Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lady in Red, Red Velvet That Is.

Red Velvet Cake. A classic, a trend, something that seemed so out of reach. Where the hell do you get a decent Red Velvet in Southern California? I've crossed paths with some nasty versions in my life, ones I'd rather not think about anymore. I've attempted red velvet cupcakes once before, and they were good, no doubt. But this?!?!?! This was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! The cake was uber moist, full of flavor and will you look at that red! That is a red if I ever did see one.

Red Velvet Cake

Yields: 1 two-layer or three-layer cake

Recipe from Pinch My Salt, which can be found here.

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsn. cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 oz. red food coloring

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. baking soda

If this isn't red, I don't know what is:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 9-inch or three 8-inch round cake pans, set aside. Sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl, set aside. In a small bowl, mix the food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps, set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk, alternating between both until well combined. Make sure to scrape down the bowl.

In a small bowl mix together the vinegar and baking soda (it will fizz). Add it to the cake batter and combine well. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and place them into your preheated oven. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until done or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, then gently invert them onto a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

A lame attempt at trying to "crumb coat" the sides of the cake, but alas I didn't have enough excess crumb:

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (2 sticks), room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

With an electric mixture, blend together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Turn mixer on high until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, before use bring back to room temperature.

Definitely diggin' into this baby:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tailored Tuesdays


I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you that I am going to Chile (and a bit of Argentina)! I am studying abroad for about a month or so but fortunately, I will still have access to the internet... wheww! I will still be here blogging away but in advance, I'd like to let you know I will not be baking over in my new, temporary home. I wouldn't want to deal with new altitudes and foreign kitchens anyway. BUT, if you happen to see new recipes it's because they are ones I never got around to posting and it is highly likely that these Tailored Tuesdays might appear on Wednesdays due to my inability to deal with time changes!
1. Moschino "Silk and chiffon cocktail dress" 
2. Monica Vinader "Cabos labradorite necklace"
3. Jimmy Choo "Patent and suede shoulder bag"
4. Stella Mccartney "Canvas waist belt"
5. Jimmy Choo "Cat strappy sandals"

all images can be found at

Monday, June 22, 2009

Alice in Wonderland, 2010

I for one, cannot wait for this. Who better to re-do this maniacal classic then Tim Burton himself and with a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman... this film is bound to be amazing. 

From the left:
Johnny Depp as The Madhatter
Anne Hathaway as The White Queen
Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen

Yes, It Truly Is Magic.

Romeo & Juliet.
Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head.
Cookies & Milk. 
Peanut Butter & Chocolate. 

Some things are just meant to be together...

These cupcakes were... wow. The chocolate cake was incredibly moist, as I like it and perfectly chocolaty, as I like it. And paired with this peanut butter buttercream? What a hit out of the ball park and into another universe! 

Black Magic Cake
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Recipe from Milk and Honey Cafe, which can be found here.

2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups of flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk  or "sour" milk (1 tbsn. white vinegar + milk to make 1 cup)
1 cup strong coffee or 2 tsp. instant coffee + 1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with liners, set aside. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until well combined. Pour into the prepared pans about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. 

Peanut Buttercream Frosting
Yields: enough to generally frost 12 cupcakes
Recipe from The Boastful Baker, which can be found here.

1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 tbsn. shortening
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbsn. molasses
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 - 2 tbsn. soy milk

Cream together the margaring and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add the peanut butter, molasses and vanilla, beat until smooth about 2 - 3 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar (mixture will be very stiff). Slowly add the soy milk, beating continuously until frosting is pale tan and very fluffy. If it is too thick or too thin, add more soy milk or powdered sugar until the right consistency is achieved. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Small Stakes

The Small Stakes is the love child of music and great design. Jason Munn, the artist, combined his two loves and created these adorably pithy posters. Each poster showcases each artist perfectly, and beautifully at that. 

Here are some of my favorites (and some of my favorite bands and artists as well):

On the left: Sufjan Stevens,  two color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the right: The Dodos (San Francisco), two color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the left: Andrew Bird,  three color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the right: Norah Jones,  two color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the left: Neko Case, two color silkscreen 19" by 25"
On the right:  Beirut (Insound 20),  three color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the left: The National (Insound 20),  two color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the right: Stars (San Francisco),  two color silkscreen 18" by 24"
On the left: Grizzly Bear (Insound 20),  two color silkscreen 18" by 24" 
On the right: Yo La Tengo, three color silkscreen 18" by 24"

You can meander his website and purchase his posters here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tailored Tuesdays

1. Proenza Schouler "PS1 large crocodile satchel"
2. Alexander Wang "Silk one shoulder dress"
3. Missoni "Multicolored resin necklace"
4. Yves Saint Laurent "Crocodile print metal cuff"
5. Christian Louboutin "New decoltissimo 85 patent pumps"

all images can be found at

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Perfectly Caffeinated Cupcake.

Coffee & Donuts. A classic combination. Made maybe a little less classic in this rendition: the cupcake version! Do you know why I love baking cupcakes? Because they are so incredibly versatile. I can make almost any flavor and decorate it in any way I want; it's a place where I can let my imagination run wild (and boy does it tend to stray away from me sometimes). I made these for my dad's company picnic and I thought they would cater to their taste buds well. 

These babies were everything I expected them to be. While mixing the batter, the smell of the coffee batter was just ridiculously yummy. They didn't rise much so I suggest filling them pretty well up. The cake was moist and definitely coffee flavored. Just the smell coming from them was enough to wake you to your senses. Now the frosting? Delicious, especially when paired with the cupcake and donut hole. It's decadence on decadence but I thought it would be a fun idea for a room full of work-oriented people. 

Coffee & Donut Cupcakes
Yields: 12 cupcakes
Original recipe from justJENN, which can be found here

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar 
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/8 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
12 plain donut holes (for decoration)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk and coffee and set aside. Alternately add the flour and coffee mixture into the butter mixture in two batches until well combined. Pour into the prepared pans about 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Creamy, coffee-infused batter:
Donut holes waiting to be glazed and glamorized:
Yayy for sprinkles on donuts:
Coffee Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tbsn.  brewed coffee
1 tbsn. milk (as needed)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, coffee and vanilla until well combined. Add the milk, a little at at time until the right consistency is reached. Beat for another 2 - 3 minutes until smooth. Spread the frosting on the top of the cooled cupcakes, then place a donut hole on top, drizzle some frosting on the donut hole, sprinkle with jimmies and enjoy!

These fully deserved a complete photoshoot:

Thursday, June 11, 2009


My home has always been set in Orange County. I was born here, I grew up here, I live here. It might not have the excitement of a big city, which I do love, but it has a special place in my heart. Most specifically, I have lived all 20 years of my short life in Orange, the heart of Orange County. It's funny because not many people know the city; it's small but filled with whimsical charm. 

The Orange Circle is my favorite place to be where there are quaint antique shops and some of the best restaurants in town. It's also the home to the Street Fair (as shown above) where I love to get my hands on some Loukoumades and Gyros, yummmmm! If you were to wander its streets, you might recognize its park bench as the same one Tom Hanks sat on as he waited for a bus in Forrest Gump or even its Army Navy Store from That Thing You Do. Yep, it's quite famous!

I think that this quotation perfectly describes what my home means to me. I randomly stumbled upon it in a class I was taking in school. I will never forget Orange County no matter where I am in the world because it is my one and true love. 

"Where springtime always lingers, 

where winter never enters,

 and where the last rose of summer is never seen. 

Where rains fall gently and ocean winds breathe softly under the Western sky. 

In the glow of the setting sun, there is Orange County."

- Unknown

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Banana Nutella Muffins with Streusel Topping

I had some way-beyond-salvation-overripe bananas in my kitchen so I decided to make some muffins. I wanted to try something new and I remember seeing a recipe for Banana Nutella muffins so I quickly hopped to it! These were as simple as tying your shoes; mix, bake, enjoy!

Overall I was liked these muffins but was not very impressed, sadly. If I hadn't already known there was Nutella in the muffin, I would have never guessed it. I think next time swirling in the Nutella into the batter before baking rather than mixing it into the batter would be the more genius idea! But an extra spread of Nutella really did do the trick to fix these in a snap.

Banana Nutella Muffins with Streusel Topping
Yields: 12 muffins
Slightly adapted from here and here.

For the muffins:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large or 2 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
3.5 oz. milk
4.5 tbsn. butter, room temperature
3 1/2 tbsn. sugar
3 - 4 tbsn. nutella

For the streusel:
2 tbsn. butter, room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 tbsn. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside. For the muffins, cream together the sugar, butter and egg. Once well creamed, fold in the nutella and the mashed bananas. In a small bowl combine the milk and the baking soda and mix well. In another medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour and milk mixtures to the creamed mixture alternatively. Incorporate well but make sure not to over mix as it can make your muffins tough. Fill the muffin tin about 2/3 full and set aside. For the streusel, mix all of the ingredients together and using your hands work the butter into the mixture until it is all combined and is crumble-y. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon each of the mixture. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool before eating and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Fashionable Cupcake.

These are just about the cutest things to happen since I don't even know what! Fashion and cupcakes make an unbelievable match and I'm seriously wondering why I hadn't thought of this before... 

Louis Vuitton
Betsey Johnson

All images from Highsnobiety, which can be found here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Alli's Chicken Pasta Salad

I often have school all day. And by all day I really mean all day; sometimes from 8 in the morning to 10 at night! I don't know how I do it or how my mind has the capability to be working for that long but good nutritious food really does help. I would usually resort to just grabbing some food from some greasy place but it's that icky feeling afterward that forced me stop my habits. I like making things like this pasta that's easy to transport and keeps well. But most importantly is yummy!
1. First, season your chosen veggies and roast them.
2. Next, add all of your ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Grab your favorite Caesar dressing (Ken's lite happens to be mine).
4. Add pasta, pour sauce, and toss.
5. Enjoy by the heaping spoonful!
6. Or grab a plate and be civilized!

Alli's Chicken Pasta Salad
Yields: About 10 - 15 servings

1 roast chicken
1 box of grape tomatoes
1 box of mushrooms (of your choice)
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tbsn. olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup of Ken's Lite Caesar dressing 
1 box of pasta (of your choice)
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, making sure to salt your boiling water. Once the pasta is done, drain it and set aside. Cut your asparagus into thirds and slice your mushrooms and then place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with some salt, pepper and the olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes or until your preference of done-ness. While that is cooking, remove the meat from the roast chicken and roughly chop or just shred with your fingers. Place it in a large bowl. Next add the cooked veggies and the drained pasta. Slice the tomatoes in half (or you could keep them whole) and toss them in. Start by adding 1/2 a cup of dressing and toss. If you want more dressing, just simply add some. Sprinkle with some more pepper and enjoy!

* This is a very loose recipe. It originally called for cucumbers, tomatoes, garbanzo beans and corn but I changed it up with my own favorite vegetables and you can do the same!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Resort 2010

Well this isn't exactly what comes to mind when you think of Resort wear, but the clothes were nonetheless spectacular. Everything was just effortless and pieces could be easily mixed, matched and layered.
I think that when Christopher Bailey designs, he must have me in his mind because this is everything that I love, live for and die for. He always manages to find yet another way to reinvent the classic trench coat and it still amazes me each and every time.
Marc always has something eclectic hidden is his sleeve. Everything in his collection was fun, upbeat and suited for either island wear or dry land.
I think this collection perfectly personifies what Resort it. Its sublimely casual with some killer cocktail dresses mixed in. And ladies, if you can't afford these lovely numbers (as most of us definitely cannot), his collection for Gap comes out June 16th!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Resort 2010

Summer is officially here and it's been kicked off with the newest and latest of Resort 2010!

Rachel Roy didn't let ease-of-wear completely override structure in this collection. Her items are flirty and fun yet can be easily pulled back a notch for the work day. I just loved how she contrasted the photos against a bright teal background, it really makes a difference!

Chris Benz' collection was largely inspired by his summer trips to Palm Beach in visits to his grandparents, filled with his signature colors of yellow, orange and turquoise. This collection is a perfect Summer wardrobe of light fabrics and breezy designs. 

Refined elegance that is unmistakably Oscar de la Renta. Summer? What summer? Oscar didn't exactly factor in the heat factor into his designs but who the hell cares? This collection had a strong Parisian influence, filled with tweeds, boucles and berets.

I don't know about you but I was completely amazed by the fierceness of Michael Kors' resort collection. This collection was inspired by his many trips to Asia, seen through batik prints and built-in sarongs. And reasonably, everything is packable (fabric wise)!