Greek Yogurt Cake with Black Sesame Buttercream

I've only had one goal for my 26th birthday. Make deliriously good mac n' cheese. I succeeded. So. Much. Cheese. Which means I am slowly sinking into a food coma. I'm going to push through it though, because I need to share this cake recipe with the world. I tend to get real reflective and sappy around my birthday. Okay, I'm reflective and sappy all the time but I'm extra on my birthday.

The process of making this cake actually encompassed a lot of my emotions about getting another year older. Let me ramble for a moment. To start, I'm going to state that I don't have a lot of experience decorating cakes. I've been practicing baking cakes for the last 7 months and I've definitely gotten better! But piping flowers and getting beautiful crumb coats are still very foreign to me... but I'm trying. I made this cake last Friday afternoon in preparation for Reuben's 30th birthday. I was stressed out about something silly in the office earlier that day and I couldn't shake my stress as I went home and began measuring out my flour and sugar. I was also trying to print some greeting cards for a Hey, K. Cho! shipment and my printer was jamming and just plain not working. The batter was thicker than I was used to and giving me hard time. Mid-mixing I had realized that I forgot to send a file at work. I was getting hot and flustered in the kitchen. I had to take a moment to just stop, lay in bed, and breathe for a few minutes. I relaxed and tried to clear my mind. I felt lighter. Reuben came home. I love Reuben so much and I immediately felt better. I was ready to get back in the kitchen and tackle this project. And you know what? Everything ended up being perfectly fine.

I had visions of how I would decorate my cake but that didn't quite pan out. I piped cute dots inside and I still like it. The thick batter baked into a fluffy moist cake. I didn't have enough buttercream to get a thick layer all around and the coat wasn't super even, but the cake tasted incredible and too much frosting bothers me anyway. My printer started working again once I left it alone for an hour! The files I needed to be sent could wait to be sent on Monday morning. Hooray!

Ever since the time I was like 16 I've had a problem of doing too many things. It's hard for me to just pick one thing or passion to focus on. There is just so much I enjoy doing and want to learn how to do. This has only intensified over the years. More so over the last year with starting this blog and working on calligraphy and illustrations. And I started a new job which has been scary and challenging in it's own way. It takes a lot to not turn into a ball of nerves. How do I not go crazy? I'm a firm believer in mental health and practicing being mindful of yourself and your needs. But what I really think helps hold me together through all the craziness is simply trusting in the universe. Does that sound too hippie dippie? It's hard explain, but I've always had a deep trust that the universe will work things out. Even when it gets real real bad, everything will start to make sense and feel good again.

Yep, I got all of that from baking a cake! At age 26, I feel I am right where I am supposed to be. I'm trying to remind myself of this trust as much as I can and not stress so much. Just do you. My hope is that this trust only grows deeper as I get older and then one day I'll be one of those super cool, confident, and creative adults!

My food coma is hitting me hard now. So I'm going to leave you with this cake recipe and 5 pieces of advice from a 26 year old. Oof, I need to eat some fruit.

Tips from a 26 Year Old

1. Call your mom.

2. Call your (girl)friends.

3. Don't waste money on a lackluster lunch.

4. Remember to drink lots of water.

5. Be kind.


Greek Yogurt Cake with Black Sesame Buttercream

makes one - 3 layer 6" cake

Greek Yogurt Cake:

1 3/4 C cake flour

1 1/2  tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

5 tbsp unsalted butter - softened

1 C white sugar

2 large eggs - whites and yolks separated

1 tsp vanilla

1 C plain greek yogurt

 

Black Sesame Buttercream:

2 sticks (16 tbsp) butter - softened

3 C powdered sugar

1/4 C tahini

5 tbsp black sesame seeds - finely ground

1/2 tsp salt

Step:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Add the softened butter into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until light and creamy. About 2 minutes. Gradually add in sugar and beat for another 3-5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks until incorporated.

3. Continue beating the butter mixture on medium speed. Add 1/3 of flour mixture, beat a few seconds to incorporate, then add 1/2 of yogurt. Repeat until all the flour mixture and yogurt has been mixed in.

4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form in a separate bowl with hand-held beaters. Or you could transfer the contents of your stand mixer bowl to another mixing bowl and clean your bowl and whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites.

5. Gently fold in egg whites in the cake batter. The batter is a little thick, so don't be afraid of putting a little muscle into mixing your egg whites in. 

6. Spray cake pans with non stick spray and line bottoms with parchment paper. I trace and cut them out with a scissor. Divide the cake batter evenly in the pans. Use an small offset spatula to help spread and level the cake batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden and test for doneness with a toothpick. Once done, allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from the pans and allow to completely cook on a wire rack. Use a knife to help loosen the edges of the cake.

7.  Make your buttercream by beating softened butter in your stand mixer until light and creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar and mix until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in tahini, ground black sesames, and salt. Beat for another 2 minutes. Transfer buttercream into a piping bag with a medium round tip if you're going to attempt to pipe some designs.

8. Start assembling the cake by layering buttercream on top of your first tier. Use an offset spatula to help level the buttercream. Add another a layer of cake and repeat until all layers are stack. Use a dough scraper to check if the edges are straight. Frost the entire cake with your remaining buttercream. Decorate with additional piping or extra black sesame seeds!

9. Slice and enjoy!

Greek Yogurt with Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Fried Egg

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Is it Friday yet? The Cho-Alt household is a little run down this week. Reuben has been home sick with a cold the last couple of days and I am guzzling emergen-c like pixy stix(s?) to get rid of the weird tickle in my throat and the cloudy feeling in my head. We just inhaled chicken pho from Y&Y and feel about 5% better. If you live in San Francisco, you NEED to go to Y&Y or their sister restaurant Yummy Yummy. It is hands down the best pho restaurants in the city! I'm grateful everyday that we only live 3 blocks from Y&Y and can eat it in comfort of our own home 😊

I can't wait until Friday so I can go to sleep at 10pm and not wake up until 10am. I know, my life is exciting. Hopefully, by this weekend I will be feeling closer to 90% so that I can fully enjoy some girl time with my old work ladies and make a killer breakfast this weekend. The spring time is definitely inspiring me to play with all the beautiful fruit and springy greens. I was looking at my past recipes and everything seems a little... tan. I gotta work some spring colors into EatChoFood!

I was trying to add a pop of orange to this dish by way of sweet potato, but I was a doofus and bought a white sweet potato by accident. Bah. Oh well. It still tastes amazing! You're just going to have to accept the tan aesthetic for a little bit longer. Neutrals are trendy still, right?

I'm keeping this post super short because I'm feeling weird/sick/delirious at the moment and it's almost bed time... 10pm. But I hope you find some time to make this cute breakfast. I would definitely pay $15 for this at a trendy brunch spot. It's a savory take on a yogurt parfait. The tanginess of the greek yogurt pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the potatoes and the lemony-ness of the sumac. The flavors are just beautiful. A fried eggs makes everything better. The yolk, as always, becomes a dreamy sauce to mix in with the yogurt and potatoes. I might meal prep enough of this to have for breakfast all next week. That's so adult!

Okay, bye. Need. To. Rest. And. Become. A. Human. Again. I promise a more captivating post in the future!


Greek Yogurt with Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Fried Egg

serves 2


Steps:

1. Peel your sweet potato and cut into 1/2" cubes. Pour olive oil into skillet and heat over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add sweet potatoes to the skillet. You should hear them sizzle. Toss the potatoes in olive oil and season with sumac, cumin, smoked paprika, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Leave potatoes alone for 3-4 minutes to let them get crispy on one side. Toss potatoes and let sit again until sides on consistently crispy. This process takes about 10-12 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, removed potatoes from skillet and set aside on a paper towel lined dish.

2. In the same skillet, add a tiny splash of olive oil to the remaining oil in pan. Once hot, crack 2 eggs into the pan. Allow to cook until over easy. and until the edges are crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. While your eggs are cooking, dollop and smear about 1/3 cup of greek yogurt on each plate. You can add more or less depending on personal preference.

4. Add spiced sweet potatoes over the yogurt and place your fried eggs on top once cooked. Sprinkle a dash of sumac and herbs over each dish. I used basil and and green onions (I know it's not an herb), because that is what I had on hand.

5. Enjoy your morning!

Materials:

Plain Greek Yogurt

1 Medium Sweet Potato (orange, white, or purple)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Sumac + more for garnish

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Salt + Pepper

2 eggs

Herbs (whatever you have on hand)