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Buttercream Frosting

I’m in the search of a good buttercream frosting recipe to decorate my cupcakes. In the past, I used the milkbar birthday cake frosting recipe but found the icing is a bit too soft and doesn’t have enough structure to hold ruffle and rosette designs on the cupcakes. This time, I used this recipe from Two Sister Crafting. However, I found this icing is a bit too sweet and lack of the tangy taste that I like from the Milkbar frosting recipe. So I decided to combine both recipe and ended up with not overly sweet but flavourful frosting.

I used the Milkbar Birthday Cake recipe to make these cupcakes

Not-overly-sweet Buttercream Frosting 

This recipe yields about 1120 gram icing which roughly enough to decorate 2 dozens cupcakes!

  • 340 g butter, at room temperature (1 1/2 cup)
  • 50 g vegetable shortening (1/4 cup)
  • 55 g cream cheese (2 ounces)
  • 25 g glucose (1 tablespoon)
  • 18 g corn syrup (1 tablespoon)
  • 12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
  • 625 g confectioners’ sugar (5 cups)
  • 2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
  • .25 g baking powder (pinch)
  • .25 g citric acid (pinch)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk

    Red Velvet Cupcakes

    I don’t usually eat cupcakes and would prefer my usual chocolate cake craving. For some reason, I have a flashback of having Red Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkles when I was in California a few years ago. I would like trying make some for my friend’s bridal shower. As I browsed online, there are hundreds of recipes available and I decided to try the one from All Recipes website. The cake turned out moist and very chocolatey (which I like), but apparently lacking the vinegar which supposedly the main ingredient to make a Red Velvet. I also came across this blog who did a Red Velvet taste off using 8 different recipes. I would definitely would like to try their winning recipe next time. Another video that is very helpful on my cupcake making adventure is by watching Cupcake Jemma. She has a lot of cupcake recipes and tutorial on frosting cupcakes.

    Here what my cupcakes turn out… see recipes below with modifications as suggested by reviewer… It was also recommended to bake at 400 F for the first 5 minutes and continue baking at lower temperature 325 F until the cake is done.


    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 (1 ounce) bottle McCormick® Red Food Color
    • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
    2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
    3. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

    For the Cream Cheese frosting, I used this recipe


    • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened (or 1 stick salted & 1 stick unsalted)
    • 1 (8-ounce or 226 grams) package chilled cream cheese, such as Philadelphia®
    • 2½ teaspoons (12.5 ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
    • 4 to 4½ cups (480 to 540 grams) confectioners’ sugar, preferably 100% pure cane, such as C&H® or Domino®, spooned in cup, leveled off & sifted.


    1. Beat cream cheese, softened butter and Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy.
    2. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

    Cinnamon Buns

    This is my first attempt at making Cinnamon Rolls. I came across Jo Cooks blog and can’t resist to not try her Cinnabons  recipe. This recipe was adapted from Todd Wilbur’s cookbook: More Top Secret Recipes: More Fabulous Kitchen Clones of America’s Favorite Brand-Name Foods.  I think I may have to find this book from the library and try out the other recipes.

     Ingredients (make 8 large cinnamon rolls)

    2¼ tsp active dry yeast tsp (7 g)
    1 cup warm milk (250 mL)
    ½ cup granulated sugar (100 g)
    ⅓ cup  margarine (75 g)
    1 tsp salt (5 mL)
    2 eggs
    4 cups all purpose flour (500 g)

    1 cup packed brown sugar (200 g)
    3 tbsp cinnamon (45 mL)
    ⅓ cup margarine, softened (75 g)

    To make filling, combine all three ingredients in a bowl and mix into a paste.

    6 tbsp margarine (113 g)
    1½ cups powdered sugar (187 g)
    ¼ cup cream cheese (55 g)
    ½ tsp vanilla extract (3 ml)
    ⅛ tsp salt (a pinch)

    To make the icing, combine all ingredients in a bowl of mixer and mix until smooth.


    The reason I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, it’s because they look so intimidating to make! However, my first try turned out so good and since then, I’ve been making it three more times! Last time, I made it for brunch during our family cottage getaway. I made the dough in advance, rolled, and prepped them in a baking pan. The dough can rest in the refrigerator for up to two nights. Here’s how I made them in step-by-step so they can be freshly baked on a Saturday morning for brunch!

    Thursday or Friday evening

    I made the dough on Thursday evening so it can be packed to go on Friday to the cottage. You can make it a day before, but two nights resting in the refrigerator will result in a well-rested and fluffier buns :)

    1. Make the dough
      dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, let it dehydrated for 10 minutes.
      mix sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour in the bowl of a mixer with dough attachment
      add the milk/yeast mixture into the bowl, mix well until the dough is pulling away from the side bowl (30 minutes)
    2. Rise the dough
      place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
    3. Roll the dough
      On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 16 inches long by 12 inches wide.
      For a nice big rolls, make sure the thickness is about ¾ to ½  inch thick.
      Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving one side uncovered (long edge)
      Roll the dough down from  the long edge towards the uncovered side. Pinch the dough to close the side.
    4.  Cut and rest the dough
      Slice the roll into 8 pieces, 1½ inch slices.
      Place the cut rolls on a greased or parchment-lined pan or cookie sheet.
      Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let them rise until they nearly double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour before baking. Note: I covered the pan with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator for two nights (Thursday and Friday).

      My pan was a bit small and only fit 6 rolls, so I freeze the two remaining rolls wrapped in a plastic wrap. It then can be thawed, proofed and baked for fresh breakfast

    Saturday Morning

    1. Bake the rolls
      Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Take the pan out of the refrigerator and, let the rolls rise at room temperature for 15 minutes.
      Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown.
    2. Top with icing
      When the rolls are done, glaze the top generously with icing while still warm. The icing will coat evenly and set when the buns are cool.
    3. Bon Appétit!

    Isabelle’s First Birthday

    It’s time to decorate Isabelle’s birthday cake! I made a two-tiered cake, the bottom cake was made from cake mix and colored in layers (see my Pink Surprise Ombre Cake post), the top portion was Funfetti cake (see my Milkbar Birthday Cake post). For the icing, I also used the recipe from Milkbar cake frosting. After icing the cake, I used fondant to cover and decorate the cake. I bough one tub of white fondant from BulkBarn.

    Birthday Cake Frosting makes about 430 g (2 cups)

    115 g butter, at room temperature (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
    50 g vegetable shortening (1/4 cup)
    55 g cream cheese (2 ounces)
    25 g glucose (1 tablespoon)
    18 g corn syrup (1 tablespoon)
    12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
    200 g confectioners’ sugar (1 1/4 cups)
    2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
    .25 g baking powder (pinch)
    .25 g citric acid (pinch)

    I rolled the fondant to thin and it cracked when stretched to cover the cake. I decided to cover the impurities with some polka dots!!!
    This is my first time using an edible gold food coloring. I used the liquid paint and it turned out better than mixing the powder form with water.

    Cake Smash Photo Shoot with Baby Isabelle

    I love all seeing those cute cake smash photos I see on Pinterest! When my friend’s baby girl is turning one, I was so excited to be able to plan a cake-smash photo session for Isabelle’s first birthday. Doing your own cake smash at home is not hard, but you will need some preparation:

    1. Cake
      You can easily bake your own cake from a cake mix and bought ready-to-use icing. To add a touch on the cake, I made my own cake topper, which you can find the tutorial on my previous post.
      Betty Crocker cake mix and whipped icing
      Using a star tip to pipe out the rosette icing

    2. Backdrop
      Simple plain white wall is actually the best backdrop for any photos. I purchased a white shower curtain from Dollarama and used it to cover the carpet. If you can find a seamless paper backdrop, it will provide a cleaner background and save you time, as there weren’t wrinkles and folds to try editing out!
      Truffle, my camera assistant of the day 🐶
      Using table cloth and white shower curtain as backdrop and to cover the carpet
    3. Photo props
      Get a few balloons, tissue paper, ribbons.. and there! you have a birthday festive :) Be creative and have a theme for your baby’s first birthday photo. The theme doesn’t have to be an elaborated one. It can be as simple as picking up colours. My friend loves the soft tone colour of mint green, pink and elegant gold!
      Wrap a dollar store party hat with pretty mint green wrapping paper
    4. Camera
      I don’t have an expensive camera and actually use my iPhone a lot to take photos for my blog. With good lighting, you can take beautiful photos from your iPhone camera. These days, you can also find a lot of photo editing apps that will turn your boring dull photos into something magazine like.
    5. Good Natural Lighting
      Mornings and evenings offer the softest light and these tend to be the best times to shoot. I scheduled the cake smash photo shoot in the morning indoor. Good thing, my friend’s house has large windows with lots of good lighting coming in.
    6. A soon-to-be one-year-old
      A cake smash photo shoot means nothing if you don’t have a happy cheeky baby to shoot for.

    Isabelle was excited to celebrate her first big birthday…. and many more to come! Happy 1st Birthday, Isabelle :)

    Quilting for Beginner using Jelly Roll

    Since I’ve started sewing over a year ago, I have been wanting to quilt but have always been intimidated by the patterns. When I saw this tutorial from V and Co. website, I decided to give quilting a try. I purchased my Jelly Roll from Etsy, but you can find a similar one from or Amazon. Jelly Roll is a set of 2.5″ pre-cut fabric strips – It is a great time saver for many quilters and perfect for a beginner like me. With the fabric already cut and coordinated, all I’ve left to do is sew together the strips into a fantastic quilt top.

    True Luck collection by Moda. One Jelly Roll comes with 40 strips (each measures 2.5” x 44”).

    I Jelly Roll will make 2 baby quilts. Each quilt measures around 36″ x 36″
    I followed this free Jelly Roll Jam Quilt pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop website.  Make sure to check out their blog for other free quilting patterns.

    Download your free pattern in PDF from Fat Quarter Shop website.

    Let’s sew along…

    1. As instructed in the pattern, I assembled six strips into one long strip unit.
      Sew each strip using ¼” seams allowance, the final unit will measure 12 ½” x 42″
    2. Cut the 3 sets into 18 rectangles.
    3. Sew together every 2 rectangles to make 9 squares
    4. Sew together every 3 squares into 1 row. Make 3 rectangular rows.
    5. Sew together each row into 1 square. This will be your final top quilt before attaching it to the batting. 

    Quilt Batting
    Batting is the soft layer between the quilt top and the backing. It gives the quilt dimension and definition as well as offering warmth. Because it comes in various thicknesses, it can make a quilt flat or puffy, stiff or drapable. Most quilt batting can be described as cotton or polyester, and you can you can buy it prepackaged, in standard sizes for crib, twin, full, queen and king size quilts. I bought mine online at Amazon and chose a Light Polyester Batting in baby crib size. I chose a light batting because I want my quilt to be drapery and will backed it with a soft minky fabric.

    I used adhesive spray to attach the batting to stick to the top quilt, then I stitched straight lines about 1/4″ apart. To attach the minky backing, lay out the minky fabric with the fuzzy side UP. Then lay the top quilt (already stitched with the batting) with the print side DOWN. Stitch all around the blanket and leave a 2-3 inch opening.

    I like my blanket with rounded corners. I used a wine glass (or a bowl) to trace the arc on four corners and stitch them.

    Flip the blanket through the 2-3 inch opening you left. Top stitch around the edge of the blanket at 1/4 inch seam. I also add a label for baby Madison at the bottom right corner.

    Here is a full look of the top quilt. I really love the color and soft fabric from Moda True Luck collection. I hope baby Madison loves the blanket and finds it cozy!

    Milkbar Birthday Cake

    This is my second time making a Birthday Cake from Milkbar recipe. I came across this recipe from watching Christina Tosi on the Bon Apetit youtube video. I’m making this Birthday Cake for the top tier of Isabelle’s birthday cake. We are all excited to celebrate her first birthday this coming Sunday!

    The following ingredients and cooking methods are straightly from the Milkbar store recipes. I only use the birthday cake recipe and not including the cake soak, cake frosting and cake crumb. For a full recipe sets, please visit the Milkbar store recipes.


    • 55 g butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick)
    • 60 g vegetable shortening (1/3 cup)
    • 250 g granulated sugar (1 1/4 cups)
    • 50 g light brown sugar (3 tablespoons, tightly packed)
    • 3 eggs
    • 110 g buttermilk (1/2 cup)
    • 65 g grapeseed oil (1/3 cup)
    • 8 g clear vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
    • 245 g cake flour (2 cups)
    • 6 g baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
    • 3 g kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon)
    • 50 g rainbow sprinkles (1/4 cup)

    Cooking Methods:

    1. Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
    2. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    3. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50 g (¼ cup) rainbow sprinkles. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    4. Grease your baking pan and line it with parchment. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 25 g (2 tablespoons) rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter.
    5. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.


    I was able to use the left over batters to make a dozen of cupcakes


    Pink Surprise Ombre Cake

    I’m making a two-tiered cake for Isabelle’s first birthday celebration this coming Sunday. The bottom cake will be a five-layered cake with pink ombre on the inside. Making ombre layered cake is actually super easy! Two main ingredients required are White cake mix and  your choice of food coloring. If you want to add a vanilla extract, make sure to use the clear version so it won’t add any coloring to the cake.

    I’m using Betty Crocker white cake mix and Wilton “Aster Mauve” pink food coloring.


    (make a 9-inch round cake (5 to 6 inches tall, 5 layers)

    • 2 boxes of White cake mix
    • 6 egg whites
    • 1/2 cup grape seed oil (I use grape seed oil because it is colorless and tasteless)
    • 2 cup milk
    • Clear vanilla extract (optional)
    For a smooth baking process, I always make sure to gather my ingredients, baking tools, and piling them on my kitchen table for easy access.


    I also used cake strips to avoid high-rise centers, cracked tops and over-cooked edges. This way, my cake layer will come out prefect, level and no trimming needed. You can purchase cake strips at Bulk Barn, Michaels, local baking store or online at Amazon. For about $12 a set (2 strips), I’d say it is a good investment!

    Make sure to pre-soak your cake strips in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Wrap the strip around the pan before baking.


    Cooking Methods:
    (Follow the cooking instructions on the cake mix box)

    1. Combine all the ingredients until the batter is nice and smooth, and free of lumps.
    2. Divide your cake batters into 5 containers. Make sure to divide the batter evenly. It’s a good idea to weigh each container to make sure they are all in equal weight.

    3. Add food coloring to make 5 different shades of the same color. I started with the darkest color and slowly reducing the amount of food coloring added.
    4. Pour batter into greased and lined pans. Since I only have two pans, I bake them in three batch. Each batch only took about 15 minutes.
    5. Usually, I let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour or so. Since I need to use the pans for my second batch, I cooled for about 5 minutes before flipping the cake upside down to cool some more. Make sure to line the cake with saran wrap or wax paper. This type of cake tends to stick and you need to be careful and gentle when removing the wraps later on.
    6. Once your cakes cool to room temperature, place your cakes in the freezer for 15 minutes. It’s a lot easier to assemble your cake when it is very cold. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap individually and freeze them. I’m planning to frost my cakes and assemble them next week (the day before Isabelle’s first birthday celebration).


    This is how my cake looks like before frosting them. Can’t wait to frost and decorate them next week!


    Easy Flan Recipe

    Flan is a type of sweet custard dessert. This dessert is highly versatile and popular all across the world. While many consider flan the quintessential Latin-American dessert, the first flan recipes actually hail from Ancient Rome, nearly two thousand years ago.

    It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs. The Romans, with eggs in surplus, and consulting the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes, one of which turned out to be a custardly concoction known as flan.

    History of Flan

    Nowadays, there are multiple versions and recipes all around the world:

    • Brazil (Pudim de Leite Condensado)
    • Mexico (Flan Mexicano)
    • Spain (Flan de huevo)
    • Puerto Rico (Flan de Coco)
    • French (Crème Caramel or Brulee)
    • Philippine (Leche Flan)
    • Japan (Purin Pudding プリン)
    • Hong Kong (Egg tart)


      I made a quick simple flan recipe below which is adapted from the Brazilian Flan video by Tastemade. I used my rice cooker steamer and small silicon ramekins instead of oven and a large pan. I also cut down the recipe in half, since I only have 1 can of condensed milk.

      (make about 4 small ramekins)

      • 1/2 cup sugar (for the caramel topping)
      • 1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
      • 1/2 cup (5 oz) homogenized milk
      • 1 egg + 1 yolk
      • Half vanilla beans (optional)


       Custard Pudding

      1. Mix condensed milk, milk, vanilla, eggs and yolk in a blender. Blend for about 1 minute.
      2. Pass the blender mixture through a sieve into a container.
      3. Put aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the bubbles subside. While waiting, make your caramel topping.


        Caramel Topping

        1. Put the sugar in a shallow pan and melt it over medium heat. Make sure to keep an eye on it to avoid burning the sugar.
        2. You can shake the pan a bit when the sugar starts to bubble. Continue cooking until it has a caramel color.
        3. Carefully pour hot syrup into your ramekins (about 1/4 inch high), turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.



          1. Get your steamer ready of you can bake in a water bath at the oven at 350 Fº for 1 hour.
          2. Pass the blender mixture once more time through a sieve. This time into a container with a spout for easy pouring.
          3. Pour the mixture into your ramekins (your ramekin should be ready with caramel syrup in it).
          4. Steam or bake for about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
          5. Let rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before unmolding.


          Straining it twice will help remove air bubbles and result in smoother texture


          The silicon molds definetely help with unmolding process. If you use a ceramic ramekin, run a knife around the edge .
          Take a bite and enjoy!
          My food critic seems to like it.. except she requested it must be served with steak next time!

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