“My Heart’s Greatest Treasure” Cake

My hubby is celebrating his golden year. It is, according to custom and tradition, a special year that requires a celebration. Of course, I aim to please!

He wanted a different cake initially – a date chiffon cake – but we were concerned that the guests might not appreciate it so we settled for the good ol’ mocha chiffon.

I usually decorate my cakes with gumpaste or sugar flowers but for my hubby, I envisioned gold – because at the moment, his favorite color is gold, and well, it is his golden year. 🙂

The cake is so titled because hubby is my greatest treasure.

So I wanted to do more… in addition to the cake, I also made fruitcake, which hubby loves. (Personally I am not a fan, but year after year I make fruitcake for hubby.)

 

And then, just because hubby likes brownies, I made 4 kinds – triple chip bars, choco malt brownies, choco hazelnut brownies, and his all-time favorite fudge brownies!

The fruitcake and brownie treats were displayed in a “tower” with the fruitcake on top. 

The celebration was held privately at a small club/bar – the place was known for its good food and great sound system. The guest list numbered 50. Hubby and some friends prepared a short program with singing…

The party was wonderful success… a celebration with food, music, and special people! Everyone had a good time. Hubby’s happy!

Happy Golden Year Sweetie!

Childhood Favorite…

For some reason, this dish made lots of appearances on our table when I was growing up.  I’ve tried to recreate this dish many times but I was always too lazy to dice the pork, instead using ground pork.  It seemed to never taste the same as my favorite childhood dish.

This time however, I took the time and effort and dice everything.  Wow, it transported me right back to my younger days.  Who knew that the cut of pork mattered?  Perhaps this was what my mother meant when she nagged me endlessly to NOT be lazy!???

Mommy’s Little Black Books

When I was a teenager, the “little black book” usually referred to (literally) a small black notebook, often owned by men, containing names and numbers of women – so-called men’s secrets. It implies a book of secrets. These days, it may not even be a book (or a journal)… as long as it is a list of secrets.

My mom is an octogenarian, and in her (younger) days, the little black book was really a book… in her case, a small organizer (she had 3, in fact). Her secrets? Recipes. Recipes of her most loved foods. She did not share her recipes, especially those she tweaked and adjusted until she thought them perfect. In the beginning she did not share her recipes with me either! (She told me before that she did not trust me – she said I was generous with recipes and was afraid that I would share hers with the world like I do in this blog!!!) I had to promise that I would never share except to my kids or my nephews or nieces, IF and only IF they were genuinely interested in cooking and on the specific condition that they would keep her recipes secret too!!!

Anyway, she nearly lost her recipes because of the office fire last year. It was sheer luck that a couple of months prior to the fire, I took most of her books home because I was excited when she said she would give them to me (finally!!!) I wanted to scan them and keep digital copies.

I brought them home in a box but I got lazy and shoved the box somewhere. After the office fire, I took the box out and (like a crazy mad person) started encoding and scanning.

Oh, but my mom was cunning… and more untrusting than I realized. When encoding, I noticed discrepancies in recipes. When I tried a few, I failed to get the results she got. I asked her how it could be when I followed her instructions faithfully (she had her own code but usually I could decode it) and guess what she told me then??? She said she deliberately made incorrect entries because she was afraid someone would get hold of her books and get her recipes.

Whhhhhattt????

To make matters worse, when I asked her for the correct ones, she replied – “I am old, I no longer remember. But the correct ones should be there somewhere…”

OMG!

I have never felt so frustrated than on that day!

But like Pandora’s box, I found hope at the bottom – her black books!

To be accurate, 2 black books and a blue one…

So now I am busy preserving her recipes, as well as cooking and baking… definitely looking forward to eating her food! 😉

Ube Chiffon Cake

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Why did I start with this expression?  Well, as you may see, the cake is not pretty.  It looks a tad worse in real life, in fact.

For an ube cake with ube buttercream frosting, it is quite pale and the lack of vibrant color actually makes the cake look unappetizing…

But looks can be deceiving.  The reason why the cake is pale is simple – there were no colorings added (artificial or otherwise),  The violet color of the ube varies from one plant to another, depending on… well, I really don’t know.  Some say depending on the soil, or the particular variant, or province where it was sourced…  I have seen (and baked with) super vibrant violet ube which resulted in a lovely and very purple cake but I have had my share of weird colors of ube.  There was a time long ago when the ube crop available has such poor color that the cake turned out an awful grey!

But this instance the color was not bad, but neither was it good.  At least the cake was still purplish (as opposed to greyish…)

A peek inside

What was more off-putting was my uneven piping of the buttercream!  My RSS has been acting up so that’s my excuse… but other than that blame it on the ube… it was what we refer to as “ma-ugat“, meaning it is fibrous to a fault.  Despite mashing and processing it in the food processor, largish bits remained and the bits jammed the piping tips so there… RSS plus jammed decorating tips equals hideous-looking cake!

But. But. Looks can be deceiving!

Because I know that despite how it looks, this cake is DELICIOUS!

And, it almost got wasted…

Hubby brought this cake for his friends.  There were 2 other cakes at the gathering, both from prominent bakeshops in town.  At first no one paid any attention to my cake and not a one took a slice.  When it became known that I had baked it, one bravely tried it… then it went and disappeared in a flash!

But I was a tad bit insulted… because no one wanted to try it because it did not look nice… sniff sniff…

Then again, all is well that ends well?

PS – another ube chiffon birthday cake, with slightly better piping of frosting –

 

 

Mocha Chiffon Cake

Happy Birthday friend H!

I know you wanted Ube Chiffon Cake… but ube is not in season at the moment so there were none in the market to buy!  I turned to the next best thing… mocha chiffon cake!  After all, there is always coffee! 🙂

Sorry but the recipe for this one cannot be shared.  I just wanted to share the picture of the finished cake… and I was so happy that everyone found it delicious (someone even said it was better than the famous one from … )  Needless to say I was all smiles!

 

PS – I made another one, but smaller with 3 layers… because B’s A-te J asked for it…

Cashew Brittle Brownies

My first homemade cookie (and still my all-time favorite) is the peanut butter cookie.  But from the time I was 14, I was known for my brownies.

The recipe for the brownies is one that I cannot share because it is not mine alone – my mom and I tried and tested and tweaked until we were both satisfied, so it is special.  Which is not to say that I have not messed with the recipe…

So, this Cashew Brittle Brownie is such an attempt.  🙂

Anyway, on our last trip up north, I bought some cashew brittle (as I always do when we go up north) and before the whole container is finished, I got some and crushed them coarsely and sprinkled the brittle bits on top.

(you could use your favorite brownie recipe and sprinkle your preferred nut brittle bits on top…)

The brownies are fantastic!

I am not that much of a brownie fan but I could not help myself with these – I stuffed myself silly!  I should have5  just one or two but I actually ate 4 or 5 (or maybe even 6, to tell the truth)

Now I want to make more!  But where can I get cashew brittle here???

PS- hubby brought some brownies to a gathering.  He said they were a big hit!    He said that someone else brought brownies from a well known patisserie and at the end of the night, mine were all gone but the brownies from the patisserie were still sitting on the table!  (I felt extremely flattered!!!!!)

Carrot Cake and Cupcakes with Maple Cheese Filling/Frosting

We went north recently and while mixing business with pleasure we explored the marketplace.  While we often went to buy souvenir food stuff and famous walis (brooms) from the famed palengke (wet market), we were greatly surprised to find out that the market that we were frequenting was just the tip of the iceberg!!!

As we discovered, the market extended to 2 other neighboring buildings!

Relying on (secret???) information, we delved deeper into the market to find… vegetables at prices that were waaaaayyyy more friendly!  So hellooooo carrots!!!!  and mushrooms, and beans, and Japanese cucumbers, and talbos ng sayote, and sayote, and… WATERCRESS!!!! (see the following post…)

Exploring further on, we found the dry goods section.  And glory of all glories, I found YARN!!!! Tons of it!  More importantly, I found SPECIALTY YARN.  Needless to say I had a field day and if I had my way, I would have gotten more but (it’s a good thing that) credit cards weren’t accepted so I had to choose carefully to fit my cash budget.

Our last and best surprise of all was discovering the meat market.  We found the famous longganisa that I adored (of course at a friendlier price than that of the souvenir shop where I used to get them from!) and hubby found the longganisa he preferred!  Do I need to say that we went home LADEN with treasures???!!!

Anyway, let me go back to the carrots.  If I bought carrots in our local market, the price would be (a bit) shocking.  Up north, where many vegetables are grown, the prices are more than reasonable, so when I have the chance, I hoard carrots!  When I return home, I peel and shred them and freeze them in portions for 1 batch of carrot cake/cupcakes!

 

 

 

Baked Linguini by BFF!

I love cooking and baking for others.  Hubby even jokes that even if I have no recipients for the goodies I make, I will still bake and give them to any Tom, Dick or Harry on the street, or to just about anyone who would accept them!

But.

When someone makes something in their kitchen for me… That is when I feel blessed… extra special… and, super loved…

Thank you BFF for the special treat!

Merry Christmas!!!

Bourbon Brownie Birthday Cake

Hubby’s request was for a dark chocolate cake.

I had visions of a grand 2 or 3 layer cake, surrounded by bars of chocolate and sprinkled with chocolate shavings.  The vision would not become a reality.  An accidental fall (not too serious, but serious enough that my ankle and elbow are stiff) prevented me from baking and frosting an elaborate cake.  So what to do?  Hubby cannot miss out on his birthday wish??!!!!!!

Enter these deep, dark, bitter chocolate brownies laced with bourbon!  Instead of baking the brownies in an 8-in square pan, I baked them in a 7-in round, which gave them a bit of height.  The brownie could not be plain ‘ole brownies so in went a quarter cup of bourbon.

(This particular bourbon is sentimental to me – it was one of the few bottles I took from my late father’s liquor cabinet before it went up in smoke)

The ganache used to garnish the cake was also laced with bourbon, but only about half a tablespoon.

Hubby loved it!

It was especially divine with a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream.