits or some kind of sausage. The ones I’ve had growing up in Houston are almost always savory, but since then my view of kolaches has expanded to include the traditionally sweet Czech version. I’m accepting of the sweet kind, but I’m still quite partial to the savory version.

Just like beignets, I can’t seem to find kolaches readily available in the north outside of the south. And also like the beignets, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make them myself. After reading through several recipes, I chose one that was featured in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times back in 2001. With an article named “Perfect Kolaches” and a recipe called “Grandma Rosie’s Kolaches,” how could I not? Turns out they’re mighty close to the kolaches I’m used to eating back home, and I’m ever grateful for Grandma Rosie for sharing her secret recipe with us. This recipe worked out wonderfully as a savory pastry, and I’m sure it’d be just as great for a sweet kolache too.

[continue for kolache recipe]

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Categories: Recipes

Beignets

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Happy Mardi Gras! In honor of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, I made beignets straight from the box! Even though it’s from a box, I assure you this is completely legit stuff since I brought it back from New Orleans just last month.

On my recent visit to New Orleans, I sampled some great eats, including my own tasting of beignets from Cafe Du Monde and Cafe Beignet. Maybe it was the time of day of the visit that made the difference, but Cafe Beignet’s beignets were immensely better than those of Cafe du Monde. That made it easy for me to choose whose mix I would bring back to make at home.

Beignets aren’t hard to make nor even time-consuming, so I wonder why there aren’t more beignet offerings up here in the north. Now I can make them whenever I get the craving, and whenever my stash of beignet mix runs out (probably not too long from now), I’ll follow up with a beignet recipe made from scratch.

[continue reading for beignet recipe]

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Categories: Briefs, Recipes

Persimmon Mochi

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I often wonder how my blogger friends do it. Juggle all the responsibilities they have in life with managing a successful blog posting beautiful and creative material frequently as well as keep up socially with friends/culture/news. And working out? Sigh. I’ve tried to do it all, but I know I can’t. I don’t think man or woman was created to do it all, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

So what have I been up to lately? I’m going through a transition at work due to an exciting acquisition, I’ve been cooking and baking using old recipes, and I finally finished roughly 10 months of deaconate training. Yes, this Sunday I will be installed as a member of my church’s Deaconate Team. It’s crazy because I initially didn’t want to accept the nomination. I didn’t want the title because I enjoyed serving as I had already been doing. But I was challenged by the elders and deacons to consider the accountability and responsibility that comes with the title not as a burden but as a means to grow in my faith. Blimey. Couldn’t argue with that. So I said yes to the training, and now, 10 months later, I do feel God calling me to this position. I learned so much through the training process, and I’m sure I’ll learn even more by serving alongside a great group of people. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

This persimmon mochi fits in with the thought I started with. It never amazes me when bloggers consistently produce new baking or cooking material. I post a variation on another recipe, and I feel so unoriginal. But in the end, it’s still part of my journey in experimenting with recipes and applying tweaks here and there. I added in a cup of persimmon puree to my butter mochi recipe, and here’s what came out. I couldn’t make up my mind about adding in spices until after it was already in the oven, so I dusted the mochi with cinnamon and powdered sugar for added flavor. Fortunately, the mochi recipe turned out well, and I’m happy to share it with you now.

[continue for Persimmon Mochi recipe]

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Categories: Recipes

Candied Violet & Earl Grey Tea Cookies

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I’ve been enamored with this cookie since 2005. 2005 was the year I started religiously reading blogs, the same year I started exploring new recipes to hone my baking skills. This recipe has been at the top of that list for over six years, and it’s puzzling why I never chose to make it until recently. It really is the perfect cookie for me. Tea flavor? Check. Buttery shortbread? Check. Only thing it was missing was some floral component. But I could always adapt the recipe to incorporate some flowery goodness. Check.

After nearly seven years of waiting to make this cookie, it’s amazing how it didn’t disappoint. I may have learned how not to hype it up like I tend to do with movies, only to be underwhelmed, like a certain recent Mission: Impossible movie. Sigh. And this may be a shock to hear me say, but I think I like this cookie better than any of my matcha cookies! It must be the layer of flavors that moved me, kind of like a pinot noir.

Now that I’ve finally tackled this cookie recipe, I can move on to the many others on the list, which could take me another seven years. What about y’all? What recipes have you been wanting to try, but haven’t yet?

[continue reading Candied Violet & Earl Grey Tea Cookies]

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Categories: Recipes