Category Archives: Sweets for the Sweets

Brownies with Whipped Coconut Cream {Vegan, No Refined Sugar)


Have you ever just wanted brownies? Like  I-need-I-want-brownies-right-now-no-questions-asked. I’ve had that feeling quite a few days recently.  But the making-brownies part just wasn’t happening.

But then it happened.

Aaaaaand I didn’t have enough eggs. Of course. But the  I-need-I-want-brownies-right-now-no-questions-asked feeling wasn’t going away. So I turned vegan. For the moment.


And, guys, these brownies are better than any other brownie, vegan or (*gulp* am I seriously making this confession??) non-vegan, I have ever tried. So moist and rich and easy-to-make! These are a few of my favorite things

And you get brownie points if you didn’t read/sing that last sentence in Maria’s voice

(Get it? Brownie points?) 😉


But seriously, these brownies are sooo easy to make. And the batter is so….glossy.

Yeah, what a strange word to describe batter. But, as I was spreading it in the pan with my handy-dandy spatula, I couldn’t help but notice. “Glossy” just totally describes what was in that pan. Was it because of the flax eggs? Maybe. But whatever the reason, it was beautiful. *wipes tear*

I get emotional with my baking.

So eat a brownie and stop judging.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Brownies with Whipped Coconut Cream {Vegan, No Refined Sugar)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Decadent brownies topped with a light coconut cream; need I say more? Get baking!
Serves: 12-18 brownies
  • For Brownies:
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 flax eggs*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • For Whipped Coconut Cream:
  • 1 can coconut cream**, refrigerated overnight (or for at least three hours)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  1. To make the brownies:
  2. Heat the oven to 350F.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  4. Stir the cocoa powder into the melted coconut oil. Blend in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Blend in the flour mixture until well combined.
  6. In a greased 8x11inch baking pan pour and evenly spread the brownie batter; bake for about 15 minutes and let cool.
  7. To make the whipped coconut cream:
  8. Take the coconut cream out of the fridge and turn it upside down. Open it, drain the liquid on top (save this for another recipe; it goes great in smoothies!) and scoop the cream into a tall bowl.
  9. Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, whip up the cream (about a minute). Add in the maple syrup and whipped to combine.
  10. Spread the whipped coconut cream on the cooled brownies. Cut and serve (or cover and refrigerate until serving)
*1 flax egg = 1tbsp ground flax + 2½ tbsp water + mix + let sit for five minutes
**I found cans of coconut cream at Trader Joe's. If you can't find a can of coconut cream, you can use a can (or two) of coconut milk (just use the cream on top and save the milk for another recipe)




Crepe Cake (Torta od Palačinke)


Crepes have always been a delicacy for me and my family (in Serbian we call them “palačinke”; and “torta” means cake, hence the title)

We used to always eat them like rolls (slather them in jam, roll up, and devour) The thought of layering them and making them into a cake didn’t even pass through my mind until I saw this Crepe Cake by Taylor on her food blog. The moment I saw it I knew I had to make a crepe cake!

My family and I love to fill crepes with whipped cream, ground walnuts (or almonds, whatever’s handy) and top them with honey. With that in mind, the filling for this cake was born.


The crepes are wayy to easy to make! Just mix up some milk, eggs, and flour (I never thought of mixing it up in a blender until I read about it from Taylor and I’m still in shock as to how I never thought of that before!)  Pour about 1/4 cup batter in a pan and cook each crepe until golden. crepecake2_feb2015

I used coconut cream to make the whipped cream filling. I found my can of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s. Just refrigerate it for at least two hours (overnight is preferred); turn it upside down and open the can from the bottom. Drain the liquid from the top and reserve it for another recipe (it goes great in smoothies! just sayin’)

Scoop the cream out of the can and whip it up. Add in some ground almonds/walnuts and a dollop (love that word!) or two of honey. And that’s it! Seriously.


To assemble this beauty, place a crepe on the serving dish and spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on top. Repeat with the rest of the crepes, stacking them on top of each other. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream and top with some more ground nuts and drizzled honey to finish off this cake!

 Can we just look at those layers for a moment? Those *13* layers! Just looking at it someone would think you had to slave away to make this; let’s let them think that and be impressed :)

Crepe Cake (Torta od Palačinke)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 six-inch cake
  • For the crepes:
  • 16 oz milk*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • coconut oil, for cooking
  • For the filling:
  • 1 can coconut cream, refrigerated for at least 2hr
  • 1 cup ground walnuts or almonds (or a mixture of both)
  • 2-4 tbsp honey, to taste
  1. Put all the crepe ingredients in a blender and blend on high until thoroughly mixed.**
  2. Melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in a ***six-inch pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour about ¼ cup of batter into the pan and make a circular motion with the pan's handle so that the batter evenly spread over the pan. Cook until the top of the crepe is no longer liquid-y (about 30-45 seconds) and then flip and cook for another 30-45 seconds.
  3. Place the cooked crepe onto a plate and repeat with the remaining the batter (add a few drops of coconut oil between each crepe to keep them for sticking to the pan). Cool completely.
  4. While the crepes are cooling, make the filling. Take the coconut cream out of the fridge and turn it upside down. Open the can and drain out the liquid (reserve for another recipe).
  5. Scoop out the coconut cream and whip (about 45 seconds). Add in the ground nuts and honey; whip until evenly incorporated.
  6. Once the crepes have cooled, place one on a serving dish. Spread with a thin layer of cream and top with another crepe.****
  7. Repeat with the remaining crepes, topping the last crepe with cream.
  8. *****Spread the remaining cream on the sides of the cake. Sprinkle ground nuts on top (optional) and finish with a drizzle of honey.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
*You can use 16oz milk or 8oz milk and 8oz water
** If you would rather not use a blender, just whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl
*** You can use whatever sized pan you want; the only thing affected will be the number of layers (using a six-inch pan I got about 13 layers)
****Gently spread the cream on the crepes to prevent the crepes from sliding around
*****Before frosting the sides, you can trim the edges of the crepes to make them more uniform; this is totally optional, though (unless if you're a perfectionist; then you better trim them edges!)

Recipe inspired by Crepe Cake from FoodFaithFitness


Pecan Rolls

pecan_rolls11_blog_Jan2015 Hope everybody’s had a great start to the New Year! 2015, here we come! Most of us have our healthy-diet resolutions in full swing, so why am I sharing these rolls with you? Good question. Because they’re sooo good, and every diet needs balance!

So, yeah, that means sweets, including pecan rolls, have their place. And *these* pecan rolls have exactly 1/4 cup sugar in them. Yeah, you read that right! The only sugar is in the pecan topping. Talk about guilt free 😉


A few weeks ago I entered a giveaway on Sallys Baking Addiction and was one of the lucky winners to get her cookbook and a bag of chopped pecans! (The giveaway was sponsored by  Diamond of California® Nuts) Can I just say this is one of the cutest cookbooks ever? Open up the cover and find a page full of sprinkles; flip another few pages and find the table of contents: from cakes to cookies and muffins to candy, this book covers every craving your sweet tooth will have!

When I found the pecan rolls recipe (“Grandma’s Sticky Pecan Rolls”) I knew I had to make it with the pecans from Diamond Nuts. It was just meant to be.


To make the pecan topping, all you need are chopped pecans, a little bit of butter, some sugar, and a dollop (isn’t that a fun word?) of molasses. The molasses I used this time came from a quaint little shop we visited when we were in Helen, GA: Nora Mill Granary.If you’re ever near there, you gotta check it out! They grind their own grains and are more than happy to show you around and get you acquainted with their mill. We loved it and can’t wait to go back! (My mom specifically loves their Pioneer’s Porridge; we’ll probably need to head back when she exhausts her big bag of it) :)

pecan_rolls3_blog_Jan2015 Back to these delicious rolls! The dough is a simple yeasted one, no fancy-shmancy ingredients. Just mix it all together and let it rest for a few minutes.


After the dough has rested, roll it out and fill with grated apples, pecans, and cinnamon.

Wait–stop! Don’t leave!

The grated apples replace the usual sugar-and-butter filling: they add sweetness and moister. The first time I made it that way, I had my doubts, I admit. But one bite converted me–it’s delicious AND healthy? Ah, yes, please!


Roll up the deliciousness into a tight log and cut into 10 pieces


Then place in the baking pan on top of the pecan topping.

Side note–in the above picture, I had completely forgotten about my pecan topping, so I ended up putting the rolls in. After realizing my mistake, I (tried to) carefully remove them, spread the pecan topping on the bottom of the pan, and then put the rolls back in the pan. Don’t make my mistake…


After baking, resist the urge to cut one out immediately; just let them cool slightly before giving into the urge :)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pecan Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These pecan rolls come with all the deliciousness expected but none of the guilt!
Serves: 10 rolls
  • Pecan Topping:
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • Dough:
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2¼ tsp instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2½ tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • Filling:
  • 4 apples, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  1. To make the pecan topping...Mix together the butter, sugar and molasses. Add in the pecan, mix thoroughly, and spread on the bottom of a lightly greased baking pan.
  2. To make the dough...Combine the 2¼ cups flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Pour the water and milk in a small pan and add in the butter. Heat on medium low, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and the mixture is homogeneous.
  4. Add the butter mixture to the flour and stir a little. Then add the egg and stir until a soft dough is formed (an additional ½ cup of flour may be needed if the dough is too wet).
  5. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the bowl it was in previously before placing the dough back inside and letting it rest for 10 minutes.
  6. To fill the rolls...After the dough has rested for 10 minutes, roll it on a lightly floured surface into a rough rectangle about 14 x 8 in.
  7. Spread the grated apples evenly in the filling, leaving about a 1 inch border from the edges. Sprinkle on top the pecans and cinnamon before tightly rolling the dough along the long edge. Cut into 10 pieces (each will be roughly 1½ in wide) and place on top of the pecans in the baking pan.
  8. Place in a warm oven* for 15 minutes or so (until the rolls have doubled in size).
  9. Heat the oven to 375F and bake until the rolls are lightly browned (25-30 min). Rotate the pan after 15 minutes and loosely cover with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking time.
  10. Remove from the oven and slightly cool before serving.
*I preheated my oven to around 200F, turned it off, and then placed the rolls inside.

Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction's cookbook's "Grandma's Sticky Pecan Rolls"


This post was not sponsored by Diamond of California® Nuts, SallysBakingAddiction ,or Nora Mill Granary. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Tart 12 Along with  eclairs I made this chocolate tart for my birthday two weeks ago! Rich, creamy and chocolaty, it was a great way to start the first day of my new year! Whether it’s for a birthday, a family-gathering, a rainy day, a holiday, a back-to-school treat, to satisfy a chocolate-craving, or to spice up a bland day, this tart will be a winner for everyone!

Chocolate Tart 2

These recipes are adapted from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts. It has now become my favorite baking book. I love the way she presents recipes: a Master Recipe begins each chapter and that recipe is tweaked to create new recipes. So instead of memorizing 35,683,500,671 different recipes, learn the Master Recipe, understand the techniques behind it, and you’re ready to make chocolate souffles, chocolate sauces and chocolate fillings from the same Master Recipe with the same basic techniques!

Chocolate Tart 3 This crust recipe, like all of the recipes in the book, stems off of a Master Recipe for pie dough. In her book, Ms. Sherry describes in detail the differences between and processes behind flaky and mealy pie doughs. 

Chocolate Tart 4

The recipe makes enough dough for two 9-inch pie crusts. I only wanted to make one chocolate tart, so I used the extra dough to make tartlets (isn’t that a cute name?) which I filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh blueberries. You can use the extra pie dough for anything your heart desires (if your heart desires two chocolate tarts, double the ganache recipe).

Chocolate Tart 7

Before reading Sherry Yard’s book, ganache seemed like a mystical treat. But after reading through the Master Recipe (and memorizing it) I was stunned by its simplicity: boil heavy cream, add to cut up chocolate, tap bowl, let sit for a minute, gently stir, and BAM! That’s all! (I was also shocked to find out how easy it actually is to make souffles; that should be my next adventure in the kitchen!)

Chocolate Tart 11

After pouring the ganache into the crust, I topped it with whipped cream in the middle and refrigerated it before serving.

I must give one warning before giving you the recipe: the filling is very rich and creamy; better to slice it thinly and get two (or three–if no one’s watching) slices then to slice it thickly and have to throw away half-eaten slices.

Just sayin’

Chocolate Tart

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 16 slices

Chocolate Tart


    Almond Crust
  • 6 oz. cold butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • Ganache Filling
  • 9oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream


    Almond Crust
  1. Sift together the flour, almond flour, and sugar.
  2. Add in the butter and combine until the dough resembles coarse walnut-sized pieces.
  3. Mix together the egg and salt. Add to the flour and butter mixture and mix until the dough just starts to come together.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. (The dough can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days)
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll it out in a circle with a diameter an inch or two larger then the pan it will be baked in.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly greased baking pan. Using a fork poke a few holes in the bottom of the dough. Place parchment paper over the dough and fill the bottom with a faux filling. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Take out the faux filling and bake for another 10 minutes at 325F. Once the crust is golden brown, take it out of the oven and cool before using.
  9. Ganache Filling
  10. Cut up the chocolate into small pieces (about 1/4 inch). Place in a heat-proof bowl.
  11. Bring the heavy cream to a boil.
  12. Immediately pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and tap the bowl on the kitchen surface to settle the chocolate.Let sit for one minute.
  13. Gently stir the mixture with a spatula, careful not to add too much air to the mixture while stirring. Keep slowly stirring until the chocolate and heavy cream have been combined into a thick ganache.
  14. Pour the ganache into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least ten minutes before decorating (optional).


Recipes adapted from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking Almond Pie Dough recipe and Master Ganache recipe

Disclosure: this post was not sponsored by Sherry Yard or affiliates; all opinions are my own

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies 7 Brownies are a classic dessert; who doesn’t like them? Whether they’re fudgey, loaded with peanut butter or nuts, have a crackled top, or topped with frosting, it’s hard to go wrong with brownies. And this recipe isn’t about to break that trend!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies 2 This brownie batter is super thick (the above picture was taken before the dry ingredients were added, just so you know), but don’t worry–it’s all part of the delicious-brownie-making-process. Trust me.

Oh, and that random green leaf in the background is from our aloe vera plant

Why is it there? I would love to know that answer, too

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies 5 And remember–these are dark chocolate brownies, which is why I don’t add a lot of sugar.

Because that would defeat the dark chocolate purpose

And then these wouldn’t be dark chocolate brownies

And then life as we know it would end

Ok, so maybe that last statement was a little too extreme, but you get the point.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies 6 And now, without further ado here is this delicious brownie recipe!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 18 brownies

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies


  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter,melted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Stir the cocoa into the melted butter; then blend in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Blend in the dry ingredients, coconut, and chocolate chips.
  5. In a greased baking pan (9x11inch)evenly spread the batter. Top with more coconut and chocolate chips if desired.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.


Recipe adapted from HERSHEY'S Best Brownies Recipe


Peach Hand-Pies

Peach Hand-Pies 8 There’s something very appealing about a personal pie. Is it because you get to eat it all by yourself, without the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, you should share it? But, your greed counters, it’s a personal pie. Yes, that adjective does seem to change things up: it’s not just any pie, it’s your pie. And it is oh-so-easy to make. Don’t believe me? Lemme show you…

Peach Hand-Pies 2 Combine cut peaches with some honey, flour, salt, and cinnamon.

Peach Hand-Pies 3 Then make your dough: kneed together flour, butter, and water. Rip off Take a medium-small-sized ball of dough and roll it out into a circle…

Peach Hand-Pies 4 …place one to two tablespoons of the peach mixture in the center of the dough.

Peach Hand-Pies 5 Then fold it taco-style and seal the edges using a fork.

Peach Hand-Pies 6 Place in a prepared baking pan and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Peach Hand-Pies 7 Once chilled, brush a lightly-beaten egg on top, sprinkle a little bit of sugar, and poke a few holes in each pie.

Peach Hand-Pies 9 Bake at 375F until golden-brown (about 20 minutes). And then enjoy your personal pie!


Peach Hand-Pies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 16 pies

Peach Hand-Pies


    For Peach Filling:
  • 2-3 cups cut-up peaches
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • For Dough:
  • 1 lb (450g) flour
  • 6 oz. butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)
  • beaten egg
  • sugar


    For the Filling:
  1. Mix together the peaches, honey, flour, lemon juice, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. For the Dough:
  3. Kneed together the flour and butter until the dough resembles large breadcrumbs. Add in the water and kneed until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Assembly:
  5. Roll out a medium-small-sized piece of dough into a circle. Place one to two tablespoons of the filling in the center of the circle.
  6. Fold taco-style and seal the edges using a fork.
  7. Place in a prepared baking pan and chill for at least 15 minutes.
  8. Afterwards, brush the lightly-beaten egg on top of the pies, sprinkle a little bit of sugar on each, and poke a few holes in each of them.
  9. Bake at 375F until golden-brown, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!


Filling recipe adapted from Bakerella

Fourth of July Cheesecake

Fourth of July Cheesecake 10 Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! Can you believe it? The year is flying by! Before you know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving —and then Christmas!

But let’s get back to the present. More specifically, this cheesecake. A creamy cheesecake sitting on top of a graham-cracker crust topped with blueberries, raspberries, and whipped cream. Oh yeah.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 8 Now I have to admit I had a little mishap with the graham-cracker crust: I went to the store this morning intending to buy the ingredients I needed for the cheesecake. Graham crackers were on the list–until I read the ingredient list on the box. My conscious reminded me of the articles I had read about the ingredients that are legal in the USA but banned in many other countries and the other ingredients found in inorganic foods. I had read those articles the day before, and I couldn’t make myself buy the crackers. So my creative-healthy spirit rose up and I decided to make the graham cracker crumbs–how hard could it be?

Fourth of July Cheesecake 1

The above picture shows how hard it can be. I googled “how to make graham crackers”, looked at a few ingredient lists, and decided I knew enough and I could now make them.

As I mixed the dough I started to realize something was wrong. I seriously considered just throwing away the dough and starting over, but I didn’t want to waste it. Swallowing my fears I dumped the dough in a greased baking pan, pathetically spread it out, and baked it.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 2 After 15 or so minutes I took it out and my heart sank to my stomach. It looked…well, you can see in the pictures how it looked. My hopes and dreams of becoming a cook like Ree Drummond were dashed.

Unsure how it would turn out, I savagely cut the stuff with a knife, dumped it in the blender, turned it on, and hoped it would turn out alright. To my relief it looked kinda like the graham-cracker crumbs I was used to. Feeling daring, I decided I would go through with it and give these crumbs a chance.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 3 I mixed them with some melted butter, pressed them onto the bottom of a pan, and baked them for 10 minutes. The crust seemed fairly normal–the only way to find out was to finish the cheesecake and eat it. It passed the “looks” test and the “taste” test (you may be wondering how I managed to try it when I made it for the Fourth of July and am zealously guarding it from family members and their forks; answer: some crumbs stick to the pan; those are the ones that make it to my taste buds)

Fourth of July Cheesecake 4 Moving on from the crust.The cheesecake itself is very easy to make: mix up the ingredients and bake. Bam. So I won’t spend much (or any) time on that part.

Before decorating the cheesecake with blueberries and fruits, I made a thin glaze from milk and powdered sugar and brushed it on the cake. I did this to help keep the fruits from rolling off the cake.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 6 To decorate the cheesecake like the American Flag, line up your blueberries (not necessarily 50) on the upper-left fourth of the cheesecake.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 7 Then line up your raspberries to make the stripes, leaving space in between each row for the whipped cream.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 9 Pipe the whipped cream between the raspberries

Fourth of July Cheesecake 12 I used a 1M tip to pipe the whipped cream into close-together dots. A straight line of whipped cream would work as well.

Fourth of July Cheesecake 11 Chill for at least an hour before serving up this masterpiece!

Oh, and just so you know, the fingers in the above picture are from my little brother as he was counting how many blueberries there were, which ended up being only 32–not 50, but that’s ok :)

Fourth of July Cheesecake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Fourth of July Cheesecake


    For graham-cracker crust:
  • 1-3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3-4 tbsp butter, melted
  • For cheesecake:
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon's juice and peel
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • For the glaze:
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • For the topping:
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • whipped cream


    To make the graham cracker crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the crumbs and butter. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a lightly greased baking pan (9-inch diameter).
  3. Bake for 10 minutes; then remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. To make the cheesecake:
  5. Adjust the oven temperature to 350F.
  6. In a large bowl beat together the sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice and peel with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  7. Add in the sour cream and mix well. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  8. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until the center is almost set (about 50 minutes.)
  9. Cool completely.
  10. To make the glaze:
  11. Mix together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
  12. Assembly:
  13. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, transfer it to a serving dish.
  14. Brush the glaze on top and sides of the cheesecake.
  15. On the upper-left fourth of the cheesecake arrange the blueberries to make the stars of the American flag.
  16. Line up the raspberries to make the stripes, leaving space in between each row to pipe the whipped cream. Chill for at least 10 minutes.
  17. Pipe the whipped cream in between the raspberries and chill for at least an hour before serving.


Cheesecake recipe adapted from Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe




Coconut-Lovers Cake

Because my mom is a strong coconut lover, I wanted to make her a coconut cake for her birthday. I knew I wanted each bite to be a taste-bud-explosion of coconut. I searched online for a recipe and finally found one for the cake. I decided to go on a whim and not use a recipe for the filling–which turned out to be a delicious decision. For the topping I whipped up heavy cream and added shredded coconut to it.

Coconut Cake 1

The recipe for the cake called for coconut milk. Now, my mom and I may be coconut lovers, but I have to admit coconut milk is not a regular item in our fridge. Not wanting to substitute it, I looked up a recipe on how to make it. Surprisingly, not only is it easy to make, you don’t use milk to make it: the only ingredients are water and shredded coconut. Strange that coconut milk can be made without milk, hu? But don’t worry, it tastes delicious!

Coconut Cake 3

To make the cake, combine the coconut milk, buttermilk, and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract) in a small bowl. Set aside.

Coconut Cake 13

Using a mixer, beat the butter until creamy; add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Next add in the eggs, mixing well after each addition.

Coconut Cake 4

Add in the flour mixture (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) alternatively with the milk mixture. Coconut Cake 5

Pour the batter into a prepared baking pan (9-inch diameter)

Coconut Cake 6

Bake until golden brown (about 40 minutes)…

Coconut Cake 7 …and when completely cooled split horizontally in half.

Coconut Cake 8 Then plop the vanilla-pudding-mixed-with-coconut on one of the layers…

Coconut Cake 9

…and evenly spread it all over the layer. Top with the second cake layer, put it in the fridge, and ignore it for the moment.

Coconut Cake 10

Combine the whipped cream (I used heavy  whipping cream but any whipped cream will work) and shredded coconut . Then take your cake out of the fridge, apologize to it for ignoring it…

Coconut Cake 11 …and with about a third of the whipped cream give the cake a crumb coat (a thin layer of frosting).

Coconut Cake 12

After refrigerating the cake for a while, frost it with the rest of the whipped cream.  Refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving.

Coconut Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Coconut Cake


    For the Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour (sift 3-4 times)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk *_see note below_
  • 1 bag of vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 6 tbsp butter,softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • For the Filling:
  • 2-3 cups vanilla pudding
  • 1-3 cups shredded coconut
  • For the Topping:
  • 2-3 cups whipped cream
  • 1-3 cups shredded coconut


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a round cake pan (9-by-2 inches)
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, coconut milk, and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract).
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  4. At low speed beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches; between each batch add half of the buttermilk mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the surface. Bake until the cake is golden (about 40 minutes). Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a plate or cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, cut the cake horizontally into two layers.
  6. For the filling:
  7. Prepare the vanilla pudding according to the manufacturer's instructions, leaving out about 1/4 cup of the liquid needed. Once the pudding is cooled, mix in the shredded coconut.
  8. For the topping:
  9. Combine the shredded coconut with the whipped cream and refrigerate until use.
  10. Assembly:
  11. Place one of the cake layers (cut-side up) on the serving dish. Spread with the filling and place the other cake layer (cut-side up) on top. Refrigerate for at least ten minutes. Then, using about a third of the topping, frost the top and sides of the cake for a crumb coat. Refrigerate again for at least 20 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Afterwards frost with the rest of the topping and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


Recipe for cake adapted from Food&Wine

*I used the recipe for the coconut milk linked to above; however, I did not strain the mixture like the recipe called for. If you prefer not to have shredded coconut in the cake, then strain the mixture like the recipe calls for

Banana Bread

Banana Bread 4 Mind-blowing fact: most monkeys never eat a banana in their lifetime. The moment I read that fact at the gorilla exhibit in the zoo, I felt betrayed by Disney (The Jungle Book, anyone?) and the media as a whole. How—how could it be true? It may feel like your whole world is falling apart, you may not know who to trust anymore, but don’t despair (take a deep breathe; it’s gonna be alright).

Banana Bread 2

Now, as you’re breathing deeply, here is a recipe made with—bananas. Before the thoughts of anguish overcome you over that word, here are the highlights of this recipe: only 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar are used. Talk about a guilt-free recipe!

Banana Bread 3

Another highlight, for me at least, is the cinnamon. Sure, you can buy powdered cinnamon. Or you can whip out some cinnamon sticks and your grater and grate your own cinnamon. Either way is fine; it’s just that one of the ways makes you feel more in charge of your cinnamon, if that even matters for you.

Banana Bread 5


Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Banana Bread


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • raisins (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the egg and mashed bananas; mix well. Then add the flour, baking soda, and raisins (optional). Beat until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into an oiled and floured bundt pan (diameter--about 10inches). Bake for 30minutes (until top has browned).

Strawberry Cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler 5 The bowl of strawberries had been sitting on the counter for days. It wasn’t until some of the strawberries had gotten over-ripe that I made the decision. I was not going to let those strawberries go to waste.

Being the lazy time-efficient person that I am, I decided that whatever I was going to make with the strawberries had to be fast and easy. Fast so I could eat it soon and easy so I could eat it soon be time-efficient. Strawberry cobbler was that recipe.

Strawberry Cobbler 1

There are only a few ingredients in the crumb layer: flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, honey, and butter. Once combined, press half of the mixture onto the bottom of the baking pan (I used an oval-shaped pan this time, but I’ve made it in a 9×11 pan as well with just as delicious results).

Strawberry Cobbler 2

Strawberry Cobbler 4

Then layer on the cut strawberries (the more the merrier). Top with the rest of the crumb mixture and bake until the top is lightly browned (I took the picture above just before baking it).

Strawberry Cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • honey, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2-3 cups strawberries, washed and cut


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, oats, honey, and cinnamon until well blended. Add the butter and, using your hands, mix until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs.Set aside half of the mixture.
  3. Press the other half of the mixture onto the bottom of the baking pan. Evenly spread the strawberries over the crumb mixture; sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture on top of the strawberries and bake until the top is lightly browned (40-50minutes). Enjoy hot, warm, or cold; with ice-cream, milk, or by itself!