Cake, Chocolate, fruit, Petit Four, Recipes

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cakelettes, Instagram, and a Happy (Early) Valentine’s!


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and although I typically am not big on “Hallmark Holidays”, I still love to indulge a bit in what is supposed to be our nation’s day of love. After purchasing a copy of Paris Patisseries and rifling through page after gorgeous page, I was inspired by a picture of Pain de Sucre’s raspberry heart cakes and knew I wanted to make something similar of my own. But of course, it’s not quite Valentine’s Day without a bit of chocolate, so I made these not only raspberry flavored, but also added in some very dark (72%) chocolate.


I immediately went to my specialty foods store and bought this adorable heart fleximold. Isn’t it cute?? And as a baker, there is no better feeling than having a new, fresh fleximold. After working in a kitchen full of old, beat-up molds, a new one is the stuff of dreams.


Also, I know that these look very similar to Red Velvet cakes, but I can assure you that they’re not! In fact, if you love chocolate, they’re even better than Red Velvet! These cakelettes have a very tender and dense crumb, and a very smooth mouthfeel. The chocolate lends them an almost creamy richness as well. The raspberry flavor comes from straining raspberry preserves through a fine mesh sieve, and using what looks like an intensely-flavored thick raspberry syrup that is left after straining. This step is a bit tedious, but is certainly worth the trouble. I highly recommend these if you’re looking for something to make for your Boo on that special day *wink wink*

Before I post the recipe, I wanted to let you guys know that after high demand, I’ve started an Instagram! So if you’re interested in seeing some of the things I make at work or taking a peek at my life outside this blog, feel free to follow me at #lainey_made! I promise you I won’t post anything lame or inappropro!

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake

makes 12 (2.5″) cakelettes

168 g strained raspberry preserves (I strained about 2/3 of a 16oz container, but what you get leftover depends on how thick the preserves are)

186 g 72% dark chocolate, chopped

200 g whole eggs (4 large)

80 g granulated sugar

100 g cake flour

5 g baking powder

4 g salt

1/2 tsp. red gel color

After straining raspberry preserves, discard pulp and seeds, and use only the syrup left over.

Preheat oven to 330F. Using a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate and after completely melted, gently stir in raspberry syrup until emulsified. Turn off heat but keep bowl over the double boiler to keep it warm.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, whip eggs and sugar until eggs are very pale and reach ribbon stage. While eggs are whipping, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

When eggs are done whipping, gently fold in chocolate/raspberry mixture until almost fully incorporated. Fold in flour mixture, then fold in red gel color. Eggs will deflate a bit while folding, so don’t worry too much if it loses some volume.

Distribute batter evenly between molds, and bake 18-20 minutes. Cakes are done when you can start seeing tiny cracks on top. Let cool completely in molds and then enjoy eating them with someone you love!

Breakfast, Custard, Petit Four, Recipes

Chai Latte Eclairs


After going through a rough week and a nasty cold, there was nothing I wanted to do more on my day off than just spend it relaxing by myself, watching movie after movie on Netflix while sipping on a hot latte. Yes, I am aware that dairy is bad for a cold, but it’s soothing, okay?! Plus at this point I’m almost all the way through it, and it was time for a little indulgence.


There’s a little outdoor cafe by the train station here that I absolutely adore, and they happen to make excellent chai lattes. I got to spend my morning chilling on their patio, surrounded by greenery and perfect SoCal weather, all while grubbing on some yummy Greek food and treating myself to a latte (plus or minus some coughing or sneezing here and there, but I choose to forget those parts!). Despite being sick, I also decided to bake on my day off, so why not make an homage to this drink that I wholeheartedly adore?


A big ol’ bowl of chai pastry cream. I added hints of cinnamon and vanilla, so while the cream itself is cold, the flavor holds a lot of warmth.


I topped each eclair with a creamy cinnamon icing, and I love that you can see the little flecks of cinnamon floating around there. I kept the decor to a minimum on these guys, because sometimes patience has no place in this kitchen! I made the pastry cream first, then as I was making the eclairs I had my cream chilling in the fridge so that by the time the eclairs were baked, the cream would be cold enough to pipe. These were little 3-inch eclairs, but feel free to make them as big (or as small!) as you desire.

The pate a choux recipe I used wasn’t my own, but can be found here. The only thing I did differently was I baked my eclairs at 325F instead of 375F, and increased the baking time. Enjoy!

Chai Latte Pastry Cream

fills 32 (3-inch) eclairs

276 g milk

203 g heavy cream

6 g loose-leaf chai tea (or 3 tea bags)

2 cinnamon sticks

100 g whole eggs (2 large eggs)

24 g cornstarch

10 g brown sugar

70 g granulated sugar

55 g butter, cold, cut into small cubes

3 g vanilla extract

Combine your milk, cream, chai leaves, and cinnamon sticks in a medium-sized saucepot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and let chai and cinnamon sticks steep in cream for at least 10 minutes. Strain tea and cinnamon sticks from cream mixture, then return cream to saucepot and warm up again, just to a scald. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, cornstarch, brown sugar, and granulated sugar just until there are no more lumps. Temper egg mixture into hot cream, then cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until cream thickens to the consistency of pudding. Strain cream through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl set over an ice bath. While cream is still hot, stir in your butter and vanilla extract. Chill completely before filling eclairs.

Cinnamon Icing

150 g powdered sugar

60 g heavy cream

scant 1/8th tsp. ground cinnamon

Sift powdered sugar to remove lumps, then whisk together with heavy cream and cinnamon until smooth. Mixture will be really thick. Pipe icing over the tops of eclairs after they are filled.

Candy, fruit, Gluten Free, Petit Four, Recipes, Vegan

Coconut & Pomegranate Mochi [Vegan, Gluten Free]


Mochi is a treat that I loved as a kid, and still love to this day. For those of you who haven’t experienced this Japanese delight, mochi is a slightly sweet, sticky dessert snack made from Mochiko, or glutinous rice flour.


As I strolled about the market the other day, I saw a basket full of fresh pomegranates, and I knew I wanted to cook with them. I love pomegranate seeds not only for their taste, but also their look; they look like shiny, precious gemstones, and what girl doesn’t love a little sparkle?


The batter before being cooked. I have been dying to make something with coconut lately, and I knew this would be a match made in heaven!


Coming out of the oven. This recipe is by NO means anything close to the traditional method of making mochi, which for years has been made by pounding glutinous rice over and over again in a large mortar-and-pestle type of tool, but homie ain’t got time to play games! This recipe is infinitely easier; you literally just need a whisk and a bowl, and you’re good to go!


Cutting into the sticky stuff! Make sure you use a clean, sharp knife before cutting into these babies, otherwise you’ll have to deal with the mochi sticking to your knife and a not-so-pretty mess on your hands.


The finished product. The mochi itself is creamy, chewy, and soft, and the pomegranate seeds add a crunch and a tart pop of flavor when you bite into them. For the mochi I used a blend of both coconut water and coconut milk, to keep it from being overly rich. I also tossed the mochi in some coconut flour instead of the traditional rice flour, giving it a nice nutty flavor as well.

Coconut & Pomegranate Mochi

makes 28 (1×1″) pieces or 7 (1×4″) logs (as pictured)

311 g Mochiko (sweet rice flour)

324 g granulated white sugar

224 g coconut water

254 g coconut milk

65 g fresh pomegranate seeds, carefully patted dry

coconut flour, as needed

Preheat your oven to 350F. Liberally grease a 9×9″ square pan. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your Mochiko and sugar until combined. Whisk in coconut water and coconut milk, stirring just until there are no more lumps. Gently fold in your pomegranate seeds, and pour batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until the edges of your mochi are lightly golden brown and the mochi jiggles just slightly in the center if shaken. Cool completely. Run a knife around the edge of your pan, and turn over onto a cutting board covered with parchment (to keep it from sticking as you cut it). Using a clean, SHARP knife, trim off your edges (they’re too tough to serve) and then cut mochi into 1×1″ cubes (or 1×4″ logs like I did, but keep in mind that this is a large portion!), and then gently toss in coconut flour just to cover all sides. Garnish with more fresh pomegranate seeds if desired, and enjoy!

Cake, Caramel, Chocolate, Cookies, Custard, DIY, fruit, Petit Four, Places, Wedding

Wedded Bliss Part 4: The Cake, The Day


After over a year of planning, last Saturday Robert and I finally got married! A couple of hours ago we just got back from our amazing honeymoon (woot Vegas!) so now I finally have some time to show you guys a couple of pictures. I’m not going to post up too many pictures just because the photographers we hired need a couple more weeks before all the images are edited, but I just wanna give you guys a taste of our special day.


Macaron craziness. I made roughly 400 macarons to give as our favors for our guests. Soo much effort but it was totally worth it! Each person got a raspberry lychee rose macaron, a hazelnut caramel macaron, and a dark chocolate, olive oil, and fleur de sel macaron.


All packaged and ready to go! Because of the massive number that I had to make and how tiny our apartment is, I would say this was more than a challenge, but it all worked out in the end. I also had some help from the hubby with packaging them 🙂

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Trying to Tetris the tiers of our cake into our fridge. The cake was literally the easiest part of the wedding planning. For a long time I already knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to look, and it definitely helped that I build wedding cakes at work all the time.


The finished cake: coconut sponge cake, lemon curd filling, and Italian buttercream. We had one of Robert’s friends help us deliver the cake and stack it the morning of, so that was a good amount of weight off of our shoulders and it turned out looking just as awesome as I imagined. I love how rustic and homemade (but also clean and finished) it looks.


Cutting into our cake. The gumpaste peonies held up throughout delivery and the day of, so I’m pretty proud of that as well.


Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed my little post about our big day. The weather was amazing, the food was amazing, and the entire day couldn’t have been any better. I am now happily married to the most amazing man I’ve ever met, and looking forward to a lifetime of happiness with him. While I didn’t get a chance to post about some of the other wedding-related crafts I made (our guest book, our painting, the chair hangs, etc.) hopefully you all got a good taste of what went on during these “Wedded Bliss” posts. Love you guys, and thanks for reading! 🙂

Cake, Candy, Chocolate, Cookies, Crafts, DIY, fruit, Petit Four, Wedding

Wedded Bliss Part 3: Flowers and Showers


Yesterday Robert’s mom was kind enough to throw me a bridal shower, and I have to say it was a lot of fun! We played games, won prizes, had awesome food, and I got to open up some great and very thoughtful gifts.


All the bridesmaids seemed to enjoy themselves as well, so I’m pretty happy about that. The theme colors were pink and gold, and I wanted to make a little dessert buffet to match that.


The spread looks kinda small, but we were only expecting 20 or so people, so it ended up being just enough desserts!


Mini almond and orange cupcakes with buttercream roses.


Strawberry and rose truffles. I absolutely LOVED these babies, and they were so easy to make. Not gonna lie, I left a few of these at my house to snack on….


Coconut cake pops and mango-peach marshmallow lollipops. The marshmallow lollipops turned out a little more difficult to make than I remember, but they came out really cute and pretty damn delicious so I’m proud of them!


Lemon sugar cookies that say “je t’aime.” Cute and simple!


Vanilla pate a choux. Another simple flavor, but just a good, comforting dessert. I left some of these at home for me too, hahaha.

I’ve also spent the last couple of weeks making gumpaste peonies for the wedding cake, and they’re finally finished! The colors are a little dark in the pictures because the gumpaste needs a few more days to dry, but here’s a few progression shots for ya’.


Lil’ buds


The first layer of petals


Second layer


Third layer. Lookin’ good so far!


Fourth layer, getting too big for the egg carton!


A finished peony; my babies are all grown up! I’m pretty proud of how these turned out. I don’t have TOO much experience making gumpaste flowers and I’ve never made peonies before, so these ended up being a lot of work and trial and error. In total it took me almost 3 weeks to finish all of these (this includes drying time and all the breaks I took in between for work and the dessert buffet, haha), but I would definitely say it was worth it.


It’s kinda hard to see all the veining in there, but it’s there! The flowers are super delicate, so here’s hoping they actually make it to the wedding. Hope you all enjoyed my very pink post, and look forward to more!

Cake, Caramel, Custard, fruit, Petit Four, Recipes

Visions of Sugar Plums and Work, Work, Work


Needless to say but by my lack of posts, I think you can tell I’ve been busy lately! Winter is finally setting in around these parts (regardless of today’s 90 degree weather), and so is the crazy holiday season, hence the crazy schedule I’ve been given at work. So to my readers out there, I sincerely apologize, but I can assure you that I’ve been working on more stuff to show you guys! Sometimes the 10-hour work days and long weeks just get in the way.


Plums are in season now, and what better flavor to pair them with than the warm notes of caramel and vanilla? Here I have a vanilla bavarois bar with caramelized plums and almond sponge cake. The vanilla and caramel definitely tone down the tartness of the plum, and round it out to make a pleasant (albeit cold) winter dessert.


While plums definitely aren’t something you traditionally see on a winter dessert menu, I think it’s time to change that, don’t you? I mean, it’s almost 2013, people! It’s time to give the pears and apples a rest and let the underdogs shine!

Caramelized Plum and Vanilla Bar

makes 10 (3-inch) bars

for Caramelized Plums:

90 g  plum, diced small (almost brunoise) and room temp.

30 g granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon spiced rum

In a small saucepan, melt sugar over medium heat, stirring with a rubber spatula until lightly golden. Add diced plum and toss to coat in caramel. Cook sugar gets slightly darker, then deglaze pan with rum and cook until dissolved. Using a small half-sphere silicon mold, divide plums between 10 molds and compact into sphere, making sure to use all liquids. Freeze until firm.

For Vanilla Bavarois:

200 g heavy cream

5 g powdered gelatin

25 g cold water

150 g milk

45 g granulated sugar

45 egg yolks

1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Vanilla Almond Sponge, cut into rectangles to fit bar molds

Bloom gelatin with water, set aside. Whip heavy cream until it reaches very soft peaks, and set aside.

In a small saucepot, combine milk and vanilla bean, and heat over a medium flame. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and yolks, then temper yolks into milk mixture, cooking until it thickens slightly (basically make an anglaise). Strain out vanilla bean, then stir in gelatin until completely melted. Fold anglaise into whipped cream, and divide between 10 silicon bar molds (you may have a bit extra leftover). Press sponge cake into bavarois until it is flush with the base, then freeze until firm.

For assembly:

While bavarois is still frozen, pop out of molds and onto a wire rack on top of a lined sheet pan. Slice a thin piece of plum and place on top of bars, then pop out frozen caramelized plums and place on top. Heat some clear glaze until thin enough to pour, then slowly pour over tops of each piece until completely coated. Refrigerate until set.

Cake, fruit, Petit Four, Recipes

Strawberry and Guava Petits Fours Glaces


So I know that strawberry season is over (sigh), but it’s 7 months until my wedding and all this wedding planning has got me thinking all things girly! Today I even found our florist and just put the down payment on our flowers (on a side note, no one warned me about how expensive flowers can be!).


I wanted to make something very feminine, and what could be more feminine than petits fours? These dainty little cakes are filled with a strawberry and guava filling and then coated in a creamy and lightly fruity glaze. I wanted to use a glaze that contributed both to the texture and flavor rather than using your typical poured fondant, which is much too sweet for my liking. I love the pale dusty rose color, and the finished glaze actually reminds me of a strawberry milkshake, which I have no problem devouring if it comes with cake!


While petits fours can be incredibly tedious (like any good dessert), if you have the time and the patience, I say go for it! The end result is extremely satisfying, not to mention delicious (trust me, I’ve already eaten… ahem, a few).

Strawberry and Guava Petits Fours Glaces

makes about 30 (1″) pieces

for Vanilla Almond Cake

makes 1 half sheet pan (18 x 13″)

328 g butter

200 g granulated sugar

160 g cake flour

4 g salt

20 g baking powder

152 g almond flour

24 g vanilla extract

200 g eggs (4 large)

Preheat oven to 325F. Sift together cake flour, salt, baking powder, and almond flour, set aside. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy. With mixer running on medium speed, slowly stream in vanilla extract and eggs until all liquids are incorporated, scraping bottom of bowl as needed. Turn mixer down to low, and slowly add in sifted dry ingredients, mixing just until all ingredients are combined. Spread out batter onto a greased sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed in center. Let cake cool completely in pan and chill before assembly.

for Strawberry Guava Filling

187 g strawberry puree

90 g guava puree

50 g granulated sugar

4 g pectin

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and pectin, set aside. Using a small sauce pot, combine both purees and slowly bring to a simmer over a medium/low flame. Whisk in sugar pectin mixture, then bring mixture to a boil; filling should thicken slightly. Set aside 175 g of filling for the glaze, then cool the rest of the filling completely before assembling.

for Strawberry Guava Milk Glaze

175 g strawberry guava filling

50 g water

10 g gelatin, powdered

45 g corn syrup

360 g heavy cream

75 g white chocolate, melted

Bloom together water and gelatin, set aside. In a medium-sized sauce pot, combine strawberry/guava filling, corn syrup, and cream. Gently heat over a medium/low flame, stirring with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching on the bottom. Stir in melted white chocolate, then add bloomed gelatin. Sir until gelatin is melted and all ingredients are completely combined. Cool to room temperature before glazing.


Remove cake from pan and using a serrated knife, cut cake down the middle to get 2 pieces. Spread a thin layer of the strawberry guava filling evenly over one half of the cake, then turn the other half upside down and place on top of filling, pressing down lightly. I recommend keeping the cake in the freezer at this point until it is very firm, just so that cutting it later will be cleaner and easier. When cake is firm, use circle or square cookie cutters to cut out petits fours or use a serrated knife to cut out 1″ squares (make sure to clean cutters with hot water after each cut to maintain clean edges). Place cakes on a lined sheet pan with a wire rack on top. Slowly pour glaze over each cake, making sure that all sides of cakes are completely covered with glaze. I had enough glaze to coat each cake twice and get a nice even cover. Let glaze cool and firm up, then decorate cakes as desired; I piped mini rosettes and decor using regular Italian buttercream, but it’s entirely up to you!

Cake, Petit Four, Recipes

Coconut and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes


I once took an international cooking class, and one day a woman from South Africa came in and made the class a yellow cake that she had soaked in a syrup made from milk and sugar; I can’t for the life of me remember what that cake was called, but the taste definitely lingered in my mind and on my tongue.


That is where most of the inspiration for these cakes came from. It had some very simple flavors, but it really just reminded me of something my grandma would make (who by the way, is most definitely not from South Africa); it’s simple but undeniably good. I proceeded to use some flavors that I know she would appreciate, and coconut and brown sugar were the answers!

The coconut adds a nice chew to the cakes and the brown sugar gives them a deeper flavour than regular sugar could provide. I also love that these cakes remind me of little snowballs! They’re a tad sweeter than I would normally make a cake by itself, but they make the perfect compliment to a bitter cup of tea or coffee.

Coconut and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes

makes 50 1-inch cakes

110 g cake flour

1 g salt

55 g dessicated coconut, unsweetened, plus more to coat cakes

90 g unsalted butter

125 g brown sugar

2 large eggs

For soaking syrup:

170 g coconut milk

70 g brown sugar

Preheat oven to 380F, and lightly oil mini (1″ round) silicon molds. In a bowl, whisk together cake flour and salt until there are no more lumps, then whisk in dessicated coconut until combined. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine unsalted butter and 125g brown sugar, and cream together well on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is very fluffy and pale. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time, until eggs are absorbed in the butter; make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Mix until everything is combined.

Reduce speed to low, and slowly add in flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Pipe batter into oiled molds 3/4th of the way up, and bake about 8 minutes, or until cakes are firm and golden brown around edges.

While cakes are baking, make soaking syrup: combine coconut milk and 70g brown sugar in a small saucepan, and heat just until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir well with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching. While both cakes and syrup are still warm, brush syrup over each cake, making sure that cakes are soaking up all the syrup; think tres leches cake. Let cakes cool a bit, then toss in dessicated coconut to coat. Keep refrigerated, and enjoy!

Chocolate, Cookies, Gluten Free, Petit Four, Recipes

[Gluten-Free] Faux Milanos


Milanos were one of my favorite cookies as I was growing up. I mean, crisp and light wafers with chocolate sandwiched in between? Where can you go wrong? Pepperidge Farm definitely knew how to hook me in as a kid (and sometimes still as an adult!).


With a little extra time on my hands, I decided I wanted to make a gluten-free version of these babies, and I’ll admit that I indulged in quite a few of them before deciding to give the rest to the neighbors (sigh..). They are best enjoyed the day of baking, as they will stay crispier.

[Gluten-free] Milano Cookies

Makes 32 sandwiches

205 g almond flour

2 g salt

9 g baking powder

135 g butter

130 g sugar

75 g egg whites

3 g vanilla extract

For ganache filling:

150 g dark chocolate, chopped very finely

80 g heavy cream

2 g orange zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together almond flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl until it is lump-free, then set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until mixture is light and airy (2-3 minutes). Scrape bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula and with mixer running on medium speed, slowly stream in egg whites and vanilla extract until all liquid is absorbed by the butter and mixture is completely  emulsified.

Scrape bowl again, then with mixer running on low speed, slowly add almond mixture and mix just until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Using a piping bag with a medium tip, pipe batter into 1-inch logs on a sheet pan lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper, keeping cookies 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart, as they will spread quite a bit. Bake at 350F for 9 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown around edges but still slightly pale in center. Let cool completely on sheet pan before removing.

For ganache: Bring cream to a boil, then pour over dark chocolate. Whisk together until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth and glossy. Whisk in orange zest.

When cookies are cooled, match cookies together by size and shape, then spread a thin layer of ganache on one side and sandwich with the other. Cookies are best enjoyed the day of baking.

Breakfast, Cake, fruit, Petit Four, Recipes

Honey and Olive Oil Tea Cakes with Apricot Glaze


Yesterday I was playing around in the kitchen and I wanted to make a dessert that utilized summer flavors without being too heavy or rich. This honey and olive oil cake has the soft, airy texture of sponge cake, and pairs perfectly with the fruity apricot glaze.


The cake itself is delicately sweetened by the honey and the olive oil keeps it nice and moist.

Honey and Olive Oil Tea Cakes

makes 12 (2″) cakes

2 large eggs, room temperature

60 g sugar

65 g olive oil

115 g honey

130 g cake flour

2 g salt

6 g baking powder

For glaze:

220 g apricot glaze

30 g olive oil

wedged apricots, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together cake flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, combine eggs and sugar and whip until eggs are pale and thick (3-5 minutes).

While eggs are whipping, combine olive oil and honey in a small saucepot and gently heat until warm to the touch (if bubbles begin to form around edges, remove from heat).

Pour about 1/4th of whipped egg into olive oil mixture, and stir until combined. Pour mixture back into whipped eggs, add dry ingredients, and gently fold with a rubber spatula until there are no more lumps.

Portion between silicon molds or greased pans, bake 350F for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cake comes out clean. Let cool completely in mold before removing.

For glaze: combine apricot glaze and olive oil in a small saucepan, and heat until melted. Whisk glaze and oil together until completely emulsified. While glaze is still hot, dip each cake in glaze and garnish with apricot wedges, then brush glaze on top of apricot. Keep refrigerated.