Posts in Sweets
A Summer Picnic | Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake
Apricot Jasmine Crepe Cake - Eat Cho Food

Hi, friend! How did your August start off? We spent the whole weekend lounging on the couch and going on long nature walks with our temporary dog, Hanky! It was blissful and full of cuddles! Except for when a scooter or skateboarded whizzed by and Hanky would go temporarily insane. I’m trying to recover from puppy withdrawal and overcome the sadness I feel when I realize she isn’t on the couch to snuggle with me anymore. Gosh, I miss her already. We will always have the memories from this weekend though : ) Ugh, I’m being dramatic.

Thankfully, it was super beautiful and fairly sunny all weekend for our long walks. It’s been characteristically chilly in our neighborhood lately, which makes me just want to roll up in a blanket and stay inside. But that’s not how you’re supposed to do summer, I guess… There’s only 1 1/2 months of Summer left and I’m going to make it a priority to spend as much time outside as possible! As long as Karl the Fog plays nice and doesn’t ruin my plans.

I see more weekday lunch breaks in the park and weekend picnics with Reuben! I love eating outside. If I could eat outside for every meal, I would! So when Bonne Maman ask me if I could plan the ultimate summer picnic using Bonne Maman INTENSE Fruit Spreads, I thought I was dreaming! I was born to pack cute picnics! To be honest, not every picnic needs to be quite so fancy, but I’m going to go through my picnic essentials and must do’s for a wonderful sunny meal in the park!

Apricot Jasmine Crepe Cake - Eat Cho Food
Apricot Jasmine Crepe Cake - Eat Cho Food
Apricot Jasmine Crepe Cake - Eat Cho Food

The Ultimate Summer Picnic Menu

When planning a summer picnic menu, I like to make sure I pack these 3 components for a well-rounded picnic.

  1. Carbs to Munch On - could be bread and cheese, crackers and salami, or milk bread and butter!

  2. Something Savory - just something salty and filling so you feel like you actually ate something and not grazed all afternoon like a goat.

  3. A Special Sweet Treat - berries and fruit are great, but having a designated dessert makes everything feel so much more special.

Then you should also think about hydration. Brings some water so you don’t feel so crappy after a few sips of wine.

I invited a few of my girlfriends over to the neighborhood park and had ourselves a lovely little picnic!

this was our menu!

Homemade Milk Bread with Bonne Maman INTENSE Blueberry Fruit Spread

Spicy Tofu Lettuce Cups with all the Fixings

Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake with Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread

Seasonal Fruit

Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food

Milk Bread

Milk bread was my carb of choice because I’m on a milk bread kick and find myself almost making it on a weekly basis now. It’s a fun alternative to a classic baguette. Plus it’s so soft you don’t need to pack a bread knife! The soft and fluffy milk bread goes perfectly well with a side of butter, condensed milk, Bonne Maman’s INTENSE Blueberry Spread! I’ve been a huge fan of Bonne Maman for years and didn’t think their preserves could get any better… until I tried the Bonne Maman INTENSE Fruit Spreads! They are made with more fruit and 39% less sugar than regular preserves! You can definitely taste the difference too. You know me, I’m not a huge fan of sugary sweet things, so I was pleasantly surprised that their preserves just taste like incredibly fresh and ripe fruit!

You can find a recipe for my homemade milk bread here. Just omit the sambal and cheese, divide the dough into 9 buns, and place in a 9”x13” baking tray lined with parchment. Bake for 28-34 minutes.

You can make this bread the day before to spread out your prep, or even prepare the dough the night before and bake it in the morning!

Spicy Tofu Lettuce Cups

Next we have the spicy tofu lettuce cups. I’m not really sharing a real recipe for this one because it’s almost too simple to make. All you do is take 1 block of firm tofu. Wrap it in paper towels to absorb liquid for at least 15 minutes. Cut the tofu into 1/2” slices. I also cut the slices into triangles… just because. Throw the tofu in a ziplock bag or shallow rimmed dish and add in some soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame oil, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Let that tofu marinate for 30 minutes.

After the tofu has marinated, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add a single layer of tofu and sear the tofu on both sides for a few minutes each, until the edges are crispy.

Serve the tofu in lettuce cups with pickled veggies, fried onions, and cucumbers!

I would make this the day of your picnic and just package all the individual components in separate containers so your guests can assemble the cups themselves.

Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food

Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake

Alright. Now time for the highlight of this picnic! The crepe cake! I love making crepe cakes because they look impressive but are actually quite easy to make! You don’t have to bake even cake layers and assemble them with mounds of unnecessary buttercream. YES!

Before we get to the crepe part of this crepe cake, let’s work on the Jasmine Whipped Cream. Yeah, you heard me. JASMINE WHIPPED CREAM. Again, it sounds fancy, but it only requires 2 extra steps than if you were going to make regular whipped cream. All you do is take 1 jasmine tea bag and simmer it with some heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan for a few minutes to infuse the cream with jasmine flavor. Take the cream off the heat and place the cream and the tea bag in a container to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hour or overnight. When you’re ready to assemble your cake, just whip it up until it’s light and fluffy!

The crepes can also be made in advance! You want your batter to be thin so that it can easily swirl in your pan to create a thin crispy edged crepe. I use an 8” nonstick pan without any oil or butter to cook the crepes and it works like a charm! Place the crepes on a baking tray and allow to completely cool before assembling.

To assemble the cake, place a crepe on a plate and apply a thin layer of whipped cream. Place another crepe on top and apply 1 tbsp of Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread. Repeat the alternating layers until you’ve used all your crepes! Top with whipped cream and a few slices of fresh apricots!

I love being able to see all 20-something layers in a crepe cake. Better yet, I love getting all the layers on my fork! The whipped cream is HEAVEN. It’s just barely sweet, creamy, and beautifully scented and flavored with floral jasmine tea. Then the crepes are thin and delicate - a little eggy and chewy, which works so well with the soft whipped cream! If it’s an incredibly hot day out, keep the cake in a cooler until you’re ready to eat. If it’s just a regular sunny day or if you have a shady spot, the cake will be just fine sitting out with you.

Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food

In addition to the food, you will also need to pack some other key essentials!

Summer Picnic Checklist

  • Picnic Blanket - for obvious reasons.

  • Cutting boards - you’ll be thankful for the flat surfaces!

  • Bottles of water - hydration!

  • A small knife - wrapped in a kitchen towel so it’s safe to carry around.

  • Little jars - for all your extra fixings like butter, crunchy lettuce cup toppings, and pickles!

  • Plastic glasses - I love our plastic glasses because you don’t have to worry about breaking them when your in transit or actively picnic-ing.

  • Small plates

  • Utensils from home + a ziplock baggie - I like to use the utensils from home so I don’t have to buy more deposable plastic and just throw them in a baggie to take home at wash.

  • Trash bags - you always forget about this one!

  • Sunscreen - gotta be prepared!

  • Napkins - just in case you drop some fruit spread on your white shirt…

Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food

I know it may seem a little labor intensive, but that’s why we’re calling this the “Ultimate Summer Picnic” and not “just your regular sunny day picnic.” NOTHING wrong with the latter picnic, but if you’re going to put all that effort into putting real pants on and leaving the house then I think you can make a nice a spread of food for the occasion! Maybe you can split up the efforts with all your pals? Don’t just be the fruit or wine person. I believe in you and you can do so much more!

Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food
Bonne Maman Summer Picnic - Eat Cho Food

Apricot and Jasmine Crepe Cake

makes 1 6” crepe cake


crepes:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water

Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread
apricot slices

whipped cream:
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 jasmine tea bag
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Whipped Cream:

  1. Make the jasmine whipped cream first. Place cream and jasmine tea bag in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Remove the cream from the pan and place in a container with the tea bag. Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hour or overnight.

  2. Discard the tea bag. Pour cream and sugar into a large bowl. Whip with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to assemble.

Crepe Cake:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together eggs, milk, oil and water in another bowl. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are no more lumps. Let the batter rest in the fridge for an hour.

  2. Heat an 8" nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Pour in a little less than 1/4 cup of batter and swirl to cover the whole pan. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds, until the edges get slightly brown and crisp. Flip and cook for another 15 seconds. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get around 23-25 crepes.

  3. Allow all the crepes to completely cool before assembling. Place one crepe on a platter. Layer on 2 tbsp of whipped cream. Place on another crepe and layer on a tablespoon of fruit spread. Repeat crepe layers with alternating fillings of whipped cream and compote. Top the cake with one last layer of whipped cream and some apricot slices.

Thanks, Bonne Maman, for sponsoring this post!

Coconut Sago with Pluots
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food

How is it practically August already?! It’s barely felt like summer in our part of the woods and it seems like Summer has bypassed us. Whenever I visit the farmers market the tomatos, squashes, berries, and stone fruits are telling me that it’s definitely summer somewhere! I’ve been stocking up on plums and all the varieties of pluots (plum and apricot hybrids) and eating them like candy. They are so delicious! Reuben also just discovered that he’s no longer allergic to peaches, so we will probably start buying all of those too! Maybe I’ll turn on the oven to make a peach pie just to warm the house up a little bit. Actually never mind, I was just reminded of my last soggy bottom pie experience and I still never want to make a pie again.

Life is a little hectic right now, maybe it’s just this week… did I tell you I’m catering a dinner for my previous office today?! It will be a little weird going back in there, but I’m mostly just excited to see some old friends again! I’m currently taking a break from the madness that is my kitchen to blog real quick. The milk bread is baking in the oven and I wish I could get a candle that smells like it does right now. To balance the craziness of this week, I wanted to share with you an insanely simple and elegant dessert. If you have 30 minutes, then you’re all set to make this Coconut Sago with Pluots! This is inspired by one of my favorite desserts whenever I would go to Hong Kong - Mango Sago! My family took me to a mango dessert cafe once and I almost ordered a gallon of the mango sago because it was so good!

Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food
Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food

What is Sago?

Sago is super similar to Tapioca. Tapioca is made from the cassava plant and sago is actually made from the sago palm. Technically different, but in terms of flavor and texture they are quite similar. The starches found in the pith of the sago palm are processed into tiny pearls, which when boiled have a chewy and bouncy texture. Just imagine tiny and clear boba! Sago is used in a lot of different asian desserts. We would have a sweet taro or red bean soup with sago pearls for dessert after our big family dinners. I know dessert soup sounds weird… but don’t knock it until you try it!

Pluot Sago - Eat Cho Food

When I was younger I went through a tapioca pudding stage. I begged my mom to buy me those Swiss Miss tapioca pudding cups! I loved them so much. I guess I had an affinity towards boba before I even had my first bubble tea! This recipe is like an grown up and dramatically less sweet version of tapioca pudding. Once you read the recipe you’ll be shocked by how easy it is too. Barely any cooking is required! All you do is boil the sago until it’s soft and translucent, combine it with some coconut milk, sweetened it up a little with condensed milk, and top with your favorite stone fruit! Yes. That’s it.

Mango sago is made in a very similar way. The only difference is that you would puree some mango into the coconut milk. I thought about doing that with the pluots, but I really loved the contrast of the white coconut sago and the beautiful colors of the pluots. If you don’t have any pluots at your local market, feel free to use whatever fruit you have on hand. Mangoes, berries, and any other stone fruit would be a lovely addition! I like to serve this at room temperature or just barely chilled so the coconut milk is still a little loose. If you want to make these in advanced or serve it cold, the coconut milk will firm up and be much more pudding like!

I hope to see these little beauties at your next dinner party! I also won’t blame you if you just want to eat this everyday as an afternoon snack!


Coconut Sago with Pluots

serves 4-6

Materials:

3/4 cup dried sago (or small tapioca)
1 13.5oz full fat canned coconut milk
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
3-4 pluots - sliced

Steps:

  1. Bring pot of water to a boil. Add in sago and boil until the sago pearls are clear. About 10 minutes, but cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse the sago under cold water.

  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked sago, coconut milk, and condensed milk. Place bowl in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

  3. Portion the coconut sago into small bowls. Top with sliced pluots and enjoy!

Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food
Mini Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream - Eat Cho Food

For a good 5 minutes I thought to myself, “I don’t need to make myself a birthday cake this year.” We’ve been eating all our favorite foods this week because Reuben’s parents are in town visiting. Which also means that I’ve been testing a lot of sweet recipes this week because the savory recipes would have gone to waste without the option of us eating them for dinner. So we’ve had abundant dessert options - ice cream sandwiches (for Reuben’s birthday!), coconut sago, plum buns (those were sort of a fail), no churn red bean ice cream (first time making ice cream! It was okay…), and then there were the kitkats that somehow made their way into our apartment. The point is, we’ve had a very indulgent and sugary few days. A part of me was like, maybe I should start my 28th year on a healthy note… but then I remembered who I was and quickly brainstormed what flavor I wanted to consume on my birthday.

Every birthday I get really mushy and sentimental about my life. I look back on what I was able to accomplish, what I didn’t and will try to do next year, who has come into my life and who has left, and a whole bunch of other things that make me feel sappy.

To help organize my thoughts on turning turning a year older I wrote a listicle! 2 listicles!

5 Ways That I’ve Changed in My 27th year.

  1. I became a person that makes my bed in the morning. This is mainly because I work from home now and I like seeing the bed made when I walk by the bedroom. Makes me feel organized and like a woman who has her eggs in a row!

  2. I left the comfort and security of my full time job to work on this here blog and cook my heart out everyday. I still can’t really believe this is my life now. A part of me wishes that I made this leap a few years ago, but I also think that everything is meant to happen when it happens. So no regrets! Working for yourself honestly isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I mean, it’s a little stressful finding work each month, but also at the same time things have a way of working out and projects find their way to you at just the right time.

  3. Public speaking is fun now??? I’ve never been afraid of public speaking…. just not a huge fan of it. But ever since I started teaching dumpling workshops, all those jittery fears of talking intelligently in front of strangers has sort of gone away. I just agreed to give a presentation in front of a room full of architects in 2 months… wish me luck! I’m going to try to make them all giggle at least once!

  4. Radishes are one of my favorite foods now. Proof that our tastes buds are always changing. Maybe I’ll actually grow to like olives and cilantro by the time I’m 30?!

  5. Sort of related to #2, but now that I’m my own boss I trust my own judgements a lot more. When I was working in an office and in a team, I felt like I was always looking for approval of validation that I was doing something right. Now that the only coworkers that I have are our herbs in the kitchen, I’m learning to trust myself and not care what people think of me. Every so often I’ll ask Reuben if a photo looks bad or if this new project is worth me taking on, but otherwise it’s just me!


5 Ways That I HAVEN’T Changed in My 27th year.

  1. Dumplings and Chinese food are still my favorite foods in a whole wide world.

  2. I’m still obsessed with teen drama shows. Riverdale. Sabrina. It’s sort of embarrassing because those shows are absolutely ridiculous and I question why the parents of the teen characters aren’t watching their children more, but I’m still into them. I’ll probably still be obsessed with them when I’m 50 years old and begging my teenage daughter if I can watch them with her.

  3. I’m still very much obsessed with the color orange and any other hue within the orange and yellow range. If anything, I think my love for these warm tones has only gotten stronger this past year.

  4. Cooking food for people is still such a big joy of mine. I was a little afraid now that cooking is my job that I would not enjoy it as much, but so far I still love it! I don’t love the additional dishes I have to do each day, but that’s just a sacrifice I have to pay for sending good food out there into the world! One of the best things I’ve realized from my dumpling workshops is that it’s actually a really fun way to make new friends and meet people! That wasn’t a side effect I ever thought about, but after about 15 minutes of showing everyone how to fold a dumpling everyone seems to have gotten the hang of it and just end up chatting with new friends while folding dumpling togethers! I just take a moment and watch like the proud dumpling mom that I am.

  5. I’m still happy : ) probably happier now than I’ve ever been.


I have a good feeling that year 28 is going to be a good one! For my birthday this year I’m going to spend it eating dim sum (Reuben surprised me with Good Luck Dim Sum this morning!), writing, cleaning the apartment, not cooking, going to Mister Jui’s for dinner, and eating this Coconut Mango Cake! If you’ve been following Eat Cho Food for a while then this recipe might sound familiar. Yes, I made a cupcake version of this cake last year. But it’s my birthday and I’m allowed to recycle a recipe if I want to! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to test a new cake recipe, so I figured I’d go with something I knew would taste good.

Every time I decorate a cake, I think about how I’m never going to make a cake again. Maybe it’s because I always pick the hottest kitchen days to decorate a cake and it makes working with buttercream an absolute nightmare. But yet, I find myself whipping out my cake stand every few weeks. This cake is going to be so worth it though! The coconut cake is so light and fluffy with the best coconutty flavor. The mango buttercream might be the star of the show! It’s fresh and perfectly sweet from ripe mangos. You can either bake these into cupcakes, like I did last year, or bake them into cake layers for something more formal. The decoration on this guy is a little bit of a hot mess. I had a vision in my head that didn’t quite work out as planned… but look at those mango roses though! They sort of saved the whole design. It’s pretty fitting that my birthday cake this year is comprised of my favorite flavor power couple of all time and decorated in over the top orange. I’m still me! Just another year old : ) Happy Birthday to all of my other Leo friends out there!


Coconut Cake with Mango Buttercream

makes 1 three tiered 6” cake

cupcake materials:

1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1/3 cup toasted coconut shreds

mango buttercream materials:

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) softened unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 mango - you need about 3/4 cup of puree
pinch of salt
orange + yellow food coloring

steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together coconut milk, vanilla, canola oil, and egg yolks in a separate medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut and set aside.

  3. Add egg whites into the bowl of your standmixer with the the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add in 2 tbsp sugar and whisk for another 3-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.

  4. Line spray 3 6” cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pans and cake for 30-32 minutes. Check for doneness. For cakes should barely be golden brown.

  5. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

  6. While the cakes cool, make your buttercream. Score and scoop out the flesh of one mango. Puree in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Place softened butter in the bowl of your standmixer with the paddle attachment on. Mix butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the mango puree and salt. Mix on low speed while also gradually adding in powdered sugar. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter cream is light and smooth. If it looks like it's curdled, it's okay! Just keep mixing! After mixing for 4-5 minutes it should be smooth. If not, add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Add in food color and mix again until color is evenly incorporated.

  7. Assemble the cake with buttercream between each layer and decorate as you wish.