Now for Something a Little Different

October 22nd, 2012 · 4 Comments · Cakes, Cookbooks, Recipes

lucky peach cake

I’m working on a full-size post (with Halloween around the corner, is everyone automatically thinking of candy in “full size” and “fun size”? and how when you were a kid, you always knew which houses gave away the full size candy bars on Halloween night?), but in the meantime here’s a little update.

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Looking for Sunshine: Apricot Crumb Coffee Cake

March 30th, 2012 · 16 Comments · Cakes, Fruit, Recipes, Reviews

apricot coffee cake

It’s been raining a lot over here. April showers have come early, or maybe they’re winter rains that lost their way. Normally I like rain, especially after a dry winter that made me think I’d forgotten the sound of rain on the roof. In typical be-careful-what-you-ask-for-fashion, I am totally re-familiarized with rain. I still like the rain, particularly when I’m inside reading a book in my favorite spot on the couch. I’m not such a big fan anymore when I have to take my apparently hydrophobic dog out three times a day and stand for about 10 minutes outside convincing her to do her business.

So I’m ready for spring. And what better harbinger of sunshine than this package of dried apricots I got on my doorstep from Enduring Sun?

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Happy Valentine’s: Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Chocolate, Framboise

February 14th, 2012 · 18 Comments · Cakes, Chocolate, Recipes

molten cake unmolded

Happy Valentine’s Day! This dessert is a little brainstorm I got last weekend when I realized it was three days from Valentine’s Day and I hadn’t thought of anything to make yet. I wanted to take a classic V-day dessert and give it a little modern spin. Molten chocolate cakes came to mind…perennial lurkers on Valentine’s “romantic” menus.

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A Little Night Circus Cake

November 21st, 2011 · 34 Comments · Books, Cakes, Chocolate, Recipes

Darkness to Light Cake inspired by The Night Circus on dessertfirstgirl.com

I rarely mention my non-food-related reading here (and judging from the pile of new cookbooks on my kitchen table, leisure reading time is at a premium these days), but I thought I’d have to mention The Night Circus as I haven’t made any literature-inspired recipes recently . (By the way, for all you Song of Ice and Fire fans, this is the most amazing fansite out there.)

The Night Circus is a novel about magic, but a kind of magic far removed from the carefully delineated, all-encompassing sorcery of the Harry Potter world. Magic in this world is a mysterious, shadowy phenomenon practiced by a rare few. Although at least one character has certain “systems” for wielding magic, no elaboration follows. I found this nebulousness frustrating, but in the end I realized that the author wasn’t really interested in exploring the hows and whys of the feats of fancy in her book. Magic is a conduit to create some fantastical and evocative imagery, and lead the reader into a world where everything is deliberately, delightfully, extraordinary.

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Fig and Pistachio Cake for Fall

September 29th, 2011 · 13 Comments · Cakes, Recipes

fig cake lineup

How did it become fall? It seems like just a few weeks ago I was sailing the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Appearances of plums and peaches everywhere, a lambent harvest moon, and now the year’s gone crepuscular.

I know there are fall-weather fans who can’t wait to break out the scarves and wool coats; as for me, I find charms in all the seasons (or what pass for seasons in the bay area – I’ve heard all the jokes before). What always trips me up, though, is the one-step-forward, two-steps-back weather progression we have here. One day it’s completely foggy; the next perfectly sunny. A weekend of threateningly grey cloud-filled skies gives way to shorts-wearing temperatures. I’m perfectly eager to welcome fall – I just wish it’d make its definitive entrance and stay, instead of tip-tapping in and out like an elusive cat. While other parts of the country get a beautiful, russet-crimson-vermilion fadeout of summer, we get climate confusion. (more…)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14th, 2011 · No Comments · Cakes, Chocolate, Personal, Recipes

Vdaycake

Happy Valentine's Day to all! If you're just here for cake, at the end of this post you'll find a recipe for an absolutely addictive gianduja mousse cake. A rendition of flourless chocolate cake made even more irresistable by the addition of fresh toasted hazelnut paste to the batter. This is defnitely a one-slice-is-all-you-need dessert; the cake, which is surprisingly light and delicate out of the oven, firms into a more decadent, trufflelike texture in the refrigerator. Either way, it's a perfect combination of two of my favorite flavors.

If you're here for some Hong Kong photos, scroll on!

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