Vanilla Buttercream Ruffle Cake Recipe Recipe

Hi everyone! This is Sunny, Jackie’s oldest and coolest sister-in-law, and today I’m guest-posting on Pham Fatale!

So about two weeks ago I was procrastinating on Pinterest when I came across this picture:

It’s a cake by Martha Stewart. You could say it was love at first sight—one look at those adorable pink ruffles and I knew I had to make this cake. 

Only one problem; although I love to bake, I’ve never made a cake in my life. Cookies, cookie pies, brownies, blondies, but definitely nothing as glitzy as this three-layered Swiss meringue buttercream ruffled cake. But I was absolutely determined to make it, and I think it turned out pretty well. If an 18-year-old novice confectioner can make this cake, you absolutely can too. 

Instead of making a lemon cake like the one in Martha Stewart’s recipe, I decided to keep it simple with a vanilla cake and vanilla frosting. The cake batter was pretty straightforward; I like this particular recipe because the cake is the perfect balance between dense and airy. The Swiss meringue buttercream, daunting as it sounds, was also easy to make, although I would pay attention to a few helpful tips when making it. 

The real fun came when it was time to frost the cake. After frosting and crumb coating the cake, I refrigerated it overnight to let it set. For the ruffles, I used a Wilton #124 piping tip, although many other petal tips would also work. It was a matter of watching several YouTube videos and practicing a bit on the side of my mixing bowl, but I definitely got the hang of it after a few ruffles. Two of my sisters also had a go, and we had a lot of fun. I decided not to ruffle all the way into the middle and instead filled the center with some whipped cream. The finished cake wasn’t perfect, but the ruffles are very forgiving. And so cute!

Vanilla Buttercream Recipe with Picture

Sunny
Sunny, our very talented teen baker.


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Turmeric Latte Recipe Recipe

Turmeric Latte Recipe

03.06.14 by Jackie

As I've mentioned in the past, turmeric is known as a healing spice in traditional Chinese medicine. However, you don't need to feel weak to enjoy this delicious hot drink. I was able to buy fresh turmeric root at a local Indian market a few months ago and I've stored it in the freezer since then. After going through our freezer today, I decided make good use of it and prepared a turmeric latte. It's so delicious, soothing and relaxing, especially with the weather we've been having.

You could prepare this drink with the milk of your choice. If you decide to go with a lower calorie milk such as almond or cashew milk, you could add a bit of coconut cream, oil or ghee (Indian clarified butter) to the turmeric. A little bit goes a long way but it makes such a difference and adds extra oomph.


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Ca Kho Recipe: Vietnamese Braised Salmon in Caramel Sauce Recipe

Even though I live in a 9-person household, over the years baby Aria and I have become the only "omnivores". I don't know if her taste buds will change over time and she'll copy her father's vegetarian diet, but for now, Aria enjoys meat and seafood. Last evening, I prepared a typical Vietnamese meal for ourselves called "cá hồi kho nước dừa", which roughly translates to "braised salmon simmered in coconut water". As a cook and especially as a mom, I took such pleasure in watching her appreciate the meal I had prepared for her. 

The fish is cooked in a caramel sauce called "nước màu" ("colored water"), which is a "savory" sauce made of caramel where the boiling point of sugar was reached to add a brown color and to impart a slightly bitter aroma. The sauce is balanced with spicy, fresh red Thai chili peppers, ginger, nước mắm (fish sauce), whole mint leaves and green onions. My favorite way to serve this "cá kho" dish is with steamed jasmine rice and blanched Vietnamese leafy greens. It's a healthy, nutritious and complete meal. Baby Aria loved it and I'm sure you will, too. If you'd like to start with a more inexpensive fish, you could prepare the same dish with catfish or mackerel.


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Filet Mignon Appetizers with Tomato Chutney Recipe

We recently hosted a formal dinner partiy and I wanted every single dish to taste extraordinary, so I prepared over-the-top filet mignon appetizers to start the evening. I layered the bite-sized starters with puff pastry, Indian-inspired tomato chutney, ash-ripened chèvre and the pièce de résistance: a decadent slice of medium-rare filet mignon

My favorite part was to see the reactions of my guests during the party. You don't need to use a whole lot of the sophisticated meat; a thin, dainty slice of the steak is enough to impress your crowd. I sealed the deal with a good glass of red wine and carried on with the (I hoped!) eye-popping menu. 


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 Vegetarian Homemade Black Turtle Bean Patties Recipe

This is one of our family's staple vegetarian dishes. It's rich in nutrients, healthy and very tasty. If, like me, you're not a vegetarian, you won't miss meat with this veggie pattie recipe. The texture is very similar to a ground turkey burger and the addition of garlic, onion, red chili flakes and sourdough croutons brings plenty of flavor to the dish. 

I like using black turtle beans. You can find them in most supermarkets in the dried bean aisle and sometimes in a canned version in Indian markets. You can use most black beans interchangeably, even though turtle beans are a little smaller. Just make sure you don't use black soy beans, which have a totally different consistency and taste.


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