Momofuku Strawberry Lemon Cake

I made a LOT of mistakes with this cake, but it still turned out, well, as Momofuku cakes do. Multiple layers of cake, frosting, jam and cookie-like crumbles never turn out that terribly bad.

momofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake PrincessMomofuku Strawberry Lemon Cake // The Pancake PrincessI made this for my classmate’s bachelorette party (wine tasting and lake housing off a lake near Austin). Although I love her, she’s the type who loves lemon, prefers fruit over chocolate (*suspicious side eye*). After much brainstorming, I thought this cake would be a good fit with its layers of cheesecake, strawberry jam, vanilla cake, graham cracker crumbs, and lemon curd. Overall, even though it got slightly mashed up in the freezer, it went over well–the texture of those crumbly, salty-sweet graham cracker crumbs against the creamy cheesecake, uber-silky lemon curd and dense cake, UGH. Feed me.

Also, KIND OF BIG NEWS. I graduated!!!!!!!!!!

From my MBA program!!!!!!!!

Wait what? Didn’t I just start?

That’s how I’m feeling too. It’s unreal. But I am now a for real, 100% genuine real person miraculously holding a pretty cool job in product marketing who gets to add three big, fat letters to her resume.

And though everyone has been congratulating me all weekend (as normal people do), I feel like I should be passing on the credit to the small country of people who helped me through the program: my parents, who heavily encouraged me to go in the first place, my classmates, who  tried countless times to explain LIFO and FIFO accounting to me, cool new friends who commiserated with me and assured me that feeling 100% lost actually means you’re doing it right, old bosses, new bosses, certain ex-boyfriends who tutored me through introductory Finance, siblings who provided encouragement and giggles, friends who boosted my confidence and lifted me up when I didn’t think I could.

I’m leaving my program a very different person from where I started, and I can’t begin to cover how I’m feeling, doing graduation second time around. So I’ll leave it for another time, but in the meantime, I also want to thank YOU, every single blog reader who has stuck with me for the past two years–I know my posting schedule has been slow and erratic, but thank you for reading and being here. I wish I could feed you this cake in appreciation.

momofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princessmomofuku strawberry lemon cake // The Pancake Princess

 

 

 

 

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Easy Tofu Oyakodon

Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess

***Psst Houstonians! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a really exciting giveaway!***

By all accounts, only taking three classes this term should make this my easiest, most relaxed few weeks of school ever. Yet working part-time, freelancing some articles, traveling, planning more travel, and making cake for fun bachelorette weekends has made for week after hectic (but enjoyable) week, requiring quick and basic comfort–and preferably healthy–food. Functional food. But most preferably delicious. This oyakodon is pretty much literally a miracle 5-ingredient, one-pan weeknight dinner that fulfills all the above requirements. Five ingredients!

My interest in oyakodon was piqued over winter break when my mom and sister ordered oyakodon at a tiny Japanese corner store in Japantown. Since they only offered the traditional chicken and rice bowl, I shared a tempura shrimp rice bowl with my brother while eyeing their delicious-looking mess of egg and rice and soy sauce. When Cynthia shared her version of oyakodon right after New Years, it couldn’t have been better timing. I’ve made it seven times since and I’d like to believe this is more a testament to the dish’s delicious qualities over my lack of creativity due to brain-sucking distractions.

Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessTofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessAfter making this so many times–and getting subsequently lazier and lazier and leaving out ingredient after ingredient, I ended up with this boiled down version that I keep coming back to–I think it’s just as tasty, and maybe somehow tastes better with just five ingredients and about 15 minutes of cook time? It yields a custardy pan full of a double dose of protein with soft eggs seeping into the crevices of crumbled tofu, laced with silky onions braised in a salty miso broth that goes most excellently on slightly charred toast. It’s just salty and satisfying and SO EASY.

Even though oyakdon is traditionally a rice bowl served with a chicken and egg mixture on top, I figured if I was deviating with tofu, why not deviate from the rice too? I ate this atop rice for dinner the first few times, but after discovering the combination of chilled, straight-from-the-fridge leftovers on sizzling hot toast, it’s become a toasty, savoy breakfast staple as well.

Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess
Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake Princess
Tofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessTofu Oyakodon // The Pancake PrincessPS: Enter my giveaway!

For those of you in Houston looking for something fun to do on Tuesday night, enter my giveaway on Instagram to win a pair of tickets to Houston Press’ Annual Menu of Menus Extravaganza! It’s a seriously fun night full of all-you-can-eat food + drinks from restaurants across Houston. All you have to do is tag a friend in the comments!

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Andie Mitchell’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Today, we’re celebrating one of my favorite people on the internet: Andie Mitchell (and her brand-new cookbook that was just released today)!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

I adore Andie. After finding her blog years ago, I fell in love with her heartfelt, funny, eloquent, deep and empathetic writings about food, a 135-pound weight loss, love, life and balance; it’s one of the blogs that I’ve always returned to over the years. Then she did a Ted Talk (#obsessed) and came out with a memoir (this has a permanent spot on my nightstand partly because I need to clean my room but mostly because I’m #obsessed), and followed up her memoir with a cookbook that is, no lie, utterly gorgeous. Even though email exchanges, it’s clear that she is one of the loveliest, most warm and open humans I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. If you don’t know her, you should.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

Andie’s thing is all about finding balance with food and happiness. In both her memoir and cookbook, she talks about not only the struggle of losing weight, but the fear that came in the weight loss aftermath: how to maintain the weight, deal with temptation, stray from the dieting life in a non-destructive way—how to live in moderation. I often find her writing heartbreakingly relatable—though I’ve never been at an unhealthy BMI, I grew up with a bit of a fat image complex. Never as thin as I would like, I’ve waffled up and down a range of 15 or so pounds since college and it’s led to bouts of destructive eating and exercise patterns. In the world of food blogging, I worry that this is a more common behind-the-scenes trend that appears on the surface.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes // The Pancake Princess

“But you can find a way to live your life where you’re not constantly battling food and your body. You can learn to practice balance every day.”

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Caribbean Pancakes

Caribbean Pancakes // The Pancake PrincessNo one goes to the Costa Rica for the food.

I was warned that it is a country of plain food: meat, rice and beans. In my week there (the first half of spring break), I found this to be fairly true–when we weren’t eating Americanized burritos or (surprisingly good) pizza, the majority of our meals were composed of platters of white rice, black beans, coleslaw or pickled vegetables, thick white cheese, slightly sour and tender golden fried plantains and perhaps grilled fish from sodas, or small cafeterias selling “typical” Costa Rican food.

But honestly? Plain doesn’t mean bad. After long days of hiking, surfing and beachgoing, I never once got sick of these bountiful platters, and thrived on the huge fried plantain boats filled with salty cheese that we found. (Though now I understand why you don’t find Costa Rican restaurants in the U.S.)

Caribbean Pancakes // The Pancake PrincessOne of my classmates and travel companions for the week had been to Costa Rica twice before and mentioned that her last time in the country had brought an inordinate amount of banana pancakes into her life. I kept an eye out for pancakes the entire trip, but didn’t come across a place that offered them on the menu until we stumbled into an Americanized brunch spot during our last day in the Caribbean side. They were billed as “Caribbean pancakes,” but the stack I received was basically a couple of regular pancakes with a sprinkling of toasted coconut–a far cry from the messy, homey, banana-studded pancakes I had envisioned.

I realize trying to find my ideal pancake in Costa Rica seems silly, but the relevant point is that I got to eventually recreate my ideal pancake at home with the exact right amount of fluff, level of whole wheat heartiness and proportion of shredded coconut and gently crushed banana to bring back the sun-drenched, sandy days of vacation in the Caribbean.

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Momofuku Banana S’mores Cake

Ughhhhh.

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When I tell you this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made, I’m not exaggerating. It got the stamp of approval from the roommate (though she doesn’t love cake, this went into her top 5 cakes of all time). It got a thumbs up from a classmate who hates salt (and this cake veers salty). It got a double thumbs up from my cousin who ate it frozen out of the freezer.

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momofuku banana s'mores cake // The Pancake Princess

Five or so days after making this cake (for no reason other than we had ripe bananas and leftover s’mores ingredients from camping) and giving about 60% of it away, I found myself balled up around my computer wondering why I was incapable of finishing this one school assignment and seemed to have been racked with major PMS symptoms with no period in sight and why I felt like I wanted to cry and curl up into a ball and sleep for a day. And then I realized it was probably due to eating slivers of cake several times a day, occasional to the detriment of real meals #adulting

Sugar overload. Sneaks up on me every time. (And right before spring break in tropical Costa Rica + Puerto Rico! Nice.)

This is why I can’t make nice things and keep them around.

After that awful afternoon, I put on my responsibility pants and froze the rest of the cake and started eating kale and tofu again and felt much better.

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I think that was a long way of me trying to tell you that this cake should be an occasion cake, not an everyday cake. There’s far too much gooey, toasty marshmallow, silky graham cracker cookie butter-ish frosting and irresistibly salty cookie crumbs to remain unmolested in any single household for long. Oh, and it’s SUGARY in case you didn’t get that. And incredibly dense. The moist banana cake definitely compresses under the weight of thick layers of textured frostings (fluffy marshmallow! toothsome ganache! smooth graham cracker frosting!). Start people unaccustomed to these types of crazy layer cakes off with very small slivers.

Like any momofuku-inspired cake, there are more than a few components to this (five, to be exact), but it’s really not that difficult to pull together (like one of the components is melting chocolate chips and almond milk together. Takes like 2 minutes, with stirring). However, for your sanity, you may want to break this recipe up–for example, by making and freezing the banana cake and crumbs ahead of time, then making the frostings the day of assembly. This cake was heavily influenced by much drooling and lusting after Michelle’s banana cake (thanks Michelle!)

momofuku banana s'mores cake // The Pancake Princess

It’s your party, do what you want.

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