Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake

Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
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Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food
Mini Almond and Satsuma Orange Cake // Eat Cho Food

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 nut just keep blending. Place a cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Add a plop of butter cream on top and smooth. 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!

Black Sesame Waffles

Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food

January is a month of fresh starts, juice cleanses, Whole30, Cook90, Marie Kondo purges, and strong gym attendance… for some people. I’m cooking the same tasty and satisfying food I love, which is definitely not compliant by any diet’s standards. I’m refusing to watch the Marie Kondo special, for no particular reason. And I’ve been to the gym a handful times, which I’m actually pretty proud of! I tried to not set too many resolutions for myself this year and just focus on being a happy and productive human bean. That’s a pretty good goal I think!

I do have a few normal and boring general life goals though. This year I think will finally be the year that I become really, LIKE REALLY, organized. I can feel it! Or maybe this is the year I learn to actually make the bed every morning. That would be something. I’m trying, Mom! I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to waste less. That means:

  1. Eating all my vegetables and salad greens before they get gross.

  2. Buying less plastic things. You should have seen how much paper and plastic I purged from our office. OMG. I’m so sorry, Earth!

  3. And using up all the boxes of lasagna noodles we have in the cupboard from when Reuben and I couldn’t decide on the perfect noodles to make the best lasagna.

When you’re a food blogger or even just like a well stocked home cook, you end up with a ton of food products taking up space in your fridge or cupboards. I have SO MANY random bags of various flours and starches. When is the next time I’m going to bake with oat bran???? How many jars of coconut butter is normal? 5? I looked in the fridge a week ago and realized that I had like 4 half full jars of tahini! So I’m trying to work through all the excess things in my kitchen little by little so that I can hopefully reset my kitchen pantry with the necessities. That would be butter, flour, sugar, salt, and oyster sauce.

This recipe for Black Sesame Waffles used up the last bit of black sesame tahini hiding in the far end of my fridge. You know that back corner right by the open box of Arm & Hammer that’s been there since you moved in? That’s where the jar was hiding. I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t use up this jar sooner because I LOVE black sesame everything. Muffins. Cake. Cookies. Sprinkled on 90% of my meals. I’m obsessed. I might even get a black sesame tattoo! JK I won’t ever do that. But a black sesame tattoo would just be like an extra freckle, right?

These waffles are deeply nutty from the black sesame. Almost like peanut butter but 1000000% better. The texture is light but with a nice chew, which I’m all about. You can find black sesame paste or tahini at your local asian or Mediterranean market, Whole Foods might have it, or you can just order it off the internet! You could make it from scratch too! Regular tahini also works if you’re having a hard time finding the black sesame variety. Once you’ve introduced black sesame into your kitchen, these waffles are super easy to whip up in the morning, because I know you don’t want to be separating eggs and whip egg whites to stiff peaks on the verge of a hangry meltdown. You just want to eat! I love topping my waffles with yogurt, but dreamy whipped cream and pomegranates make for a slightly fancy and luxurious breakfast situation. You deserve it. It’s January and you’re already kicking booty!


Black Sesame Waffles

serves 4-6

materials:

2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup black sesame paste/tahini

steps:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

  2. Add greek yogurt and water in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Add in eggs, butter, vanilla, and black sesame paste. Whisk again until combined. If your black sesame paste is a little thicker you may need to mix a little longer, but a few small chunks of sesame paste is okay!

  3. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Avoid over mixing. The batter will be really thick.

  4. Heat up your waffle iron. Fill iron accordingly, so that it does not overflow. I place about 2/3 cup of batter in my waffle iron to make these. Cook until desired doneness (3-4 level for me).

  5. Serve warm with whipped cream, maple syrup, and pomegranates! Or with whatever your heart desires!

Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

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Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
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Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

Hello, 2019! Happy New Year!! I hope you went to bed as early as you wanted and didn’t have to stand outside in the cold or rain waiting for fireworks or a ball to drop. We celebrated the New Year twice technically, because we were flying from Cleveland to San Francisco when the clock struck midnight (EST). So I blew Reuben a kiss from my crammed middle seat because he fell victim to the cold floating around my family and I’m trying my hardest to not succumb to the germs too. We unwillingly celebrated the New Year again in our apartment, hangry (thank god for delivery sushi though!) and definitely grumpy from flying. But we were so thankful to be back home and in our cozy bed again! This isn’t too far from my ideal NYE though, if you take out the hangry-ness. My ideal NYE is at home, watching a movie with my family instead of a celebrity filled countdown. Maybe I’ll take a glass of sparkling cider and some cheese and crackers.

Reuben and I got to spend a nice long holiday week in Cleveland and it was so dang pleasant. We gained about 143929491 pounds but it was worth it. Staying at my parents’ house is sort of magical. I sleep so much, there is always a new movie to watch, and somehow there is always freshly made egg rolls. Thanks, Mom! Christmas is the one holiday out of the year that I always go home and try to stay for as long as possible. Throughout the rest of the year, I get a few longish or super short weekends to get some time to see my brother and parents. Maybe a few aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma sightings too! So getting a whole week at home with the fam is the best Christmas present. Sorry, was that too corny?

The last few times I’ve been home, I’ve gotten into the habit of making Pineapple Buns or Bo Lo Bao. They are a huge family favorite at Chinese bakeries! We all love them. Especially my dad and grandma. Pineapple Buns don’t actually have any pineapple in them. They get their name from the crisscross pattern formed on the topping, which resembles a pineapple. The bun is a super fluffy and slightly sweet milk bread topped with a crisp cookie like topping. I would experiment on the recipe every single time I was home because no matter how they turned out my family would eat them instantly. Plus I Ioved having a family full of taste testers available!

The goals of my experimentation were:

1. Super fluffy and light milk bread.

2. A cookie topping that would actually hold a definite pattern.

Achieving goal number 2 was a lot harder than I thought. The topping on a classic pineapple bun sort of naturally cracks and becomes a super flakey cookie. It doesn’t quite hold the score patterns as cleanly as I want them to. But! When Reuben and I went to Mexico City this past summer, I discovered the Concha! I tried a few different ones for research purposes (obviously) and realized that they were remarkably similar to pineapple buns. I found the bread to be a little drier and not as rich and doughy, but the cookie topping was similar in flavor and texture. The patterns on all the conchas were so clean and defined! The recipes for concha topping and pineapple bun topping is pretty similar. The only difference I found was the use of powdered sugar instead of caster sugar, which allows the topping to retain it’s form a lot better. So I inserted the (sorta) into the recipe name because these buns are like if a Pineapple Bun and a Concha had a beautiful and delicious hybrid baby bun!

The end result after a year of experimenting is the lightest and tastiest milk bread with an addicting cookie topping! If you haven’t had a warm pineapple bun just out of the oven with some butter and honey, then you are missing out on one of the best things in life EVER! Oooh I bet a drizzle of condensed milk would be amazing too! Don’t forget to make yourself a cup of milk tea while you’re at it!


Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

makes 16 buns

milk bread materials:

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 package of instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt

topping materials:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 tsp matcha powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk

steps:

  1. Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. Once dough is form, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. The dough will grow 1.5x from its original size.

  2. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and roll into smooth little dough balls. Place dough balls on baking trays lined with parchment paper. 8 dough balls fit on a standard baking tray. Cover trays with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. Make topping by combining flour, dry milk powder, matcha powder, shortening, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, egg yolk, and milk in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Dough will still be slightly crumbly. Knead together with you hands until dough is smooth and combined. Set aside until ready to use.

  5. Once the dough has rested for the second time, roll out the topping on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8” thick. Cut out 16 2.5” - 3” circles using a cutter. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to lift the dough rounds up if they stick. Place rounds on top of the dough balls and lightly score the tops.

  6. Bake buns for 15-17 minutes until buns are slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow buns to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or completely cooled.

baking notes:

  1. In the photos you’ll notice that I marbled a plain dough with matcha dough. I did this in an attempt to make the buns look more pineapple like. The marbling is unnecessary because the colors are not as defined after baking. So just mix in the matcha into the entire dough.

  2. These buns are relatively small-medium sized. If you prefer larger buns just divide the dough into 12 instead.