One Last Sweet Taste of the Obama Era


Today was the last full day with Barack Obama as our President. I don’t have time to write all that his becoming President has meant to me. But over the years, spanning from my old blog to this one, there have been many posts. It has meant a lot.

I am so grateful to have lived at this time in history to see him and his family living in the White House. They have made me proud. They had done so much good.

Soon after President Obama was first elected in 2008, my aunt brought a cake as one of many desserts for Thanksgiving dinner. The cake had a picture of the Obama family on it. I’m so glad that I took a picture!

I cannot eat a piece of the cake, since it’s long gone. But I can remember the sweetness. For tonight, I will reminisce and remember that feeling of hope.

Yes we can. Yes we did.







Election Day Eve 2016

Collage showing pictures of election day cakes and cupcakes.

Over the years, I’ve written about many elections. I was very excited about the election while I was supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary. After that, not so much.

Trump is an abomination and I will leave it at that. Since Massachusetts has early voting, I voted already for Hillary Clinton. I wasn’t particularly happy about voting for her, but she is the only sane choice. And again, I will leave it at that.

The campaigns have stressed me out and I’m horribly nervous about tomorrow. I have never felt worse about an election. Which is probably why this is my only real election post. And it’s still kind of not a real election post. But it’s all that I have in me to write.

The best thing that I can say about this election is the resurgence of election cakes. I baked one back in 2007 and blogged an election cake recipe on That blog exists in a different form now and my post is long gone. So much has changed since 2007!

Luckily, the Wayback Machine exists and I was able to find the archived version. The pictures of the cake aren’t there, but you can still read the post. I’m so glad to find my recipe, because I thought it was lost forever.

Maybe I’ll try adapting it again. Because as I recall, there was room for improvement. Assuming we survive the aftermath of this election. God help us all.

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Image: Screenshot Instagram #makeamericacakeagain


{You Pick Six} An Interview with Pastry Chef: Naisbel Azarak

Pastry Chef Naisbel Azarak

When out of this world amazing cakes started showing up at family events, I wondered who had made them.

Turns out it was Pastry Chef Naisbel Azarak! After seeing her work, I now believe that she can turn anything into a cake and the only limit is the imagination.

Her creations will astound and delight you. Take a look at her Instagram!

Plus, she got some big recognition last year when chosen to create a cake for Pedro Martinez as he celebrated his entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame. How cool is that?!

Let’s learn a little bit more about Naisbel in number eleven in the interview series, You Pick Six!

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What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
I love to cook chocolate vegan cake! It’s easy and super delicious! It goes great with anything you combine it with and it’s rich and moist! Indeed my favorite thing to do.

What is a favorite snack?
Venezuelan tequeños!!! These are some amazing cheese sticks covered with a lightly sweet yet salty dough that gets wrapped around the stick then deep fried and the center cheese gets melty and delicious! I love that with a good cup of coffee or in the winter I like it with hot cocoa.

What brings you peace every day?
Knowing that I indeed do what I absolutely love! In times, it can be really hard, no sleep, no rest, but the satisfaction of seeing the result of my work, and the happiness in my clients’ faces is so rewarding that it takes all the pain and exhaustion away and reconfirms that I’m doing what I’m meant to do.


What three people do you admire most?
Duff Goldman! He is the whole reason I found this passion! Though his legacy (and show Ace of Cakes).  Ron Ben Israel, his amazing flowers and extremely neat work keeps my breath away! And Frank Haasnoot. This man is an UNBELIEVABLE pastry chef! Every time I see his work I feel a tear will shed out my eye! His work is out of this world!

How did food become an important part of your life?
My mother is probably one of (if not the) most amazing cook in this world! She is adventurous! She is vegetarian! But she has never stopped cooking my beloved meat dishes! And she can make magic out of any ingredients! There is always a variety of flavors on our table! She has learned a ton from cooking shows and applies it in a personalized manner! My brother inherited the same skills! Those two are the savory team and I am the sweet one!


Tell me about what you’re working on now?
Currently I belong to the pastry team at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel in Boston, but I’m still working on the growth of Nais Cakes, which I am planing to open next year!

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Thank you so much for participating Naisbel!

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Photos: Provided by Naisbel Azarak.

Flashback Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache

chocolate zucchini cakeI like a nice surprise. Especially, when it involves food. Even better when it’s dessert. And a chocolate dessert at that.

Now I wish that I could say that this actual cake was presented to me as a surprise and I got to eat it. Not quite. But I did get the next best thing. A surprise tweet!

Five years ago on the old blog, I gave away a festival bundt cake after having won a set of three Nordic Ware Bundt pans from Courtney. I didn’t need to keep all three. Edi was the lucky winner.

I hadn’t thought much about the pan since. Out of the blue this week, Edi showed me a picture of the Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache that she baked! Thanks to a comment below by Candelaria, Edi is sharing how she made it, so we can all try.

I’ve made the cake twice and it turned out great both times. I’ve never put nuts in it. The first time had no frosting. I’ve made no other alterations to the recipe.

I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips. I could not find out how many ounces were in the bag, but it’s the typical size bag. I used those leftover after measuring out what I needed to make the ganache frosting.

I only made half the recipe.  I used half and half and a little butter, a little vanilla extract. Enjoy!

So nice to see that the pan has found a happy home and is being used! Now I have been reminded that I haven’t used the pan that I kept!

By the end of this year, this must be remedied! There hasn’t been much baking here and I think it’s time to create some new recipes. Stay tuned!

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Photo Credit: Edi

Recipe: Spring Strawberry Cake

strawberry cakeThis past week was one of the first where it was pleasant to be outside. Most of the piles of snow are gone. The sun is shining brightly. The temperatures are warming. We will have Spring after all!

Since today is Easter, I baked a cake to share with my family. One of my favorite go to recipes is Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes. I just half the recipe to make a single layer cake.

This cake is a total experiment. But that’s the only way to come up with something new! For the topping, I didn’t measure anything so all these amounts are estimates.

I took 3/4 of a cup of strawberry preserves and combined in a small bowl with 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Then I spread the mixture over the top of the cake. I baked the cake last night, then left it in the freezer overnight and let it thaw out for a few hours this morning.

Then, I sprinkled about 2 T of powdered sugar over the the cake. I cut about eight strawberries in half, rolled them in about 1/4 cup of sweetened flaked coconut, then placed each strawberry on top of the cake. Then I put maybe 1/4 of white chocolate chips between the strawberries.

The plan is to serve the cake with some ice cream. Hopefully it will be good. My philosophy is always, “Just how bad could it be?” If you combine a bunch of stuff that you like, it can only taste so terrible.  And should taste quite excellent actually.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all who celebrate!