Last year I was on instagram and discovered Blooms In The Air, a line of flowers that looked unbelievably natural yet were made out of crepe paper. It wasn’t before long that I emailed owner/maker Ji to see if we could somehow work on a project together. She was welcoming to the idea I initially pitched to her and suggested we work on a special collaboration. From our first meeting we hit it off instantly. It’s was so funny how many similarities we had, and a great sign that our project would work out just fine.

I’m excited to share MK/BITA, a cookie gram gift box! The idea is based off of candy grams we used to send and receive in grade school. Our first gift box is made especially for Mother’s Day. You can choose between an ombre pink or fuchsia crepe paper peony by Blooms In The Air, and lavender almond or cardamom rose shortbread by myself, Matchbox Kitchen.

Each flower is skillfully made by Ji’s own two hands. They are truly beautiful and a work of art in which many hours have been poured into!

Each box of cookies contains one dozen shortbread in your flavor of choice, and as always, are made with organic and locally sourced ingredients. They are tender, not too sweet, and just the right amount of butteriness you expect from a shortbread cookie.

As a special treat, we are offering Free Shipping for all orders placed by this Sunday, April 20, until midnight PST.


I recently had a request to make egg free, dairy free carrot cupcakes and they were a hit with vegans and non vegans alike.  Many were requesting the recipe on my instagram (make sure you’re following me there as I update that more often) which I am happy to share.

Now, this isn’t your typical carrot cake. A lot of the fat is replaced with applesauce and there isn’t a lot of sugar in them. They are more like carrot muffins than a cake. But it doesn’t mean that they’re not good! Also, once they’re frosted you don’t really want them too sweet anyway. I frosted these with a vanilla buttercream made with earth balance, powdered sugar, a bit of almond milk, and vanilla extract. No recipe, just kept whipping until I got to a flavor and consistency I liked.

It’s very important that you let these cupcakes cool completely. I’ve had them straight out of the oven and they’re sort of a gummy mess. Letting them cool the crumb dry out a bit to have a nicer texture. I’ve even left them overnight in the fridge and on the counter and they’ve both been delicious.

Lastly, feel free to add any additional spices you like. Cloves, more cinnamon, vanilla extract. You can also replace some of the liquid with crushed pineapple, if that’s your thing. Let me know what you think!

Carrot Cupcakes - Egg Free, Dairy Free
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Carrot Cupcakes
Serves: 12
  • 1¼ c all purpose flour
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 T (1/4 c + 2 tbsp) unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 T oil
  • ¾ c non dairy milk (almond, coconut, etc)
  • ⅓ c raisins
  • ⅓ c walnuts
  • 2 c grated carrots
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, applesauce, and non dairy milk.
  4. Add wet to dry, then fold in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Do not overmix.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes then remove from pan. Cupcakes are best eaten fully cooled or else they will be slightly gummy.



When it comes to development for future Matchbox Kitchen offerings, I’ve been trying to relax a bit and experiment with new flavors and decorating techniques. It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone when you know certain things work together, but to be honest I’ve been pretty bored with the usual combinations. This cake was no exception. The combination might sound strange, or even off putting, but I quite liked it. I wasn’t really sure where I was going with the cake. Did I want something soft and pillowy with a slightly spiced accent, or did I want something more dense and hefty with a chunks of strawberries simmered with balsamic vinegar? Instead of being paralyzed with all the options in front of me, I dove in before I could over think it.

The result is a very soft cake, thanks to the use of spelt flour, lightly hinted with ground cardamom and a swirl of strawberry balsamic sauce throughout. Diced strawberries are folded in for added bursts of flavor. It also happens to be dairy free. I finished off the cake with sliced strawberries and a random assortment from the pantry: dried rose petals, chia seeds, and crumbled shortbread. These were added mostly for visual and textural aspect and did not add flavor.

The cake was also fine without all the stuff on top so you can see the strawberry balsamic swirl. Here, I added a light sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

Strawberry Balsamic Cardamom Cake - Dairy Free
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • ¾ c (77g or 2¾oz) spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, separated
  • ¼ cup raw cane sugar
  • 3 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 small apple, grated
  • ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 5-8 strawberries, diced
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 6 inch round baking pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, simmer strawberry jam and balsamic vinegar together. Alternately, you can dice fresh strawberries and cook them down with a bit of sugar if you do not have jam. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together spelt flour, salt, cardamom, and baking powder.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip egg white until soft peaks form, then add 2 tbsp sugar and whip until firm, glossy peaks form. Set aside.
  5. In another separate bowl, beat together the egg yolk, oil, remaining 2 tbsp sugar, and grated apple until combined. Add mixture to dry ingredients and mix together just until there is no more patches of flour. Fold in a third of the whipped egg whites until mixture has loosened up, then fold remaining egg whites in 2 more batches. Be careful not to overwork and deflate batter. Fold in diced strawberries.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until done.




A few weeks ago I made friands for the LA cake club meeting. Admittedly, I needed something quick, easy, and low maintenance to bring since I was running around doing last minute errands for the club. Somehow I settled on making these almond berry friands even though I’ve never made them before!

Friands are very similar to French financiers. They’re both made with egg whites and melted/browned butter, and the process is very much the same. In Australia friands are common and can be found in most cafes and bakeries, but pretty much unheard of in the US. My mom is in Australia at the moment so I asked her to bring me back a friand baking pan. I have to say I’m pretty excited about that. One day, when I open my own store front, maybe I can popularize friands over here ;)

The recipe is really a cinch to put together. You don’t even have to brown the butter, but it does add a lot of flavor. Best of all, you can make the batter ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready. My version is slightly more healthful, using wholesome ingredients like almond meal, oat flour, and only maple syrup as a sweetener.

If you make this recipe, let me know you think!

Almond Berry Friands - GF, SF
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes 18-20 mini muffin size friands.
  • 5 (150g) egg whites
  • 1 cup (87g) almond flour
  • ½ cup (48g) oat flour
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) browned butter
  • 4-6 tbsp maple syrup
  • berries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a mini muffin tin (or equivalent).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites just enough to loosen them up a bit. No need to whip them into peaks or anything like that. You just want to unravel the protein strands.
  3. Add almond flour, oat flour, butter, and maple syrup. Whisk together until no lumps remain.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and top each off with berries. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until set. Let cool in pan then remove. To serve, garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar.


{ 1 comment }

Happy Friday! Here’s a quick and easy sweet treat to make without an oven or even a stove. There are many variations online, but mine are on the less sweet side with a lot of added “superfoods” to give them more nourishment. It’s an easy recipe to fudge with, so feel free to experiment with whatever ingredients you have at home! I do believe the brown rice syrup is very important due to its stickiness/viscosity; its what keeps the bars together. I have also added melted chocolate like these “hippie crispy treats” but then they start to veer into “not so healthy” territory. Very delicious though.
Healthy Rice Crispy Treats
  • ¼ cup brown rice syrup (cannot be substituted)
  • ¼ cup almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1½ - 2 cups crispy brown rice cereal (not puffed)
  • Optional (up to ½ cup)
  • popped amaranth
  • chia seed
  • flax seed
  • chocolate chips
  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together brown rice syrup, almond butter, and maple syrup. Microwave for 30 seconds to melt ingredients all together. Mix well, then add brown rice cereal and mix together. If using optional ingredients, add them now. If not, add an additional ½ cup brown rice cereal.
  2. Press into a container (no need to be gentle) and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or until solidified.
1. Add 1 tbsp cocoa powder to wet ingredients and mix well.
2. Switch ½ cup cereal for rolled oats for a more granola bar like texture
3. Add chopped nuts and dried fruit for more sustenance
4. Spread melted chocolate on top and sprinkle with flaked sea salt


{ 1 comment }

This past Sunday I hosted the very first LA Cake Club meeting! It’s safe to say we all had a great time and can’t wait for the next one. I was super nervous no one would show up but everything fell into place at the end. Thank you to all the wonderful ladies (and gentlemen) that came out! And a special thank you to Gary for helping me set up and take our group photos.

My contribution were these gluten free almond berry friands with cream cheese frosting. Recipe to come!

Missing a few more who showed up after this photo. Such great baking work!

More photos of all the desserts will be on the LA Cake Club instagram. If you would like to join in on the fun, follow along on twitter and instagram, both @LAcakeclub. For the latest updates sign up for our mailing list! The next cake club meeting will be in 6-8 weeks.


About a year ago my friend Ami was working on a personal project that featured entrepreneurs and asked to include me. She came over to take photos at my old apartment kitchen and ask me a few questions. While she decided not to go through with the project, Ami just recently sent me the photos and I thought I’d share them here, as well as the interview. It’s been interesting to look back at where I was almost exactly one year ago. Thank you Ami for the great photos and for the opportunity to capture this time capsule of my little business!

Why Matchbox Kitchen?
Matchbox Kitchen originally started as a blog to be shared between my boyfriend, Gary, and myself. He went to culinary school and cooks more savory foods while I was baked mostly as a hobby. I wanted something gender neutral and though we hadn’t moved out yet, we were planning to in the next few months and knew our first apartment would be very small. Hence, Matchbox Kitchen! We have since moved out and indeed, our kitchen is rather small.

Can you talk a little about your background and how you got into baking? Did you always know you wanted to be a baker?
Around 2009 I had been reading several blogs that would keep on mentioning a book called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. These weren’t food blogs, but they’d always crank out beautiful loaves of bread, bagels, brioche, donuts, pretzels, all from the same cookbook! The next year I made it my New Year’s resolution to purchase the book and learn how to make bread. After having some success it snowballed from there. It was so exciting to make something look so professional, yet came so naturally. I loved learning the hows and whys behind baking and just kept practicing.

I don’t think I ever thought I’d become a baker. I actually went to college for graphic design, and if you asked any of my friends they would’ve said the same thing. Back then I still baked cakes and cookies from boxes (which now makes me cringe).

What was the biggest factor that made you make the leap into making baking a business?
I always knew I’d want to create something with my hands and started off selling stationery on etsy, but I wasn’t making any progress and kept it as a hobby. After baking for fun for a year or so and when I remembered that Unique LA was coming up and I thought I’d try applying for it.  I was tired of not taking risks and not doing anything with my life. My friend helped design packaging for me and I took some photos and created a website. It was actually all fake for the application! I told myself that if I got in then I’d have to go through with it, and even if it was a a horrible experience I wouldn’t have to continue. Thankfully I had an amazing time and I’ve stuck with it since.

Currently you work part-time while running your business. What is it like juggling a part-time job and your business simultaneously? Is it harder/easier than you imagined?
In the first half of 2012 I worked part-time at a bookstore while my own business was starting to pick up. My day job hours were not very flexible and it was a struggle to balance both At the end of May I decided to quit that job and work on Matchbox Kitchen full time. It was exhilarating to be able to be on my own, but after six months it started to wear down on me. There stress of having to make a certain amount of money was too much to bear, and being alone to my thoughts all day was not helpful! Thankfully I found another part time job, this time at a bakery. I truly have the best coworkers that are all supportive of my business and I have a much more flexible schedule. At this moment, working part time takes a lot of pressure off of me and allows the business to grow at my own pace. I work better when my time is filled up, so having another job gives my days more structure as I can get into a bad habit of procrastinating!

What is a day in your life like?
Most days I wake up around 8 and check my email/instagram/twitter from bed. I usually make a to do list on my phone the night before so I go through that. If I have any cake or cookie orders I start working on them so they’ll be ready to be shipped out. If not, I will try to work on the other side of the business, such as updating my website, get my paperwork and taxes organized, order supplies, etc. Some days I’ll experiment in the kitchen and take photos for my blog. Unfortunately I get sidetracked easily and will take breaks cleaning the apartment, play with my cats, or read blogs. I try to go to the gym twice a week and I work part time three times a week. Other than that, any free time is spent either baking or on the computer!

You wrote an insightful blog post on celebrating the one-year mark of running your business and the struggle that you felt during that time. Can you elaborate on that? What keeps you motivated during tough times? For you, what have been those tough times?
At the time I wrote that blog post I was under a lot of stress to push my business forward. My savings account was dwindling and I wasn’t sure how to use my last pennies to keep myself afloat. I had a few big baking jobs that went horribly (at least in my eyes). Not only were they large orders, they were bigger clients that could potentially give me my “big break,” which put a lot of pressure on me to make sure everything was perfect! Unfortunately things didn’t go swimmingly and I really wanted to give up at that point. I had lost motivation to bake and holed myself in my apartment. It was a tough couple of months, but I still had some online cookie orders and cake orders coming in and kept going even though I wasn’t enjoying it. I can’t say that I was very motivated during this time, other than feeling an obligation to my customers to keep baking.

One of the biggest concerns for new businesses is how to grow and reach clients. Do you do a lot of in-person or online networking with people one-on-one? You’re also fairly active on social media, have you found that it’s helped in the growth of your business? What do you think has been your biggest contributing factor to your growth?
I am the worst at promoting my own business, especially in person! My blog and Instagram have been tremendous help in promoting my business as they allow my photos to speak for me. The biggest factors to my growth have been working on my food photography as well as surrounding myself with a group of fellow small business owners. My friend Erin Dollar (of Cotton & Flax) started a small business group that meets up monthly to discuss our goals to help us stay accountable. Not only that but because we’re all in different stages of ownership they’ve given me so much valuable advice!

What are your ultimate goal and hopes for Matchbox Kitchen? What would mean success for you?
My ultimate goal for Matchbox Kitchen is to open up a shop/cafe/studio space. Although I mostly make desserts right now, my goal for Matchbox Kitchen is to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I want to serve healthy options as well as indulgent ones, using only locally grown, organic ingredients. For the shop portion I’d offer sustainably produced home goods such as reusable bags, wooden cutting boards, and tea towels. As for the studio space, I would love to host classes and partner with other local businesses, such as teaching a container gardening class.

As cheesy as it sounds, success to me would be to leave a positive impact on the world, knowing that I made it a better place.

What is your advice for other who want to pursue owning their own bake shop or other creative venture?
Don’t compare yourself to others, just keep working hard in pursuit of what you love.

What is your favorite item in your shop to make/eat?
My favorite thing to make and eat are cakes! I love carefully assembling each layer, smoothing out delicious frosting, and combining different flavors and textures.

All photos by Ami Martin.


In honor of reaching 5000 followers on Instagram I’ve decided to do a giveaway for one of my cakes! The winner will be chosen at random and will win one 6″ round cake. You get to choose the flavor! Cake must be picked up in Los Angeles and be redeemed by August 23, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lately I’ve been craving cookies at all times of the day. Not wanting to make something just “eh” or nutritionally void, I came up with these! They’re filled with all types of nuts and seeds and are almost gluten free. I sweetened them with sucanat which gives it a darker color and richer flavor. No, they’re not a typical doughy, chewy cookie but it definitely satisfies my craving.


In other news, thank you to everyone that RSVPed to the first LA Cake Club meeting! Every spot filled up in less than an hour, so next time I’ll be sure to let you know well in advance when the eventbrite page will be up. I’m excited to see how it all turns out and meet new people! But the big question is… what cake am I going to bring?! Any suggestions?

Seed-y Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 T flax seeds
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 T hemp hearts
  • 1 T millet
  • 2 T chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 2 T almond meal/flour
  • 3 T chocolate chips
  • ⅓ c spelt flour
  • ½ c rolled oats
  • ¼ c coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ c sucanat
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 3 T water)
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Make flax egg by combining ground flax and water. Set aside and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients (everything minus the flax egg, sucanat, and coconut oil).
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together flax egg, oil, and sucanat. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  5. Place heaping tablespoons of dough onto a lined baking sheet. You can keep them rough and craggly or smooth them out. Keep in mind the cookies do not spread that much.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned around the edges. Cookies will be slightly soft and fragile, so let cool completely before enjoying. Makes 8 cookies.




Did any of you grow up eating those orange flavored chocolates shaped like an orange that you had to whack on a counter top so they’d split into segments? They were definitely a childhood favorite, yet somewhere along the way I must have forgotten about them. Luckily for me, this cake tastes just like it! Every bite brings me back to attempting the perfect whack to get the chocolate to fall apart just so.

This cake version of the candy bar is much better for you. Made with almond flour instead of wheat flour, it’s gluten free and grain free, sweetened with brown rice syrup and a whole orange, with no butter or dairy in sight. The longest part of the process is boiling the orange. Yes, you boil a whole orange in water until it’s soft enough to cut through. For my smallish/medium sized orange, that took about 35 minutes.

The results are a rich, chocolately, soft yet slightly dense cake. The almond flour makes the cake surprisingly filling that I don’t need more than one slice to feel satisfied. One more serving and it puts me over the edge (ask me how I know). It is seriously so good that I am always so tempted to go in for another piece. I don’t believe in labeling desserts “guilt free” because those types of feelings shouldn’t be associated with food, but I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for indulging in something made with such wholesome ingredients.

I garnished my cake with a pouring of chocolate ganache and maldon flaked salt, but a dusting of cocoa powder would also be beautiful and delicious!

Chocolate Orange Cake - Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 tbsp oil (such as coconut, walnut, avocado, sunflower)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Boil orange in water until soft, about 35-45 minutes, depending on size. Remove from water and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F and grease 6" round cake pan.
  3. Using a blender or food processor, puree entire boiled orange until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and continue to blend until smooth. Batter will be thick.
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pan, then remove and garnish with cocoa powder or ganache.