White Chocolate Cream Topped Red Velvet Mini Cakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

 “Oops, I Did It Again” (Remember that Britney Spears song?) Another variation on red velvet cake! Yes, last time I swooned over the browned butter cinnamon cream cheese frosting adorning my chocolate velvet cupcakes. (Another scrumptious recipe from The Southern Cake Book.) And when The Cake Slice Bakers group was cake baking through Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes, I oohed and aahed over the results of the mascarpone cheese frosting swirled atop the Vintage Cakes recipe for red velvet cupcakes. Well, I’ve implemented a few tricks to enhance an already enjoyable red velvet cupcake experience. 

Cherry Blossom Tea Cookies, #CreativeCookieExchange

“The spring breeze wearing cherry blossom petals,” is a breathtaking sight in Japan. Seeing the frail flowers fall to the ground is a tug on the heart. The blossoms of the cherry tree are exquisite but short-lived like the time of mere mortals on planet earth. To ensure precious life is enjoyed, many a picnic with loved ones take place under the cherry blossoms in the months of March and April. (Typically cherry blossom season. The southern regions of Japan see cherry blossoms in March. As the southern blossoms fade, cherry trees begin to bloom in the Northern Japan.) Picnic baskets are often brimming with veggie sandwiches, traditional Japanese sweets and beer! Thanks to the latter, much singing is also heard in the groves of Japanese cherry blossoms.

Given the Japanese reverence for cherry blossoms, it is no surprise that sakura (cherry blossom in Japanese) is...

Heart Healthy Salmon Bento, #SundaySupper

Japanese bento lunch boxes l are budget-savers. Beautifully crafted bentos are often on sale hours before closing in department store basements in Japan. The artistic mosaics of foods arranged in accordance with the season are also available for a reasonable price on bullet train rides and station kiosks.) Still, bento boxes like brown bags when homemade are inevitably infused with an invaluable ingredient – love.

Chocolate Péjoy Banana Rum Cake Pops

Banana flambé is flamboyant, dramatic and wonderful. Equally magnificent is a petite version of the dessert with half the fuss and mess. Enter Chocolate Péjoy Banana Rum Cake Pops. What is a chocolate Pejoy? A slim biscuit stick filled with chocolate cream. Basically a chocolate Pocky turned inside out.

So, using a baking mix (Bisquick), I whipped up a grownups only banana rum cake batter popping with bits of Pejoy chocolate biscuits. I skipped the milk (used in most banana cake recipes) and poured in rum! The booze is, quite frankly, not prominent. Rather, the rum tempers the banana flavor, which leaves a fruity tickle on the tongue. Of course, the coatings of melted dark chocolate and chocolaty crumbled Péjoy crunch are a double whammy of deliciousness!

Valentine Croquembouche, #ValentineCroque

Croquembouche, the cone-shaped cream puff tower traditionally served to royalty on French tables is a familiar sight in Japan’s cosmopolitan centers. Currently, over 500 Japanese chefs work in Paris. Many return to Japan and open their own restaurants and patisseries. The influence of French culinary training is evident to any foodie who gazes into a Japanese patisserie window.

A little sleuthing about which country has the most Michelin stars can be interesting. Some sites swear Japan and France are equally tied. Others declare Tokyo glitters with more 3-star Michelin restaurants; 14 to Paris’ 10.

At any rate, when Jenni, the Pastry Chef Online, ever so lovingly threw down the croquembouche gauntlet ...

Greek Bread, #TwelveLoaves

A symphony of snowflakes may be serenading you in February. But if you live in the Mediterranean basin, you probably have an olive tree or two outside your kitchen window, boasting to you of their verdant branches.

As our mission in this month’s #TwelveLoaves baking challenge was to included olives, this Ninja Baker did some sleuthing. Apparently the olive is an important fruit. Yes, that green olive adorning your martini is a fruit!

Symbolically the olive is tied with charity and is referenced often in the Bible. Also,  the oil of olives is associated with...

Australia Day Japanese Bento Box, Guest Post for #NatashaInOz

One truth that we all seem to adhere to around the world is the importance of food when we are celebrating! Tastes and textures may vary, but food is the way we come together as a community. In honor of Australia Day, this Ninja Baker has created an Australia Day Japanese Bento Box for Natasha in Oz. (My friend and fellow food blogger.) The Ninja Baker’s Lamington Cupcake, two Aussie (Faux) Meat Pies, assorted veggies and Japanese candies...

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

Do you tremble with excitement or fear at a new challenge? Even with Cake Slice Bakers assignments, it seems I’m wired to face foreign concepts and recipes with a bit of trepidation. But, with each accomplishment, I’m exhilarated and excited. So, I’m appreciative to the Cake Slice Bakers for introducing me to greater level of skill in the kitchen and self-confidence.

Thanks to the Cake Slice Bakers, too, a new collection of cookbooks has appeared on my shelf. My current favorite is The Southern Cake Book – the cookbook chosen by the Cake Slice Bakers for 2015.

The Southern Cake Book is full of glossy food photos, which reflect the (stereotypical) luxuriously rich and gentile lifestyle of the South. And the scrumptious recipes! Including this month’s Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes swirled with Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, which is out of this world. The chocolate is moist and fudgy. The Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting with the cream cheese base is like a Southern Belle – sweet with a wink of mischievous spice.

Almond Butter Cookies, #CreativeCookieExchange

Armed with almond butter factoids  charged into this month’s “Make Someone’s Day” Creative Cookie Exchange (baking group) assignment with enthusiasm. I was determined to create almond butter cookie happiness. Why? I love almond butter. I love cookies. And I’m always excited to provide goodies that fellow health conscious actors can enjoy.

A few awesome facts about Almond Butter:

Almond Butter is Diabetic Friendly:

  • Almond butter registers a low glycemic index.
  • Translation: Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index is helpful to keeping blood sugar stable.  Ideal for diabetics who need to protect against blood sugar surges.

Chocolate Pocky Cake, #SundaySupper

Dorothy clicks her ruby red slippers and declares three-times: “There’s no place like home.” Magically, the little girl and her dog, Toto are transported back to safety and comfort. Do you ever wish you could click your heels and go back in time?  When challenged with the unfamiliar, foods singing of childhood memories do seem to beckon this Ninja Baker.

Japanese Pocky is one of those foods for me. You know the skinny cookie/biscuit stick dipped in classic chocolate or strawberry cream or green tea matcha? In my hometown of Tokyo, Pocky is the perfect snack for transporting on the train. The chocolate topping melts in your mouth, not on your hands. (Yes, Pocky could be the M & Ms of the cookie family.) Plus, who can beat the combo of chocolate and cookies in one bite?