Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Perfectly Sweet.

I took a break for an afternoon treat today at this spot my friend, Fadia, had told me about. I love sweets, but not so much when they are overly sweet, and this place had the perfect marriage of sugar and deliciousness in their pastries and desserts. It's even in the name...Perfectly Sweet! It's a small drive to Alhambra, but totally worth it. This sight is something to make your eyes widen 0_0

Dulce de Leche cake, fruit tart, and Tiramisu custard cup.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine Mocha Cupcakes.

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays out of the year. Most people associate Valentine's Day with romantic relationships, boyfriends, girlfriends, but I like to associate it with a day to express love to people you love most...not solely restricted to a romantic interest or spouse. For that reason, I wanted to do something special for not only my boyfriend, but for a few loved ones, so I made some delicious Valentine's cupcakes!

I tried something new and added some coffee to my cakemix to create a mocha cupcake. I also took a crack at making chocolate buttercream frosting from scratch and it turned out great. Recipe follows...

It is imperative to sift all the dry ingredients to insure there are no lumps in the mix.

Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant espresso granules to 1 cup of brewed coffee to get a mocha flavor.

The finished cupcakes decorated with candy heart and chocolate chip X's and O's.

I bought some pretty pastry packaging from Michael's and gave a box each to my boyfriend, my best friend, Natalie, and my mom.



  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cups of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant espresso granules 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and mix until combined with a spoon, a hand mixer, or electric mixer.
  3. In another bowl, mix buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. With a mixer on low speed, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso granules to a cup of hot coffee and stir to combine. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee mixture to the batter and stir to combine.
  6. Distribute the batter into prepared cupcake tins.
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes then remove from the tin and let cool completely on a cooling rack. 
*Note that the batter will be a bit runny, but this is perfectly fine.


  • 1/2 a pound of bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate
  • 2-3 egg whites, at room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 pound of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon of water


  1. Chop the chocolates and place in a heat proof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
  2. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat until warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture holds a stiff peak. 
  4. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, vanilla, and espresso and mix for 1 minute until the chocolate in completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool and beat again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day For Him.

To my readers, my apologies for being MIA on this blog lately. I had been feeling a lack of inspiration, but I'm back now with more restaurants, ideas, and recipes to share with you! Beginning with this one...

So last year, I wrote a post about fun last minute Christmas gifts to get for a girl, so I though I would do something similar for Valentine's Day this year...but for the men! Who says a lifestyle blog can't appeal to both genders? For the special guy in your life (or you trendy men), these are some gifts I think a wide range of men would love to receive. Some of these are staple items that men need, and others are some really cool additions to his trend collection. My personal favorite gift is the Art of Shaving shaving kit.

1. John Varvatos Belt
2. H&M Leather Desert Boots
3. John Varvatos "Vintage" Cologne
4. The Art of Shaving-The 4 Elements of a Perfect Shave
5. Hugo Boss Tie Clip
6. Emporio Armani Sunglasess
7. Zara Retro Print Boxers