Chinese Bakery Swiss Roll Cakes & Blackberries – The Summer Berry “Bread Pudding” Yogurt Parfait

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Inspired by trifles and bread puddings: sponge cake cubes as the backdrop of my latest summer yogurt parfait!  Every time I think of trifles, I laugh and snort because I’m reminded of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode in Season 6 where Rachel is in charge of making Thanksgiving dessert at Monica’s.  She decides to make a pretty, fancy trifle, only to get the recipe mixed up (magazine pages stuck together – whoops!), thus ending up with half a trifle and half of what appears to be shepherd’s pie: “We have a layer of lady fingers, and then a layer of peas and onions…”; and don’t even get me started on Ross’s, “it tastes like feet!” comment!  Ha!

Lucky for me, no shepherd’s pie and trifle mix-up on my end, just good old fashioned sponge cake with yogurt – a little like a trifle because of all the layering, fruits, and cake, and a little like a bread pudding with the bread “soaked” fruit and yogurt mixture!  In my breakfast bowl we have vanilla and mango sponge cake cubes, dried cranberries, plump blackberries, strawberry yogurt, honey nut flake cereal (I know it’s hard to see since the poor things are buried, but I promise they’re there!) and shredded coconut.

I don’t eat sponge cake very often, but there’s this one Chinese bakery in Scarborough called Kin-Kin Bakery (specifically the one in Agincourt Mall) that makes the BEST Chinese sponge-cake swiss rolls!  These swiss roll cakes, in general, can either be absolutely fabulous or absolutely horrid (think dry, crumbly, and tough to eat) and after many years of trying out different bakeries, my family has finally found our holy grail Chinese bakery for these lovely swiss roll sponge cake logs at Kin-Kin and every single one of their cake flavours are delicious.  My favourite flavour, hands down, is their mango one and I decided to use a slice to pretty up my morning breakfast.  For a really decadent parfait in the future, I’m thinking chocolate sponge cake swiss roll, strawberries, chocolate chips, and vanilla yogurt – yet another opportunity to make breakfast sweet and fun.

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A Berry, Berry Fruity Yogurt Parfait! Cranberries, Blueberries, & Blackberries on Cereal & Vanilla Yogurt

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I have 3 names for this fruity tutti berry parfait: the “perfect-for-Deb-because-she’s-not-allergic-to-any-of-it” yogurt parfait, the “this-might-as-well-be-a-berry-pie-or-cheesecake” yogurt parfait, or the “my-brother-won’t-touch-this-with a-stick-so-I-don’t-have-to-share” parfait.  I like all three 😀 

Berries are a godsend because they don’t give me hives or make me swell up like a water balloon, they taste great in both dried and fresh forms, I don’t have to fight with anyone over them (my brother hates berries with a passion – oh shucks, more for me), and they’re a yummy alternative to the daily banana fruit I normally eat for breakfast. 

For the past year or two I’ve been relying on bananas to fill part of my daily fruit quota simply because they have a longer shelf life than berries and also because they’re one of the few fruits that are available all-year round.  I kind of overdid it with the dried cranberries though.  I had to scoop half of them out because I went a little sprinkle happy for the photos, oops!  I switched up the granola and used my vanilla almond honey bunches of oats flake cereal in its place over vanilla yogurt, and sprinkled shredded coconut on top again because I love coconut and think it’s cute that it looks like snow on my parfait.

All Dressed Up and Only One Place to Go: My Tummy! Berries and The Yogurt Parfait Breakfast Cocktail Party

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I call this concoction the Yogurt Parfait Cocktail Party!  For those of you who know me by my online pseudonym, you get the significance.  On the menu for yogurt parfait breakfast number two: peaches n’ cream yogurt topped with diced fruit cocktail of pears, peaches, pineapple, and maraschino cherries, drained (remember, I can only eat these particular fruits canned or cooked!), strawberries, blueberries, crunchy honey vanilla granola, and shredded coconut.  Words of wisdom: if the parfait is not colourful, it’s not good enough, and there is no such thing as too much granola and coconut.  The combination soaks up any excess moisture (nobody likes a soggy parfait) and they just taste good together.  I went back for multiple fistfuls throughout the meal – like my yogurt mountain wasn’t big enough as it was!  In the end, all dressed up and only one place to go: in my tummy.

Cherry Yogurt, Granola, Coconut, and Crunchie Munchie Cereal – Yogurt Parfait Mornings and Lunches

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I love breakfast.  I think I’ve said this more times than I can remember.  But it’s my favourite meal of the day and I enjoy celebrating it with good food and nice photos.  Egg breakfasts, waffles, home fries, tofu scrambles, I love it all and I can never get enough, via my tummy and my eyes.  Ever since I stumbled on blogs like {365} Breakfasts and 365 Days of Breakfast, I’ve become even more inspired to capture those early morning “me” moments, mid-morning munchies, and lunchtime food extravaganzas.  Aside from my post and photos of vanilla almond cereal in almond milk, I haven’t posted any more of those quiet, pensive “it’s just me with my thoughts and bowl of cereal” moments and figured it was as good a time as any to start jazzing things up with some photos of my beloved yogurt parfaits! 

I’ve gone through many food phases over the past year (vanilla almond cereal in warm almond milk, Fruit Loops in warm almond milk, and peanut butter on toast with almond milk – can you tell you I like almond milk?!), but the one thing that has managed to stick around has been my fruit and yogurt and I’ve discovered some fabulous tasting combinations because of it. 

I never used to like yogurt when I was little.  I hated it.  It was either too goopy, too watery, or it was just plain awful and tasteless.  Strawberry yogurt my butt.  Then something magically happened when I started university.  Yogurt suddenly tasted great.  It didn’t become my be-all, end-all favourite thing to eat, but it did go from “ew” to “yum” somewhat overnight.  I don’t know if it was just me or the brands I started eating or both, but yogurt finally clicked for me and I found myself getting parfaits every week at school, getting the yogurt & berries from Timmy’s for breakfast, and eating it with my lunch at home on days I didn’t have school.  And so began the Adventures of Yogurt Parfaits.

It was also my foolproof way of getting in some healthy dairy and fruit into my meal without labouring over eating everything separately.  I am a very slow eater so there are times where I just don’t want to eat anymore because I’m just tired of chewing so putting things together makes my life, personally, easier and less labourous.  It’s so easy to blow fruit off at the end of the meal because you’re already full and can’t eat another bite, and the same goes for yogurt.  The idea of sitting around, slowly spooning yogurt the same way you’d spoon baby food into a baby’s mouth is unappealing and unappetizing.  So you put the two together when you know you’re hungry, you add the crunchies munchies and maybe a little sweet treat here and there (dark chocolate chips, anyone?), and you eat it for breakfast or with your lunch (I repeat, with your lunch, not after because that’s the excuse-making danger zone) and have yourself a jolly good time.   

It’s so much fun making them!  I switch things up all the time, accessorizing my different flavours of yogurt (lemon meringue!  Berry berry!  Raspberry crumble!  Mango pineapple!) with fruit, cereal, granola, nuts, seeds, and some sweet additions from time to time.  Since I’m allergic to so many fruits in their raw state, I take advantage of whatever I can.  Bananas, drained canned peaches, blueberries, strawberries, whatever we have on hand.  What we have here: cherry yogurt with sliced bananas, Honey Bunches of Oats cereal in vanilla almond, granola, unsalted sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut to make it look extra pretty!  I love having texture in my food, especially in my yogurt, so the crunchier and munchier the better!  Next up on the list: maybe something with chocolate.  Mmmm.

Spotlight on Wanda’s Pie in the Sky – Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cake With Pineapple, Walnuts, and Lots of Coconut

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I know it seems kind of silly to post about cakes from a bakery and cafe that clearly specializes in their famous pies, but it makes sense given what a huge fan I am of cake!  There’s no contest for me.  If I had to choose between cake and pie, cake would win, hands down.  I do love lemon meringue and a number of cream pies such as banana cream, coconut cream, and chocolate cream among a few others, but pie doesn’t float my boat the same way cake does.  Lucky for me, Wanda’s Pie in the Sky does cake in a BIG way, rotating between over 20 different kinds!  And I don’t even think that number includes seasonal selections.  Since my first official visit back in the summer (remember the fabulous, jaw-dropping rainbow cake?), I always walk in feeling so excited to see whatever cake they’ve baked for the day ($4-$6 a slice), sitting tall and pretty on their giant cake stand.  

One of my favourite things about Wanda’s is their ever-changing daily menu.  They feature different salads, different cupcakes, and different types of cake every day so every visit is a happy surprise.  This type of arrangement of not knowing what to expect would probably drive some people absolutely nuts, but it’s actually kind of refreshing.  I love looking at menus and circling everything I want to try, regardless of whether or not I would realistically have it ($35 pasta?  Probably not, but in a fantasyland, sure!), but with Wanda’s I look forward to all the delicious food they have on hand that day.  Even though they have a cake menu on their website, I don’t even bother writing out a list of all the cakes I want to try.  My approach to eating at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is quite simple: walk in, see what’s there, eat it. 

Say hello to the moist and flavourful cream cheese frosted carrot cake!  I’m a big fan of carrot cake.  Carrot muffins not so much, but yes yes yes to carrot cake.  I wasn’t able to get a photo of the entire cake on the stand, but it was so adorable with the little frosted carrots on top and it reminded me of garden fit for a bunny.  It was especially cute watching one of the girls cut my cake slice for me because the cake was so huge!  The carrot cake is a two-layer cake frosted with a thick, creamy layer of cream cheese frosting, covered in shaved coconut on the backside, and adorned with a frosted carrot on top.  The nice thing about the frosting was that it wasn’t cloying sweet and it wasn’t so creamy that it slopped all over the place.  Even though a lot people enjoy carrot cake because of the frosting (and rightfully so, the frosting is delicious!), this frosting was thick, creamy, and sweet enough to be really yummy, but also subtle enough to let the cake shine.    

The inside of the cake was bursting with pineapple, raisins, chunks of walnut, and shredded carrots and coconut.  I absolutely adored the texture of the cake.  It was moist and dense, just the way a carrot cake should be and to me, the shredded coconut, raisins, and pineapple just kicked the whole thing up a notch.  The coconut made the cake sweet and crunchy and flaky, and the pineapple and raisins gave the cake a sweet chewiness that I loved.  I had to split my cake into two because I couldn’t finish all of it in one sitting, but that wasn’t a problem because I had a trusty tupperware container on me.  Cake leftovers are never a bad thing.   

*****

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located at 287 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market.  Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located in between Nassau and College St.  They are open every day from 8am-9pm.  For more info on placing orders, attending classes, and dessert items they serve, check out their website here