Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

December 11th was coworker Marcie’s birthday.  I promised her some goodies for her birthday, but I’ve been sick for a while.  I was finally well enough on Monday to bake for her.  She had mentioned that she likes “chocolate with vanilla topping”, so I decided to make her these cupcakes.

I’m normally not a cupcake person, because I don’t really enjoy frosting.  Whipped cream, however, I absolutely LOVE!!!  🙂

I’ve made the cake part of these before in one of my Sweet Melissa Sunday posts.

Hubs and I had just the cake part as breakfast: Naked Cupcakes = Muffins! 😀

I gave four of these to Marcie as her dedicated portion, and brought the rest into work.  They were well-loved!  I love it when people enjoy my food!  🙂

Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from Chocolate Malted Layer Cake of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book)
Makes 24 Cupcakes
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 packets Starbucks VIA
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup hot water
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, Starbucks VIA, baking soda, and salt, and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and eggs until smooth.
4. Add the egg mixture tot he flour mixture, and mix until combined.
5. Meanwhile, melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each 30-second interval. When the chocolate is completely melted, whisk in the vegetable oil until smooth.
6. Add the hot water in a stream and mix until combined. The batter will be loose.
7. Divide the batter evenly into two 12-muffin muffin tins lined with muffin liners.
8. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Cool completely.

Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup marshmallow fluff
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all ingredients and whip on high until stiff peaks form.
2. Decorate cupcakes (I just put a dollop because I’m too lazy to pipe).

Enjoy!!!  🙂

Lemon Bars

In April (yeah, I’m “slightly” behind), coworker Chiemi brought in a bunch of giant lemons from her lemon tree and gave me a bunch to make lemon bars.  I’ve never made lemon bars before.  I don’t even think I’ve ever HAD a lemon bar, so I was kind of clueless as to an “ideal” recipe to use.

I searched through a bunch of recipes listed in a google search.  They can range from using 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, to a whole cup of lemon juice, or using only the juice of one lemon to one whole ground up lemon.  I guess it all depends on how lemony you want your bars.

After looking through some recipes and asking some coworkers on what they look for in a lemon bar, I decided to go with the whole cup of lemon juice route.  I settled on Ina Garten’s Lemon Bar recipe.

They were a HIT!! I’m sure the home-grown lemons contribute to the success, but people LOVED the shortbread in this lemon bar!!!
Definitely will make again! ❤

Lemon Bars (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

For the crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
For the fillings:
6 eggs, room temperature
2.5 cups white sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light.
3. Add flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix on low until incorporated.
4. Press dough evenly into a 9×13 baking pan.
5. Bake the crust in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack, and keep oven on.
6. While crust is cooling, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and flour.
7. Run mixture through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps of flour.
8. Stir in the lemon zest into the lemon and eggs mixture.
9. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set.  Let cool to room temperature.
10. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.


Easter Nests

I know I know…this post is a whole season late…but…but…eh…I have no excuses…:P

So…for Easter…to be a little festive…I made these Easter Nests and gave them away as gifts. These are super easy to make, and they look pretty, and supposedly tastes good (I didn’t try one).

The original recipe uses jelly beans, but I don’t think jelly beans look like eggs, but look like…well…beans. So I wanted to use Cadbury Mini Eggs, but there weren’t any at the Target I went to, so I went with Almond M&Ms. 🙂

Maybe you can make some next Easter! 🙂

Easter Nests (makes 24…adapted from allrecipes)
1 Stick Butter
4 Cups Mini Marshmallows
7 Cups Chow Mein Noodles
72 Almond M&Ms
1. Spray two muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large nonstick saucepan, combine marshmallows and butter over medium heat. Stir until the butter and marshmallows have melted.
3. Stir in the chow mein noodles, coat well.
4. Using a large spoon/ice cream scoop, scoop coated noodles into each well of the muffin pan, one by one.  Using the back of the spoon/scoop, make a well in the noodles to create a nest (it’s ok if the noodles break a little, the m&ms would cover it, and each strand of the nest shouldn’t be the same length anyway).
5. Place 3 (different colored) m&ms in each nest.
6. Refrigerate overnight until set.

Coconut Taro Sago 椰汁芋頭西米露

On February 20th, When we went to John and Nancy’s House-Warming party on February 20th (Congratulations, by the way), Nancy requested that I help her make Coconut Taro Sago (椰汁芋頭西米露). I’ve never made it before, so I quickly found a recipe with my iPhone (thank God for the iPhone). We soaked half a pack of sago because I thought she had one whole (or at least half) taro, but it turned out that we had only about 1/4 to 1/3 of a taro. So…our Coconut Taro Sago was a bit taro-less…

Coconut Taro Sago (adapted from Christine’s Recipes)

1 Taro, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1/2 cup Sago

1 can Coconut Milk

Rock Sugar


1. Soak the Sago in about 3 cups of water for an hour, drain. Boil a pot of water (about double the amount of the soaked sago). Once boiling, add the drained sago and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cover, set aside for 30 minutes, drain.

2. Boil another pot of water (this is gonna be part of the finished product, so boil more). Add taro and cook until slightly soft. Add coconut milk and enough rock sugar until desired sweetness is reached. Once rock sugar is all dissolved, remove from heat. Add sago and stir until well mixed.

3. Serve hot. Leftovers can be refrigerated and served cold.


椰汁馬豆糕 (Coconut Split Pea Jello) vs. 花奶綠豆滑 (Milky Mung Bean Jello-y Pudding)

Elaine sent me a message yesterday asking me if I know how to make “horse bean jello.” I’ve never made it before, but I found her a recipe. It was a hot day yesterday, so I went ahead and made some (using another recipe). I didn’t have any coconut milk or any yellow split peas, so i replaced the coconut milk with additional evaporated milk, and the yellow split peas with shelled mung beans. I’m not sure if it’s because the the coconut milk replacement or the split peas replacement, but the “jello” didn’t set. It set a little bit, but it’s more like pudding. It’s not all pudding though, it’s somewhat dense and it requires some kind of chewing (not melt-in-your-mouth).
But it’s supposed to look like this…

100g Yellow Split Peas (replaced w/ 200g Mung Beans…I LOVE Mung Beans)
160g Evaporated Milk
280g Sugar
400g Coconut Milk (replaced w/ 400g of Evaporated Milk)
170g Corn Starch
5 Cups Water

1. Clean yellow split peas. Place clean split peas in small saucepan, cover with water. Boil until split peas are tender. Drain & set aside.
2. Combine corn starch, evaporated milk and coconut milk.
3. Bring the 5 cups of water to a boil, dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add corn starch mixture to sugar water, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil.
4. Add split peas, mix well.
5. Pour mixture into a lasagna pan and let cool. Once cooled, place in refrigerator to cool completely.

Matcha Green Tea Daifuku & Chocolate Strawberry Daifuku

Mochi Mochi Mochi~~~

We were supposed to meet up with Miss Ma today, so I made some Mochis for her last night.

Matcha Green Tea Daifukus

and Chocolate Strawberry Daifukus

Matcha Green Tea Daifukus
1 Cup Glutinous Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder
2/3 Cup Water
1 Cup Course Red Bean Paste
2 Tbsp Potato/Corn Starch (for dusting)

1. Mix Glutinous Rice Flour, Sugar, Matcha Green Tea Powder, and water together until smooth.
2. Pour in microwave safe bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with wet paper towel. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
3. Let cool until cool enough to handle.
4. While Mochi mixture cools, separate the red bean paste into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball.
5. Take a 1-inch piece and flatten, using potato/corn starch to dust hands. Wrap a red bean paste ball into flattened mochi piece. Form into a ball. Set aside and continue with the next Mochi.

Chocolate Strawberry Daifukus
1 Cup Glutinous Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
2/3 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Strawberries, diced
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp Potato/Corn Starch (for dusting)

1. Mix Glutinous Rice Flour, Sugar, 1/2 tsp Cocoa Powder, and water together until smooth.
2. Pour in microwave safe bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with wet paper towel. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
3. Let cool until cool enough to handle.
4. When Mochi is almost cooled, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in microwave. Mix with strawberries.
5. Mix 1/2 tsp Cocoa Powder and potato/corn starch. Take a 1-inch piece and flatten, using cocoa powder and potato/corn start to dust hands. Wrap 2-3 pieces of chocolate covered strawberries into flattened mochi piece. Form into a ball. Set aside and continue with the next Mochi.

Daifuku (AKA Mochi)

Our friend Nancy posted a picture of her tray of Strawberry Mochis…
(Nancy Tao Copyright)…
I tried asking her for the recipe…but she refused!!!…so I had to find my own recipe and experiment with it…

I found this recipe online…
I guess it turned out ok…I haven’t really mastered how to make them round…so I will have to do more research…but I was pretty impressed with trial one…

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

Stan & Philly came over to cook for us last Wednesday (Apr 29, 09). We got to eat Rib Eye Flambé…mmMMMMM. It was mesmerizing seeing the fire, although the smoke detector went crazy a bit. 😛

After dinner, we (mainly Philly) decided to make Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies. We made the cookie part using this recipe (which is supposed to be for ice cream sandwiches), and the filling from this recipe.

We didn’t have regular liquid food coloring, but only gel coloring. Because we don’t know what the liquid to gel conversion was, we decided to add the coloring last. We combined everything except the coloring, and Philly thought the color wasn’t right, and that it wasn’t dark enough. So I went a little overboard and put (in addition to the 1.5 Tbsp in recipe) two big scoops (2 Tbsp-ish) of cocoa powder. So after that…it looked a lot more brown than red……..

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