Tarte aux Fruits Rouges

Fall is here and even though I kept going on and on about how I love Summer, something is also magical about the beauty of Fall season. The leaves are turning from green to yellow or bright red, it is amazing. The weather has turn cold earlier in California this year and we also have a lot of rain, all this makes me long for a cozy couch in front of fireplace with a slice of brownie and a cup of milk (someday...
I just came back from a week trip in Louisiana, to visit M's family. It was quite a relaxing week, that I almost felt unproductive, but it was nice and enjoyable. We definitely got plenty of sleep for sure! I experienced an interesting Thanksgiving tradition in South. Apparently, it is very common to have the Thanksgiving feast in between lunch and dinner, we had ours at 3pm and football game is on all day long. Here in California, I am so used to having a feast during dinner time, so it was interesting to see something different.

A Pool Party for Joan's Birthday and A Strawberry Pistachio Mascarpone Mousse Cake

Wow, I completely missed the month of October and I've never missed a month before! How bad :(. Not that I did that on purpose but so many things have been going on.

There were so many birthdays, lots of cooking (everyday cooking), and other stuff, it is amazing how little time left you have after. In fact, we went to San Diego this past weekend just to getaway from everything and to celebrate M's birthday. Nothing fancy, in fact, we both got sick the day of our departure. He's holding up quite well, but I feel bad for sleeping all the 7-hour driving! San Diego was raining too, quite hard and COLD! It was definitely a getaway full of sleeping (about 11 hours average, we needed the rest) and eating. I can safely say that all 3 days were spent eating and eating and only tacos (plus cheese quesadillas). M

Passionfruit Posset with Mango and Passionfruit Sorbet

Hmm.... nothing really interesting is happening lately. If you must now, I moved cube to a different building and environment, lots of birthday celebrations happening and coming (mean more cakes to make), work is not as crazy as it's used to, I guess everything is going pretty well.

Some downsides are that more of my friends are leaving the country to pursue their dreams somewhere else. More friends will be leaving in a few months, it is bittersweet really. I am sad that they are leaving but more importantly, it has been a real blessing to have known them. The other downside to life lately is that the bf is literally working day and night (dawn really) 7 days a week, leaving me feeling like a single woman sometimes, so I guess keeping busy with cakes helps too. Another thing I could do to distract myself is playing Wii!!! Mario Kart to be exact. I started playing Wii for the first time about a week ago and I'm loving it! A bit too late I know, but hey, as long as I'm having fun I think it is quite alright....

Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots et Cerises (Apricot and Cherry Crumble Tartlets)

Some people like changes, and some don't. I am the second part of the group, I don't like changes. I recently move cube to a different building. I was in that previous building for about 4.5 years, I made friends and become close to a lot of them. Being in a completely new environment scared me. Although I have to say that my current work schedule is not as crazy as before, which is always good.

Speaking about changes, I don't know how many more weeks I can talk about summer here as we can definitely feel the change in the season here. The sun sets earlier, temperature drops to mid 70's (still gorgeous), more chilly at night and in the morning. But in the meantime, I will still talk and post about my summer dessert at least for a couple more weeks.

Popsicles Two Ways: White Peach and Raspberry Swirl Popsicle and Mango, Pineapple and Raspberry Popsicles

So, I am in the middle of a super frantic mode currently. My trusty computer got infected by a virus, which resulted in the performance being really slow, almost impossible to use. The first thing I did when that happened was to check my "Pictures" folder, and they're gone! Basically, all of my data was gone, what a nightmare! I am trying to find help and crossing my finger that the data can be recovered, but we'll see... :(

In the midst of all that this past weekend, I spent some time freezing raspberries, making fruit salad and yogurt sherbet for my niece's and nephew's dessert, and the last thing I did was making brandied cherries and raspberries! It wont be until 3 months from now that they will be ready to use, but I can't wait!

Enjoying Summer Bounty with Summer Fruit Crumble

Just when I am about to post about summer fruits, summer is officially over. While East Coast is hit by hurricane Irene, and Texas and other states are scorching hot, weather here in northern California is great as usual, about 80 F constantly during the day, and low 60's F at night. This is exactly why people love California, cool and gentle breeze, not humid and not dry. Perfect.

Meyer Lemon Tart

Ah.. finally this post is up!!

Every year around Spring time (it is kinda late this year), I am always loaded with a whole bunch of meyer lemons, mostly coming from neighbor's tree, friends, and also from my coworker's too. The coworker has a meyer lemon tree that is producing all year around (yup, I now now where to get my source all year!).

Randomness: Blue Macaron Wedding Favor, Little Girl's Birthday Cake, and Sadaharu Aoki's Macarons

Just wanted to say a quick hi and to let you guys know that I am still alive here.

Summer has always been a really busy time for me (and everyone). I was in the middle of house-moving these past month, some weekend trips in between, and a-week-long vacation (it was GREAT!) and they're pretty much eating all of my time and I hardly have time to bake as weekend is pretty much the only time I could bake. Other than that, I have no internet connection at home for almost a full month, didn't realize how important internet is until it's gone.
I didn't realize how much baking stuff I have until I have to pack them, I have at least 15-20 big boxes easily for tools and ingredients!!!!

Spring Cleaning Part 1: Cassis Chocolate Cake

I opened my freezer a few weeks ago and started listed out what pastry "leftovers" I have in there. You can bet that I have different flavors of joconde, baked cheesecake, mousses, some sponge cake layers among other common things such as frozen berries that I froze last year (red and yellow raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries), as well as frozen purees (passion fruit, guava, apricot, cassis, mango, etc), cherries. That's a whole lot of stuff! I can make half a year worth of desserts without having to buy most of the ingredients. And now that Summer is here, I have to start "cleaning" them up so that I would have space for a new stash of every fruit I can find in farmers' market.

Old-Fashioned Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

I might not have blogged about this one particularly simple cake (I might have posted some pictures in the past though) but that doesn't mean that this cake doesn't deserve a highlight and its own blog post. This humble banana muffin in particular is very special to me and it goes back to my early college days in TX.

I started baking at the last year of my college days I think. I was more of a cooking type of girl, Indonesian home-cooked meals, Chinese, American, Italian, a little French, and for a student, that was something. I never really interested in baking world until I met this little sweet cake. I was at my friend's house for a bible study and she just made this cake. She served it right out of the oven and it was love at first bite, I immediately asked for the recipe. She got the recipe from a missionary and she's been using the recipe ever since.

Celebrating Friendship

I have known my friend, N, for no less than 9 years I think. We went to the same college in Cupertino, we go to the same church, we hung out and laughed together, we stayed up late together, usually it's me making a cake, and her helping me making little fondant figurines, we get very excited over food, and many many more. She is the type of person who can bright up your day instantly, she's always full of smile in any circumstances, always willing to help, very kind-hearted, there is no single negative thing I can think of when I think of her.

Cakepops for M's Baby Shower Favor

I can't believe it's May! I wonder where did time go. I have been out of town for the past two weeks, and before that, I was also out for a few weekends, life's been really crazy. A little warning, this post might be more of an updates rather than cake in details :)

I started this draft about a month ago or so and yes I know I have not been very proud of myself in keeping this blog updated as often as I wanted to. I had to keep changing the content as the week passed by because so many things are happening. In fact, I was writing part of this post on my "vacation" somewhere in Prairieville, Louisiana where thunderstorm and wind warning are so common. Yup, that's right! I went away from the beautiful California to Houston for a few days to visit my sister, then off to Louisiana, for a good reason. In a way, San Jose reminds me about the long hours at work and thinking about that is exhausting sometimes. So, it feels really good to be away from that at least.

Della's Birthday and Some Chocolate Cake

Apology for the rather long break on posting, I was out of town for the past two weekends. I had a chance to go to Napa two weeks ago with a few girls, it was a beautiful day, a bit chilly still but quite warm under the sun. It was nice to get away from everything, from work, from chores at home, from baking, from everything and just enjoying the view. Fortunately, we are all foodies, so it was only natural that food was one of the highlights of the day, lunch, dessert, ice cream, dinner, wine, it was all good.

Jewelry Party Dessert Table

San Jose is cold, wet, and windy at the moment. Definitely the least favorite weather of mine, it makes me want to curl up in bed and not doing anything. The fact that I still have to get up in the morning and go to work is really not exciting. I am longing for the warm weather even more than ever maybe.

Remember when I said I made a few dessert table in the midst of all the chaos that's been happening? This one was made about three weeks after the previous one. It was a smaller dessert table with about 80 desserts total for a jewelry party, four different types for yet another event by Le Amour Events. The theme color for the party involves white, green, and brown, so I tried to come up with a menu that showcases these color scheme.

Dessert Table Menu:
  1. Tropical fruit cheesecakepops
  2. Tiramisu verrines
  3. Salted caramel macarons
  4. Green tea eclair with chocolate glaze

It seems like each dessert had its own challenges, I didn't know what happen, it just did. I've never made cheesecakepop before and let me tell you, it is so much harder to shape up compared to regular cakepops. It was expected really as the texture of cheesecake is soft, it helped a little after a quick trip to the freezer, but it was still difficult. I might go crazy if I was making hundreds of them.

I was also having trouble with the macarons, completely not expected. You see, I always make a schedule, detail plan as to when I need to make certain component, when to decorate, when to buy ingredients, etc. This is very important because my free time is very limited and so everything needs to be planned well, especially in this currently impossible schedule, and I really didn't account for failure at all!. It was raining non-stop here for days or maybe even weeks, I really forgot when was the last time we had sunshine (a bit exaggeration here). To my surprise and disappointment, the first batch of the macaron failed, all of them. The macarons on the first tray looked like an exploded volcano, the others had uneven feet, and all of them weren't as crispy as the ones I made in the past. I would blame it on the humidity from the rain.

I was shocked, alright. Didn't quite believe what had happened, it also happened in the morning before I went to work, which then left me thinking for the whole day what could have gone wrong and how I can find the time to make another batch. Somehow I managed to bake another batch, and the same thing happened! Although this time was slightly better, but I still couldn't help but thinking what have I done wrong. I only needed at least 18 pairs, or 36 individual shells and fortunately I did. I wasn't completely satisfied with the texture and all but I was so glad when I heard that everything turned out great, what a relief!

I made tiramisu hundreds of time before, I know the steps, the measurements and everything by heart so the chance of I messed it up is pretty small. What I didn't know is that I could be so tired that I miscounted the glasses. I needed 18 but I only had 16! I don't know what I was thinking but long story short, I had to make another batch to account for the other 2.

I definitely learned some lessons from this dessert table, one of them is that always take into account some failure in your schedule, very important, so note to self, don't do everything at the very last minute.

All in all, everything was done on time and that I did manage to take a few pictures, not that great but better than nothing. And what makes it all worth it is that everyone is pleased with it :)

I feel like this post has a lot of complaining, please don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the process of it, I guess I was just making a note to myself of what's not to do in the future :D. Ugghh... and I really hope this weather can change soon and then comes Spring, cannot wait!

Onto the giveaway winner now. The winner is ...... (drum roll please) Hengky in San Jose, according to random.org. Congratulations and enjoy! I will send you the detail of the gift card shortly.
Thank you to all who participated.

A Dessert Table for Bridal Trunk Show and A CSN Giveaway

It's been raining, more rain, and more rain here in San Jose, temperature dropped more than 20 degrees since my last post. It's sad that I can't enjoy the peak of cherry blossom season in warm sun and stroll around the park full of them. The weather site also predicted a chance of snow in the bay area! How cool is that!

I've also been working on 12-16hr/day of work schedule every single day for the last two months or so. It is not fun at all indeed, and I haven't had sleep deprivation in so long until these past few months. I was seriously thinking of just bringing comfy sleeping bag to keep in my cube. So, forgive me for lack of updates. What makes things worse is that my mom is here for the last 3 months and I feel so bad for not spending enough time with her. She's going back to Indonesia this Saturday, and I'm determined to take one day off tomorrow from work, hopefully everything goes well and I can do that with no problem. I let myself think that this timing for crazy work schedule is "perfect" for this bad weather, because if it's all sunny and nice outside, I would be really bummed having to spend the whole day inside the office. Sad, I know, but anything to make me feel better is certainly appreciated nowadays :)

With that, I haven't been able to bake for experiment at all, although I did manage making some desserts for a few dessert table and this is one of them. This dessert table, which fell on my birthday, was for a bridal-opening party for around 100 people, about 350 desserts total. In all craziness that's been happening, I was actually very happy that everything finished on time, even when that means only 3 hour of sleep that night. Special thanks to Randi from le Amour Events who organized this and BoLee Bridal Couture who hosted the event. It is surely an honor to be able to take part.

Sure there are a lot I wish I can do differently if I had more time but I couldn't be happier when I received the positive feedback, making all the sweat and the lack of sleep worth it. Many thanks to my mom and my brother who helped me out in the dawn of the night to make this happen. Wouldn't be able to do it without them.

Dessert Table Menu:
  • Fromage Fraise Verrine
    vanilla sponge soaked in red berry coulis - red berry gelee (raspberry & strawberry), cheese mousse
  • Red Velvet Cakepops
    with cream cheese frosting, dipped in white candy melts
  • Silk Pudding with Passion Fruit Coulis
  • White Chocolate Mango Cheesecake
    with jellied cream on top and almond crust
  • Raspberry and Rose Marshmallow

This was also the first time I made homemade marshmallow. I chose raspberry and rose flavor because it suits the color theme (pink) and anything with rose is gotta be romantic. I love the texture of homemade marshmallow a lot better than store-bought, although I have to say that it was still too sweet for me, but now that I know, it should be perfect next time :). I'm already thinking passion fruit marshmallow, strawberry & orange water marshmallow, endless possibilities!

I didn't have the chance to take any pics, all pictures for the dessert table are courtesy of Daniel Lee.

I baked the leftover cheesecake batter into individual cake ring mold and topped it with mango gelee and decorated with raspberry coulis. And as you probably have guessed, I went to take 3-hr nap immediately after the desserts were picked up :), a very-much needed nap indeed before birthday dinner :).

Now, onto the giveaway post. I have had the privilege to host CSN giveaway for three times and this is gonna be the forth time for $40 CSN Gift Certificate. I can't stress enough how generous they are providing all this wonderful giveaways and with hundreds of sites, they definitely have E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G you would ever need. I especially love this adjustable bar stools to put around the kitchen island or bar area. Oh I cannot wait to have my own place, I've always had this dream of having a real modern yet warm house with lots of windows for natural light to get in. This bar stool definitely going to make a great addition to my dream house :)

How to enter:
  • Must be US or Canada resident
  • Leave a comment on this post between now until Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 12am (PST)
  • Winner will be drawn randomly through random.org
  • No anonymous comment please. Please also enter in your email address if you disable your profile view.
  • One comment per person, multiple comments are welcome but only count as one entry
Have a blessed weekend!

White Chocolate and Mango Cheesecake

95 g almond powder
55 g graham cracker crumbs
30 g sugar
3 Tbs. butter

Cheesecake Batter:

3 (8-oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
100 g sugar
1/2 vanilla bean seeds
3 eggs
5-oz white chocolate
150 g mango puree/pulp
  • Prepare the almond crust: Mix all ingredients together and press it onto the bottom of 8" round springform pan. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until slightly brown. Let cool while you prepared the cheesecake batter
  • Prepare the cheesecake batter: With a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, vanilla bean seeds and sugar until smooth.
  • Add the egg, one at a time. Mix well
  • Melt the white chocolate and mix it into the batter
  • Lastly, add the mango puree/pulp and mix well
  • Pour onto the prepared crust
  • Bake in waterbath at 300F for about 50-60minutes, or until the edges are set but the center is slightly jiggly when shake gently.
  • Let cool and refrigerate overnight.

Valentine Dessert Idea: Strawberry and Pistachio Mousse Cake with Red Berry Gelée

I'm going to begin this post with the weather forecast, just because I'm too excited over it :). While the rest of the country is covered with deep snow, even ice, when Texas is snowing, when midwest is hit with very cold temperature and storm, when everywhere in radio or TV talks about how to stay warm and all, here is low 70F in CA! Spring arrived a bit early this year, not that I'm complaining, in fact, I'm way too excited! It's usually raining the whole time in January and February and very cold, while we had our share of rain in December or early January, we're having sunshine ever since! For the first time since last Summer, I opened my window in the afternoon, I worked in the garden a little bit, I even wear shorts last night because it was too warm in my room! I'm planning to wear a cotton dress today too!

Assorted and Colorful Macarons for Christmas

It seems like Christmas has been long gone, and with the New Year when everybody is busy trying to make resolutions or goals, or anything at all, who would remember anything about Christmas? Well, at least I do, especially when you had to make 5 batches of macarons with 6 different fillings in a half a day right before Christmas eve. It might sound "ah, that's nothing", but this is the first time for me making so many different kinds in such a short time.

Everytime I see a blog post when people are baking such pretty and oh-so-colorful macarons, it always left me wondered how can they make so many different ones and how would they find the time to do it, especially if you have to rest your macaron batter for some time and bake it one tray at a time? And what do they do with so many of macarons if they make one batch for one color? I tried to think and see if maybe they color the same batter a few different ones, but I don't think that's possible as the batter would be overmixed. In the end, I just thought that they made each color as different batch, which was what I did.

I made lots of macarons before, the last one being 200++, but they're different, they're for a wedding and the same flavor. I don't have to worry about making different batch of fillings, and what different flavors I want to make, but I've always wanted to make pretty colorful macarons too so that I can put them side by side and arranged them like little colorful soldiers just like those in a patisserie.

One of my friends asked me a month before Christmas (or maybe a bit before), if I would be willing to make some macarons for him to give as a Christmas and thank you gift for another person. That person happens to be a macaron fanatic (so I've heard) and she's been getting different macarons from different places every Christmas time. I couldn't commit at first since my December baking schedule is pretty full, leaving me no time left for just my personal baking. Besides, the thought of me making different batches of macarons scared me, and what would I do with so many leftovers? He persisted and tried to convince me every single day until I said yes (and it's not that hard really :D).

I decided to make four different flavors for him, and one more the next day just for me using the un-filled macarons:
1. Pink macarons - rose buttercream, lychee, and raspberry gelee cube
2. Yellow macarons - cream cheese frosting with tropical fruit puree added
3. White macarons - dark chocolate and gianduja ganache with hazelnut praline
4. Orange macarons 1 - salted caramel buttercream with vanilla bean fleur de sel
5. Orange macarons 2 - milk chocolate passion fruit ganache

If you notice, I tried to make each one to have different characteristic, sweet and floral, a little tart note, bittersweet, salty, sweet and sour. I was so tempted to make another one with green color, but I had no more time and had to stop. It was hard to decide which one I like the most as each of them is so different and I love them all!

This is my first time making salted caramel buttercream and I had no idea how it should taste, or how salty and sweet it should be. I was using salted butter and whipped it until light, then added the caramel I made. I think the sweetness is there, but it was a tad too salty, so I need to add more caramel next time. The tahitian vanillie fleur de sel on the top of the macaron added more saltiness to it, so I guess I really should add more caramel. I'm loving this combination and you bet I will make this flavor more in the future, maybe in the cake form.

I made the passion fruit milk chocolate ganache before, but ended up throwing it away because I thought it tasted weird. The passion fruit puree was so tart and that even the sweetness of milk chocolate couldn't compromise for it. I really want to try it again ever since, especially knowing that this flavor combo is so popular, even in Pierre Herme's shop! I added some sugar to the ganache this time and I think it was perfect! Love it!

I ended up with lots of leftover of course but my friends and family were at least more than happy to gobble them up during our Christmas Eve dinner. I recall one of them at least had ten in one sitting and wouldn't stop if we didn't stop him. We brought the leftover macarons (that we specifically reserved on purpose) on our road trip a few days after.

After this, I'm more excited to see what other flavor pair I can come up with and the possibilities are endless! So stay tuned to see what's next. How exciting!

Basic macaron recipe:

150 g almond powder
150 g confectioners' sugar
56 g fresh egg whites, room temperature
150 g granulated sugar
40 ml water
55 g old egg whites, room temperature

Sift the almond powder and confectioners' sugar together. Set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar and the water in a saucepan and cook until it reaches 245F. Don't stir the syrup as you will end up with crystallized mass.

Meanwhile, while the sugar is cooking, start whipping the aged egg white on medium speed until it forms a soft peak. When the sugar is ready, pour the cooked syrup in a steady stream over the meringue with the mixer running on slow. It will splatter, but don't try to scrape them into the meringue as you would get lumps. Increase the speed to high and continue beating until you have a stiff glossy meringue.

Mix the fresh egg white with the almond-sugar mixture and blend together. Fold in the meringue into this almond mixture in addition. Add about a third of the meringue and fold progressively, then proceed with another third of the meringue and fold it in. Don't overfold the batter as you would have a gloppy mess. Consistency is really important at this point, some people say that it should flow like a lava (I don't know how lava flows though). If you're not sure, try piping a little dollop and see if it leaves a peak that will not spread or if it spreads too fast. You should still see a little peak after you pipe, but the peak should disappear or almost disappear after you pipe a row of them.

Put the batter in a piping bag with round tip (I used a tip with approximately 9mm in diameter) and pipe the macaron batter on top of silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 14-15 minutes. Once baked, slide the silpat or parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Peel each macaron shell carefully.

You can fill them with ganache or flavored buttercream. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up before consuming.

Milk Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache
adapted from here

100 grams milk chocolate
40 grams passion fruit puree
20 grams heavy cream
sugar to sweetened it slightly
15 grams butter

Chop the milk chocolate into small pieces. Boil the passion fruit, heavy cream, and sugar together and pour over chocolate. Stir until incorporated and the ganache forms. Wait a couple of minutes for the ganache to cool a bit and add the softened butter. Stir to create and emulsion. Let it harden a bit until it is pipeable and fill the macarons.

Rose Italian Meringue Buttercream:

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar (115 g)
1/4 cup water (60 ml)
4 egg whites, at room temperature
4 sticks unsalted butter, cut in cubes and at room temperature
rose water, to taste
  • Combine the water and the sugar in a small saucepan and boil on medium heat until the temperature reaches 235 F (softball stage)
  • When the temperature reaches around 230 F, starts whipping the egg whites until it has somewhat a soft peak in a stand mixer
  • When the sugar syrup has reached the desired temperature, turn off the heat and poor into the egg whites with the mixer still running on a medium-high speed (don't pour the syrup on the beater as it will splatter)
  • Keep on whipping until the bowl has cooled down to about room temperature
  • Add the cubes of butter a little at a time, waiting until the previous one is fully incorporated before adding another
  • Whip until the buttercream is soft and creamy
  • Add rose water to the taste and mix well.

Gianduja Ganache with Hazelnut Praline
no measurement was used when making this

dark chocolate
heavy cream
gianduja paste
hazelnut praline

Salted Caramel Buttercream
100 g sugar
115 g heavy cream
15 g + 70 g salted butter
  • Add some sugar in a saucepan, let this melt and add more sugar until you've used all of it
  • Let it caramelized until it has a dark amber color
  • Add 15 g of unsalted butter
  • Add the heavy cream. Be careful when doing this as the mixture will bubble and splatter
  • Continue cooking until it reaches 108 C
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature (putting it in an ice bath helps the process to be faster)
  • Beat the remaining 70g of salted butter until creamy, then add the cooled caramel. Note: I didn't add all of them because I was afraid it's gonna be too sweet, but in the end, I should have added a little bit more because the end result was a bit on the salty side

A Birthday and A Farewell for J

I'm so grateful to be surrounded by loving family and friends and to see one of them leaves is a sad experience. Some people say that you'll get used to it to see people leave to the point that you won't feel sad anymore. Well, it doesn't happen to me, maybe not yet. I still remember crying like a baby at the airport everytime I say goodbye to the person I cared the most a long time ago, and even though we met and said goodbye again a few times a year, I still couldn't get used to it, it was rather embarrassing to not be able to control the tears and having one of the airport person trying to cheer me up sometimes, but hey I was still a kid a few years ago and it happens to everyone, right? :). It gets a lot better now, I'm not a crying baby anymore, but I still can't get over the feeling of loss everytime I say goodbye, which is why I always try to avoid going to the airport to see them for the last time. I'd rather take it as "they just leave temporarily and I'm still going to see them soon".

My friend, J, who I've known for several years now was going back to Indonesia for good. To describe him, he is such a kind-hearted person, for real. I don't think I've ever seen him mad and I think everyone would agree with me. He's really tall and is a basketball snob and really good at it too. He's willing to help anyone in need anytime you need it, and to lose such a friend is a great loss for us. Well, I guess I should revise that, we're not losing him as a friend, but losing him in our community. I hope we'd still see each other when he visits or when I go back to Indonesia for vacation.

He left just one day after his birthday and we had a small gathering with close friends to celebrate it and to say goodbye. The gathering turned out to bring a really good news with his engagement announcement with his years-long girlfriend (one of our friends too)! I re-made this exotic cake for the birthday occasion since the first one was for different group of people. I had to make some sacrifices to the cake being different than the one I made before due to time limitation, but at least it came together as a cake :). The pineapple wasn't as ripe as I wanted to be before I used it, but I had too anyway, making the cake a bit sour in my opinion, but nothing major.

So, instead of being all sad and all, we celebrated the friendship we've had and the time we've had together. We are so blessed to know him and we wish him the best for his future in Indonesia or wherever he might be. I'll see you next time J and Happy Birthday! :)