101st post and a BIG thank-you!

So wordpress tells me that this is my 101st post. Yeah! Time flies when you’re having fun…

…so much fun that I’ve neglected some of my blogging duties. Tsk, tsk. Shame on me! Bad blogger! :( You see, I’ve neglected to address the recent award nominations you wonderful fellow bloggers have bestowed upon me. So, so sorry! :)

I am so grateful and humbled by these nominations. I can really feel the love from you all. I take these nominations as a sign that you really like this blog of mine. Either that or it’s a sign that I am on wordpress too much commenting on your blogs that I’m at the forefront of your minds when it comes to nominations. ;) Either way, I thank-you!

Specifically, thank-you to The Ranting Chef, Acorn in the kitchen, Stacy Allbritton, freerangekitchen, The Townhouse Homesteaders and Doctorate Housewife for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Thank-you Crabby Cake Creations and humble feast for the Liebster Award and The Cook’s Life for the Sunshine Award.

I will now pass on these awards to some interesting and awesome blogs…

How the Versatile Blogger Award works:

Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Add the Versatile Blog Award logo on your blog post.

Nominate 7-15 fellow bloggers and inform them of their nominations. I will nominate 5 since I also have to nominate for the other awards.

  1. $35 a week
  2. The Gourmand Mom
  3. a pretty penny
  4. On the Luce
  5. the faux Martha

Share 7 random things about yourself.

  1. My husband and I were introduced on a blind date by my boss, who is also my husband’s close friend. I guess my boss wanted me to have a life and spend less time at work. Mission accomplished. ;)
  2. I have an irrational fear of snow. I think it has something to do with when I was a teenager and slipped and fell on my butt in front of everyone while walking to school. Scarred me for life!
  3. I can be a bit of a clutz, which may explain #2. I’ve walked into doors that have left bumps on my head and I constantly bruise my legs from walking into table corners. I’ve even tripped over my own feet while walking down a flight of stairs coming out of a building in university, again in front of a crowd of students waiting for their class to start. I couldn’t dust myself off and ran away fast enough! I now also have a fear of stairs.
  4. There are some movies I can watch over and over again: Grease, Footloose, Dirty Dancing. See the trend? I like these movies so much that I wanted to have their music played during our wedding. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince David to let the DJ play the Footloose song, but he did let me have Dirty Dancing’s “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” for our last dance. :)
  5. I would say I grew up in the 90s since that’s when I became a teenager, but I love music from the 70s and 80s. You know, ABBA, Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Barry White, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles, etc.
  6. My dad left Vietnam to come to Canada when I was 3 months old leaving me and my mom behind. I came by myself when I was six, with a tag around my neck that had my dad’s name and picture. Most people think I was incredibly brave. I would like to think so too, but really I was probably just incredibly stupid thinking that I was going on some short adventure on a plane and then would return to Vietnam to my grandparents whom I’m very close to. I wouldn’t see them for more than a year after I left and there were a lot of tears during that time…
  7. Speaking of tears, I’m a bit of a cry baby and I’m a wee bit ashamed to admit it. People who don’t know me well may find me calm, cool and collected, but I’m far from it. I am highly emotional and easily moved. For Pete’s sake, I’ve even cried during “The Last Samurai”. Yes, really.

How the Sunshine Blog Award works:

This prize is awarded to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”

Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.

Answer the questions below.

  • Favorite Color – blue
  • Favorite Animal – fish? It’s the only “pet” I’ve ever had or that’s been in our home.
  • Favorite Number – 13 and 169, do you see the connection between the two?
  • Favorite Drink – a good strong latte
  • Facebook or Twitter – Both, but more Facebook.
  • Your Passion – TBD
  • Giving or getting presents – Neither, I never know what to get others and I hate surprises.
  • Favorite Day – Any day that I’m not working.
  • Favorite Flowers – ? I’m not big on flowers.

Pass on the award to 10 fabulous bloggers, link to their blogs, and let them know you awarded them. Again, I will nominate 5.

  1. in pursuit of more
  2. Nest Design Studio Blog
  3. DREAM green DIY
  4. Deby Dixon Photography
  5. Mama’s Gotta Bake

Liebster award

Recognize the blogger who nominated you.

Share 7 things about me. See Versatile Blogger Award above.

Nominate 5 or so blogs that have under 200 followers. Not sure if some of these blogs have less than 200 followers, but they are great nonetheless.

  1. House Hold Arts and Science
  2. I used to be a cook
  3. My Fancy Pantry
  4. thewanderingballoon
  5. wee eats

Now that that’s taken care of, time to celebrate…

…with a cake or three. One for each award. ;) Kidding, sorta. I made one delicious double chocolate cake recipe and divided it into 3 cute little 5-inch disposable cake pans.

One cake I decorated with whipped cream and leftover maraschino cherries making it look a whole lot like the black forest cupcakes I made recently, except bigger.

One I glazed the top with ganache leftover from making macarons and then topped with strawberries. And the last one, also the ugliest and shall not be seen, I removed from the baking pan and covered completely in two coats of ganache.

Yes, my cake decorating (and cutting) skills leave little to be desired. But please, don’t let that deter you from trying this recipe. OMG, it’s so good! The cake is so moist, fudgy and chocolaty, but not overly sweet. And the ganache is a-maz-ing!

Thank-you again for reading and for giving me an excuse to bake cakes! ;)

Recipe (from the Miette cookbook by Meg Ray):

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounce) all-purpose flour
  • 1/1/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp taking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 ounces 70% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups (16 ounces) sugar*
  • ganache

  1. Liberally butter 2 6×3-inch cake pans (I used 3 4.75×1.6-inch disposable cake pans) and dust with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out excess cocoa.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over it. Whisk until melted. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
  6. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs on high speed until foamy (~2 min). Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in oil, whisking until combined (~30 seconds). Increase speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated (~30 seconds).
  7. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add sugar and whisk until batter is smooth and liquid (~2 minutes).
  8. Stop the mixer. Remove bowl and add sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated preferably by hand, lifting and folding from the bottom center. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing.
  9. Pour the batter through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Press against the solids in the sieve with a rubber spatula to push through as much batter as possible, then discard lumps.
  10. Divide batter between prepared pans (I used 3 smaller pans that I filled 3/4 full, but it was too much and overflowed during baking).
  11. Bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted in center comes out clean (45-50 minutes – I baked for 40-45 minutes, for cupcakes I baked for 20 minutes).
  12. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in pans for ~20 minutes.
  13. Run an offset spatula around the edges of pan to loosen them, then invert cakes onto racks and remove pans.
  14. Let cool for 20 minutes longer.
  15. Wrap cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate to ensure the interiors are completely cooled before decorating (at least 1 hour or for up 3 days).
  16. Decorate as desired.

*I didn’t have enough white sugar so I used 1 1/8 cup white sugar with 1 1/8 cup brown sugar.  I’ve also halved the recipe for 1 8-inch cake, using only brown sugar and baking for 30 min; it turned out fantastic!

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28 thoughts on “101st post and a BIG thank-you!

  1. Pingback: Mother’s Day dinner | trials in food

  2. Congratulations on your 100th post.. what perfect little cakes you’ve made for the occasion. I didn’t know there were disposable mini cake “tins”.. very cool! I found your story about your Dad leaving Viet Nam very interesting to read about today. That must have been so hard for him as well!

    • Thank-you!! Yes, these disposable cake tins makes giving away cakes easier and with no clean up. ;)

      As for my dad, it was certainly difficult for him. He had to bring his younger siblings with him, take care of them and send money back to us. It was hard on my grandparents who had to find money to let their children leave. It was hard on everyone…

  3. Congratulations!!!

    I have to do this too with the same three awards. I have also been super negligent in spreading the blogger love around. But seeing your post is a good push for me! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I love ‘left over ganache,” who doesn’t really? And, I too love the dance themed movie of days gone by…. And for days present, for that matter… yep, I will admit to having a large place in my heart for the Step Up business. Anyway, congratulations

  5. These cakes are absolutely gorgeous! I’m an avid cake-baker but a terrible cake-decorator, so I am definitely going to borrow the techniques you’ve used here. Especially the sliced strawberries over ganache, which I think looks super elegant.

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