Archive | June, 2013

Semisweet Bakery

17 Jun
The 7 Up pound cake is moist and tender, dusted with a thin layer of powdered sugar.  

Food makes memories. Some of my best meals involve gathering around a table with friends and family, talking and laughing for hours, and sharing incredible dishes. I love to cook and bake because great food creates the most enjoyable experiences. 

Whenever I eat grilled fish, I remember my family’s trip to the Mediterranean, where our lunch was sourced fresh that very morning. Macarons and croissants transport me to the streets of Paris, strolling leisurely and peeking into the display window of every patisserie I passed by. The desserts at Semisweet Bakery in Downtown Los Angeles bring me back to my childhood, with classic American favorites like chocolate-banana bread, decadent layer cakes, and strawberry pocket tarts.

A generous slice of blueberry cornbread- 
the perfect balance between sweet and savory. 

Semisweet is a charming shop nestled into a bustling Los Angeles street. The decor pays tribute to the 60’s, with checkered tile tables, baby blue walls, and vintage accessories. Peering at the menu offerings made me nostalgic for the types of desserts I used to love as a kid- Oreos, Thrifty ice cream, and molten chocolate cake. 

After much deliberation, I ordered the 7 Up pound cake, blueberry cornbread, Samoa macaron, and the traditional and PB Crunch Ding a Lings. All were excellent, but the pound cake and the PB Crunch Ding a Ling definitely stole the show. A Ding a Ling is Semisweet’s rendition of the iconic Ding Dong- a chocolate snack cake filled with cream and dunked in chocolate glaze. You must try the peanut butter version, which satisfied my sweet-salty-crunchy-chocolately craving all at once.

Semisweet’s prices are also very reasonable given the top-notch quality and generous portions, a major advantage for someone who can never make up her mind on what to order. So visit this quaint bakery for delicious American treats that will make you smile. 

Semisweet Bakery 
105 East 6th St. 
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 228 9975
– – – – – – – – – – – – – 
Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. 


Oat Cake with Blueberries and Blackberries

10 Jun

Just two days ago, I graduated high school. My classmates and I wore white dresses and held bouquets, walked down an aisle to an outdoor stage (sounds like a wedding, doesn’t it?), and waited anxiously to receive our diplomas. During stressful moments and late-night study sessions, I vividly imagined this day in my mind, maybe even counted down to it. Now that toasts have been made and achievements celebrated, it hasn’t sunk in yet that I will not return as a student to the place where I spent the past six years of my life.

Picking blackberries from my backyard garden.

Change is a funny sensation, because transitioning from one chapter of your life to the next never feels the way you imagined it would. I thought it would be easy to say goodbye and look forward to entering college, but this past month has been incredibly bittersweet. 

How do I thank my amazing teachers and advisors, my peers, and my family members for all they’ve done to help me grow? How do I prepare for a completely new environment filled with thousands of unfamiliar faces, historic buildings, and dorm life? Well, for right now, I’m focused on savoring the moment. I want to let my experiences come naturally rather than always look ahead or to the past. I plan to spend this summer doing what I am passionate about; no strings attached. 

Obviously baking ranks high on my list of passions. Which leads me to this cake. A cinnamon-scented oat cake filled with ripe, seasonal berries. The top is crunchy from a sprinkling of turbinado sugar, but has a soft, tender crumb on the inside. I love the cake’s rustic simplicity, because during this time of year it’s all about allowing the produce to shine. 

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, July 2013

4 tblsp unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan 
1 cup plus 3 tblsp quick-cooking oats, divided 
2/3 cup water 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
3/4 tsp coarse salt 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 cups mixed ripe blueberries and blackberries 
3 tblsp coarse sanding sugar (turbinado sugar) 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour an 8-inch square metal baking pan, tapping out excess flour. Combine 1 cup oats and water and let stand until oats have softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and beat in egg and vanilla until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour and oat mixtures and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in about half of the berries.

3. Spread batter in pan and sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons oats and sanding sugar. Scatter remaining berries evenly over top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving. It’s best served on the day of.