When it comes to dessert, one of my favourite types has to be of the creamy and custard variety. I love the rich, smooth, and most of the time, cold refreshing taste of a nicely cooked custard.

I've always had my questions about creme caramel. Is it the same thing as flan? Does it actually just slip out of the ramekin? Does the caramel sauce not mingle and bleed into the custard when you pour the custard into the ramekin and bake it? To answer these questions, I finally decided to try to make it. (P.S. apparently flan and creme caramel are synonymous, but that depends on who you ask...)

This was my first time making a caramel as well. I burnt the first batch, and made the entire house smell like burnt caramel. Luckily, everyone was still sleeping at 7:30am, so no questions were asked. I think I was overly cautious when making the second batch, because it looked a lot lighter than what the picture showed in the cookbook. I always like to err on the side of caution.

After baking the custard and refrigerating it overnight, it was tasting time. After running a knife around the rim of each ramekin, the creme caramel slipped perfectly out of it's container onto the serving plate. I was also rewarded with a beautiful pool of golden caramel sauce spilling over the sides of the custard. I felt such a sense of accomplishment after my first spoonful. The custard was perfect with the intensely sweeet caramel sauce. Loved every bite of it. So did everybody else, because alas, no leftovers were to be had.

This a perfect make-ahead dessert, as well as a great summer dessert, because of it's refreshingly cold taste. The only drawback it that it takes about an hour in the oven, so this might discourage anyone whose hometown is currently experiencing a summer heatwave (like us Torontonians). But, you know, will you keep this one in mind? For later?

Creme Caramel
Adapted from "the best of Cooking Light"

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
1. Lightly coat six 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.
2. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar.
3. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until golden. This takes about 10 minutes. Don't burn it!!
4. Quickly divide the caramel among the six ramekins, tilting each to fully coat the bottom. Set aside.

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended and smooth.
3. Stir in sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed.
4. Divide mixture evenly among prepared ramekins.
5. Place ramekins in a baking pan and add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramkins.
6. Bake for 50 minutes. They are done when a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
7. Remove ramekins from pan, and cover and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
8. Run a knife around the edges of each ramekin to loosen. Invert onto a serving plate.
This cake has been on my "to-bake" list ever since I came across it on The Pionner Woman blog. I've seen different recipes for it ever since I started taking an interest in baking, but I've never attempted one. This recipe just seemed so easy, using everyday ingredients that I already had on hand. Plus, I needed to use up a bunch of eggs.

Like others who attempted this recipe, I was apprehensive about the whole soaking process. Wouldn't the cake get mushy and soggy and wet? However, I found that the cake was just moist enough, and it held its shape nicely even after a few days in the fridge. Some of the pieces were even on the dry side, probably due to uneven pouring. The original recipe suggests to hold back about a cup of the soaking liquid, which is what I did. The next day, my friends suggested to pour the rest onto the cake, since it dried out a bit overnight in the fridge. So I did eventually use all of the milk mixture.

I think the texture of this cake is an acquired taste. It is quite "mushy" compared to traditional cake, and for those uninitiated into the world of the tres leches cake, your explanation of what it is may raise some eyebrows. Like a lot of things, this cake probably isn't for everyone. I liked it, but I'm not too sure if I liked it enough to make it again. It is a solid recipe, so give it a try and be your own judge.

Tres Leches Cake

Adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Farenheit. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan and set aside.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. With a mixer, mix egg yolks and 3/4 cups of sugar on high speed until the mixture is thick and takes on a pale yellow colour. Stir in the milk and vanilla extract. Pour mixture over flour mixture and gently combine.
  4. In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whip until egg whites become stiff.
  5. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

For the milk mixture:

  1. Combine the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk in a large measuring cup.
  2. Perforate the cooled cake with a fork. Pour milk mixture evenly over the cake and let soak for at least 30 minutes. You may want to reserve about 3/4 cup of the milk liquid, just in case it gets a bit dry the next day.
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When my mom told me that Kashi had an advertised offer for a free cereal sample, I signed up immediately. I guess it's a similar advertising strategy as their granola bar campaign. The only difference was that for the granola bars, you were mailed a coupon for a free box of granola bars. For this cereal, you were mailed a small sample-sized box of cereal. There were two flavours to choose from: Honey Almond Flax and Toasted Berry Crisp. There was a limit of one box per household, and the one I mailed to my address here in London never came (I blame the mailperson), so we only ended up with one box of cereal.

It's a generous sample size, and it came packed in a box within a box (a mini cereal box was packaged in a slightly bigger mailing box). It also came with a $2.00 off coupon for your next purchase of either flavour of the showcased Kashi cereal.

The cereal is advertised as a "protein and fibre cereal," with "naturally sweetened multigrain clusters." I liked how there were pretty big clusters that stuck together, but inevitably, there were those little broken bits at the bottom of the bag, which I didn't mind too much. The cereal was unusually crunchy, and I think it would hurt your jaw a bit if you weren't used to it. Mind you, I ate this cereal dry, which is the way I like eating my cereal. With that said, it would probably become appropriately crunchy once milk was added. I don't know why, but I don't like eating cereal with milk. It gets soggy too fast, and then I feel like I have to wolf down my bowl of cereal. So I imagine if this cereal was eaten with milk, it would stay crunchy for a while.

It was nicely sweetened, not overpowering. I especially liked the puffed rice that was included in the mix. The almond slivers kept a nice toasted flavour too. I find that most of the almonds found in cereals have no toasted flavour, and some are on the verge of exuding their natural almond oils (does anybody get what I mean by that?).

I would recommend this to anybody looking for a new cereal to try for breakfast or otherwise (i.e. for snacking). It is loaded with lots of fibre and protein per serving, so I think it would also benefit anyone looking to up their fibre and/or protein intake.
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