[Los Angeles] Lady M Confections

On one of our LA trips, my friend A suggested that we check out Lady M – I’ve heard of their famous mille-crêpes cakes, layers of paper-thin crêpes with pastry cream in between – and have been wanting to try it for a while. So, I jumped at the suggestion and we headed to the Beverly Hills location.

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The shop was quite small and tucked away in a neighborhood-y area. There were only about 3 small tables inside, and several outside on the patio.

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Sorry for the poor picture quality – there’s the menu for the café. Since we were still pretty full from lunch, we chose to just share 1 slice of the original flavor cake.

Signature Mille-Crêpe [$7.50]

Signature Mille-Crêpes [$7.50]

At $7.50 per slice, this was quite pricey – but it was so delicious. The crêpes were soft and slightly chewy, and the cream inside had a rich vanilla flavor. And there 20 layers in this cake, which was quite impressive. The amount of work that it must take to perfect these cakes justifies the price for me (especially since this would be such a rare indulgence!).

We also brought home a couple of slices to enjoy later. If you order their cakes to-go, you can purchase an ice pack and reusable thermos bag. I forgot how much it cost, though.

Green Tea Mille-Crêpe [$8]

Green Tea Mille-Crêpes [$8]

The green tea version of the mille-crêpes was just as good – my friend A likes the green tea more. It has a nice matcha flavor that adds just a hint of bitterness – the good kind of bitterness that’s associated with tea, of course!

Strawberry Mille-Feuilles [$8]

Strawberry Mille-Feuilles [$8]

I wanted to try the mille-feuilles, which is layers of puff pastry and sponge cake filled with pastry cream and strawberries. Unfortunately by the time we ate this, the puff pastry was already slightly softened, but it was still quite delicious. The sponge cake was moist and fluffy.

Since their cakes are so beautiful, I also took some photos of the ones in their display case:

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

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5-Minute Mug Cake Book Giveaway

I’ve got another giveaway for you guys – as my holiday gift to you, I guess? Haha. My blogger friend Kirbie of Kirbie’s Cravings recently published a book, 5-Minute Mug Cakes: Nearly 100 Yummy Microwave Cakes. The recipes are as easy as you can imagine, and yes, the cakes really do come together in five minutes or less, and most of them feature simple ingredients so that you can really get your cake fix any time.

5-Minute Mug Cakes 

One of my favorite recipes from this book is the 2-Ingredient Flourless Nutella Mug Cake – recipe here. Unlike the rest, this one actually is best if you follow all the instructions and let the cake sit for a couple of hours after making it, so that the flavors can meld together nicely. (However, I totally understand if you can’t resist and sneak a bite right out of the microwave… I may have done the same.)

5-Minute Mug Cakes 

Flourless Nutella Mug Cake 

This book is a great gift for yourself or a loved one for the holidays – you can pick up a copy in Barnes & Noble as well as your favorite local bookstore, and there are a number of online retailers (including a Kindle version at Amazon). And, as I’ve mentioned, I’m giving away a copy here on my blog!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your favorite type of cake. For 1 bonus entry, follow me on Instagram and leave an additional comment telling me that you’ve done so, and with your Instagram handle. The giveaway will end Thursday, January 1 at 5:59PM PST. I’ll be using random.org to select a winner and contacting him/her by email. Good luck!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand & [Recipe] Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Today’s post is a little more than a recipe – I am partnering with my blogger buddies in a San Diego Food Bloggers Lemonade Challenge, in support of a wonderful cause – Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a fundraiser for childhood cancer, and is the biggest fundraiser in California! Since its inception 9 years ago, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million and funded more than 450 research projects at 94 institutions! They also help families struggling with childhood cancer by providing a Travel Fund and an annual Educational Symposium.

The 9th annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be held this Saturday, July 26 from 10AM-6PM in Normal Heights: 3366 Adams Avenue, 92116 at the Masonic Parking Lot. There will be lemonade, a silent auction, prize drawings, kids’ activities, and live music – it is bound to be a super fun event, supporting an amazing fundraiser.

Alex's Lemonade Stand, 2013

Alex’s Lemonade Stand, 2013

Even if you can’t attend, you can donate online here. A $50 donation funds an hour of research – the biomedical research funding climate is not so great right now (I can personally attest to this, as a grad student in this field), and every little bit will help! Let’s help our hosts, the Miller Tribe, reach their goal of $15,000 this year – which would bring their total to $100,000 for the nine years that they’ve been running!

This week, I join my fellow food bloggers in creating a lemon-based recipe, sponsored by Melissa’s Produce. More than a dozen bloggers will be cooking with lemons in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Be sure to check out the recipes on their blogs!

A Purpose Driven Wife
BakeLoveGive
Becky Charms
Confessions of a Foodie
Deleting the Adjectives
Family Spice
Frugal Nutrition
Golden State Mom
Jinxi Eats
Kirbie’s Cravings
Making It Sweet
Recipe Renovator
Sweet Sueshine
The H Blog
This Tasty Life
The Seaside Baker
Three Dog Kitchen

Melissa’s Produce generously provided both regular and Meyer lemons (as well as a bunch of other amazing fruits!) for me to create my recipe. I remembered something that I had seen on Pinterest, a Greek yogurt lemon coffee cake, and decided to make a Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

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It’s basically a coffee cake, but with a layer of lemon cream cheese in between the cake and crumble part.

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I really enjoyed the textural contrast between the crumble topping and custard-like cream cheese layer! The Meyer lemons gave it a wonderfully sweet yet bright flavor – it was my first time baking with Meyer lemon, and now I’m addicted. I’m already planning to make a batch of Meyer lemon curd this weekend!

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S loved the cake, too, and was quite reluctant when I said I wanted to share some with our friends… haha. That’s when I knew that I made something yummy!

Thanks so much, once again, to Melissa’s Produce for providing the lemons for this post, as well as the produce box! Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ lemon recipes in the links above! And finally, I hope you’ll support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, whether by attending the event or making an online donation. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Melissa’s Produce to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Event Partners:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Adams Avenue Business Association
Blind Lady Ale House
FM 94.9, broadcasting live all day
Melissa’s Produce

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[Recipe] Cookies & Cream Cake Pops

I’ve shared before that I received a Babycakes Cake Pop maker as a gift earlier this year – I really love it since cake pops are really easy to make, satisfy my cake cravings, and look adorable. (Plus, who can say no to any food on a stick?)

Recently, some of S’s labmates had a birthday celebration, and I made some cake pops for him to bring to work. I had picked up a jar of Betty Crocker’s cookies & cream frosting and decided to use that as a glaze.

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I chose not to glaze the entire cake pop – I think it looks a little prettier that way, and I tend to find frosting a tad too sweet so I didn’t want to go overboard.

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The frosting comes with some cookie crumbs to mix into the frosting, but in addition to the provided amount, I also crushed a couple more Oreo cookies for extra cookie crunch in the creamy frosting. More crunch = more yay!

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I also decided to try and be more “crafty” by putting them in individual little baggies and tying ribbons. Turns out, unlike most other food bloggers, who always package their homemade snacks in adorable ways, I have next to zero crafty skills, and I’m pretty sure it took me longer just to tie these ribbons than making the cake pops… and they didn’t even turn out that pretty. Haha. *Sigh~*

Anyway, they still tasted yummy – S said that his labmates really enjoyed them, which made me super happy. The base recipe is adapted from the cake pop maker’s handbook, and the glaze is obviously from a store-bought mix. I’ve been playing around with homemade icing and glaze recipes and will be sharing more cake pop recipes soon!

Even if you don’t have a cake pop maker, the recipe can be easily adapted to cupcakes (especially mini cupcakes!) – simply butter a cupcake pan and fill each cup to about 3/4 full with batter. The baking times would need to be adjusted to longer, though. Please feel free to play around with baking times and temperature, and let me know how it turned out! :)

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Hanna’s Gourmet Desserts

After our epic bloggers’ lunch at Que Huong, we had to get dessert (of course). CC of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High suggested Hanna’s Gourmet, a little cafe not too far from Que Huong. I’ve read about it and was quite excited to check out this little spot.

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Half of the photos from this post are from my phone… my camera battery died on me halfway through. Sad.

This was a pretty small place, with a few tables inside and a patio with maybe four tables outside. I felt shy about taking photos of the desserts display case, since there were a couple of diners sitting right next to it… haha. The food menu looked really good – in addition to sandwiches and entrées that you’d expect from a cafe, they also feature rotating “world cuisine” specialities to highlight traditional foods from different cultures. When I was there, the cuisine was Italian.

CC and Cathy of mmm-yoso chose the desserts… I was happy to have someone else make the decisions! Hehe. We ended up getting five desserts to share among seven of us.

Persimmon Raspberry Parfait

Persimmon Raspberry Parfait

I was really excited about the persimmon (for a while, I thought I was allergic to it, which made me super sad, but now it seems like I’m fine with it again. Hurray!). To my disappointment, the persimmon taste was quite mild – you could only taste it if you had a bunch of the purée drizzled at the top. I guess the raspberry (both the mousse and the fresh fruit on top) overwhelmed the persimmon a bit.

Berry Cake with Rum

Berry Cake with Rum

This one was really delicious. You can definitely smell the rum, but it didn’t taste too strong and paired perfectly with the tart berries. The cake layers were very fluffy, yet also had a “creamy” mouthfeel to it. I was also glad that they used whipped cream, which made the dessert feel lighter. One of my favorites of the day!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse

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[Baking] Taiwanese Egg Cakes and Melt Organic Butter Giveaway!

A few months ago, I posted about Melt Organic Spread, a butter alternative. I had a great experience with it in both sweet and savory applications, and I have been replacing butter with Melt in some of my cooking ever since I tried it out. Now, Melt is hosting a giveaway for my readers to win a prize package, including a spreader, cutting board, and two VIP coupons for free Melt spread.

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To enter the giveaway: simply visit the Melt Organic giveaway page, enter your name and email, and select that you follow the blog Jinxi Eats. That’s it! Melt Organic will choose a winner in early March. Good luck!

Meanwhile, I got a cool new toy recently from a dear friend…

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A Babycakes cake pop maker! I see these online and in stores all the time, but never purchased one because I didn’t know how well it would work. Well, apparently these cake pop makers are all the rage among Taiwanese ladies in the U.S., because they can make a variety of Asian treats, including “egg cakes” (雞蛋糕), a popular Taiwanese street-food snack.

Egg cakes

Taiwanese egg cakes are vaguely reminiscent of Hong Kong egg waffles or egg puffs. They should be browned and crispy on the outside and have a soft, fluffy interior. No frosting is needed for these mini cakes – the point is to let their “eggy” taste come through.

Even if you don’t have a cake pop maker, which conveniently has the holes/molds for egg cakes, you can make them in a mini muffin pan or mini popover pan. The batter is super easy to make, and uses simple ingredients that can be found in most pantries – and I used Melt Organic Spread in place of butter for these egg cakes! The base recipe comes from a good friend of mine, who is an amazing cook. (I am so jealous of her family who get to eat her homecooked meals and snacks everyday!

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[Baking] Sour Cream Coffee Cake

It’s been quite a while since my last baking post! Sorry @_@ I’ve been pretty bad lately about updating the blog… but I’ll try to get back on track soon! Lots of (non-food) things going on ^^” I’ve just returned from a weekend in the Bay Area and ate as much as I could, so look forward to some updates from that trip!

Anyway, I got the idea to make a sour cream cake a while back because I forgot that we already had a tub of sour cream at home and bought an extra one, and I started looking through my cookbooks to see what I could do to use it up. (I also happened to buy a tub that was expiring soon… haha.) I came across a recipe for a coffee cake in my favorite cookbook, The Modern Baker. Coffee cake is delicious, and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand that day, so I jumped right in. 

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It also gave me a chance to test out my new Bundt pan. I’ve been wanting to get one for ages now, and it had been on my Amazon wishlist for a long time, but I ended up buying one from the grocery store. I guess I had to see it to be fully convinced that I needed one.

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The cake turned out a bit more fluffy than the recipe probably intended – I had it in the stand mixer for a bit longer than what the recipe called for. But that’s all right, none of my friends had complaints about a fluffy cake. Hehe.

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[Baking] Lemon Curd Coffee Cake

Recently I’ve been getting tons of lemons in my CSA box, and I thought I’d try my hand at making lemon curd. I followed the recipe from Baking Bites, and it worked really well.

Then I figured, why not incorporate the lemon curd into a cake?

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I found a recipe for lemon curd coffee in my The Taste of Home Cookbook, and modified it for what was in my pantry. It turned out quite well – the moist cake contrasted well with the crumble topping, and there was plenty of lemon flavor throughout.

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I usually bring some of my baked goods to work to share, but cakes are usually a bit messy for office snacking – so I made another batch into coffee cupcakes instead.

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[Baking] Avocado Milk Pound Cake

After I moved to San Diego, I signed S and myself up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) – partially because I’d like to support local farmers, but also because I wanted to have some challenge in the kitchen. Normally, I only cook about five different vegetables: cabbage, Taiwanese lettuce (A-choy), broccoli, cauliflower, and mung bean sprouts. After subscribing to a CSA, I knew that I’d have to get creative – every other week, I would pick up a box of produce freshly harvested from a local farm, and the contents depend entirely on what the farm grew and harvested. So I learned how to use zucchinis and squash, how to make good salads, how to make kale chips, how to roast a pumpkin. I’ve tasted some of the most delicious and fresh citrus fruits and vegetables. A friend of mine subscribes to a different farm’s CSA, and we have actually been trading our produce every time. It’s been awesome.

Recently, I have been getting avocados in my box. S and I, in true Un-Californian fashion, actually don’t like avocados that much. Blasphemous, I know, haha. But I’ve been learning to like it and to use it in new ways (and also trading it away…). Luckily for me, Kirbie’s Cravings has a whole recipe section dedicated to avocados! After perusing all the recipes and also checking what’s in stock in my kitchen, I decided to try out the avocado milk pound cake.

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Even after all the quick breads and loaf cakes that I’ve made, I still don’t have a loaf pan… how is that possible? So instead of a real pound cake, this turned out to be a square cake instead.

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(More) Extraordinary Desserts

I love bringing friends visiting from out-of-town to Extraordinary Desserts. Last time, I brought S’s sister (The Eating Monster) there and she loved it. This time, our good friends R&V were visiting from the Bay Area, and we decided to meet up and enjoy some desserts.

Chocolate danish

Chocolate danish

S loves danishes, and that night they had a chocolate danish. It looks a bit different from the round, flat, pastry that you’re used to, but it was delicious. Layers of delicate puff pastry with chocolate swirls made for a super decadent dessert.

Dulce de leche cake

Dulce de leche cake

Speaking of decadence, this was really for your serious chocolate and sugar lovers. Chocolate cake layered with chocolate + dulce de leche, topped off with chocolate ganache and served with dulce de leche. I am glad that we split this amongst five people because it is very rich, but really delicious. I loved the creamy dulce de leche mixed with moist chocolate cake.

This was quite a chocolate-filled dessert experience, and all of us left with our sweet tooths (teeth?) satisfied. (Okay, S never had a sweet tooth to begin with.. but we forced him here.) One thing that I’ve always disliked about Extraordinary Desserts is their excessive usage of flowers in the desserts. They aren’t edible (to me at least) and sort of distract from the dessert. All in all, though, I really adore this place and would definitely bring all of my out-of-town guests here.

Extraordinary Desserts (Balboa Park location)
2929 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA
http://www.extraordinarydesserts.com/

Hours: Mon-Thu 8:30am-11pm; Fri 8:30am-12am; Sat 10am-12am; Sun 10am-11pm