Posts tagged honey
Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting + Birthday Picnic Scenes
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Heeeeeeyyyy! It's August already?! Where did the summer go?!

I'm finally recovering from eating cheese and cake for a whole week. Aren't birthdays great? I don't know if I could have asked for a better birthday week. Having the Cho Family close by would have been nice! Despite some minor homesickness, years 26 and 30 are starting out pretty great. There was the aforementioned cake and cheese, seeing and hearing from friends around the globe, and guess what?! Reuben finally passed ALL his architecture exams!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that deserves another cake right? 😁 I'm so freaking proud of him. He knocked out all 7 tests (without failing a single one) in 1 year. That man is dedicated. I also like to think I played a hand in this by supporting him with study snacks. I think in a few weeks he's going to technically be a real licensed architect in Pennsylvania and get a fancy stamp. Woooo! His craft beer intake has spiked a little... you should see how beautiful our recycling bin is.

How great of a birthday present is having your best friend in town?! Katie flew in from Seattle for our birthday picnic and I wish she stayed forever. It was so great to have her in town to catch up on life, discuss how great groomsmaids/best-humans we are going to be for Jeff next May, figure out what our dog breed look-a-like is (Reuben is a sheep dog), and just run around being silly. She also made an awesome kitchen assistant and guest photographer. Working on these recipes can get pretty lonely, other than the occasional visit from Reuben to steal bites of food or when I royally screw up something and need his advice. She helped me make this INCREDIBLE CAKE (more about it soon) and assemble my first legit cheese board. We lounged on picnic blankets in the fog snacking on fruit, eating multiple small slices of cake, and chatting with all the characters we know in SF. The next day we drove down south to Pescadero Beach to be really Californian. It was so hot and sunny! I'm not used to that. We wandered around the tide pools and looked for agates, of course. I feel like I forget that I live in California until I go to the beach. We also went to go see a giant redwood tree as old as Jesus. Miss you Katie!

I'm going to talk about this cheese board for a hot sec. I've always wanted to put together a gorgeous and bountiful cheese board. It turns out that it is actually pretty easy if you have access to some beautiful fruit. My cheese board is pretty fruit heavy, which is how I like it. Color is super important to me, so we were trying to pick out fruit that complimented each other. Color Theory! I also like to have a mix of cheeses, something hard (asiago), something soft and creamy (goat brie), something mild (gouda), and something funky (blue cheese... even though I hate blue cheese). You gotta hit all the notes. I thought that the board turned out pretty beautiful, if I do say so myself 😎.  Someone else thought it was pretty beautiful too, because I was asked to make a cheese board for another birthday party! My very first commissioned cheese board! I'm thinking of making #chocheeseboard a thing. If you're in the Bay Area and need fancy cheese and crackers for an event, hit me up!

Alright, cake. A few weeks ago when I posted the Black Sesame Plum Crumb Cake, I said that this may have been the best thing I have ever baked. That cake is pretty damn good, but this cake is amazing. I blame it on the cream cheese frosting. Idk if I could trust anyone who doesn't love cream cheese frosting. We may or may not have continued licking the bowl post assembly... This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Best Birthday Cake recipe. I love her recipe and pretty much always gravitates towards it when I need a great yellow cake. I reduced the sugar by half and made an addition of honey for flavor. You could easily make this into a layer cake or even cupcakes, but I think I have fallen in love with sheet cakes. They are so easy! Less mess, no crumb coats, they feed a ton of people, and still look equally as pretty! Actually, I've always loved sheet cakes. My parents would always get us a big sheet cake from Giant Eagle for our birthdays growing up and they were the BEST. Northern Ohioans and Western Pennsylvanians will agree with me. 

So many people loved this cake at the picnic. If you have a birthday coming up or a celebration in need of cake, I highly recommend you make this. Everyone is going to love you and you're going to be so happy! I'm actually making this cake again today for a dinner party per a special request!

Happy Sunday!


Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 1 - 9"x13" sheet cake

Cake:

4 C cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 sticks (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

1 C white sugar

1/2 C honey

2 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

2 C buttermilk 

1/4 C crushed pistachios 

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

6 tbsp butter, softened

12 oz cream cheese, softened

2.5 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt 

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9" x 13" sheet pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add in vanilla and honey, mix for a few more seconds. Add your eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated each time. Reduce the speed to low and add in the buttermilk. The batter will look curdled and gross, but don't freak out! Everything is going to be okay. Gradually add your flour mixture in batches. Mix until evenly incorporated. Scrape down the sides as needed.

4. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. To get rid of any air bubbles, drop the pan about 2" above the counter a few times.

5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the center comes out clean when poked with a tooth pick.

6. Once done, allow to cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake from the pan and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

7. While the cake bakes or while it cools, make your cream cheese frosting. Beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 30-45 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat for another 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and mix for another minute. The frosting will be a little loose, so place in fridge for 30 minutes to allow frosting to set up.

8. Frost cake with a thick layer of frosting and top with crushed pistachios. Or sprinkles! Or whatever your heart desires!

Honey Ginger Iced Cookies

Hey guys! It's been a minute. For the last two weeks I have been running around like a mad woman. Life tends to work like that for me. I go through weeks of calm and relaxing weekends painting carrots. Then all of a sudden a whole bunch of exciting things happen at the exact same time. Here are some life updates...

I have become the resident party designer at my office recently. Which is awesome! They trust me to execute my weird ideas... like painting a mural and building a donut wall. I built and painted a mini mural to help my office announce the opening of a new Los Angeles Office! It was super cute with big palm leaf graphics and I was able to keep my hand steady to paint in our office font. yay! We had a wonderful party this past Wednesday and transformed a portion of our office into a LA Rooftop party; complete with string lights, palm trees, food inspired by LA neighborhoods,  a super boozy drink called "LA Water", and 80 Bob's Donuts that spelled out "I <3 LA". It was great!

Reuben's best friend, Andy, was visiting from Michigan the last 10 days and we have been eating all of the BEST food. He just left and we miss him already! It was so great to have another food loving friend dine and explore with us. We debated whether a hot dog is a sandwich, critiqued our meals like food network show judges, I watched them drink lots of beer, and developed an idea to start a breakfast restaurant that only serves leftovers like cold pasta and Chinese food. MY DREAM. When friends are visiting on vacation it puts us in vacation mode as well, which is great but I need to go on a juice cleanse now. We took him to all our favorite restaurants (Brother's, Y&Y, Richmond Republic, Sakesan, and Good Luck Dim Sum just to name a few) and I realized that I really need to make a San Francisco eating guide. That's going to be my next project, so stayed tuned!

Oh. and I accepted a new job. AH! I'm super excited and nervous, but mostly excited! I'm feeling so so ready for a new experience! However, it's been really hard telling people that I'm leaving my current job because I've made some really wonderful friends at BAR. I'm having some of my main work ladies over for dinner this week so I'm just going to keep inviting them over for dinner all the time! I'm also going to bake some farewell mini cakes so people will still want to be friends with me after I leave.

Now, I have some blogging, recipe writing, and painting to catch up on! We leave for Ohio in 2 weeks so I'm trying to get as much work done as I can before we are off to the happiest place on Earth! A part of me really loves buzzing around and always keeping busy. I searched online yesterday for cute loose fitting jogger pants and a new blanket to add to my collection, which may be a sign that I'm just about to burn out and need to veg out on our couch for a little bit and watch Naked and Afraid. That's our new trashy TV obsession btw. 21 days without a single dumpling?!! Despite the slight exhaustion, I'm always thankful for the exciting and not so exciting things that happen in life.

You know what else is exciting? HEXAGON COOKIE CUTTERS! I'm super happy about the fact that I accidentally ordered a set of varying size hexagon cookie cutters! I was only planning on getting one... but now I have like 8. I have a background in architecture, so I'm really drawn to bold shapes and the potential of making something graphic with food. I saw these cutters on amazon and I instantly needed them. I've been brainstorming ways to utilize hexagon cookie cutters. "What foods are hexagon shaped???" Honeycombs, ZEBRA CAKES, oyster crackers! "What foods can I make hexagon shaped??" - cookies, biscuits, mini cakes, rice crispy treats, rice cakes! Do you have any ideas?

I knew I wanted to make something with honey to play off the honeycomb shape. And so, these cookies were born! These Honey Ginger Iced Cookies remind me of those iced animal crackers that I would always eye up at the grocery store, but a spicier adult version with less sugar and sprinkles. I might add sprinkles next time. They are soft and chewy, and I feel like they are somewhat good for me due to the ginger-honey combo. I'm just going to keep telling myself that each time I make these. They are dangerously easy to eat, so either prepare to snack away at them all or share with some sweet friends!

 

Honey Ginger Iced Cookies

makes 40 2" cookies

Steps :

  1. Combine butter, sugar, honey, and salt in a large bowl or bowl of a stand-mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, scrape down the sides as needed, 3-5 minutes.

  2. Add whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla into the creamed mixture and beat until combined.

  3. Combine flour, ginger, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Slowly incorporate the flour into mixture and mix until just combined.

  4. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. The dough will be very soft. Place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

  5. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  6. Bring your dough out and allow them to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out half your dough to 1/4" - 1/8" thickness. Cut out cookies with your cutters. I used 1.5", 2", and 2.25" hexagon cookie cutters. Place cookies on lined baking sheet.

  7. Bake for 8-11 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool completely on a cooling rack. Repeat steps 6-7 with second half of dough.

  8. Make icing by whisking together powdered sugar and heavy cream. Add a bit more cream if you feel your icing is a little thick.

  9. Once your cookies have cooled completely, you can decorate your cookies by dipping half of each cookie in icing. Shake off any excess icing and then tip iced portion into crush pecans. Place back on rack and allow icing to set.

  10. Enjoy and Share!

Cookie Materials :

1 C unsalted butter - room temperature

1/2 C granulated sugar

1/4 C honey

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour

1.5 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp cinnamon 

Crushed Pecans - optional

 

Icing:

1 C powdered sugar

5 Tbsp heavy Cream 

Brunch at Home for Two

Give yourself a high five. Buy that almond croissant to go with your coffee. Extend your lunch break by 15 glorious minutes. You deserve it. You have successfully made it to Thursday and the weekend is only a couple desk hours away! You're going to make it!

I'm sure 99.9% of you share this sentiment: I LIVE for the weekends. The weekends are when I get to feel human again. I paint and draw while the sun is shining. I test and photograph recipes, also while the sun is shining. Most importantly, I get to make a decent breakfast in peace.

Throughout the work week my mornings are hectic because 99.9% of the time I am running late to work, I'm squished into a bus that's going about a block a minute, my hair is still wet, and when I get to my desk I'm either having a granola bar or an instant oatmeal packet for breakfast. I know that this is easily preventable if I just wake up earlier... but who does that? Anyways, I'm not a fan of a sad desk breakfast.

Breakfast is really important to me. Sometimes I have a second breakfast, that's how much I love it. It's my favorite meal because it is really the only composed meal that you can have sweet and savory share a plate (I don't know, does a slice of pizza with a piece of chocolate cake sound good together? Kinda........). Cooking is my therapy, so preparing a thoughtful and peaceful breakfast also puts me into a really great mindset for the rest of the day.

To get my mental state right, I've started a routine of going to the Clement Street Farmer's Market every Sunday morning. I put on pants, walk a few blocks, try all the fruit samples (THE ORANGES ARE INSANE RIGHT NOW), contemplate if I should buy the cheese danish from the bread stand, creep on the babies and puppies everywhere, and pick up some produce for the following week. Then I head back to our apartment to make a simple but filling breakfast for Reuben and I. We inhale our breakfast, then he studies or watches sports and I paint and write silly puns. We might take a break in the middle to walk and get some coffee. Then it's dinner time and we watch Worst Cooks in America. That's our Sunday!

This past Sunday, our breakfast was Honey Ricotta Toast on Levain (is Levain just the French word  for Sourdough? Can someone explain the difference?), slices of beautiful Cara Cara and Blood Oranges, and a fried egg. It's simple, pretty, and only takes about 10 minutes to whip up. Give it a try!

This upcoming weekend is not going to be quite as peaceful. We are hosting Superbowl Sunday (I'm making another football field cake!) AND I'll be baking up a storm for the first Babes Brunch of 2017!

Wish me luck. I'm probably going to be covered in flour. What are your plans for the weekend?? Don't forget to make breakfast!


Honey Ricotta Toast for 2

Materials :

2 thick slices of crusty bread (sourdough is my favorite!)

1 Tbsp of butter

Whole Milk Ricotta

Honey

Pinch of Sea Salt

 

Steps : 

  1. Melt your butter in a skillet on medium heat. Place slices of bread in the skillet and let bread soak up the butter on one side for a seconds. Flip over and let the other side of the bread toast for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with other side.

  2. Place your toast on plates or a cutting board. Smear however much ricotta you like on the toast with a knife.

  3. Drizzle honey over your toasts and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on on each one.

  4. Pair with some fruit, salty meat, or eggs and enjoy!

Have a good morning!