Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

These sparkling sakes are the perfect drink to ring in the New Year. I love their light sweet taste. The bottles are really pretty too :)
I can't believe this will be my last post for 2011. It has been a great year. I'm so thankful for all that I have and is extremely happy that I'm able to share a bit of happiness through my little blog here.

As the year comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on life a little bit. There's something truly wonderful about getting older. My views on life have become clearer and my appreciation for it greater. As a result, I try to stay away from all the negativity that are out there and try not to get myself caught up in those things. Being happy is an important part of having a fulfilling life and it is totally within our control. I understand that there will be tough moments and hardships but we don't have to make them the focus of our lives. Remember that through difficulties come strength, perspective, appreciation, and growth. Whether we decide to say that things are great or that they're miserable, if we say it enough times we will start to believe it and embody it. So lets be our best selves and feel fabulous every day!

This is as serious as this blog will get lol. I just really want all of us to be able to appreciate what we have and be happy. We have just this one life and every extra day that we have on this planet is a blessing. There are many people who would give anything to live another day so don't waste our precious time and worry about getting older or some other silly things like that. Live happy and healthy and always stay inspired. See you all in 2012! ♥

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mille Crêpe Cake

Mille means thousand...not quite a thousand layers but close enough ;) 
I first learned about this cake while I was watching the Martha Stewart Show (I love her!). Several years ago, she did a small segment on Lady M Cake Boutique and it featured the Mille Crêpes as their signature cake. I visited Lady M that year and I was hooked. The boutique is very modern and simple. The decor is all white with the desserts as the only pop of colors. There's no mistake that they're the main attraction there. The crêpe cake was just as wonderful as I imagined it to be. I knew I had to recreate it at home.

I made my first crêpe cake for my sister's birthday. I used this recipe and it turned out beautifully. That was four years ago! I recently found the recipe again and decided to make it for Christmas. This time I used the same recipe for the batter but filled it with a chestnut whipped cream since I had a can of chestnut spread from Paris that I still haven't used. I made the whipped cream by whipping 2 cups of heavy cream to stiff peaks and folding it into the chestnut spread. It was very good and my family really enjoyed it.

I love how versatile this cake is. You can layer it with many different types of fillings. It looks quite impressive layered with chocolate ganache too since you can see a nice contrast between the crêpes and the chocolate. It's the perfect cake to make for a crêpe lover or if you want to try something different. I can't wait to make it again :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Taste of Paris

I've been looking forward to going to Laduree ever since I heard that they were opening a store in NYC.  I love everything about Laduree; their macarons, their decor, their packaging...all are so well thought out. Everything is so elegant and classy.

My sister and I made our way there and there was quite a line even though it was almost closing time. The shop is just as charming as the ones in Paris. They also sell jams, chocolates, candles, and small souvenirs in addition to the macarons. Too bad they didn't open this one with a tea salon. Rumor has it that they will open one next spring in SoHo. That means that freshly-baked pastries will be available so lets keep our fingers crossed!

I didn't go crazy and buy the whole store now that I can make my own macarons :) I bought a box of eight with my favorite flavors: orange blossom, coconut, and vanilla. We also tried two new flavors: orange passion fruit and cinnamon raisin. The orange passion fruit was citrusy and bright. It was very good. I wasn't a fan of the cinnamon raisin one though. This flavor was made exclusively for New York and to me it just tasted like a cinnamon raisin bagel lol.

It's definitely a splurge at $2.70 a piece but then again you don't have to fly to Paris to get one. Now I will patiently wait for the tea salon to open next year :)

Friday, December 23, 2011


Look at all of the amazing details. Almost everything was made out of paper in this window display.
New York City is so amazing during the holidays. I always feel like I'm walking in a big Hollywood movie set decked out with Christmas lights and holiday cheers. Walking down 5th Ave is a must! I love the energy from the crowd. Everyone is there to enjoy a wonderful New York City Christmas. Our first stop was Bergdorf Goodman (most of these photos were taken from there). It's hard to believe that their window displays are even more spectacular than last year! Such a feast for the eyes :) Well, I hope you enjoy these photos and I wish you a wonderful holiday with all of your loved ones!  ♥

I feel like I'm lost in a fantasy world somewhere

Winter wonderland inside of Bergdorf Goodman

I was pretty much speechless looking at these windows. They're just too beautiful!

The pink flower cut-outs were so intricate. I love the silhouettes and pink lace curtain too. The curtain moved back and forth to reveal the displayed necklace.

This was my favorite window. I wonder if it has anything to do with the tea party full of beautiful cakes and desserts hehe.

Close-up of the cute animals attending the tea party

So glamorous!

This was Henri Bendel's window display. I love the New York City theme. Plus, her entire dress is made out of jelly beans!

My sis and I hanging out at Rockefeller Center :) The tree was enormous!

Love all the carts that were selling roasted chestnuts

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Shopping

New York City has some of the best Holiday Markets. I visited the one at Columbus Circle when I was there a couple of weeks ago. I love all of the unique gifts at these markets. I have an even greater appreciation for them after becoming a vendor myself this year :) My sister also took me to Lee's Art Shop which was so cool. There was just so much to look at!

I love how the spices and tea leaves are displayed; so beautiful and exotic. For a moment I felt like I was in Morocco.

Hand-painted and decorated ornaments

These beautiful mosaic lanterns made the tent feel so warm and cozy
(left) My sissy and I; (right) Amazing displays inside of Lee's Art Shop

Lee's Art Shop's window display

Care for an ornament? I love the little owl :)

This is so pretty. It reminds me of vintage Christmas/Valentine's Day cards.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sweet Gratitude

I'm so grateful for the wonderful friends I have. They've always supported my little business ventures and it just means so much to me. Here are my little gifts to them this holiday season for being such awesome friends :)

What's in the goodie box? Homemade marshmallow, jasmine macarons, raspberry thumbprint cookies, sablés with coarse red sugar edges, and bittersweet brownies :)

Friday, December 16, 2011


I made this cake to celebrate James' 30th birthday. I wanted to surprise him with something fun and this checkerboard cake was perfect! It looks very cool and masculine, don't you think? :)

This cake was huge! It was chocolaty and rich and oh-so satisfying. We're still happily eating leftovers. I love that it looks like a regular cake until you slice into it. It's definitely a conversation piece!

Little cardboard donut that I made to use as a template to cut concentric circles out of each cake layers.
How I made my checkerboard cake:

1. I wasn't really interested in making a checkerboard cake until I saw how the Cake Boss did it on one of his episodes. Luckily someone posted the clip on youtube. Isn't that cool? I guess, you can also buy these pans but the reviews are hit or miss.

2. I wanted to buy the cake rings that the Cake Boss used but didn't have the time so I had to improvise. I cut a piece of cardboard into a donut shape with a 3" diameter for the inner circle and a 6" diameter for the outer one. This will give me concentric circles with the same thickness since I was baking 9" cake layers.

3. I used the following Martha Stewart's recipes: Yellow Butter Cake, Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Frosting, and Chocolate Ganache (double the ganache recipe). You can also use other cake recipes. Just make sure that the cake isn't too delicate since you have to carve and handle it quite a bit.

4. Bake all the cake layers and let them cool completely. Make the frosting and ganache while the cakes are cooling. Once cakes are cooled, take the cardboard donut and center it onto one of the cake layers. Use a small knife and carve the cake along the inner and outer circles of the template. After you remove the template, you should have a large outer ring, a smaller ring, and a 3" cake center cut out. Repeat this step for the rest of the cake layers.

5. Take one of the yellow butter cake's large outer rings and put it onto your cake stand/plate. Spread a thin layer of ganache along the inside of the cake ring. Then take one of the devil's food cake's smaller ring and insert it inside the yellow butter cake ring. Spread a thin layer of ganache along the inside of this cake ring and insert one of the 3" yellow butter cake centers. Spoon about one cup of chocolate frosting on top of this cake layer and spread it evenly to the edges. Your first layer is complete! Now you are ready to assemble next layer.

6. Just continue to follow step 5 but remember to alternate between the yellow butter cake and the devil's food cake so that you can get the checkerboard pattern. (The next cake layer should start with the large devil's food cake ring since we started with the yellow butter cake before.) Don't forget to spread a thin layer of ganache between each cake rings. This is very important! The ganache acts as the glue that will hold your cake together when you slice it.

7. Once all layers are done, frost entire cake with the rest of the chocolate frosting.

I wish I took pictures of these steps! It's so much easier when you can see it but I hope you get the general idea from the Cake Boss clip above. This is such a fun cake to make. It's a bit time consuming but is so worth it. James was a happy birthday boy, I mean, man! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Big Birthday

Today is James' 30th birthday! I can't believe that we've celebrated 14 birthdays together. Time flies! It's amazing to look back and see how much we've grown (but still so silly hehe) over the years. I can't ask for a better partner in crime.

♥ Happy birthday honey! ♥

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bouchon Bakery

I love that the fillings are piped to mimic the cookies' fluted pretty!
I'm back from a wonderful long weekend in NYC. I had so much fun visiting my sister and I can't wait to share all the pictures that I took on this little trip (so stay tuned!). Anyways, how beautiful are these cookies? I always stop by Bouchon Bakery to get them whenever I'm at Columbus Circle. They're called T.K.O. (Thomas Keller Oreo) and they taste so much better than the Oreos that we grew up with. The chocolate sablé cookies have a deep chocolate flavor with a hint of salt. The white chocolate ganache filling balances out the cookies' slight saltiness. I love that they are not too sweet. My sister got a Bavarian cream-filled donut that was rich and buttery. The chocolate pearls on top added a nice crunch to each bite. It was such an indulgence :)

(left) My T.K.O. and my sis' gourmet donut; (right) Yummy pastries on display