Milk Tea Tres Leches

Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food
Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food

We are leaving for Rome in 4 days... holy meatballs! Whenever anyone asks me what I'm most excited for, my mind automatically jumps to one thing. No, it's not the romantic architecture that I’ve been studying for years or the fact that I won't be working for 2 weeks. It's not even the pizza or all the tiramisu I'm going to consume on a daily basis. It's the to-go pasta! lolololol I've mentioned it before, but I have a strange love for eating and walking. I love it so much that I've seriously thought about turning this combo into an Olympic sport where the athletes wear all white bodysuits and eat wet burritos or piping hot bowls of beef pho while also speed walking 1600 meters. Why do they have to wear white body suits? Because each athlete would get points deducted or more time added based on the amount of spills they get! hahahaha I giggle at this idea every time and feel slightly embarrassed I've spent enough time figuring out all the random details. The sport still needs a name though! 

Anyways, to-go pasta is literally the thing I'm looking forward to the most on this vacation. My friend Kelsey told me about this concept when she was studying abroad in Florence. What I’m imagining is a Chinese food take out container filled with the best pasta I’ve ever had. I’m so ready! Do you believe me now that I love portable food?? Foods on sticks. Self contained bundles of food like buns or onigiri. Anything that's smartly packaged in a neat and easy to eat out of container. A part of me thinks that if I'm eating and walking at the same time I'm also burning calories, which means I can eat more... honestly the logic isn't tooooooooooo crazy. Plus any food is portable if you tried hard enough... hence the Olympic sport! I don’t advise you to try eating hot pho while speed walking unless you’re a pro.

You know what's even better than portable noodles though? Not much... but portable dessert!! Obviously ice cream cones and ice cream sandwiches are the classic portable desserts, but doesn't portable cake sound like a dream come true? Especially a cake that's been soaked in milk tea and covered with whip cream! The inspiration for these Milk Tea Tres Leches came from a little market over by Reuben's office. I went there for the first time and was overwhelmed by how beautiful the prepackaged foods were! Like a million times better than the Trader Joe's grab and go lunch cold case I'm always frequenting at lunch. My eyes lit up when I saw their grab and go dessert section. Rows and rows and rows of weck jars filled with fruit cobbler, mousse, and cake!!! I had to grab a jar of their tres leche because there's something so satisfying about the texture of sponge cake soaked in cream. Mmmmmmm. It was SO GOOD. I beg Reuben every few weeks to bring me home one so we could split it for dessert!

This version has a little Hong Kong Milk Tea Twist! Milk tea is traditionally made by brewing ceylon tea (or red tea) and mixing in condensed milk and evaporated milk for a sweet and smooth finish. It's one of my favorite drinks and I'm always thinking of ways to incorporate it into desserts! It only seemed natural to infuse the ceylon tea into the tres leche since all the dairy was already there! The light and fluffy vanilla sponge cake is soaked in a tres leche mixture of condensed milk, regular milk, and heavy cream that's been steeped with ceylon tea. The resulting texture is light but also custardy. What dreams are made of! You can either assemble the tres leche in little parfaits like me or as a whole cake to share with friends or horde for yourself. I'll never judge! 

Talk you soon, friends! Next time you hear from me, I'll be in the land of carbs and portable pasta! Tune into my Instagram stories and watch me roam around Rome with a tub of chewy noodles and red sauce stains on my shirt! It's going to be glorious!

Ciao!


Milk Tea Tres Leches

makes 4 parfaits

materials:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs - whites and yolks separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp ceylon tea or strong black/red tea
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup milk

1 cup heaving whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar

cocoa powder - optional

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar for 3 minutes until thick and pasty. Fold yolk mixture into the flour mixture. In a clean bowl beat egg whites until you have stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Gently fold egg whites into the flour mixture until evenly combined.

  3. Pour cake batter into the baking pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 20-24 minutes. Test for doneness using the toothpick test. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

  4. While the cake is baking, bring 1 1/2 cup heaving cream and ceylon tea to a gentle boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t overflow! Remove the cream from the heat and allow the tea to steep for 30 minutes. Discard tea bags and mix in condensed milk and regular milk.

  5. To make whipped cream, whip heavy cream with powdered sugar until fluffy.

  6. To assemble the parfaits, cut out 2.5”-3” cake rounds with a biscuit cutter. You should be able to get 6 full cake rounds for 3 parfaits and use the cake scrapes for the 4th parfait. Poke a few holes into the cake rounds using a fork. Place 1 cake round in a glass jar or serving glass. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the milk tea cream mixture. Add 2-3tbsp of whipped cream. Repeat cake, milk tea, and whipped cream layer again until filled. Place tres leches in the fridge for at least 3 hours to allow the cake to absorb the milk tea. They can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. When ready to served dust with a little cocoa powder!

Milk Tea Tres Leches // Eat Cho Food

My Creative Process

Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
My Creative Process // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food
Graphic Design Cake // Eat Cho Food

Just like noodles and dumplings, creating pretty things has always been a part of life for me. I’ve always loved to paint and draw pictures. There’s proof of it hung up all over my parents house. In our bedroom hallway you’ll find a minimal pencil sketch of a beehive I drew when I was 4 or 5 (Mom, please confirm). On our fireplace mantel there’s a colorful oil painting of my grandparents, me, and the alphabet that I painted when I was… old enough to know the alphabet but not old enough to understand scale. My grandma is like 5 feet taller than my grandpa and me in this painting. I was far from a child art prodigy, believe me. But I was never not making something.

Unlike many people who decided to study architecture, I did not enjoy playing with Legos. Sure, I had them, but I much preferred crayons and pencils. I would like to note that over Christmas I stole my younger cousin’s Harry Potter lego set and had an excellent time putting that together. Why did I study architecture though? I’m not entirely sure... I wrote in my elementary school graduation pamphlet how I wanted to be a chef one day. Should have listened to 10 year old me! Sometime between 4th grade and 9th grade, I picked up a bad habit of playing Sims for endless hours and focused too much on designing their mansions. I loved creating their homes so much that I decided that Architecture was going to be it for me. What I liked about architecture was that it was a seemingly well respected profession that included my artistic passions. Even as a high schooler, I felt like I needed to do something respectable with my life so I could pay back all the hard work my family put into making my life as comfortable and full of opportunity as possible. I wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor, my brother got all the smarty-pants genes. Not that my parents ever forced us to be doctors or lawyers. They weren’t anything close to the stereotypical strict Asian parents. They’re so chill. Except for the occasional “that place is dangerous!” statement from my cautious ex-police officer father. They have always just let my brother and I be who we wanted to be. They still ended up with one kid who wants to be a brain surgeon though… so lucky them! I’m incredibly grateful for that freedom now, because I think that freedom of individuality has allowed my creativity to flourish. That and the fact that my mom is also a super creative and multi-talented person.

While I’m often complaining about the professional practice of architecture. I do think that architecture school and the few years I’ve been working professionally have helped me hone in on my own creative process, whether it’s in regards to design, art, or food. I bet you were wondering when I was going to start talking about that, weren’t ya? I’m getting there...

Architecture school was a great time! I got to hang out with my best friends all day and build things. I truly did love it, despite the lack of sleep and the time I cut my finger pretty badly with an x-acto blade sophomore year. It was full of experimentation, research, concept generation, and so much Thai food. Ugh, I miss Thai Express. I quickly learned that in order to have a successful project and to defend your design you needed a strong reason and concept. You can’t ever say you did something or placed a column there because you thought it was cool. I learned that the hard way. Design moves should be made thoughtfully and with intention. This thought process causes you to move a little slower sometimes, which I think is absolutely fine! Better actually. Unless you just want to be a cool content generating machine… then you do you. But I just can’t operate that way.

Architectural practice is similar to school but definitely different. All the fun creative aspects of design get muddled a bit with practical things like budget, timelines, client relations, and brand standards. All important things though. Even art has to go through these real life constraints, but if you think about them in a more positive way they can greatly benefit your work. Thankfully, at my current design firm we try to develop strong concepts and narratives that help guide us throughout the entire creative process. This narrative is our guiding light. It’s constant in the back of our heads as we select the tile we want on our walls or what sequence of spaces we want the user to experience.

So how does all of this impact me as a food blogger?

I’m definitely still trying to figure this out and by no means consider myself an expert food blogger. But in the last 2 years that I’ve been blogging consistently, I’ve noticed a shift in the way I approach recipes and styling and it’s definitely resulted in more engaging content and more delicious recipes. In the last few months, I’ve thought more carefully about the type of recipes I want to develop for Eat Cho Food and not just create recipes that will get a whole bunch of likes on Instagram.

When I get a recipe idea I ask myself these questions:

  1. How does this recipe relate to my narrative and my identity?

  2. What is the story I’m trying to share?

  3. Does this recipe already exist? If so, what about this recipe separates it from all the noise on the internet?

  4. Will my audience connect with this recipe?

  5. Will it look good?

If you’re working with a brand sponsor, you’ll also want to ask yourself if the recipe relates to that brand’s message and check if there are any specific requirements outlined by them. Again, you can use these to your advantage!

In a sense, I treat most recipes like a design project. I want it to relate to my story, I want it to look beautiful, I want it to taste great, and I want it to be something new and inventive. I totally understand that not every recipe is going to have some deep narrative or change the food world, but at least I’m trying. One of the biggest takeaways from my design job is to challenge the way you would typically approach a problem and that being a little uncomfortable is a good thing.

This cake that I made for work is a pretty good example of my creative process. My office had an open call to all our employees and asked us to submit a creative art project that’s inspired by the designs for the McDonald’s HQ project we recently completed. The concept for that project is Geometries of Play: deconstructing the patterns, textures, and shapes of McDonald’s Play Place structures to create an elevated and nostalgic environment. I wanted to submit a project and knew immediately that I wanted my medium to be CAKE. I love making and decorating cakes so much because there is just so much flexibility and techniques for transforming food into a work of art. Buttercream and marzipan are magical that way.

So I asked myself the 5 questions again…

  1. How does this recipe relate to my narrative and my identity? Manipulating a 2 dimensional graphic into a 3 dimensional edible medium combines both my loves for design and experimenting with food.

  2. What is the story I’m trying to share? Cake is a symbol of celebration and fun. It also invokes the same childhood spirit as the McDonald Play Places. Using cake, which is an edible medium, to manifest the designs inspired by McDonalds is an interesting play of food inspired by food. The act of decorating and testing vertical cake layers as a form of pattern making is an act of play!

  3. Does this recipe already exist? If so, what about this recipe separates it from all the noise on the internet? I’ve definitely never seen a cake that looks like this before.

  4. Will my audience connect with this recipe? I think so. It’s something new and different.

  5. Will it look good? Absolutely!

I submitted my project proposal and I got selected! Then very quickly, I was requested to design, bake, decorate, and photograph this cake in a matter of 2 days. That’s a very quick turn around, but I used the time constraint as a way to organize and prioritize what tasks I needed to accomplish a great cake! I listed all the materials I needed, focused on the details of the pattern I wanted to create, sketched out my vision, and got baking.

The cake is a fairly simple chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. I originally wanted to do a weird flavor like vanilla soft serve and french fries, because I would dip my fries in their soft serve ALL THE TIME, but I had zero time to experiment with flavors with the timeline they gave me. So I just went for a classic chocolate cake, which actually played up the linear pattern very nicely when assembled to have vertical cake layers. If you’re interested in trying out this method yourself I used this tutorial! I just used a chocolate sponge cake recipe instead. Once the cake layers were assembled and crumb coated (that took one whole day), I got decorating. Honestly, this was the hardest part. I had sketched out a general plan for how I wanted to decorate it, but it’s always nerve-wracking when you start placing down blobs of buttercream. IT’S JUST CAKE, KRISTINA! For the decorations, I used a mixture of buttercream, colored marzipan, sesame seeds, sprinkles, and pocky sticks! The mixture of mediums added some nice textures and forms that I was very happy with. At one point I was trying to comb grey lines with buttercream but it looked like butt, so I just smoothed it over and it looked fine. It’s okay to not completely stick with your plan!

After 2 very labor intensive days the cake was done. I carefully transported it to the office. I’m going to write a memoir one day called “Riding in Ubers with Cake on your Lap” - the art of hustling and juggling many passions lolol. Maybe. Anyways, the cake got a positive response! I ended up cutting up the whole cake and took a bunch of artsy photos of the cake slices, with the encouragement of my principal. That felt outside of my comfort zone but ended up actually looking really cool. Again, it’s good to be a little uncomfortable. The cake should be making its way into publication soon and I can’t wait to see it! I’ll share soon.

If you have read this far, I just want to say “THANK YOU. YOU ROCK!” For real though. The fact that you read this far and cared about my creative process means a lot to me. You might not be a food blogger or work in a creative field, but there are still endless opportunities for you to develop a more creative thought process. I realize that I didn’t get into the post recipe development process of styling, photograph, and photo editing… but I’m pretty tired of writing this and I bet you’re tired of reading haha. I’ll save that for another post if you’re interested in more of these thought pieces! Not that I’m ever a really bitter person, but after writing this, I’m feeling all sorts of thankful for my on and off again relationship with architecture and design. I like to think it has made me a better cook, baker, and food blogger : ) no matter where my professional path will take me, I’ll always be a designer!

Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake

Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/12/mini-almond-and-satsuma-orange-cake // Gluten Free

Happy Chinese New Year, friends! Gong Hay Fat Choy! We had the most wonderful CNY party this weekend and my body is still recovering from it. If you make almost 100 dumplings in one afternoon, you’ll discover a whole bunch of arm muscles you never knew existed. We had most of our friends over and they all fit! Most importantly, we had enough food and no one left hungry! There was a whole plate of noodles and maybe a few bits of roast pork left. I feel like that’s considered a success! I just love cooking for real life people so much. When I’m making food for the blog, Reuben and I will eat it as a meal if it’s savory and if it’s sweet one of us will bring it to our respective offices to share with our coworkers. I don’t really get to see people’s reactions from eating my food, unless it’s Reuben. There is just something so special when you feed people in your own home and see their eye light up and hear a bunch of loud mmmmmmmmmmmms or OMGGGGGs. It’s so rewarding and makes me so happy! I hope I can mentally and physically recover soon so we can do it all over again! Maybe that will be in 2021 lol.

The very next day I woke up with a slight exhaustion/ happiness hangover ( I was sadly too excited to eat all the food I made and only had maybe 2 drink the entire night), cleaned up the apartment and got it back to a respectable level to have a few more people over for an intimate Super Bowl party. Reuben helped too, don’t worry. I was mentally dreading having more people over after the party, but they brought a puppy over and I made mac and cheese… so it was all good! I not sure what we’re going to do tonight for actual Chinese New Year? I honestly still feel wiped out after this weekend, so maybe we will order in chinese food? That still counts!

In honor of Chinese New Year, I’m sharing this Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake! During CNY a lot of the food we eat are meant to symbol something good for the new year! Noodles for long life and dumplings for fortune and wealth. I had satsuma oranges all over our food table at the party as decoration, but also because you’re supposed to have oranges as a symbol of good luck! I’ve shared a few savory recipes this month for CNY but every celebration needs a dessert! Cake! We always need cake! This cake is deliciously moist and dense from the almond flour. Bonus points too because it’s also gluten free. The orange flavor is super bright and present in both the cake and buttercream. I love how Mother Nature was kind enough to give us great citrus during the cold and gloomy months of winter. It’s like she knows we all need a little fruity and zesty pick me up to get through the polar vortex (it doesn’t snow here, but I sympathize with you if you’re freezing).

I hope you have the chance to whip up this cute little citrus cake! I also hope you all have a wonderful and fulfilling new year : ) eat some dumplings for me!


Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake

makes a 2 layer 6” cake

cake materials:

4 eggs - yolks and whites separated
zest of 1 satsuma orange
1/2 cup sugar - divided
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract

orange buttercream materials:

3/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
juice of 1 small satsuma orange

*double the buttercream ingredients if you wish to full coat the cake.

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line the bottom of 2 6” cake pans with parchment paper rounds.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks with orange zest and 1/4 cup sugar. In another bowl, whisk together almond flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to egg mixture and whisk to combine.

  3. In the bowl of your standmixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on low for about 30 second and then increase to medium speed. While the whisk is still running, slowly add in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the egg and almond flour mixture until just combined.

  4. Pour batter in cake pans and bake for 23-25 minutes until done. Allow cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to completely cool.

  5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together softened butter, powdered sugar, salt, and orange juice until smooth. It might look curdled for a minute but just keep blending. Place a cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Add a plop of buttercream on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Add second layer and frost the top of the cake and the sides with a light layer of buttercream for a naked appearance. Decorate with additional buttercream or marzipan dyed to look like oranges. Cut and serve!

Cookie Butter Cake

Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food
Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food

Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food

We went out 3 of the last 4 nights and my internal 80 year old body is hating me for it. Reuben’s holiday party was on Friday and I met a whole gaggle of his new work peeps. I ate a lot of patatas bravas and churros and then ended up dancing off maybe 2 churros at a bar down the street. I felt so young and so hip… until the next morning. But I ate a lot of dumplings and rallied. I mustered enough energy to go to a friend’s cookie decorating party, without getting completely overwhelmed with social anxiety, and had enough holiday spirit to go to my office’s holiday party that night. We stayed out to 2 am, ate late night gloriously mediocre bar pizza, ubered home, laughed at all the weird things that happened throughout the night before passing out hard. Miraculously, I woke up feeling ok and desperately craving something green. I put soft pants on, scurried to the farmers market for some salad fixings, came home, ate salad, and officially melted into the couch for the remainder of the day. I had big plans of baking some cookies, but my body was like NOPE.

I was hoping that spending Sunday being a blanket burrito would be enough recovery for me, but then I woke up with another big fat NOPE. The moment I got to my desk I just couldn’t wait to go back home and sleep. But then my boss asked if I wanted to go to the Warriors game that night and it took me like .00000001 seconds to say UM, YES. He has incredible season pass tickets to the Warriors. As much as I love my hometown of Cleveland, I can’t let my (lack of) hometown sports pride hold me back from insane front row (sort of) tickets. We were so close to the players, I could almost hug them. Reuben said if I tried to hug them one of the intimidating body guards would tackle me to the ground. Whatever. It was such a fun time and I couldn’t help but feel so thankful to be there. Generosity is such a great quality in people and there is just something about this season that really makes the generous spirit shine. Whether it’s gifting once in a lifetime NBA tickets to your employee, or surprising a coworker with thoughtful vintage pottery (thanks, Alex and Francis!), buying a friend coffee, or just making someone a cake. Doing nice things for each other is simply just so great, isn’t it??

I have lots of generous people to be thankful for this season, so I better get baking on all those last minute cookies! Gosh, 7 days until Christmas already?! If you’re looking to bake up a treat for the people you care about in the next week, you can either go the cookie route or the cake route. I shared a great little cookie recipe last week and this week I have one of the most delicious and festive cakes I’ve made yet! COOKIE BUTTER CAKE. Until a few weeks ago, I had never purchased the infamous cookie butter from Trader Joe’s due to fear of addiction and gaining 100lbs. But! I took the plunge and got myself a jar for the sake of recipe development. The hype is real. Cookie butter is really really good. The flavors of cookie butter in this year’s holiday cake were great because I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread. Cookie butter has a bunch of the same warming spices we all crave this time of year, but without the intense molasses flavor. Then I covered the whole cake in my true love: cream cheese frosting. If you’re making this recipe, you could totally stop right there and you’ll have a smashing good cake. Anyway, I obviously have nothing else better to do with my weekends, so I made a little sugar cookie house and matcha tuile trees. I may or may not have drafted up the elevations of the sugar cookie house in AutoCAD (for those designer nerds out there…). I took a pretty minimal approach to decorating the house and the cake in general. I just loved how delicate and vibrant the trees turned out and wanted to keep the colors and forms of the cake simple. Gosh, I sound like an architect, don’t I?? A few blobs of buttercream and gold sprinkles were all that it needed.

However, for next year I would ideally like more time to dedicate to cookie architecture. Maybe I’ll attempt a Luis Barragan or Sea Ranch inspired cookie structure. I’ll add that to my list of 2019 goals and make it happen.

I think this cake is going to be my last recipe for 2018. Crazy! I hope you all have a wonderful, restful, and belly filled Christmas!


Cookie Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 1 - 2 layer 8” cake

cookie butter cake material:

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (12 tbsp)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

cream cheese frosting materials:

12 oz cream cheese - softened
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (12 tbsp) - softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups powdered sugar

to make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  3. Place softened butter and sugar into the bowl of your standmixer set with the paddle attachment. Blend for 45 seconds at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in cookie butter and blend for another 45 seconds until evenly mixed, fluffy, and lightly tan in color. Add in eggs and vanilla and blend until just mixed. Scrape down the sides when necessary.

  4. While mixing the batter on low speed, add in dry ingredients in 1/3rds, alternating with buttermilk in between. Mix until just combined, avoid over mixing.

  5. Grease 2 8” cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Add batter to cake pans. Smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Bake for 28-32 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing from pans and placed on a wire rack to completely cool.

to make cream cheese frosting:

  1. Blend together cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in powdered sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides when necessary.

to decorate:

  1. Place 1 layer of cake on a cake board or plate. Plop some frosting on top and smooth out the frosting into an even layer with an offset spatula. Place second layer on top. Cover the whole cake with frosting. For the ruffle detail use a petal decorating tip (one end is skinnier than the other). Hold the piping tip at a 45 degree angle, with the fatter end touching the caking and pipe the frosting while also turning the cake stand.

  2. Top with a sugar cookie house or cut outs and matcha tuile trees! Recipes are below!

Tuile Cookie Trees Recipe
- I added 1 tsp of matcha powder and formed them around a cone mold immediately out of the oven.

Sugar Cookie Recipe
- I omitted the tahini from my recipe and made cardstock cut outs of my house to trace on my rolled out cookie dough. Adhere the cooled cookie walls together with royal icing or extra buttercream.

Cookie Butter Cake // Eat Cho Food

Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake // Eat Cho Food

Hi, December! You got here real quick. Reuben and I made the innocent mistake of venturing out to the suburbs on Saturday afternoon and quickly realized that literally everyone and their mom in Daly City was out buying their Christmas trees and other holiday goodies because it was December 1st. I don't know if I've just been living in an urban bubble, but I didn't realize that holiday madness is in full swing on the 1st. All we wanted to do was run some errands at the suburban Target because the experience is so much better than the dinky city Targets, plus there are more Chip and JoJo products I can longingly gaze at. I've also been dreaming of draping garland over all the windows in our apartment! Reuben swiftly vetoed the fake stuff covered in glitter from Target, because our apartment is a strictly glitter free zone. Then the parking lot at Home Depot literally looked like hell on earth, so we gave up on the garland mission for the day. Don't worry though! We found a pile of the real deal stuff at the nursery down the street from us! (I could tell that you were worried) I bought enough to drape around 1 single window because, JEEZ, real garland is EXPENSIVE. I definitely got into the wrong profession. Back when I was in high school they did not tell us that in 10 years taking photos of your food and selling tree trimmings linked together would make you a pretty decent living.

In the 3 years that Reuben and I have lived together, we have never had a Christmas tree. Main reason being because we don't really have room for a tree and we have absolutely zero outlets left to plug anything new into. Don't look at our power strips. I think all our other plant babies would be jealous if we moved them around to make room for a temporary woodsy roommate. So this one single garland strung over my mini kitchen island is a huge step up for us in the holiday department! I just got the battery powered twinkly lights too : ) so get ready! Oh! I should decorate our rubber plant with twinkly lights! I'm semi nervous that the next month is going to fly by extremely quickly. I'm doing my best to slow down and savor the holidays. I'm making time to bake all the cookies, work on this year's holiday cake (it's going to be a good one!), listen to the few select Christmas songs I can tolerate, and be extra extra cozy at home. I miiiiiight even be able to convince Reuben to watch Love Actually with me this year!!! I'll let you know if I succeed.

To kick off the next month of holiday baking, I'm sharing this ultra moist and decadent Persimmon Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling. IT. IS. SO. GOOD. The recipe is actually based on Reuben's mom's Apple Cake. I've swapped out the apples with persimmons and added the cream cheese because you can eat all the cream cheese you want this month. I've had it once before when we were in New Jersey and it was amazing! It's one of Reuben's favorite desserts for a reason. When I was testing the recipe, I asked Reuben if he's ever watched his mom make it for him. He said no, because she would either make it early in the morning before he woke up, while is was at school, or the day earlier if he was coming from college. At the moment, I was like "Ah! I wish you had some idea if I was doing this right!". But once the cake was baked and it got Reuben’s seal of approval, I was thinking how magical and appropriate for the season his experience of never actually seeing the cake be made was. Like, how great is it to wake up in the morning with the smell of cinnamon and sugar baking wafting through your house and then realizing you're about to have cake for breakfast?! Or to come home from college for Christmas break and to be greeted by your family a slice of your favorite dessert in the kitchen?! Ugh, my heart. Those kind of memories, especially ones tied to delicious smells, are the ones that stay with you forever and then when you're 31 and don't live close to your parents anymore you ask your baker girlfriend to make you're mom's recipes.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the beginning of this magical season and fit in some time to bake some sweet treats for your loved ones! This bundt is a really great place to start : )


Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

bundt materials:

3-4 medium crisp fuyu persimmons
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

cream cheese filling materials:

8 oz cream cheese - softened to room temperature
1 egg
1/4 white sugar
pinch of salt

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Carefully remove the stems from persimmon and cut into 1/2” cubes, skin on. Place cubed persimmons in a large bowl and toss with white sugar. Set aside and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

  3. Make the cream cheese filling. Cream the cream cheese with sugar using the paddle attachment on your standmixer or with handheld beaters. Mix for about 1 minute until smooth. Add in egg and salt. Mix until combined. Set aside.

  4. Whisk together eggs, canola oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Give it a quick whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together until combine. Mix in persimmons until they are well dispersed in the batter. Batter will be really thick.

  5. Grease a bundt pan with non-stick spray. Pour half of the batter in bundt pan. Scoop cream cheese filling in the center of the batter ring. Add in remaining cake batter. If the batter almost fills your mold, don’t worry. The batter does not dome up too much.

  6. Place in the oven and bake for 75-80 minutes until done. Test for doneness using a clean toothpick or knife.

  7. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake pan onto a wire rack. Cake should fall out of the bundt mold. Allow to completely cool and then enjoy!