Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins with Streusel

This was the recipe that introduced me to the magic of browned butter. It's an additional step that makes a huge impact to the taste. Essentially, you'll melt the butter in a sauce-pan until you see browned bits appear. After cooling, the butter is added to the batter. The result is a deeper, caramel taste to the muffin.

There's no going back once you try this recipe, especially since the browned butter adds a surprising kick to the taste. That plus the crispiness of the streusel and fluffy texture is a heavenly combination. I'd recommend resisting the temptation to eat these while piping hot and to wait to serve these muffins at room temperature after cooling.  The dark, nutty taste of the browned butter is more prominent when these muffins are cooled and adds a nice contrast to the juicy blueberries inside and the browned streusel topping.

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins with Streusel

Adapted from JoytheBaker

Yield: 12 Muffins

7 Tb unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
0.75 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.75 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Streusel Topping
3 Tbs cold, unsalted butter (cubed)
0.5 cup all-purpose flour
3.5 Tb sugar

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.) Melt unsalted butter on medium heat until brown bits appear. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool.

3.) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla together. Add cooled brown butter to this mixture.

4.) Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a separate medium bowl.

5.) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

6.) Gently fold in blueberries.

7.) Line a muffin tin and divide batter into the cups.

8.) Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Since, my parent's anniversary is three days before Valentine's Day, they end up combining the two celebrations. My dad particularly likes this since he just needs to buy flowers one time to take care of both holidays. With the ice storm that swept through Atlanta this past week, the whole family had the opportunity to celebrate their 25th Anniversary with them.
 I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than red velvet cupcakes for their celebration. Of course you can't have red velvet without the signature cream-cheese frosting. And for good reason since the cupcakes themselves aren't too sweet. For anyone looking for a Valentine's themed desert, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this red-velvet recipe. The red coloring is subtle, but if you have red gel food coloring on hand, I found that adding it makes for a more prominent red coloring. Happy Baking~

Yield: 15 cupcakes
12 Tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Tb white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2.25 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 Tb Red food coloring
2 Tb Cacao Powder

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.)Beat butter and sugar on medium-high for 3-6 minutes or until light and fluffy.
3.)In another bowl (bowl #2), whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
4.)In bowl #3, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract and vinegar.
5.)Put mixture on low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.
6.)Add 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture.
7.)Alternate mixing in the buttermilk and flour mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
8.)In another bowl, thoroughly combine cacao powder and red food coloring until it is a thick paste.
9.) Add the cocoa mixture to the batter and mix in thoroughly.
10.)Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
11.)Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes.

Cream Cheese frosting
Adapted from Annie's Eats
10 oz. cream cheese
6.5 Tb unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
3.25 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

1.) Beat together cream cheese and butter.
2.) Gradually beat in powdered sugar at medium speed.
3.) Add in vanilla extract

For the decoration, I used a closed star tip and started from the middle, working my way outward to create the rose design. The chocolate cookie heart was made from cutting the ends of a biscuit (from one of the leftover holiday European cookie tins) and pasting the ends together with Nutella to make a heart-shape.

Angel Food Cake

Happy New Year! It's a tradition for our family to start off the New Year with Angel Food Cake. Made without oil, butter or egg yolks, it's resolution-friendly in my books.

Appropriately named, angel food cake achieves it's fluffy and light texture from gently folding the flour into the meringue. In turn, the greatest challenge is making sure that you don't get any fats such as egg yolks or any oils while whipping up the egg whites. The best part of a freshly baked Angel food cake is arguably the crisp crust that contrasts with the white and fluffy interior. 

This cake is fantastic when paired with berries. I like to dress it up with some whipped cream or every now and then a surprise swirl of chocolate flavoring inside of the cake.
You can find the 2nd version mimicking saeng-cream cake along with the recipe below!

Chocolate and Vanilla Angel Food Cake
Modified from

1 cup cake flour
1-1/2 cup sugar
12 eggs
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs Dutch chocolate, sifted


1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put ¾ cup sugar in food processor and grind up for about 1 minute to reach a powdered sugar consistency
2. Sift together 1 cup cake flour and 3/4 cup sugar (the food processed portion).
3.) Separate 12 egg whites and egg yolks. *note- eggs separate best when cold and whip up best at room temperature. Set egg whites aside and let come to room temperature.
4.) Take the other ¾ cup sugar and grind up in food processor for one minute.
5.) Measure out 1 teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon salt
6.) Using stand mixer and wire attachment, begin mixing egg whites and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar on low for one minute. The egg whites should look foamy with large bubbles.
7.) Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Increase speed to medium-high (setting 3 or 4 on stand mixer) and mix until egg whites are thick and billowy.
8.) With mixer running, gradually pourin the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar (from step 4) in from the side–slowly. Continue beating egg whites until glossy and soft peaks gently tip over when you pull the wire beater up.
9.) Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and turn the mixer on for a couple of seconds to incorporate.
10.) Gradually add in the sifted flour/ sugar mixture from step 2. Use your largest rubber spatula to delicately and carefully fold sifted flour and sugar into whipped egg whites. I add only about 1/4 cup of the flour and sugar mixture at a time. Slice with spatula perpendicular to whites down to bottom of bowl and turn spatula slightly to pull up batter from the bottom and lay over the top. Turn bowl and repeat slice with spatula until flour and egg whites are just mixed. Be careful to mix gently so that the egg whites will not deflate.

11. To simply make lemon angel food cake- gently spoon cake batter into ungreased bundt pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. ** to prevent the top from burning, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake 20 minutes into baking. *** Besides this step, avoid opening the oven door as this will disrupt the rising process of the cake.
12.) When done, remove cake from oven and turn the pan over to let cool for several hours. Loosen cake from pan by running serrated knife around the sides of the pan.

**To add a chocolate layer follow here:
11.) Pour slightly more than half of cake batter into an ungreased** bundt pan.
12.) Use a spoon to draw a trough around the middle. Carefully fold 3 tablespoons sifted cocoa into remaining batter until completely mixed. Fill trough with the chocolate batter and then smooth over the top.
13.) Bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately turn over to cool for several hours. (I recommend overnight.) Use a firm hand and a skinny knife to loosen cake from edges of pan and invert cake onto cake plate.
14.) Decorate with a layer of whipped cream or serve with fresh fruits!

Whipped Cream

3 cups  heavy cream
3 Tb powdered sugar


1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters for at least 15 minutes before using.
2.  Beat heavy cream and gradually add in the 3 Tb powdered sugar until soft peaks.
3. Keep whipped cream chilled or serve immediately.



The best part about the recipe from America's Test Kitchen is that you don't have to wait for the batter to rest before baking. Thanks to the cake-flour, the recipe produces a soft and fluffy texture, while the extra egg-yolk adds moisture to the madeleine. Based on comparisons with a couple of other recipes, I personally find this recipe to be one of the best.

Drizzle these small tea-cakes with some chocolates and sprinkles to create a festive holiday look.

1 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 Tb butter (unsalted, melted and then slightly cooled)

1.)Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter madeleine pan.
2.)Whisk together flour and salt.
3.)Beat eggs until frothy for 3 to 5 minutes.
4.)Beat in sugar and extract until soft peaks or very thick.
5.)Fold in flour mixture.
6.)Fold in melted butter into batter.
7.)Spoon or pipe batter into madeleine pan.
8.)Bake for 10 minutes.

Mocha Macarons


I was really happy with how these macarons came out. The espresso flavor really came through in the shells and the mocha buttercream was the perfect complement. I think chocolate ganache would also be a fantastic pair with these espresso-flavored macaron shells. To make the coffee flavored shells, I simply added two Tablespoons of espresso powder to my favorite, go-to macaron recipe. Check out the recipe below :).

Mocha Macarons
Adapted from Annie's Eats

Ingredients Part A:
110 grams (minus 2 Tablespoons) almond flour
200 grams powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons espresso powder
Part B:
100 grams aged egg whites (egg whites aged for 12-24 hours)
50 grams sugar

Part A Instructions:
1.) Measure out almond flour, espresso powder and powdered sugar. Add the two ingredients to a blender and blend together to form a homogeneous mixture.
2.) Sift this mixture of almond flour, espresso powder and powdered sugar into a bowl.

Part B Instructions:
1.) Add egg whites to clean and oil-free stand mixer or large bowl. Begin beating egg whites at medium-high speed until a foam forms.
2.) Gradually add in sugar to egg whites as you continue beating egg whites at medium-high speed.
3.) Beat egg whites to stiff peaks (you can test by lifting the beater and seeing if the meringue holds its shape).
4.) Add about 1/4 of the mixture from part A and fold in gently, scooping about 10 times (folding motion, scoops along bottom of the bowl, bringing the bottom layer to the top. Folding ensures the meringue doesn't deflate).
5.) Continue folding part A ingredients to the meringue (this should take no more than 50 strokes) until you achieve a "magma-flow" consistency .
6.) Prepare a sheet with parchment paper and transfer mixture to piping bag.
7.) Pipe mixture into evenly-sized circles onto the parchment paper, being careful to space out the macarons.
8.) Tap out the metal sheet against the counter-top, to eliminate the air bubbles in the macarons.
9.) Let piped macarons sit out for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
10.) Preheat oven to 300 F and bake each sheet for 12-14 minutes.
11.) Let macarons cool completely before removing from parchment paper
12.) Pair likesize macaron shells and fill with mocha buttercream. Serve in a few hours or store unfilled shells in airtight container in the freezer.


mocha buttercream filling
adapted from squirrel bakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
0.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

1.) Melt chocolate in microwave-safe bowl by microwaving in 15 second intervals.
2.) Let chocolate cool.
3.) Beat butter until light and fluffy in a large bowl.
4.) Add melted chocolate, espresso powder and vanilla to large bowl and mix to incorporate.
5.) Sift confectionar's sugar and beat into mixture.
6.) Add milk and beat into mixture. (Add a Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.



I've been experimenting with macaron flavors, so I will be posting up more variations soon!


Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Fresh Strawberries


Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Fresh Strawberries

I've finally found the perfect chocolate chiffon cake. Light and airy. Not to mention that any semblance of a dry chiffon cake is easily resolved by chocolate whipped cream and some sugar syrup.
I also admit that my fondness for this recipe has to do with the fact that it may be one of the easiest cakes that I have ever made. Chiffon cakes are usually handled delicately, but this recipe will subvert any of those expectations. None of that whipping the egg-whites separately. Nope. Just dump everything together and whip for a longg time. Despite how roughly and unconventionally everything was mixed together in this recipe, the cake rose beautifully and yielded one of the fluffiest and lightest cakes I've ever made.

I made this cake in 2 hours, so I didn't have much time to make it pretty. Regardless, Sam seemed pretty happy with the end result. Although, it may have just been the fact that he got his usual two cakes, including his favorite Japanese Souffle Cheesecake.


Chocolate Chiffon Cake
Adapted from SotongCooks
3 and 1/2 eggs (203 g)
1 and 1/2 yolks (32 g)
1/2 cup + 3 Tb sugar (135 g)
1/4 tsp salt
2.5 Tb oil (32 g)
3 Tb cocoa powder (21 g)
3/4 cup + 1 Tb cake flour (106 g)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 + 1/2 Tb milk (21 g)

1.) Preheat oven to 338 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Warm vegetable oil slightly and mix with cocoa powder in small bowl.
3.) In medium bowl, whip eggs, yolks, caster sugar and salt at high speed. Beat until sugar dissolves and until ribbon stage.
4.) Sift in flour and baking soda.  Beat at medium speed until just combined (about 15-20 seconds).
5.) Take 1 cup of batter and mix with cocoa powder until well-blended.
6.) Pour mixture back into rest of batter and mix in with milk.
7.) Pour batter into tin and bake for 35 minutes or until skewer inserted into center comes out clean.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
Adapted from  JoyofBaking
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 -4 Tb sugar
2 Tb cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream

1.) Place whisk and mixing bowl in freezer for 15-30 minutes.
2.) Place vanilla extract, 3 Tb sugar and cocoa powder in bowl.
3.) Stir in 2 Tb cream to form thick paste.
4.) Add remaining heavy cream and beat to stiff peaks.

sugar syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

1.) In small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
2.) Let cool and store in refrigerator.



Cake Assembly:
The best part of this cake is how tall the cake rises. See that up there. I only had to bake this recipe once to make that three-layered cake. Just slice into two or three layers, brush each layer with sugar syrup and fill with your choice of frosting or fruit. I filled my cake up with chocolate whipped cream and strawberries.


Neapolitan Cake with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This Neapolitan Cake is the real deal. Strawberry, chocolate and white cake come together in the epitome of all things Neapolitan. If it isn't obvious already. I love the Neapolitan concept. Neapolitan ice-cream cake, Neapolitan icing. It's not only the color combination that gets me, but I'm convinced that strawberry and chocolate were made to be. The vanilla cake just upgrades the whole package.
I covered this cake with swiss meringue butter-cream. So side note of how much this butter-cream will rock your world. I was the kid in first grade who got weird looks for wiping the frosting off cupcakes with my napkin. Needless to say, I didn't like frosting. But this swiss meringue butter-cream completely changed my perception of butter-cream. A truly silky texture and subtle sweetness. You won't see me wiping this butter-cream off my cupcake or cake slice.
Creative inspiration comes from the beautiful Sweetapolita blog. I halved the recipe though, since I figured a 3-layer cake would suffice for this birthday cake!


Strawberry Cake Recipe
Adapted from Sweetapolita
Yield: 1 9-inch cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 package of strawberry gelatin
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened, unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 and 1/4 cups + 2 Tb all purpose flour
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup strawberry puree (blend frozen sweetened strawberries or blend fresh strawberries with a Tablespoon of sugar)

1.) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Butter and flour a 9-inch round pan. Line with parchment paper for easy removal.
3.) Cream butter, sugar, strawberry gelatin powder on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after adding each.
4.) In a small bowl, combine vanilla and milk.
5.) Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder)
6.) Add 1/2 dry ingredients to butter, sugar mixture and whisk to incorporate. Then add the milk and vanilla mixture. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients to batter.
7.) Add strawberry puree and mix until just combined.
8.) Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Cake recipe
yield: 1 9-inch cake
Adapted from Annie's Eats
3/4 cup + 2 Tb All-purpose flour
6 Tb cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola coil
1/2 cup coffee
1/2 cup buttermilk (or add 1/2 Tb of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk)
1 tsp vanilla

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Butter and flour 9-inch round pan. Line pan with parchment.
3.) Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in small bowl.
4.) In large bowl, beat sugar, egg and canola oil at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
5.) Add 1/2 of dry ingredients to the large bowl and beat until just incorporated.
6.) Beat in coffee, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth.
7.) Add remaining 1/2 of dry ingredients to large bowl and beat until just incorporated.
8.) Bake for 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

White Cake
Yield: 1 9-inch cake
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sguar
2 egg whites
8 Tb softened, unsalted butter
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Butter, flour and line 9-inch round pan with parchment paper.
3.) Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.
4.) Beat egg whites on medium speed in medium bowl. Beat until foamy. Beat until stiff peaks form by continuing to beat at medium-high speed.
5.) In medium bowl #2, beat sugar and butter at medium-speed until light and fluffy.
6.) Add 1/2 dry ingredients to sugar and butter mixture and beat until just incorporated.
7.) Add water and vanilla to mixture and beat to incorporate.
8.) Add remaining 1/2 dry ingredients to sugar and butter mixture.
9.) Gently stir 1/4 of egg whites to lighten batter before folding the rest of the egg whites into the batter.
10.) Bake for 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
3 sticks, cubed and cool butter (1.5 cups)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup strawberry puree
pinch of salt

1.) Add egg whites to a clean bowl (should be grease-free: you can wipe the bowl with a lemon to remove any remnants of grease) and place bowl over a simmering pot of water. Whisk mixture until the temperature reaches 160 F or until sugar is completely dissolved.
2.) Whip meringue on medium-high for 8 to 10 minutes or until the bowl is cool and mixture is thick and glossy.
3.) Once the bowl is cool to the touch, add 2 butter cubes at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
4.) Add vanilla and salt, mixing at low speed.
5.) Add strawberry puree and mix until fully incorporated.
Note: If the mixture looks curdled, don't worry! Try refrigerating the mixture and then beating again for a few minutes. 

Sugar syrup for fruit
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Bring sugar and water to a boil. Let cool and brush over fruit.