Feb 172014
 

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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Feb 052014
 

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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Jun 162013
 

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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Continue reading »

Apr 072013
 

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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Continue reading »

Mar 172013
 

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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Continue reading »

Dec 192012
 

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

Feb 202010
 

Today is my good friend’s birthday, and I decided to bake him a cake! He loves rum & raisin, so I wanted to try my hand at a rum & raisin cake.. now, this is my first time at anything like this, so pleeeease show me some mercy in your comments… and offer as much advice as you can! Thank you!

First of all, I do not have a Bundt or tube pan, so I adapted the cake to a regular round cake. I also decided to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour because.. well, I just like cake flour. I ALSO decided to be extra adventurous and use three eggs instead of two-and-a-half, like the recipe called for. All very fun and risky changes, but here goes nothing!

Rum & Raisin Cake

Rum & Raisin Cake (without Cream)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1+1/8 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp (1+1/4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 5/6 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp rum (optional) Continue reading »
Nov 102009
 

So I didn’t win the dessert contest, but I did have a lot of fun making and serving my tiramisu, so I’d like to share my recipe! Here we go!

The recipe actually came from Emeril Live’s Tiramisu Recipe, with just a couple of slight modifications.

Classic tiramisu consists of ladyfingers soaked in espresso and rum (or some other flavored liqueur) then layered with mascarpone cream. I chose to use sponge cake, which is fluffier and more likely to absorb the espresso and rum. However, the problem with using sponge cake is that you’ll have a more difficult time with layering and setting the cream.

Making a tiramisu takes a lot of time and effort, but it will definitely be super rewarding, and of course your friends will love you a lot. So try it, and send me pictures! I would love to see them (and post them here)!

Ingredients:
Sponge Cake
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp butter
1+1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 egg
1+1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolk

Espresso Mixture
1/2 cup+2 tbsp espresso (or very strong, concentrated instant coffee. I’ve used Starbucks Via, Italian Roast)
1/2 cup+2 tbsp hot water
3 tbsp rum (or other flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier)

Mascarpone Cream
1 cup (8oz) Mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp rum (or other flavored liqueur such as Marsala wine)
3 eggs, separated
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
Cocoa powder
Powdered sugar

Preparation of the ingredients

Directions for the sponge cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper (use the butter to stick the paper to the bottom of the pan). Grease and lightly flour the parchment paper. Alternatively, if you wish to make a rectangular tiramisu, you can use a 9x13in baking pan.
3. Heat the milk and butter until the butter melts. Keep the heat low so that the milky film won’t form.
4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder.
5. Set the eggs, sugar, and egg yolks in a large bowl over a hot water bath. Whisk (using a mixer) on slow speed until the color becomes very light, and the volume of the mixture more than triples. This step is crucial for the sponge cake to rise. It may take a while, but please be patient. (See photo).
6. Remove the egg mixture from heat. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
7. Fold in the milk mixture.
8. Divide the batter between the two pans. Tilt the pan so that the batter runs all the way around the edge of the pan – this will ensure even rising.
9. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cake has risen. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, and the cake should spring back when pressed lightly. Cool on a wire rack.


Top: Texture, volume, and color of the egg mixture after it has been whisked over the water bath.
Bottom: Sponge cakes.


Directions for the espresso mixture and mascarpone cream:

1. Combine the espresso, hot water, and 3 tbsp of rum, and set aside.
2. Combine the mascarpone cream and 2 tbsp of rum in a large bowl, and beat until smooth.
3. Combine the egg yolks and 3 tbsp of sugar, and beat until smooth. Set the egg yolk mixture over a hot water bath and beat until the mixture is light and foamy.
4. Remove the egg yolk mixture from heat, and without waiting, beat into the mascarpone mixture. Set aside.
5. Whip the heavy cream until it holds a firm shape.
6. Fold into the heavy cream the vanilla extract.
7. In two small additions, fold 1/2 of the mascarpone cream into the whipped cream.
8. Then, fold the whipped cream back into the mascarpone cream. This ensures even mixing. Set this aside.
9. Beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until light and foamy (soft peaks).
10. Add 3 tbsps of sugar, then beat on high speed until glossy, but not dry (hard peaks should form). This is basically the process of making meringue*.
11. Fold the egg whites, all at once, into the mascarpone cream mixture.


Top: Meringue. Bottom: Mascarpone cream before addition of meringue in large mixing bowl; meringue in small bowl.

Now, you are ready to assemble your tiramisu!

Directions for assembly:
1. Moisten one of the cakes with the espresso mixture.
2. Top the cake with half of the mascarpone cream, spreading it evenly.
3. Sift cocoa powder and powdered sugar over the cream.
4. Top with the second cake. Moisten with the espresso mixture.
5. Top with the remaining mascarpone cream.
6. Sift cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
7. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours before serving. (The cream needs to set.)

You may wish to decorate with additional elements such as chocolate curls, mini chocolate chips, etc. I would recommend decorating with all these things – and even sprinkling with cocoa powder – after the cream has set in the fridge.

Please enjoy!

The final product!

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