matchbox kitchen

For our third collaboration as MK/BITA, we introduce our Valentine gift basket!  Each package includes one crepe paper peony and one dozen shortbread cookies.

Ji of Blooms in the Air carefully handcrafts each peony from high quality European crepe paper. It is amazing how much attention to detail put into each flower. Peonies come in two colors, ombré fuchsia and light blush pink.

The shortbread cookies come in two flavors, rosewater and chocolate chili. As with everything else Matchbox Kitchen, all ingredients are organic and thoughtfully sourced.

And, just for friends and blog readers, we are offering free shipping on orders placed by Sunday, January 25! No code necessary, just check out as normal. Click here to shop now.






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A couple weekends before Christmas I held my first pop up at Handcraft & Hart. I met Russ through a fellow cake club member, Elsie, and we held one of our meetings there. Russ was so welcoming and such a great host, so when the holiday season came around I emailed him on a whim to see if he was interested in hosting a pop up. Thankfully he was, and quickly set up a time and date for myself and The Motley to set up a shop!

The week leading up to the event I went through a range of emotions. What if no one comes? What if I run out of cake? Should I make more cake or donuts? In the end everything worked out perfectly. By 3:30 I was sold out!

It was such a great experience to meet a lot of instagram/online friends in person. I am so grateful that so many of you stopped by! Thank you again, Russ, for the opportunity.

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If any coffee shops, gift shops, cafes, and everything in between would like to host a Matchbox Kitchen pop up or event, I welcome any ideas and opportunities! Please contact me through my website.

Sticky toffee pudding cake.

Raspberry rose velvet cake: vanilla bean with raspberry rose jam and white chocolate. The first cake to sell out!

Fresh donuts! These sold out within an hour!

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It really is true that the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic about reflecting on 2014. My mind immediately went to all the things I didn’t accomplish. Of course, it wasn’t until that silly facebook year in a review that I realized I did a bit more than I thought. Overall, I’m very happy with how the past year went, but I can’t wait for a fresh start and whatever else 2015 has in store for me. Here are a few highlights from 2014!


I started the LA Cake Club! I heard of this from another blogger in Australia and loved the idea. I ran it by my friend Natalie to see if other would be interested and she encouraged me to try it out, so I did! The first meeting was about 14 people and held at Griffith Park. By our fifth meeting in October, we were pushing 35-40 members, with RSVPs filling up within 2 hours! I’ve made many new friends through the LA cake club and so happy to connect with fellow dessert lovers.


I took some photos for Carmela ice cream and they were published in Westways Magazine and LA Times‘ Summer Entertainment Guide! It was exciting to see my first published photos.


Ji from Blooms in the Air and I created MK/BITA. Our first project was a mother’s day gift box with shortbread cookies and a crepe paper peony. We sold out on our very first run!


I had three of my recipes published in Zooey Magazine’s spring issue, and 3 more in their fall issue. Both times I was introduced to amazing photographers, Amanda Crew (who also photographed my cake class) and Natasha Lee.


I went to Australia to surprise my grandpa for his birthday! We spent two weeks there, ate a LOT, spent lots of time with family, and visited Melbourne for the first time in several years. A big draw to the trip was visiting the zero waste restaurant, Brothl. To my surprise we also got to meet Joost Bakker! I even got his “autograph“, ha!


We adopted a new kitten, Rufus, after we found him on the streets in Little Tokyo/DTLA. He certainly adds a lot of energy to our apartment, and now we are bursting at the seams with three cats!


I taught my first cake class at LittlemeatsLA! I actually met Johanna and Robin through the LA Cake Club when they graciously hosted our second meeting. I was a bit unprepared, incredibly nervous, but had such a great time teaching. Also, I had no idea how long I could go on and on about baking!


To finish off the year, I had my first pop up at Handcraft & Hart! Russ is another person I met through the LA Cake Club. It was so fun meeting instagram friends and serving up cake by the slice, as well as the some donuts and cookies. I ended up selling out of everything!

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Thank you for all your support and for following wherever Matchbox Kitchen has taken me. Sometimes it feels like a giant experiment, but it’s also led to many new friendships and experiences!

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This past summer I had the opportunity to make Whitney and Brent’s wedding cake. Whitney is the owner of a local clothing shop called Myrtle that carries only women designers. She ordered my hot chocolate cake (chocolate cake with spicy caramel sauce and spicy fudge frosting) for Valentine’s day a few years ago and I was more than happy to make a bigger one for their wedding! They also ordered a lemon cake for the remaining servings. I heard from many sources that the cake was thoroughly enjoyed and that the caterers couldn’t cut slices quick enough for everyone! That’s always a generous compliment, especially for a wedding cake. This gorgeous film photo was taken by their photographer, Megan McIsaac.

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I don’t take on too many weddings a year, but if you are having a smaller sized wedding (around 100 guests or less) you are welcome to email me for details and pricing. The cake pictured here is the largest I offer, about 75 servings. I also offer many smaller cakes for a variety of flavors which is great for a dessert table.

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Hello! I just added a couple cake basics classes to my shop for the new year. Perhaps your resolution is to learn how to bake and assemble a layered cake? Check out all the details here.

These classes will have the same exact information covered as my previous cake basics class in October. The only difference is I’ve decided to host fewer students at a time so I can give each person more attention and answer more questions. You will go home with your own cake that you’ve assembled, frosted, and decorated yourself, as well as a recipe and resource booklet and little goodie bag.

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(Above photo by Laure Joliet, shown with Triangle Coctail Napkins)

My friend Erin, who has a home goods company called Cotton & Flax, recently asked me to make some gingerbread cookies for her Fall/Winter photoshoot. I thought it would be fun to share the recipe with all of you, just in time for holiday baking.

(White Plus Tea Towel)

Perfectly paired with spiced cider, recipe coming soon! (Triangle Cocktail Napkins)

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ c dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ c molasses
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until smooth.
  2. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients. Place doughplastic wrap; pat into an 8-inch square. Wrap well; chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to ⅛" thick, occasionally moving around dough to prevent sticking, only adding flour as much as you need it. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once your baking sheet is full, place in freezer for 5-10 minutes until stiff.
  5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until firm and edges begin to darken. Let cool completely then decorate or store in airtight container.

 

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Ji of Blooms In The Air and I have paired up again to create a special holiday gift box!
For this winter edition, Ji has created mistletoe, hand cut from high quality European crepe paper with hand made silver or red berries coated in German glass glitter. The other half of the gift box is my s’mores kit, similar to what I used to offer a few years ago. Both the marshmallows and graham crackers are house made with organic or sustainably sourced ingredients. The gift box also includes a holiday post card by Clap Clap that can include a personalized hand written message if you like. Lastly, everything is tied up with Italian cotton ribbon and securely packaged in a wooden basket.

We put a lot of work and careful thought into putting these boxes together. Everything from the product itself to how the shipping box opens has been carefully examined. For the holiday season we are offering two separate shipping dates to best suit your schedule. For more information and to purchase, visit our shop here: mkbita.bigcartel.com.

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Hooray! I just got the photos from my class photographer, Amanda Crew. Amanda and I met when she shot my desserts for the Spring issue of Zooey Magazine. It was so great working with her, and I’m so glad she reached out to me to photograph my cake class! She is so sweet and fun to be around. I can’t thank you enough for these photos, Amanda. Thank you!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, the class was loosely broken up in two parts. The first portion covered how to make a vanilla butter cake and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. For the second portion everyone learned how to torte, assemble, crumb coat, and decorate their own cake. Students had varying experience in baking, but everyone went home with a beautiful cake as you’ll see at the end of this post.  A lot of questions were asked that I was happy to answer, including where I source my ingredients and supplies. A big part of my class is to encourage using organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, not only because it creates a better product, but for the treatment of workers, animals (such as pasture raised eggs), and the environment.

Everyone went home with their own 6″ cake as well as a small goodie bag that included a booklet of recipes and resources. I let the class flow naturally, but before I knew it, four hours had passed! There was so much more I could have covered but it’s too much to pack into one class. I might have to add a supplementary course that will go more in depth on how to decorate cakes. (Let me know if you’re interested!)

Anyway, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Hope to see you at a future class!


Cake pinatas! I made these with an Oh Happy Day! tutorial.

Demonstrating how to make a vanilla butter cake.


Demonstrating how to make Swiss meringue buttercream.



Assembling the layered cake.



Adding the final coat of buttercream.


How to add a rustic finish to the cake.

Finishing touches.

The final product!

The next cake basics class is being planned for January. I’m also planning a class on wholesome baking with alternative ingredients, such as gluten free flours and dairy and egg replacements. Feel free to email me or comment if you are interested!

All photos in this post are credited to Amanda Crew. 

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This past weekend I taught my first, official Cake Basics Class. I say official because I taught a couple mini classes over the summer as a trial run. This most recent class, however, had eight students and was held at event space LittlemeatsLA in Lincoln Heights.

I was pretty nervous the weeks building up to the class so I tried not to think about it too much. I tried not to stress about the details and instead kind of hoped for the best. Instead of writing out a strict lesson plan, I let the class go with the flow, mostly because I knew sticking to a schedule would just freak me out more! Thankfully everything turned out wonderfully in the end. Of course, there are a few things here and there that I would change, but I couldn’t have asked for a better venue or students! Especially when I totally forgot egg whites to make buttercream, and Johanna (of LittlemeatsLA) ran out to get me a dozen eggs.

In the first half of the class, I demonstrated how to make a classic vanilla butter cake, then swiss meringue buttercream. In the second portion, everyone got to torte their cakes (that I baked in advance) and assemble a four layered cake. In the photo above everyone is putting on their finishing touches. I love how different they all came out!

The lovely Amanda Crew came by to take photos of the class, and at the end took cake portraits of every student’s creation! You can see her little photo booth set up in the background. Unfortunately right now all I have are these iphone shots, but as soon as I get my “official” photos I’ll share a more in depth post on my class.

For a bit of decor I made these pinatas from an Oh Happy Day! tutorial. I’m so happy I made them even when I thought I should be dedicating that time to something else, haha. They added just the right amount of personality to the class.

Thank you again to LittlemeatsLA for the great venue and for all your help setting up, cleaning up, getting eggs, and all the other details like refilling water and snacks for me. Such a lifesaver!

If you’re interested in taking this class (or anything else you’d like me to teach!) please leave a comment or email me and let me know! I am thinking of teaching another one in January once the holidays are over.

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As I mentioned on Instagram recently, I’ve been stuck in a baking rut. I’ve taken off the months of July and August to hone in on Matchbox Kitchen’s signature style. I want to explore different ways to decorate cakes and experiment with different ingredients and flavors. But sometimes with all the options in the world (especially with so much gorgeous fruit in the summer!) suddenly I’m paralyzed with too many options.

Thankfully, I received lots of flavor pairing ideas that kicked my brain back into motion. I started off roasting some plums with the intention to make ice cream. This ice cream to be exact. Ever since Adrianna blogged about it a year ago I’ve been wanting to make it! But of course, it’s almost my birthday and I’m trying to reduce the amount of sugar I consume before indulging in lots of desserts to drown my fears and sorrows of turning 28 (just kidding, kind of.)

Anyway, back to those roasted plums. Though they came out incredibly sweet and aromatic, I decided not to make the ice cream because I knew I’d eat the whole batch by myself, which would be me essentially downing a bottle of heavy cream. Here I had these gorgeous roasted plums with no where to go. Maybe a cake filling? Folded into scones? Nothing sounded too enticing. And then! (and I promise there is an end to this roundabout story) I came across this blueberry muffin from Honestly Yum. I have to mention that am not a muffin person at all. I mean, I’d rather just eat cake then! But this muffin was beautiful. That gorgeous blue. That fine crumbled topping. Those plump domes. Wait, am I still talking about blueberry muffins?

Then it all came together. Roasted plums instead of blueberries. Cardamom because I will add it to about every unsuspecting baked good to come out of my kitchen. A bit of hazelnut flour for extra depth and flavor. Oh, and since I recently went to Rainbow Grocery (aka bulk mecca/my idea of heaven) recently and picked up some whole grain spelt flour, throw some of that in too. You know, for good measure. I like to to make sure every ingredient I use has it’s own flavor.I am personally no longer a fan of plain, clean, perfectly polished pastries. Give me sourdough, give me tang, give me rye, kamut, buckwheat. Give me molasses and brown butter and let every ingredient stand its ground, declaring their well deserved spot in a well deserved dessert!

And that’s how these muffins came to be. How were they, you ask? Well, I’m pretty sure that once I open a bakery this is going to be on the menu. Plush, light, tender. Slightly sweet and nutty crumb interior. Bursts of jammy plum throughout. A hint of cardamom lingering in the background. The slightest crisp crumble. A beautiful, plump red dome. All my loves in one perfectly portioned muffin.

Now for some baking notes to help you along the way, because I love the technical aspect of baking, too.

NOTES

1. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT over mix your batter. Just like how lumps in pancakes are okay (yes, they are!), you need to see lumps in your muffin batter. Mixing until smooth will kick that gluten into high gear and give you tough and chewy muffins. Less mixing = light and fluffy muffins!

2. You can roast the plums a few days in advance and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply cut plums in half, remove pit, place them in a baking pan and roast for 20 minutes at 400 F.

3. Browned butter is not necessary but highly encouraged. I also don’t blame you for skipping it because this is quite a number of steps for a muffin.

4. If you don’t have hazelnut or spelt flour, you can also replace them with all purpose flour. Of course, the final outcome will taste different than intended, but delicious nonetheless.

Have a question? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!

Roasted Plum, Cardamom and Hazelnut Streusel Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Makes 12 standard sized muffins
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 c whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • ½ c hazelnut flour
  • ¾ c cane sugar
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp browned butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 c buttermilk OR ½ c milk + ½ c yogurt
  • 1 c roasted plums
  • Streusel:
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp hazelnut flour
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Whisk together flours, salt, cardamom, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar together until smooth and thickened. Add butter and oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Add buttermilk/yogurt mixture and mix.
  3. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and gently mix until just barely combined. It is okay to see lumps. Do not overmix as this leads to a tougher/chewy muffin. Let batter rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  4. While the batter is resting, preheat oven to 425 F.
  5. Mix together streusel ingredients until a crumble forms. Set aside.
  6. With an immersion blender, puree half of the roasted plums until smooth and liquid. In a separate bowl, mash the rest with a fork, being sure to keep a few chunks here and there.
  7. Prepare standard sized muffin tin with liners. Fill each liner one third full, then dollop some mashed plums inside. Top off liners with more batter. Each muffin should be almost filled completely.
  8. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of plum puree. Using a skewer, stir the puree until it reaches the edges. Top off muffins with a generous sprinkling of streusel.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Serve with any remaining roasted plums.

 

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