One year older

hello family,

My birthday was this past week!  If you didn’t know, well, I just have no words.  haha, kidding!  Don’t worry, I will still talk to you the next time I see you 🙂  …MAYBE >.<

Anyway, this week reminded me what awesome family, friends, and colleagues I have.  I feel truly blessed.  A lot happened this week because it was also my colleagues last full week, so in true fashion of Wong’s Kitchen, I will describe my birthday week through what I ate (and yes, it is a birthday week, not just a day):

  • Korean BBQ with my nyc transplant friends – i hadn’t seen some of them in years (since graduation???) but they were able to come out for lunch 😀
  • homemade strawberry cake from one of my friends’ cousin-in-law – isn’t that sweet?  i’ve only met her one other time before the lunch and she made me a cake…
  • Red Mango – blueberry froyo!!!!  MOCHI!!!!  CRUSHED THIN MINTS!!
  • lobster – this is required for our family celebrations.  every birthday and anniversary, our dad stops by a store on the way home to find some lobsters.  they even steam them for you now!
  • levain bakery’s chocolate peanut chip cookie from one of my nyc friends
  • costco samples!!!  have i ever expounded on my love of costco?  my mom switched her card to me this weekend so i am psyched!!  also i got new socks, which, I’m happy to report to Mui, don’t slip at the ankle.
  • doughnuts from a bakery in nyc…i can’t remember the name!  my old roommate and her husband got these for me and they were delicious – filled with cream, raspberry, and chocolate.  i’m so amused how people know that if they get me desserts for my birthday I will be happy.
  • pork belly and kimchi rice plate for my bday dinner with jasmine green tea boba
  • MANGO SHAVED ICE for bday dinner dessert.  it is delicious.  when my current roommates and i first moved in together, we went to this place and got the last dish of mango shaved ice for the season.  this night, we had 3 huge bowls of it and the 11 of us enjoyed every last bite.  then they all sang happy birthday in a terribly off-key manner.  lots of pedestrians gave us funny looks.

there was lots more eating, but this covers the big stuff.  my roommates also took me out the night before for a “makeover.”  they always joke about how dowdy i dress (i do dress dowdy – who wants to wear nice clothes to lab then spill some chemicals on it?  not i…).  the whole time, they refused to tell me where we were going, but tried to temper my excitement by telling me we were going to the ghetto.  haha, the ‘burbs are not ghetto.  i love my roommies!  they’re so sweet.  or maybe just embarrassed by the way I dress.  HAHA…

That’s it?  NO!!!!  i also made 2 cakes this week for my coworker who is leaving soon.  The first was a strawberry mousse cake for a dinner with the four of us who are closer, and I made a second one (chocolate raspberry nutella cake) for our lab-wide potluck (to make up for the first mess too).  haha, yeah, that first one was not so good, but I really want to make it work, so when I do, I will share that with you.  The chocolate one was much better and made up for the mess that was the strawberry mousse cake.

For the second cake, I used a recipe from Sweetapolita that I worried at first would not be as chocolaty since it’s made only with cocoa powder and not a combo of cocoa powder and chocolate.  However, it turned out perfectly fine.  I made 3 times the cupcake recipe to get 3 8-inch layers, and I also cut the sugar in half.  Since I can’t afford fancy cocoa, I used the regular store brand, and it worked just fine.  I also made the rum syrup recommended, and it was an excellent addition to keep the layers moist.  The nutella frosting was not as nutella-y with the addition of melted chocolate.  I think I would go with Mui’s nutella frosting next time.

So I’ll leave you with the cake assembly:

Chocolate raspberry nutella cake assembly:


  • 3 cake layers
  • rum syrup
  • seedless raspberry jam
  • nutella frosting


  1. Trim off dome of cake layers.
  2. Brush rum syrup lightly (I knew kids were going to be at the potluck…) on first layer.
  3. Spread a thin layer of seedless raspberry jam on the layer.
  4. Lightly spread the nutella frosting so that it doesn’t mix with the jam layer (or pipe on with a large round tip)
  5. Place next layer on top.
  6. Repeat 2-4.  For last layer, stop after step 2.
  7. Frost all over with nutella frosting.

That’s all!  and yes, I made a cake for someone else on my birthday.  actually, it was quite fun 😀  happy birthday to me!!!  😀