Sugar Heaven

June 23, 2009

….because pictures are worth a thousand (in this case, probably TENS of thousands) of calories!


What you can’t appreciate from the picture is just how big these cakes are.  Size wise, each of them are about 12″ tall and about 20″ wide.  HUGE!!!!  I don’t even want to know how many pounds of butter goes into the icing that’s needed to cover one.  Oh, I’m hitting myself for forgetting to take a picture of the one that is shaped like a yorkshire terrier.  It’s alright, another excuse to go back in the future.  Gee, I use that excuse a lot, don’t I? ;)

If you are the fickle type that can’t seem to choose which cake to try, you are sooooo in trouble when you see this lineup of individual cakes.



Room Candy – always yummy!


I’m baaaaaack! Did you miss me? I know, I missed you too!

Already; enough with the silliness. Let’s get back to the yummy at hand. My trip back to Indonesia was, as expected, highlighted by meal after meal of all the well known Indonesian dishes I loved growing up there. Now, for those of you who haven’t visited Indonesia yet, the country is smack in the middle of the equator, which means that the weather is for the most part unbearably hot and humid. To compensate for this, Indonesians pile on extra spices and rich ingredients to each dish to intensify the flavor. If it’s not extra sugar, it’s bathed in coconut milk (I just checked the caloric content, and it’s about 500 calories per cup – yikes!), more coconut milk, deep fried, soaked in butter, and just for variety’s sake, covered in crunchy coconut bits which I’m sure is deep fried in pure butter! And I’m just talking about the bite-sized dessert snacks!

Anyway, news of my arrival spread amongst my Mom’s female friends, most of whom can cook up a storm, so new dishes were being sent to our house daily. Oh, the torture! :) Here’s one from Auntie Bobo that I particularly loved – a dessert called Kolak.

Pop quiz: Class, what’s that milky liquid you see? Why yes, it’s coconut milk sweetened with palm sugar! The orange balls are sweet potato dumplings, the gray ones are tapioca dumplings, pieces of jackfruit, and two varieties of attap seeds (oval jelly like fruits from mangroove palm trees) – all swimming happily together in tropical harmony. Well, you can’t just photograph a tropical dessert without some suggestion of water and palm trees in the background, right? So I went into amateur shutterbug mode and decided to do a Bali-style shoot. I know, I’m totally obsessed with photography right now, and felt the need to bring along my trip not just my Canon DSRL, but also an additional macro lens, a tripod, my point- and-shoot Canon Powershot, as well as a new camera I bought my sister. The tripod was stowed along with my luggage, but the rest I carried with me on the plane, so I was getting a lot of odd looks by the security personnel when I put my carry on bag through the xray machine. But now that I’m looking back at the magic of the Kolak forever captured in a picture, it was all well worth it!

Where was I? Oh yes, the Bali-style picture. We’re lucky that our house in Indonesia has a pool with a balcony right above it, so I set the bowl of Kolak gently on the edge of the balcony and started shooting.

That’s not exactly a palm tree in the background, but it’s still foliage nonetheless! Hmmm, something is still missing. I know, I’m missing a flower! So a few minutes of tearing through the garden later, I present to you the final masterpiece.

Tropical enough for you? :)

I love how the hibiscus matched the sweet potato balls, and it’s a version of hibiscus I usually don’t see.

From what I read, hibiscus flowers are also edible.

Thanks, Auntie Bobo! The Kolak was definitely a labor of love, and I ate it up very lovingly!

I’ll post more pictures of my adventures in Indonesia in the coming days.


Room Candy – always yummy!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? How about an apple, a lemon, an orange, a strawberry and a pear?

These fruity delights are actually 1″ marzipans that I bought at my local farmer’s market. I wish I had bought the whole box because seeing these marzipan fruits all lined up in a box gives me the same kind of high I get when I open a box of chocolates. Aren’t they incredible?

I can just imagine the work that goes into each one of these sweets – between molding the almond sugar paste into these shapes and then hand airbrushing the colors on. Talk about things that are too pretty to eat!

Why stop at just fruits? These are two adorable 2″ piggy bank marzipans I picked up on the same day.

Oink, oink!

You got coin? I got coin too!

For those of you wondering, the coin you see is actually a paper coin. I tried to dislodge it to see if it has any value printed on it, but it’s lodged pretty good in the pig!

These pigs actually remind me a little bit of our Nunu The Pig toy.

See? They all have the same floppy ears!

Extra yummy: While doing some reading on marzipan, I saw this picture of a marzipan spread on wiki; check out the amazing variety! I see marzipans shaped like cherries, plums, peaches, bread, bananas, butterflies, fish, mushrooms, cauliflowers – it’s like an a-z list of things you can make with marzipan!

Photo credit: wikipedia

Even more yummy: I’ve had the Asian version of marzipan, which is made of mung bean paste instead of almond and has a glossier appearance because the marzipans are coated with a thin layer of agar agar (clear jelly). You can view a picture of these Asian marzipans (luk chups) here.


Room Candy – always yummy!

Cake Soup

July 15, 2008

I had a major meltdown today. It was tragic, and I don’t know quite how to recover from it.

You see, I went to Porto’s Bakery in Burbank today and bought a few cakes specifically to take pictures for this blog…what? You’ve never heard of Porto’s Bakery? Oh, it’s a typical bakery fairy tale come true – Mama Rosa Porto started selling cakes and pies from her house to help pay the bills, and the woman must really know how to make yummy food because 35 years later, Porto’s Bakery is a well-known local institution with two huge locations in Glendale and Burbank. The place is well known for its Cuban sandwiches and its staggering bakery selection (the bakery counter in Burbank looks like it’s 50 feet long), but being the sugar-loving gal that I am, I’m all about the cakes. Most of the cakes there are mousse-based, but they’re all very good and very affordable ($2.50 each). So back to my story. I got five cakes from the counter and even told the girl helping me that I wanted the “pretty” looking ones because I was taking pictures of the cakes (she gave me a blank look and discreetly rolled her eyes – I can’t blame her!). I chose the following – Pina Colada, Triple Chocolate Mousse, Italian Cheesecake, Mango Mousse, and Chocolate Raspberry Mousse. Got into my car and promptly flipped the small box with the Italian Cheesecake upside down. Aaargh! Oh well, there goes one – at least I still have four cakes left to photograph.

Between the bakery and my house, I decided to run some quick errands and stopped by the bank and the post office. Every time I parked my car, I would look down at the box of cakes and gave the box a little reassuring pat. Patience, my lovelies. And each time I checked, they looked as pristine as they do in the bakery case. The disaster happened between the post office and the ride to the house. Apparently, mousse cakes + summer heat + erratic driving = eventual MAJOR MELTDOWN! By the time I parked my car in my driveway, the cakes have oozed and swayed into four globby pudding like masses. See for yourselves.

Can we say, Cake Soup? The top two (from left to right) are the Pina Colada and the Mango Mousse. The bottom two (from left to right) are the Triple Chocolate Mousse and the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse. The cake that took the full brunt of the summer heat is the Mango Mousse, which in its original form is a perfect dome shaped concoction with a single raspberry and a leaf placed delicately atop the cake. As you can see, it’s “melted” into a pool.

The Triple Espresso Chocolate Mousse was partially saved by the plastic covering, but look closely and you’ll see that it had oozed out from the bottom into the box. The remaining two looked the best on the photo, but in real life, they were also quite smooshed.

Oh well, no point crying over spilled cake. On the bright side, this gives me a really good excuse to go back to the bakery and buy another batch of cakes. And this time, I’ll buy two of each kind. Just to be on the safe side.

As for this current box, I’m just going to stick it in the fridge to set and declaring it as a cake fusion made up of four different flavored cakes. It’s now a giant Pinango Chocberry Mousse Cake!


Room Candy – always yummy!