strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

For my birthday this year, I asked Roy to bake me a cake. This is what happened.

Roy doesn’t like baking and doesn’t usually like to cook things that take too much effort. Simple meals are his favorite to prepare at home. But last week, when I was recipe testing for a meatless Manapua/Char Siu Bao (yes, posting this soon!) our friend Peter came over. I was in the middle of cooking, the dough balls portioned, the filling prepped, and the steamer basket set up over a pot of boiling water, when Peter noticed and asked if he could make a few manapua himself. It turned into him and Roy making most of them and trying to see how much filling they could fit into each ball of dough. At some point, Peter said, “I hate prepping all the food but the fun part is putting it together.” It made me realize this is probably why people love(d) those pick-it-and-paint pottery places. Is that still a thing? The plate or the picture frame has already been made and now all they have to do is the fun part – the painting! I figured, if I could make the cake batter and the frosting, and give Roy all the tools he’d need for a cake, then maybe Roy wouldn’t mind putting a whole cake together for the first time.

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

For some reason, people don’t usually think to make a cake for someone who makes cakes a lot themselves. And as someone who’s made a cake or two for birthdays or special occasions, I had the best time watching Roy put some time and effort into making me a birthday cake this year.

He showed me photos he had found on the internet of what he wanted to make, requesting a vanilla cake and demanded that it have lots of strawberries and a little Korilakkuma eating a strawberry on top. I loved watching how careful and precise he was trying to be and laughed endearingly as he struggled with placing mandolin-thin slices of strawberries with his bear paw hands. There were times I noticed he took great care with putting the cake together that I would have rushed through *cough* slicing the cake layers *cough*.

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

The experience was also a lesson in patience. I had to remind myself to step back and let Roy do things exactly how he wanted – which was very hard because I am a bit of a control freak and especially when it comes to making something like a layer cake. Originally, I had planned on relinquishing all cake making to just Roy but he wanted to work with a smaller cake and I had made enough batter for a 3-layered 8 inch cake. We decided that I’d make a cake along with Roy as he made his. The funny thing was that when choosing between the two cakes we made, Roy’s was much tastier. The layers were thinner so didn’t take as long to bake and were therefore moister. With mine, it was a bit off-putting to eat a forkful of cake followed by a big glob of frosting with every bite. The cake recipe itself is on the richer side, a bit closer to being dense like a pound cake, and going lighter on the frosting was a good idea.

A little went a long way here. This was one of the sweetest gifts and I’m hoping that this can become a thing that we do together every year for my birthday! Who knows. Maybe Roy’ll be a pro cake decorator in a few years 🙂

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

strawberry vanilla cake fork to belly

Strawberry and Vanilla Birthday Cake
Recipe from BraveTart.

*toasted sugar*
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour up to 4 lbs of white granulated sugar in a 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Toast for about 1 hour until the sugar turns ivory. Stir and continue to roast for another 2-4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. The sugar will darken in color and deepen in flavor. Keeping it in the oven any longer will cause the sugar to liquify.
The sugar will be very hot out of the oven so make sure to let it cool for at least 2 hours. Transfer any excess sugar to an airtight container.

for the vanilla butter cake:
2 1/4 cups or 455g toasted or plain sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
16 tbsp or 255g softened unsalted butter
3 large eggs, brought to about 65°F
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups or 455g whole milk
3 1/2 cups or 455g all purpose flour, spooned

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 8-inch pans. Alternatively, we made two 2-layered 5 inch and 6 inch cakes by splitting the batter four ways.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Start the mixer on a low speed until the ingredients are roughly incorporated, then increase the speed to medium. Beat till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Halfway through, make sure to stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
3. With the mixer running, add each egg one at a time making sure to beat well between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for a few more seconds. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and add 1/3 of the flour and 1/3 of the milk, continue to beat till combined. Repeat in thirds with the rest of the flour and milk.
4. Scrape the bottom of the bowl again to make sure everything is incorporated. The batter should be thick and creamy. Stella recommends the batter be between 65 and 68°F for the best baking texture.
5. Transfer the cake batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 32 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cakes cool completely before removing from their pans.

for the swiss meringue buttercream:
3 large egg whites (about 85g)
155g lightly toasted or plain sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
scraped seeds from 1 split vanilla bean (optional)
2 1/2 sticks, 282g softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)

6. In a pot smaller than the bowl of the stand mixer, bring about an inch of water to a simmer. Add the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar to the metal stand mixer bowl. Make sure the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk the egg white mixture until it has warmed to around 185°F and the sugar has been completely dissolved. This should take about 10-12 minutes. Immediately after, transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until the meringue forms stiff and glossy peaks and has cooled to around 90°F. This should take about 10 minutes.
7. With the mixer running, add the butter about 1 tablespoon at a time. The mixture may become soupy but will thicken as the temperature of the butter cools the rest of the meringue. The buttercream should be thick, creamy, and soft but not runny. It should sit at about 72°F. Add in the vanilla and almond extract. If not using the buttercream immediately, transfer to an airtight container. It can be stored in the fridge for 2 weeks and in the freezer for a few months. To use, it must be warmed again to 72°F and re-whiped.

We made our cakes with strawberries, blueberries, chamomile flowers, and a little Korilakkuma bear made out of fondant.

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game of thrones cake fork to belly

THE NIGHT IS DARK AND FULL OF TERRORS.

I CAN’T DEAL GUYS. Last week Sunday, at 8:45pm and I immediately pulled out my laptop to start writing about how upset I was after last week’s Game of Thrones episode (#6). I won’t give any spoilers but my fragile heart broke in half and I’m so utterly nervous for tonight’s episode. I am just too fragile and this show will ruin me.

game of thrones cake fork to belly

game of thrones cake fork to belly

game of thrones cake fork to belly

There was a time years ago – specifically, season 4 ep. 8 – when I forced myself to stop caring about whatever happened on the show. But something about this season has got me nervously sweating, squirming in my seat, and shouting/screaming at the TV every Sunday night. I tend to take inspiration as it comes to me and this season’s episodes have inspired me to make something a little celebratory in honor of our last episode of the year. And as finding inspiration for cakes on the internet goes, sometimes it doesn’t work and other times things just happen to fall into place. I’ve been a huge fan of Drake on Cake by Joy the Baker and this week came across another absolutely fun and hilarious Drake inspired cake.

game of thrones cake fork to belly

game of thrones cake fork to belly

I’d baked a fair share of cakes before, but always round and layered and never a sheet cake. I didn’t even have the right pan for it. I ended up making do with what I have in my kitchen, an 8×8 inch square pan that I usually use for things like brownies. There’s enough batter for a 9×9 inch pan so I ended up with a cake and two cupcakes to munch on while I finished the rest of the recipe. After my first time in the sheet cake rodeo, I’ve got to say that it’s… dare I say… more fun? I felt so much freedom with this recipe and most likely because it was incredibly easy to throw together. There’s no leveling the cake or using special spatulas and a rotating cake stand. You could even leave the cake in the pan, frost it, and serve as is! I get it now. I get the power of sheet cakes and why so many home bakers love it. And if we’re really being honest here, everyone can enjoy a delicious bite of cake, regardless of what it looks like.

game of thrones cake fork to belly

game of thrones cake fork to belly

Funfetti Cake with Black Cocoa Buttercream
Cake and frosting recipe adapted from Sugary Winzy.

Funfetti Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

1. Grease and line a 9-inch x 9-inch pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add in each egg one at a time, beating well after every addition. Add the vanilla as well.
4. Pour 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk into the batter and mix until just incorporated. Repeat beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (dry ingredients, buttermilk, dry, milk, dry). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure there is no dry flour stuck at the bottom.
5. Transfer the batter to the pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.

Black Cocoa Buttercream
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Add all ingredients to bowl of a food processor. Whizz until smooth and well blended, approximately 1 minute or so. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again for a few seconds to make sure everything is incorporated.
2. Frost cake once completely cooled. For decoration, I used sprinkles and fondant and cookie cutters to cut out the letters, moon, and star shapes.

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vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly
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Summer is coming to a close soon and I am not ready for it to go. This year I’ve been taking the time to enjoy some of the best things the season brings; all the sweet peaches and plums, pool time, and the great outdoors. Morning swims remind me of my swim team days in high school and how hard it is to get rid of a one-piece tan. I haven’t been this tan in years.

I’ve also been enjoying ice cream – which to be honest I enjoy every time of the year – and in these last weeks of summer, I’ve been completely craving ice cream sandwiches. Last month after an impromptu decision to see Baby Driver, I found myself wanting to end the night with ice cream. This led us to Van Leeuwen (a place I’ve been eyeing for some time) and boy I couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought to go sooner.

vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly

vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly

Over the last year, I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat less meat. It’s not very difficult for me, but when it comes to dairy… Cheese is one of my favorite things in the world. And ice cream? Well, I’d eat it knowing full well I’d probably have to deal with an upset tummy in 20 minutes. In college, after almond milk started selling like hot cakes, I’d familiarized myself with many flavors and brands of soy and coconut based ice creams. I wasn’t really ever a fan. None of them could quite capture that same richness and texture of dairy ice cream. So I was by no means expecting to have left the shop with a vegan scoop. But let me tell you. It’s that good.

For those of you who want to know some details or perhaps where you can get your own hands on this ice cream, Van Leeuwen has stores located in the Los Angeles and New York. I’ve also heard of their pints being sold in Whole Foods but am not sure if that’s limited to the cities they have stores in. Alternatively, you’ve got the option of ordering from their website too! But for a pretty penny. I must warn that their ice cream is not cheap, which is one of the reasons I wanted to make my own at home.

vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly

vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly

So to complete our vegan ice cream sandwiches, we need cookies. I have made many many many chocolate chip cookies and always found vegan alternative recipes to be missing a lot of the flavor and texture I was familiar with. I trusted the ATK recipe to get it right and was not disappointed. These are amazing cookies – and again – not just because they’re vegan. They’re great period.

I really hope you’ll try this recipe, or even the ice cream or cookies on their own. Both are wonderful alternatives free of any dairy or eggs and yet don’t skimp on taste or satisfaction in the least.

vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly

vegan ice cream sandwiches fork to belly

*Some notes: Van Leeuwen highly recommends using a kitchen scale to measure out your ingredients as getting an accurate ratio of fats and liquids is very important to making this ice cream successfully. You must use processed almond butter rather than the natural kind as natural is too oily and won’t work with the cookies. I used Barney’s Smooth Almond Butter. It has a wonderful texture and flavor.

Vegan Ice Cream Sammies
Ice cream recipe adapted from the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Cookbook. Cookie recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

for the matcha ice cream
1 cup (212g) coconut milk
1 cup (212g) cashew milk
1/2 cup (100g) granulated organic cane sugar
3 tbsp matcha powder
6 tsp (30g) cacao butter
1/4 cup (30g) extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp (2g) kosher salt

• To make the cashew milk, soak 200g raw cashews in water overnight. Drain excess water and transfer cashews to a high-speed blender. Add 375g of water to the blender. Starting at a low speed and increasing the blender to high, blend cashews until extremely smooth. If your blender is having trouble blending everything, you can run the cashew milk through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of any bits that did not blend.
• In a small bowl, whisk the matcha powder with 2 tbsp of water until the matcha is fully dissolved. In a large bowl, add the coconut and cashew milks, sugar, matcha mixture, and whisk well. Set aside.
• In a small saucepan, melt the cacao butter and coconut oil together over a low heat. Add the salt and remove from the heat. Pour the cacao mixture into the matcha one and use an immersion blender to emulsify the ingredients together. Alternatively, you could do this in a high speed blender as well.
• Transfer the ice cream base to the fridge for 1-2 hours to chill. When ready, pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacture’s directions. Once churned, the ice cream should be a soft serve consistency. Transfer to a freezer safe container and let the ice cream harden.

for the chocolate chip cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
3 tbsp water, room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted creamy almond butter (processed not natural*)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
optional: flaky sea salt for sprinkling

• In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate larger bowl, whisk the brown sugar, coconut oil, water, almond butter, and vanilla extract together until completely smooth.
• Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and fold together with a spatula. Once just combined, add in the chocolate chips and fold a few more times until there are no streaks of flour left. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for 1-4 hours.
• When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use a 1 oz cookie scoop to portion the dough out. Place dough balls at least 3 inches apart. Sprinkle each ball with flaky sea salt if desired. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Let rest on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The cookies should be crisp on the edges but still soft on the inside.

Assembly:
• Pre-scoop each ball of ice cream out. Place on a baking tray and return to the freezer to firm up more.
• After 10-15 minutes, sandwich each ice cream ball between two chocolate chip cookies. Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to eat. Tip: I wrapped a few extra sandwiches up tightly in plastic wrap and left them in the freezer. They made a great after-dinner dessert this week!

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rabokki fork to belly

I don’t remember the first time I learned about deokbokki or rabokki. I also don’t remember when I first tried it for myself. Maybe at one of Roy’s favorite spots in Koreatown with a pub-like atmosphere and some dang good twice fried kfc wings or in Hawaii at this hole in the wall Korean restaurant with like 15 seats that will graciously add a slice of kraft cheese over top upon your request (I’ve been to several restaurant that though may have cheese corn on the menu will not also add cheese to any other dishes when asked).

But what I do remember is the very first time I was inspired to make this dish at home and all my fleeting attempts that followed to perfect it. I watch a lot of videos on YouTube with all sorts of content. I’ve been a fan of Simon & Martina (previously Eat Your Kimchi) for quite sometime. Simon & Martina, now living in Japan, previously lived in Korea for 8 years after moving abroad to teach English. They started a YouTube channel to let their family and friends in on their new lives in a foreign country and it took off! Eat Your Kimchi was one of my first introductions to Korean food and culture. On a late and particularly chilly night, I watched Martina’s cooking video on Dakgalbi and knew it was what I needed in my life ASAP. The next day I gathered all the ingredients at our local asian market and made Korean food for the first time. This sparked my interest in Korean dishes and eventually led me to other channels like Seonkyoung Longest, and Maangchi whose recipe I eventually adapted this Rabokki I’m sharing today from.

rabokki fork to belly

For those who aren’t familiar with Deokbokki, it’s a dish made up of these cylindrical shaped rice cakes cooked in a spicy red sauce, occasionally with green onions, fish cake, and a hard boiled egg or two. Rabokki is the version of Deokbokki with ramen noodles added to it instead of rice cakes. It’s very simple to put together, a sort of throw everything into one pot and let it all cook kind of deal, but so delicious and addicting. It’s spicy and I imagine that’s why it’s so hard to stop eating, like when you can’t stop shoving spicy cheetos in your face because if you stop your mouth might catch on fire. There’s got to be some science behind why spicy food does this to our tastebuds. I’ve watched my best friend order a level 5 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 spicy ramen after a concerned look from our waiter and literally cry, sweat, and sniffle through eating the entire bowl whilst saying: “So spicy… but so *sniff* good…”

The good news is that Deokbokki is not level 5 spicy ramen spicy! Well, unless you want it to be. But I do have to be honest and say that even when using the mild level gochujang, there’s a definite spiciness to this dish. And it’s Korean spicy, meaning it lingers. I swear its delicious, but Roy who loves wasabi and Chinese hot mustard does not handle long term spicy very well and will warily eye this when I make it.

rabokki fork to belly

rabokki fork to belly

Rabokki is made with a red pepper paste called gochujang, the shining star of many Korean dishes. It’s thick and glossy with an intense deep red color to it. You mix the paste with korean red pepper flakes and a little bit of sugar and this creates your sauce which you then add to the broth along with the rest of the rice cakes, veggies, etc. Gochujang comes in all different levels of spice. I’ve tried medium hot in the past but mild is now my go-to as I feel like I can control the spice more when starting with less of it.

The way I enjoy my Rabokki is with a handful of rice cakes, green onion, carrots, fish cake, oodles of instant ramen, and a generous helping of special guest: *parmesan cheese*. The good kind! This without the cheese is yummy on its own but the parmesan takes it to a whole new level and now there’s just something missing for me if I have this dish without the cheese. I used to eat Rabokki with good ol’ American or swiss cheese but didn’t happen to have any on hand once and discovered the beauty that is parmesan and Rabokki. I figured I could grate off some of the wedge of parmesan I had in the fridge. While doing so, a big chunk fell into the noodles and I didn’t care enough to take it out. Upon reheating and mixing the leftovers later, a bite was covered in a bit of parmesan that had completely melted onto the noodles and my life was changed. Plus, the cheese makes the dish a little less spicy too and I have no complaints about that.

rabokki fork to belly

Rabokki is a dish that makes me so happy. If you’re not familiar with the ingredients they may seem like a lot of different things to have to add to your pantry but I’ve found ways to use most of them in my everyday cooking. Dried anchovies and kombu are a quick and easy way to make a soup base more flavorful and if you’re ever planning on making other Korean dishes, gochujang and gochugaru Plus, gochujang basically lasts forever and the rice cakes freeze great!

Rabokki with Cheese
Recipe makes 2-4 servings.

4 cups water
6-7 dried anchovies
1 large piece kombu
1/3 cup gochujang (red pepper paste)
1 tbsp Korean red pepper spice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 handful korean rice cakes
3 stalks green onion, chopped into 3 inch pieces
1 large carrot, sliced
Fish cake
2 packages dried instant ramen noodles (save or discard any seasoning packets)
1/2 cup grated good quality parmesan or 2 slices american/swiss cheese

1. Fill a large pot with 4 cups of water. Add the anchovies and kombu. Boil for about 15 minutes before removing the anchovies and kombu. Keep on a low simmer while preparing the other ingredients.
2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the gochujang, red pepper spice, and brown sugar. Add to the water with the rice cakes and stir until the paste is dissolved. Bring the pot to a boil again.
3. After a few minutes, add the carrots and fish cake. Continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced and the rice cakes and carrots are cooked through. Add in the ramen noodles. You may need to add another 1/2 – 1 cup of water if the sauce is too thick for the noodles to cook. Add the green onions.
4. Rabokki is best served immediately after cooking. Keep it quite warm on the stove and when ready to serve, add the grated parmesan. Let it melt and then mix all the ingredients around again. Serve and enjoy!

Note: If refrigerating leftovers, the rice cakes will become quite hard. I suggest using the microwave when ready to eat again but you will most likely have to cook them for at least several minutes before they soften up again.

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ahi poke cake fork to belly
,

I am back at it again with another unusual birthday cake recipe! Last year, I sort of blew Roy’s mind with this Korean Fried Chicken Cake and had to do something just as fun this go around. Poke is without a doubt Roy’s favorite thing to eat. While we were back in Hawaii last month, I’m quite positive he had it every single day over the course of a week. FYI, I have never swayed his mind on the dangers of mercury poisoning.

Yama’s Fish Market is still his favorite place to grab a 1/2 lb of wasabi masago or limu poke, but I also really enjoyed Ono Seafood and Steph introduced me to (though not exactly a poke bowl) this awesome Spicy Ahi Avocado bowl from Hawaii Sushi in Diamond Head.

ahi poke cake fork to belly ahi poke cake fork to belly

ahi poke cake fork to belly

This cake took me a few tries to get right. Unfortunately for my wallet. For my first attempt at this cake while we were home, I used the Shoyu and Hawaiian style poke from Ono Seafood. I was shooting for a 6-inch cake but found it required too much poke and the layers of rice became too heavy for the layer of poke between them. My second go was much more successful, and I made my own poke this time so you all can make this cake at home too!

Instead of a Birth-day this year, Roy got a Birth-month. We went to Disneyland with his family, had a nice steak dinner in Beverly Hills, and drove up north near Magic Mountain to play paintball which I was very nervous about because I’m a big wimp and I’ve seen paintball bruises before… On our last round, I was the last person left on our team – mostly because I was hiding behind hay barrels the entire time – with three people closing in on me. I fell to the ground and barely made it out after taking a paintball to the head which felt like someone had thrown a small stone. During another round, Roy was somehow shot by some of our team mates while trying to get out of the game and now has some sizable bruises. Also no one mentions how physically exhausting it can be to carry a gun, extra ammo, and armor around with you as you dodge hits and hide behind objects. I had sore muscles in the strangest of places the next day. But I have to admit it was pretty fun and I kind of get why people enjoy it so much now.

ahi poke cake fork to belly

ahi poke cake fork to belly

Here are some key tips I recommend you stick by when making this cake:

a) Sashimi grade tuna is a mustmustmustmustmust. I’ve mentioned this in previous recipes on here but you want the highest quality fish you can get your hands on. Preferably fresh, not frozen (flash frozen though is ok). Look for ahi with a deep and rather vibrant red color. Avoid any fish that looks tinged with brown or gray. Also be aware of fish dyed to appear red. The fresher the fish, the better the taste and texture of your poke.

b) Use that acetate! I know it’s kind of a pain to buy online and most people aren’t making Milkbar style cakes every week – I bought a wrapping paper sized roll 3 years ago and still haven’t used half of it – but this will make your life so much easier.

c) Be careful with the poke layer. It does not hold its shape as well as the rice layers and if not left to set in the freezer before serving or if the acetate is removed too long before serving, the poke will begin to push out and under the weight of the rice. The cake won’t look nearly as pretty as it does with straight edges.

ahi poke cake fork to belly

Ahi Poke Cake
Recipes makes one 5 in. 3 layered cake.

2 cups (dry) rice
1 – 1 1/2 lbs sashimi grade tuna
1 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1/4 cup kewpie mayo
2 tbsp sriracha
1 tsp chili oil
2 tbsp masago
pinch of Hawaiian salt

special tools:
5 in. cake pan
acetate

1. In a rice cooker or over the stove, cook your rice according to the package instructions. After the rice is ready, let it cool sightly before handling. Line the bottom of a 5 in. cake pan with plastic wrap. Press about half of the rice into the pan. Press hard! You want the rice as compact as possible so it will stay together. Use the edges of the plastic wrap to pull out the layer of rice. Wrap and repeat to make the second layer of rice.
2. Cube the fish into about 1/2 or 1 inch chunks. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with shoyu, sesame oil, and half of the green onions. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. In the mean time, mix the spicy sauce by combining the mayo, sriracha, and chili oil.
3. Once the fish has finished marinating, add in 2-3 tablespoons of the spicy sauce and toss to coat. Mix in the masago, Hawaiian salt, and the rest of the green onion. Refrigerate poke until ready to assemble the cake.
4. For assembly, with a 5 in. cake pan turned so the bottom is facing up, place the first layer of rice on top of the cake pan. Wrap a sheet of acetate around the pan and tape closed securely. For the second cake layer, place about 3/4 of the poke on top of the rice layer. Try to pack this down fairly well against the sides of the acetate ring but you don’t want to smash the fish. Slide the second layer of rice over the poke layer. Transfer the cake to the freezer for 15-20 minutes so the poke layer can firm up (you may also have to do this again just before serving if not doing so immediately). You don’t want to freeze the fish but you’ll need to do this so the poke layer will hold under the weight of the top rice layer.
5. Remove the acetate just before serving. Ideally you want to make and consume this on the same day. Keep the cake refrigerated but please eat this cake on the very day you buy the fish for maximum freshness and deliciousness!

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