Dark Chocolate Coffee Pavlova

Who doesn't LOVE the combination of chocolate and coffee.. and then you add in a kick of Bailey's Irish Cream... these flavors are like a party in your mouth! When we were told to make Pavlovas for Custard & Meringue week, I was SO EXCITED because pavlovas are actually one of my desserts of choice! It's such a wonderful dessert that is not so hard to make AND very impressive for guests to eat. I also feel like pavlovas have some magical way of making you feel lighter after a heavy meal. That means you lose calories by eating more, right? ;) 

My 30th birthday pavlova cake :) 

My 30th birthday pavlova cake :) 

I few years back, I was lucky enough to be apart of a group of friends that wanted to attempt a pop-up restaurant concept. For that opportunity, I came up with a recipe for mini-pavlovas using a chocolate base with coffee. Because it was an Irish theme'd menu, I naturally incorporated Bailey's Whipped Cream and then topped with raspberries. 

You can have free range for decorating these little guys however you wish. The simplest is a dusting of chocolate shavings. If you want to be ambitious and have the time, temper dark chocolate and create some beautiful toppers. On the show, I made chocolate rolls and placed them between cut raspberries. 

Dark Chocolate Coffee Pavlova, Bailey’s Whipped Cream, Fresh Raspberries
Makes about 20 x 2 ½" mini pavlovas

Pavlova Ingredients: 

  • 6 large egg whites, room temp
  • 300 grams granulated sugar 
  • 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon, Valrhona cocoa powder 
  • 1 tablespoon good aged balsamic vinegar 
  • 50 grams good quality chocolate (70%) chopped into small pieces 
  • 2 teaspoons good quality coffee grinds (not instant) 


  • 2 punnet of fresh organic raspberries
  • 500 ml whipping cream 
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons Bailey's Original Irish Cream Liquor 
  • pinch of kosher salt 

Dark Chocolate Decorations:

  • 4 ounces of dark chocolate 70%·       

1.  Preheat oven to 355 F / 180 C. On a piece of parchment paper, trace 2.5 inch circles spaced at least 2 inches apart with a pencil. Should be able to fit 9 of them comfortably on each baking sheet. 

2.  Chop dark chocolate into small pieces and set aside. Note: If you are using a piping tip for the meringue, do not use a narrow tip and make sure to chop the chocolate up in small enough pieces to push through it! 

3.  Place egg whites in a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add caster sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until the egg whites become stiff and glossy. Don’t over beat the egg whites or they will separate. When you can hold the mixture upside down without it falling out it’s done.

4.  Sift in cocoa powder, add balsamic vinegar, chopped chocolate and coffee. Using a large spoon spatula, mix very slowly and carefully by folding the mixture and egg whites. The mixture will be a light brown shade. Don’t over mix or you will deflate the egg whites.

5.  Using a little pavlova mixture, apply on the corners of the parchment paper (same side you drew on) then flip over parchment paper so it’s pencil side down on a baking sheet.

6.  Add meringue mixture to a piping bag and pipe into the circles and clean it up with an offset spatula. Make sure you are FILLING them completely when swirling.

7.  Place into oven then immediate drop the temperature to 284 F. Cook for 1hr to 1hr 15 minutes. Do not check on the pavlovas until the very end of the bake time. 

8.  The way to tell when pavlovas are done cooking is when it looks crisp at the edges. They also may slightly brown. The tops will be dry but if you press on the underside it’ll give a little since the centers are still soft and squishy. If you tap them lightly they should also sound a little hollow. If they still feel a bit soft then put them back into the oven for another minute or two. 

9.  If the pavlovas are crisp, place them back in the oven and leave the door slightly ajar so the pavlovas can cool completely in the oven. Should take another 35 minutes or so. Do NOT remove the pavlovas from the oven before they have finished cooling or they will crack. 

10.  In the meantime, place whipping cream in a CHILLED stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Start to whisk and when some peaks appear, add sugar slowly. Then add in Bailey’s after sugar. Keep whisking till firm but don’t over whip.

11.  Take whipped cream and place into a bowl fitted with plastic wrap and into the fridge until using. Eventually will be piped on each pavlova.

12.  Place whipped cream into piping bag and pipe onto pavlova. Then top with two to three raspberries cut side up to ensure juice doesn’t bleed into cream. Garnish with dark chocolate decorations or shavings. 


Pavlovas from The Great American Baking Show 


Vegan Gluten Free Tea Cookies

I needed to make some vegan gluten free cookies for a girlfriends trip and while I RARELY ever bake vegan let alone gluten free. Thankfully for the internet because it sure did deliver! I was so very pleasantly surprised by the recipe from Minimalist Baker since it was not only delicious but all didn't miss the egg, butter or gluten whatsoever. 

I did adapt the recipe since I didn't want to make loads of my own gluten free flour mix. The best substitute I found was actually from Arrowhead Mills using their Gluten Free Organic Pancake & Waffle mix. This provided a great base for the cookie then I just played with my own spice proportions for flavoring. I was also inspired by my dear fellow baker and friend from The Great American Baking Show and the spices he had in his Showstopper gingerbread cookie tree. (Thanks Jeremiah!) 

Vegan Gluten Free Tea Cookies
Adapted from Minimalist Baker & spices inspired by Jeremiah Bills' Gingerbread from The Great American Baking Show
Makes about 24-30 2 to 3 inch cookies


  • 1 tablespoon finely grounded flaxseed meal
  • 2.5 tablespoons water 
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed 
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons molasses 
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, room temp  
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon mace 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free pancake / waffle mix (brand: Arrowhead Mills) 

1. In a small bowl, mix together flaxseed meal and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes and stir occasionally. This will get very thick almost like an egg white consistency. 

2. In a medium bowl or stand mixer bowl, add brown sugar, molasses, almond butter, vegan butter, all spices, salt and baking soda. Begin to mix with a whisk attachment on medium until all ingredients are creamed together. Turn off mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn mixer back on and add flaxseed mixture. Mix until incorporated. 

3. Remove bowl and add in gluten free pancake/waffle mix. Mix together with a wooden spoon. If the dough is not coming together then add another tablespoon of the flour mixture. Do not over add since it will be too dry and grainy. You want your dough to be thick enough to form a ball. Once dough is ready wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. 

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

5. Prepare one sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and lightly dust with your flour mix. Place cookie dough on the parchment paper and press down the disc a bit. Dust the top of it with a little more of the flour mix and then place another parchment paper over it. You're going to roll out dough between these two pieces of parchment paper till it's about 1/4 of an inch thick. Don't go too thin or cookies might burn in the oven. 

6. At this point if your kitchen is too hot or dough is too soft, transfer the parchment papers to a cookie sheet and place into the freezer for about 5 minutes to re-chill. Or, you can go straight into cutting. 

7. Transfer cut cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Remember, this dough is VERY SOFT so it can break easily. Use light floured spatulas to move them around or just make sure you work quickly. Place cookies about 1.5 inches apart since they will spread slightly in the oven. 

8. Once cut and laid out, put them back into the freezer again for 5 minutes to harden up and reduce spreading when baked. 

9. Bake in heated oven for 8-11 minutes. The edges of the cookies should look slightly browner and feel stiff. Cool on the cookie sheet for at least 3 minutes before moving since they will feel very soft. 

10. Once they are a bit firmer, move them on a cooling rack to continue cooling to room temp. Enjoy now or store in an air-tight container for 5-7 days. 


Chinese Green Onion Sesame Rolls

I grew up in a small suburb outside of Los Angeles called, Cerritos. It's a pretty small city and mainly known for the auto square ("605 to South Street, Cerritos Auto Square!"). In addition to the car dealers, there is an awesome Asian food scene in Cerritos where you can get great Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, etc. everywhere you turn. 

I remember one of my favorite places to go as a kid was the local Chinese bakery with my mom and dad. For those who haven't been to a Chinese bakery before, they are these magical places that smell like sugary milk as soon as you walk in the door. with shelves of different types of individually wrapped sweet and savory bread buns with delicious fillings/toppings and pastry cases with fruit cakes, swiss rolls and other yummy desserts. 

When we were tasked to make a dinner roll during bread week for The Great American Baking Show, I was inspired by all the Chinese bread I ate growing up. I knew I wanted to make an enriched dough (with eggs, milk and butter) because it reminded me of home. I was also inspired by Green Onion Scallion Pancakes (Chinese pronunciation: cōng yóu bǐng that is served as another source of carbs besides rice with your meal. 

While I was able to complete these rolls in just about 2 hours on the show, please TAKE YOUR TIME with this. We had proofing drawers and I had to massively rush through the shaping. Bread is NOT to be rushed especially if you want a beautiful light and fluffy roll at the end of this. In total I think with two proper rises at room temperature you're looking at at least 3.5 hours. At least it's worth the wait. :) 

Chinese Green Onion Sesame Rolls
Recipe featured on ABC's The Great American Baking Show, Makes 12 rolls

Bread Dough: 

  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk, slightly warmed 
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, room temperature and lightly beaten 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 


  • 8-9 fresh green onions, chopped, cleaned and dry 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil 


  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk (for egg wash) 
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted white sesame seeds

1. In a small bowl, microwave milk for about 30 seconds just until it's warmed (slightly warmer than body temp) then add yeast. Stir lightly and let it sit for 5 minutes to dissolve. 

2. In a stand mixer bowl, cake flour, bread flour, salt and sugar in that order. Then add the milk yeast mixture and then the beaten egg. This will be a very wet dough to begin with.  

3. With the dough hook, knead everything together for 9-10 minutes on low till dough comes together. This will be a wetter dough even when it's done kneading and will be sticky to the bowl and your hands.  Butter or oil your hands and pull the dough from the bottom and form it in a ball.   

4. Take a separate large bowl and spray with oil. Transfer dough ball into the large oiled bowl. Cover in plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 1 hour for the first rise. Dough should grow to at least 1.5 x it’s original size.

5. While dough is rising, work on making filling. Julian green onions on a slanted cut. Add in salt and both oils. Taste and make sure there is enough sesame and salt flavoring. Cover and set aside. (Image above) 

6. Line a 9 x 13 rectangle pan with parchment paper then set aside. 

7. When dough is ready, punch it down in the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter.  Knead a few times lightly just to get out the air bubbles. 

 8. Place dough on an oiled surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Measure it on a scale to be precise. Shape each piece into a nice round ball and place into the lined pan. Cover the dough balls that you aren’t actively using with a dry and clean kitchen towel. (Image above) 

9. Take each ball and lightly roll out with a wooden pin into a longer rectangle then add an even layer of green onion mixture on top of the dough. You will be adding about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling to each piece. (Image above) The key is to not get too much oil on the dough since that makes it tricky for sealing. 

10. Roll up the dough with the green onion lengthwise then pinch the ends to ensure it is enclosed inside. (Image above) 

11. Pull the ends of the long “cigar” dough and make a knot with the dough while tucking in each end. Place each dough into the parchment paper lined in rows of 3. Repeat till you’re done with all 12 rolls. Cover the rolls that you’ve place into the pan with a towel as you’re working.

12. Now you're reading for the second proof. Place pan with dry cloth over it back and allow to proof another hour or 1.5 hours until rolls have doubled and fill the space between them. (Image above) 

13. Preheat oven to 350 F / 176 C.

14. Prepare egg wash and brush on top of the buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

15. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tops are golden brown. Make sure buns have reached an internal temp of 200 F / 93 C and tap to hear a hollow sound. Rotate the pan at least once in the oven to ensure even baking.

16. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan. Remove parchment paper and rolls and place on cooling rack until it’s cool enough to be handled. 

17. After a few minutes break them apart and place in a cloth-lined basket. 


May The Force Be With YOU!

Before I even entered the Tent for The Great American Baking Show, we spent a day of filming where I was baking and playing video games at home. I knew I wanted to feature something that would show American how big of a geek I was (heehee) so OF COURSE I themed it as a Star Wars cake! Also secretly hoping for tapping into the Force in the tent! 

The cake is decorated with Swiss Meringue buttercream where I created a galaxy effect with different colors of buttercream layered and smoothed over the course of 50 something rotations.  And decorated with little Darth and Yoda fondant figurines. I was SO HAPPY with the way Darth and Yoda came out. Can you spot the Episode VI easter egg? ;) 

This cake can be spotted in Episode 2: Cookie Week. Watch it on ABC!  


My California Dreamin' Cake!

Photo Credit: ABC, The Great American Baking Show 

Photo Credit: ABC, The Great American Baking Show 

I'm so excited that I had the chance to share my FAVORITE cake recipe with Johnny and Mary on The Great American Baking show! This is actually the cake recipe that I tried out with to get on the show and my GO-TO for my commissions. I absolutely love love love this cake. It's not too sweet, full of flavor and pairs so well with a light, airy Swiss Meringue buttercream. It's so easy to make and work with! I've even converted the most non-cake eaters into cake lovers with this recipe! 

Find the recipe here on ABC's website!