Boba Milk Tea Tres Leches Cake

Once upon a not-so-busy time, I baked and decorated personalized birthday cakes for my friends and family. Ranging from a green Volkswagen Buggy to a hot-air balloon, I used to go all out!
Over the long weekend, I had some extra time so I decided to make my friend Kelsey a cake for her birthday. If there’s one thing Kelsey loves, it’s BOBA! Have you tried it before? Have you even heard of it? If not, see the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea (actually.. you might need to Google it yourself because of the whole SOPA PIPA thing!). It’s a popular dessert drink in younger Asian communities. 
I was simply going to frost a picture of a cup of boba onto a simple cake, but I thought.. why not dump a large milk tea with extra boba into a cake?!
And so I did.
(empty boba milk tea cup)
I love tres leches cake (a popular Latin American sponge cake soaked in three milks), so I decided to replace one of the “leches” with milk tea! 
I used this recipe and replaced the evaporated milk and half of the heavy whipping cream with the milk tea (and omitted the brandy). It turned out great! The cake was incredibly moist and you could really taste the milk tea flavor throughout the cake. 
I decided against simply sprinkling the boba on top to add some finesse, and decorated it like so:
(boba on a cake)
Believe it or not, I didn’t use any special cake decorating equipment for this one. All I used was a spatula and a spoon! After frosting the cake, I dolloped drops of frosting along the outer perimeter, and topped those with single boba pieces. I put a large scoop of frosting in the middle and used a spoon to create a sort of “cup” for the remaining boba. This is also a great technique in case some guests don’t care for the chewy, tapioca texture of boba as they can slice around it. 
(boba on a cake + fat boba straw)
To add some color, and hint at what’s inside the cake, I added one of those fat straws that come with boba milk tea drinks. At first glance, the boba looks like blueberries, but the straw makes them realize what it is! 
(materials: paper, highligher)
The straw also serves as a stand for a celebration greeting flag! This would also be cute with a curled ribbon accent.

(yum)
The boba actually paired very well with the cake in case you were wondering. Bakeries should put boba on cakes more often! 
(taro almond milk tea with strawberry boba)

After trying this with the most basic boba milk tea, I’m very excited to try this with different boba flavors! You can do this with thai tea, almond, strawberry, honeydew, taro, and more. You can even use different boba flavors, like honey, green tea, and strawberry. The possibilities are endless! I also imagine this would work really well with cupcakes. I’m glad I was able to pay homage to one of my favorite delicious drinks through baking. It’s also a great fusion of Asian and Latin American culture! 

Do you like boba milk tea? What’s your favorite kind?
Please feel free to ask me for more specific baking instructions! 
Comment below!
With love,
Tiffany R.
Dining at Tiffany’s
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Project 365 at Tiffany’s

Woo 2012!! In the spirit of the New Year, I’m jumping on the Project 365 trend with my own flavor – taking daily food photos of significance! The reason I’m so passionate about food is because it’s such an integral part of life, a common necessity that can bring a diversity of people together. Every meal has a story and I want to appreciate that everyday. Today’s inaugural post will feature one photo, but I plan to compile weekly updates for your convenience (and my sanity).

So this isn’t the most appetizing picture, but take a moment to figure out what’s wrong with this picture…

No this was not an act of negligence, those spoons are swimming in there with purpose!

My mom was boiling spare ribs to make Sinigang, a tangy Filipino stew. She told me that the “old people” in the Philippines add metal spoons because it makes the meat more tender, so she decided to try it. It makes sense, right? I figure the heat from the boiling water is retained by the spoons, adding an extra heat source or something science-y like that. Well, it worked, so maybe you can try this the next time you need to tenderize ribs!

But the real significance of this photo is what that moment represents. Ever since I was young, I’ve always spent time in the kitchen with my mom. I remember being young and standing on a chair so I could reach over the counter and watch my mom cook. My favorite times were when she’d make layered Jello for get-togethers and I’d get to help her mix all the colors, then eat the gelatinized leftovers off the spoon. I remember the first time our parents taught us how to cook. I think it was eggs. I remember my mom mentioning to my dad that she can tell that I would become a good cook because of the way I naturally handled the spatula. I remember the warm confidence I felt at that moment. In recent years, I’m often helping my mom cook army-sized meals for our family and friends on special occasions.

Just as my mom learned a wise tip from her elders in the Philippines, I’ve learned many lessons from being in the kitchen with her all these years — about how to be a good cook and more importantly how to be a good person. In between all the recipes and ingredients, my mom tells me stories ranging from her day at work to her life growing up in poverty. I’m blessed to have developed my character after her – a life living toward compassion, generosity, and excellence with love.

If I have children one day, I pray that I’ll be able to share similar memories and moments with them in the kitchen. If you do have kids at home, I encourage you to do the same! Following recipes and measuring ingredients is a fun way to teach math skills. Kids are more likely to eat food (even veggies!) if they are involved in the process of grocery shopping and cooking. But more importantly, it can transform the chore of meal preparation into fond occasions to forever cherish. If you’re like me and not quite ready for a family, cook with friends and loved ones. It’s a fun and cheaper alternative to eating out!

But I guess the moral of the story about why I want to write food stories.. is that fond memories start in the kitchen and last long after everyone’s had second helpings. This year, take a moment in between bites to think about the meaning behind your meal — what it tells you about who you are, who you’re with, and how the food got on your plate. And please feel free to comment with your food photos and memories! I look forward to sharing many moments to savor  in 2012.

With love,
Tiffany R.
Dining at Tiffany’s