Pas de Cadeaux


Ceci n’est pas un cadeau.

Oh, the treachery of cake.


I must tell you, at once, of a miracle that has been flying well under anyone’s radar for some time:
my petite Korean grandmother has ceased aging.

People! Pay attention!
It seems the antidote for age is simply refusing, in a classic Chang woman manner, to acknowledge your birthday.
Like so:
when anyone asks you what you want for said day, explain, only mildly peeved, that material goods are, in so many words, worthless and, additionally, take up too much space, do not buy me anything I do not want it;
when anyone asks you what kind of cake you want, respond, as if it is the most logical answer in the world, that you want whatever cake they want to make (bonus points if your granddaughter is a food blogger, because then you can reason that you want her to be able to document the cake).
An elegant and difficult solution—yes, that seems about right.


My mama urged me to write a blog post for September 8th.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the photos for this post by then, but I didn’t expect it to be SO LATE coming.

If you’re shaking your head at the screen because of my ridiculously long absence, I understand.

But don’t leave just yet. I have cake, fwiendz. I have cake.


Sitting down to finish writing this post has been one of my very first moments of leisure in the last few crazy weeks.

I have officially moved to Chicago, into a very large and very beautiful apartment with three of my very best and very closest friends.
I have built an outrageous amount of Ikea furniture and scrubbed and mopped and organized until I can do no more.
As of right now, we have 3 bookshelves that need 1 more coat of paint, and we’re fiiiinally done done done.
It’s a great feeling to finally begin to make a place your home.
(Of course, as soon as I feel settled and cozy here, classes will start and then living in the library will start and I will be thrown into the real world at an uncomfortably high speed.)


I don’t have gas in my apartment yet (tomorrow is the big day!), so I haven’t been able to bake or cook while here.
Alexa (of popcorn cake fame) is not happy about the lack of cake being produced in the apartment; she asks once a day (even though she is also living sans cooking gas) when the heck I’m going to start feeding her yummy things again.
*eye roll*
People have even come up to me and asked me to please please post again, which is a bad sign for me.
Bad blogger, bad.

This is one of the last posts I have photographed from while I was still at home, but don’t worry. The lighting in our apartment is fab and a half and as soon as we get cooking gas, I’ll bake something yummy and share it with you (and Alexa, I suppose…) promptly.


This was the cake I made for September 8th, a completely innocuous and otherwise boring day.

I knew it couldn’t be too sweet, and something with an intriguing flavor or texture, even better.
It couldn’t be too fancy, but couldn’t be jejune either.
A bundt cake seemed to fit the bill, and the jar of green tea powder was calling my name.
(As it often does… I do adore matcha!)

The end result is a half matcha, half chocolate bundt cake, hiding a bright green surprise within it’s simple exterior; the cake is made with sweet rice (glutinous rice) flour, so it benefits from the same thick, chewy texture of traditional mochi.
It’s not too sweet, rather allowing the two flavors to really sing; the chocolate is dark and a touch fruity, while the matcha is bitter and a tiny bit floral.
The texture is something special; super dense and chewy, just right for taking tiny slivers of all day. (I do believe this is called noshing, according to the lovely Molly.)

It’s an extra-special everyday cake; it doesn’t take a lot of effort or time but produces quite the stunner.
And that’s exactly the type of recipe I can get behind after making this crazy cake.


Anyways, happy birth— September 8th, Grandma.
I love you, and I hope your day was special.


Chocolate and Matcha Mochi Bundt
adapted from Sara Yoo
makes 1 bundt

1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 box (16 ounces, 1 pound) sweet (glutinous) rice flour (Mochiko brand comes in 16 ounce boxes)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup extra dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup matcha powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a bundt pan very well.
Whisk together butter, sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and vanilla until homogeneous.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Add in the rice flour and baking powder and whisk to combine.
Add half of the batter into another bowl and stir in the cocoa powder.
Stir the matcha into the other half of the batter.
Pour the chocolate batter into the pan, evenly covering the bottom.
Gently pour/scoop the matcha batter on top, smoothing the top.
Bake for 45-55 minutes; a toothpick should come out completely clean.
Allow to cool slightly in the pan; turn it out onto a serving platter or cooling rack while still warm to prevent sticking.
Serve with powdered sugar.

Moshi Moshi

*mochi mochi.
*ichigo matcha daifuku mochi.
These mochi are ugly.
So let’s talk about why they look bad but taste so, so good.
They are lopsided.
The bottoms, where I pinched them together, are too thick.
They do not have a smooth, round exterior.
The ratio of mochi to bean to strawberry isn’t correct- there is too much mochi.
I had to make my own anko, which is softer and less easily molded than storebought. (I do not recommend this! Go to an Asian market and buy some anko!)
And now I’ve said bean, and half of you are like… say what?  Beans?  In my dessert? No thanks.  
I mean, beans in dessert almost sounds worse than tomatoes or celery or beets.
BUT these are sweet beans!  Adzuki beans!
If you’ve had red bean buns, or anko daifuku mochi or a plethora of other asian desserts, you will appreciate how delicious they are.
Sweet and umami actually pair very well together.
So yes, when you bite into these lopsided, kind of ugly mochi, you are rewarded with a veritable lexicon of different flavors and textures.
The exterior mochi is bitter and bouncy, soft, and chewy.
The anko paste is sweet, earthy, and silky.
The strawberry, that jewel in the center, is crisp, fresh, tart, and juicy.
It all comes together beautifully.
The six mochi that this recipe makes didn’t make it 15 minutes out of the photo shoot.
I ate three.  Oops.
Ichigo Matcha Daifuku Mochi
adapted from Cooking with Dog
makes 6
100 grams glutinous rice flour (mochiko)
25 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar
2 teaspoons matcha powder
100 grams (100 mL) water 
cornstarch for dusting
150 grams anko (red bean paste)
6 15-gram strawberries, leaves and stem removed
Stir the rice flour, sugar, water, and matcha powder together extremely well until no lumps remain.
Separate the anko into 6 even pieces and press it up and around the strawberries, starting at the pointy tip of each strawberry, then place on a plate; lightly saran-wrap the plate.
Cover the bowl with the rice flour mixture tightly with saran wrap (see this recipe for more how-to) and microwave on medium power for about 4 minutes.  
Stir the mochi well and turn out onto a cornstarch dusted sheet pan. 
Cut into 6 pieces. 
Working one at a time, flatten and roll each piece out thinly, then place the anko-covered strawberry into the mochi and pinch the end shut.

Caya Hico

I am not prepared to be talking about my WISE project.
I am not doing much thinking at all, let alone about my WISE project.
At this moment, I could more or less give two clucks about my WISE project.
JK but not really.
Sorry Ms. Lord.
See y’all, I’m in the Turks and Caicos.  Taking a nice, warm holiday.
I’ve been in dire need of one (FWP, I know, I know).
I am treating myself to some R&R.
There are times when even the most diligent student, which I myself am not necessarily, must take three deep breaths, look left and right, and take a nap.
This is my nap.  I shall enjoy it without regret and certainly without guilt.
March is a tough month, school-work wise.  It’s the time when the Great Review starts.
It is the time when you look back on your year, as you prepare to relearn everything, and think to yourself, aghast,
my god, have I been asleep this whole time?
While many of my other classes have been piling on the work, I’m happy to say that I’ve been staying on my WISE grind.  
Even on days when I am dog-tired, I can find it in me to get up and make something.
In fact, that’s my preferred method of relaxation (when not taking a holiday, that is).
See, that’s the beauty of choosing this project.  
I love it.  It comes naturally for me.
It’s not work.  It’s play, and I’m glad of it.
I had class the other day, and it was suggested that I do some more introspective writing, in regards to why this project fits me so well and how, or if, it will fit into my future.
It’ll take me some time to think about.
Perhaps even a week or so…
I’m on island time… Can you really blame me?
Caya Hico
coconut mochi
banana sponge
orange-maracuya curd
coconut foam
lime flower
You crazy if you think I’m going to type out recipes right now… You can find the mochi recipe in last month’s archives on my blog.  The rest… You’re on your own.  Loveyameanit.


Have you ever had dduk?

 (More commonly known in the Western world by its Japanese name, mochi.)

Dduk are rice cakes.
They can be sweet or savory, baked or pan-fried or shaped or steamed.
They come in all sorts of pretty colors and delicious flavors.
Some come with sweet adzuki bean filling, some rolled in sesame seeds or honey or dried beans.
They are made with glutinous rice flour (A misnomer, as it is gluten-free.), which is the flour which comes from sticky, short grained rice.
Dduk are soft, squishy, with a pleasantly chewy texture.  There is no other food I have encountered with quite the same mouthfeel as “mochi”.
They are velvety but marvelously toothsome: a real joy to bite into!
They are, in short, delectable!
Sorry to shout, I’m just so excited!
And so happy to be sharing these adorable little confections with you!


Dduk/mochi are very easy to make.  Hello, bonus!  Even if they were incredibly hard to prepare, I don’t think I could stay away.

They can even be made in the microwave, a method that is tried and true and super quick.  I have encountered many problems in the past using this method, however, because the mixture is so hot when it comes out of the microwave that it burns your hands when you try to shape it, and if you let it cool, it will be stuck in place forever.
It is entirely possible to use the microwave to make less-than-perfect mochi, but I wanted some clean photos and non-burned hands, thankyouverymuch.

So this time, when inspiration struck me to make a coconut-flavored version, I knew I had to try a different method of cooking the batter.
I discovered, after some online perusing, that they can be easily baked up and then cut into perfect little cubes: just the uniformity I was previously lacking.
It is the simplest recipe; mix three ingredients together, pour into a greased pan, and bake for one hour.  The coconut flavor really shines in these dduk, and although I didn’t dye them, they turned out a lovely cream color.

Go make these!  They’re so easy!  And delicious!
Wait!  Why did I eat all of mine so quickly?!
Oh! I am sad.  And mochi-less.
Now to remedy that…
[insert cheesy Japanese emoji here] (^.^)y

Coconut Dduk
300 grams of sugar
240 grams of glutinous rice flour (found at most grocery stores, and at all Asian markets)
1 can of coconut milk, plus enough water or milk to bring to 2 full cups of liquid
cornstarch, for dusting (have plenty on hand!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 by 13 or similarly sized pan.
Stir your sugar and flour together, then add in your liquid and mix vigorously to combine.  The mixture should be nice and smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for one hour.
Take the dduk out of the oven and allow to cool for just a few minutes; then use a knife, spatula, and determination to pull the entire cake out of the pan.  It will be extremely sticky and it is likely that you will have to do a lot of prying to get it out of the pan in one piece.
Place it on a clean surface which has been dusted with cornstarch.
Cut the dduk however you would like; take note that the edges are extremely crispy and chewy, as is the bottom.
I cut my dduk into rectangles, then trimmed the bottom edge off to make soft, squishy squares.  My mother and I ate all of the crispy edges- I personally love them, but people with delicate dental work will not.
Toss the finished pieces in a little cornstarch, and enjoy!