Wednesday, 22 February 2017

TOTORO BUTTER COOKIES WITH MATCHA LEAVES



SO, this is me lesson prepping for tomorrow's Creative Writing 11 Book Chat tomorrow.  I had my students select a Canadian Novel for an independent project which culminates in a Tea 'n Cookies Book Chat with their peers.


Silly me...I asked what they'd like me to bake and they said "Totoro Cookies!"  
I don't know why I was hoping they'd all say "CAKE!" --but they didn't.  
Ah well.  They're not for me to eat anyway!

I used matcha powder to create tiny leaf cookies to rest on Totoro's head.  With the leftover matcha dough I made some larger leaf cookies 'cause I didn't want to make any more of those time-consuming tiny leaves anymore 🤣


I added black sesame paste to a blob of cookie dough in order to make the tiny black sesame sprites. They were so cute but something about grey cookies is so unappealing to many people.  I guess they don't look appetizing being the colour of soot!


Raw cookie dough is so tasty-looking to me.  I prefer how it looks to the baked product because you can see the crisp lines and Totoro's cute expression very clearly.

In case you want to make these with a totoro cutter, be aware that they cost $$$.  All you have to do is google it and you'll find plenty of styles of Totoro cutters to buy.  Before I bought a cutter, I used a cardboard template that I cut out.  I traced the cookies with a knife and they were tedious but they turned out well.  Alternatively, if you're crafty you can cut up an Arizona Tea can and create your own personalized cookie cutter.  I have a pusheen one that I made like that because I'm too cheapie to pay money for more cutters.  

Totoro Vanilla Butter Cookies 
  • 2 Cups unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Large egg 
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp teaspoon coarse salt
  • OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon matcha powder (for the matcha leaves)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon black sesame paste (or ground black sesame seeds) (for the soot sprites)

  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees F.
  2. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Halve dough; shape each half into a disk. Place one disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate. You can use the other half for the optional coloured decorations or soot sprite cookies.  Continue making cookies with the remaining refrigerated dough.
  4. Roll out dough and cut with a template or cutter.  Transfer cookies to parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  5. OPTIONAL LEAVES & SOOT SPRITES:  take a handful of dough and add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to it, kneading until thoroughly combined. Roll out and cut into tiny leaves to decorate Totoro's head.  Take a handful of dough and knead in 1 teaspoon black sesame paste and knead thoroughly until combined.  Roll out and cut into soot sprites.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned (Totoro's ears will get brown first, so watch them)  The soot sprites will take only 10-12 minutes and the tiny leaves take 7 min.
  7. Let cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

MINI MOCHI CUPCAKES: MATCHA & CHOCOLATE

Basho's gone, but you can make these Mini Mochi Cupcakes yourself!

Do you miss this tiny Japanese cafe on E. Hastings street?  Well, cry no more because you can easily make these mini gluten-free Japanese sweets.  Just pull out your knitting needles, knit a cozy for your potted succulent plant and whip up some matcha tea to go along with your sweets.

This mochi recipe is highly adaptable; you can add your own unique flavours.  Stay tuned for more flavour possibilities!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Happy Lunar New Year!


Celebrate with cake!
Happy Chinese New Year! 
Gung Hay Fat Choy!   Sun Neen Fai Lok!

It's the year of the rooster...and today married Chinese people everywhere are handing out red envelopes to kids.  So the kids are raking in the money$$$

My kid's birthday party is today and she wanted a DQ ice cream cake, which means pretty much nothing for me to blog about.  So I made my go-to cake for all-around snackin' while the kids indulged in their oreo blizzard ice cream cake.  

This Coconut Chiffon Cake is made from coconut oil instead of veg oil or butter, which gives it a nice light coconut scent and flavour.  Because I'm gluten intolerant (hello Hashimoto's disease...you suck) I used my current fave gf flour mix that I picked up from Costco in the States.  Costco Canada doesn't carry it here in Vancouver which is a shame. 

I wish you Health, Wealth & Happiness this Lunar year and may your celebrations be filled with a good amount of cake too!
Gluten Free Coconut Chiffon Cake with berries

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Drip Cake: Chocolate Quinoa Layer Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (gluten free)


Made my own Birthday Cake. Yes I did😆
6 inch GF Chocolate Quinoa Cake layers and Vanilla Bean Buttercream
This is my favourite part of making a cake


Decorated with my fave goodies: matcha macaron, Lindt chocolate balls, dragées, a mini KitKat and mini Coffee Crisp and crushed macaron shells
The chocolate ganache was perfect. I threw dragées on the side of the cake too and they stuck🙌
It's late November and the only thing blooming in my garden are these little purple Daikon flowers.  I just let the daikon go to seed and never did harvest the daikon (so bitter!)  The flowers sure are pretty...and edible
Scroll down past the recipes to watch a video of me assembling the layers

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Gluten Free Oatmeal-Banana Bread


My 9 yr old's Gluten Free Oatmeal-Banana Bread...all made in the Vitamix!

I'm the only person in the household that avoids gluten because of my autoimmune disease...Hashimoto's.  One of the things I miss a lot is a really good Banana Bread...full of gluten. There's something about the texture of gluten-full banana bread that I miss!  But lucky for you I hit upon a lovely oat flour banana bread that is not only super easy to make (in one container!) but has an amazing texture and flavour.


She made mini doughnuts too! They were absolutely delicious with my espresso...and my 15 hours of marking

Friday, 27 May 2016

CONDENSED MILK POUND CAKE WITH ORGANIC GROUND VANILLA


Condensed Milk Pound Cake with Organic Ground Vanilla

That Organic Raw Ground Vanilla was very expensive.  Like $54. I had plopped it into the basket when my husband wasn't looking.  

Friday, 1 January 2016

Itty Bitty Lemon Meringue Tartlets!


Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Pucker up! Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets for the New Year!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, delicious 2016 full of laughter and good times!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Very Merry Totoro Christmas to You!



I regret that for the majority of my life I had not watched the movie My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) the 1988 Japanese animation written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Studio Ghibli.  Just last year my kids and I watched it at home and thereafter I was smitten.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Birthday Pie! Flaky All-Butter Crust Apple Pie

Birthday Pie

Organic cold unsalted butter sliced in 1/4 inch pieces in my food processor, along with only 2/3 of the flour mixture...ready for pulsing.

Several years ago, my friend confided to me that he doesn't like birthday cake (gasp!)
I remembered that.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Garlic Scapes Potstickers

Garlic Scapes! My fave ingredient for amazing home-made potstickers

These are Garlic Scapes.  They are not hollow like scallions or chives but have a solid core.  They are very mild in flavour and a wonderful addition to homemade potstickers.  I threw in a few stalks of green onion also (can you spot them?) because they just happened to be in the fridge too.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Homemade Fizzy Grape Kombucha


Homemade Fizzy Kombucha
This Kombucha experiment was anxiety-ridden and exciting and most importantly economical! Do you struggle with paying almost $5 for those bottles of effervescent flavoured kombuchas too?
I failed somewhat in trying to grow my own SCOBY from a bottle of store-bought GT Unflavoured Raw Kombucha.  I don't think I had the right ph balance and I never got anything beyond a translucent scoby that was a few millimetres thin.  When I found out that a local shop was selling scobies I practically went there the next day.  Interestingly, there was a kombucha workshop running that day but I didn't stay for it.  I knew what I wanted and after purchasing some other supplies (at a pretty reasonable price!) I went home to try and make my own kombucha.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

BC SPOT PRAWN FESTIVAL! Stir-Fried Ginger Scallion and Soy Spot Prawns

BC Spot Prawns w/Ginger, Scallion & Soy
It's BC Spot Prawn Season! yay!

The season lasts from May to June and after seeing friends' Spot Prawn pics posted on FB I had a yearning too.  I sent the man down to T&T supermarket where they were on sale for $15.99/lb until May 18.

A photo posted by Cake Brain (@cakebrain) on


The Spot Prawns were lively in their plastic bag.  These guys have pokey antennae and sharp spear-like tails and heads.  You have to buy the Spot Prawns with the intent to eat them within a few hours.  I kept them in the fridge for an hour before I was ready to prep them.  I am squeamish and even with rubber dish gloves to protect me from their sharp pointy bits, I couldn't handle how each prawn would squirm and hop out of my hand.  In the end, I held a prawn with tongs in my left hand and worked the scissors in my other hand. It gave me the willies...but I was not deterred enough to stop because I knew these prawns had to be cooked quickly to maintain their freshness.  After they die, the prawn flesh becomes mushy...bleh...inedible.  When cooked fresh, they have a firm 'n bouncy texture and they're sweet and juicy.  They do not require much fuss in terms of cooking.  

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