Posts Tagged: sugar blossom bake shop

The book that started it all…

Big day folks! The book that started it all, Beach House Baking, is released today into the ethereal world of paperback reprint! This newly updated reprint has TEN new recipes that are perfect for the start of summer. Order your fresh copy on Amazon here.

Happy Baking!













One of the most-loved treats at my bakeshop Sugar Blossom in San Clemente, CA is our Vegan Chocolate Blackout Cookie. It’s a soft, moist cookie with a slight bite thanks to a thin coat of sugar on the outside.

Ingredients such as almond milk and vegetable oil replace the slew of normal dairy and non-vegan items like butter and eggs.

The key to making our Blackout cookie outstanding is to use a high quality cocoa powder – we use a dark Valrhona cocoa. Another important step is to not overbake them, ensuring they stay moist for days.


This recipe makes approximately 15 cookies. If that’s too much sweet for one day, place the cooled cookies in a Ziploc bag and stick them in your freezer before coating with sugar. When you’re ready to serve (or eat) them, remove the cookies from the freezer and toss them in some sugar. Let them thaw for 30 minutes before enjoying.


beach town baking



  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar for coating


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugars, oil, almond milk and vanilla on medium speed for one minute.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until mixture comes together. Scrape bowl well.
Use a 1-oz scoop to portion out the cookie dough (it will be soft) onto a parchment lined sheet tray. You should get about 15 cookies.
Bake cookies for 8 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool completely.
Toss cookies in sugar and serve.


Tangerine Flan

tangerine flan (1)


Hello Folks – I’ve been working on recipes for my third book, Farm-to-Dessert Table, due out Spring 2017, and I just had to share something I created yesterday. I spotted some end of the season tangerines at the market that looked too good to pass up. I figured a tangerine flan seemed like the perfect use for these sweet citrus fruits. This recipe uses only 2 tangerines and yet has amazing flavor thanks to a healthy dose of tangerine zest and fresh squeezed tangerine juice in the custard base.


tangerine flan (3)

I baked my flan in a 9x5x3 loaf pan. It made slicing even portions a breeze.


tangerine flan (2)

Make sure to cook the caramel long enough to achieve a dark amber. There’s nothing more disappointing than flipping out your flan only to see a barely there caramel!



Tangerine Flan


  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup tangerine juice
  • 2 tablespoons tangerine zest
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a large oblong pan filled with water in the oven for your water bath. Set a 9x5x3 loan pan on the counter.
Place half the sugar in a small heavy pot over medium heat. Slowly drizzle in ¼ cup water. Gently swirl the pot to blend the sugar and water. Once the syrup is clear let it boil undisturbed until it begins to darken, about 8 to 10 minutes. Gently swirl the pot to evenly caramelize the syrup. Once dark amber is achieved, pour all of the syrup into a 9x5x3 pan and carefully tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Set aside to cool.
Combine the milks, tangerine juice and zest in a medium pot. Place over medium heat and bring to just steaming. Whisk the eggs and yolk with the remaining sugar in a large bowl. Slowly strain in the hot milk mixture into the eggs and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla.
Slowly pour the custard base into the prepared pan. Place in the water bath and bake for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours, or until custard is set (look for the jello jiggle). Let set up at least 6 hours or overnight. To unmold, dip the loaf pan briefly into hot water, loosen the edges with a sharp knife and invert onto serving platter.

Creamy and Delicious Nutella Frosting Recipe


Nutella always seems to make everything taste better, especially desserts.

I developed a Nutella frosting today at my bakery and just had to share cuz it’s that goooood.

I wanted my frosting to be thin enough to spread yet thick enough to hold its shape when piped on a cake.


When you read through my recipe, you’ll notice that I added a little bit of salt in the end to cut the sweetness.  It’s not a crucial step, but I sure do like the dimension it adds.

Have fun with this frosting. You can put it on almost anything and it will taste delicious. For those of you who have my book Beach House Baking, try this frosting on my Guinness Cupcakes for a special treat 😉

How did I use it, you ask?

Well, I was asked to donate a cake this weekend to a local women’s club fundraising event. I ended up making a milk chocolate sponge cake and serving it with my Nutella frosting and gorgeous fresh raspberries. Hopefully, my cake will raise a lot of money for a great organization!


beach town baking

Creamy and Delicious Nutella Frosting


  • 1lb unsalted butter (soft)
  • 4 Cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


In a KitchenAid bowl with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add the Nutella and mix on medium speed for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix for one minute on medium speed to incorporate air.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yield; about 4 to 5 cups frosting

Best Granola Recipe – Breakfast to Brighten your Day

Beach's Best Granola B

If you’re like me, then you too wake up to your stomach growling.  In fact, I think my stomach growls actually wake me up:/

So on many mornings at the beach house I treat myself to the best granola that I prepare the night before. That way my breakfast is literally waiting for me to walk down the stairs and into the kitchen, all ready to be enjoyed.

I like to pack a lot of heart healthy and fiber rich ingredients into my granola recipe like sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seeds and olive oil. I’ve experimented with adding other ingredients like dried fruit (after baking) and walnuts (before baking) and it always turns out delicious so feel free to get creative with my recipe on your own!

Beach's Best Granola A

The granola keeps well in an airtight container for 2 weeks. Hope this granola makes your mornings brighter! Enjoy!

Beach's Best Granola C


beach town baking


Best Granola Recipe


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut (shredded sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grade A maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two sheet trays with aluminum foil.
Combine the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seeds, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium stainless steel bowl.
Bring the olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon to boil in a saucepan. Pour the hot liquid over the oat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until all the oats and nuts are coated.
Divide the granola between the two cookie sheets and spread out evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes. Stir the granola and bake 15 minutes more.
Remove the granola from the oven. Let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


Beach House Baking Release Party

book on table

Happy Summer everyone! Last week was the much anticipated Beach House Baking release party held at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.  After a month full of emails, phone calls and taste testing, the Beach House Baking Release Party went off without a hitch.

I’m thrilled to share with all of you some memorable shots from the party. And if you haven’t checked out my book yet, Beach House Baking is now available for purchase on Amazon here. It’s full of great summer and beach-inspired recipes for everyone!

First up – dessert! I baked up a variety of sweets from my book and created a beachy dessert table for guests to pick and choose from. The recipes I made from my book included: PCH (pina colada highway) cupcakes, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes, Blueberry Lavender Pie, Tsunamis and Coco Hut Macaroons.

dessert table dessert table 2 dessert table_1

The reception was held at Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern in the St. Regis Monarch Beach, where I was the former pastry chef. Below are just some of the delicious canapés they served: avocado spheres filled with Dungeness crab, fried chicken bites, crispy kale chips, kobe beef sliders.

canapes 2 canapes 1 canapes 4 canapes 3

I was thrilled to have some very special guest bloggers and editors on hand. Anita Lau of Mad Hungry Woman, Valerie Mitchell of Mama Likes to Cook, Shelby Barone of OC Mom’s Blog, Caryn Bailey of Rockin Mama, Angela Saldana of Momfluential, Priscilla Mayfield of Orange Coast Magazine and Cathy Thomas of OC Register/ Cathy Thomas Cooks.

media media 2

Guests spent the evening perusing through my new book in between sips of champagne and my Berry Sangria.

looking at book looking at book 2 dan reading bookamanda and daniel reading book

Lots of friends came out to partake in the celebration, too!

val and justin 1 kate, lei and seyie christina and lei mac at dessert tablejustin amina and moval and justin_3 tracy, val, christina, george dr o and lei allie, heather, lei   seyie, kate, lei

All in all, it was a hugely successful event that was enjoyed by everyone!


beach town baking

Chef Lei’s Best Pizza Sauce Recipe

photo 1 (1)

The other week, I offered to watch my friend’s 9-year old son for the evening so that she could have a relaxing night off from motherhood. Instead of taking him out for dinner, I decided to have a pizza night at home! And not delivery pizza (cue the DiGiorno jokes)– I decided to make pizzas at home as a fun and creative activity. Needless to say, it was a hit!

We topped our pizzas with green peppers, mozzarella and pepperoni. But what really stood out was the pizza sauce. Just thinking about it makes me drool. Yes, it was that good! So good, in fact, that I just had to share it with all of you on this blog post.

photo 3 (1)

I used oregano and fresh garlic and threw in paprika at the last minute to add a delicious flavor of pepper and some mild heat. I added a generous serving of sugar, which is needed to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.

This pizza sauce recipe is so simple to make, takes 2 quick minutes to whip up and yields about 2 cups of sauce.

Best Pizza Sauce


  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

beach town baking

Piña Colada Cupcakes


After weeks of anticipation, here it is: my Piña Colada Cupcake recipe! This is one of my favorite cupcake creations at my bakery, Sugar Blossom Bake Shop, and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you.


My Piña Colada Cupcake was inspired by a Puerto Rico trip my girlfriends and I went on together. Every time I bake these cupcakes, memories of sipping on piña coladas under an umbrella shade with my feet buried beneath the warm Puerto Rican sand come flooding back to me.


The cupcake is super flavorful thanks to the rum and coconut milk in the batter. You can use any rum of your choice, but I highly recommend using Ron del Barrilito rum; This full-bodied Puerto Rican rum is exceptional and will give your cupcakes an excellent flavor. It’s a bit of a challenge to locate here in the United States, but well worth it if you manage to get your hands on a bottle.

I frost the cupcake with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut. I find that the cream cheese complements the flavors well and the toasted coconut adds a welcome crunch. See my blog post for how to toast coconut.

The “piña” is in the form of a caramelized baby pineapple ring. Brover sells canned baby pineapple rings of excellent quality. See my blog post for how to caramelize pineapple.

Beach House Baking’s Pina Colada Cupcakes 

1½ cups cake flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1¼ cups sugar

½ cup coconut milk

¼ cup Ron del Barrilito rum

2 large eggs

¼ cup sour cream

2 cups toasted shredded coconut for garnish

14 caramelized baby pineapples (Brover brand) for garnish

14 maraschino cherries with stems for garnish


Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar

6 ounces cream cheese, cold

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make the cupcake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 14 liners.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, coconut milk, and rum on low speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Scrape bowl. Add the sour cream and dry ingredients alternately, beginning with cream and ending with the flour.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them just below the rim. (I use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop.) Bake for 16 to 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Make the frosting:

Sift the powdered sugar and set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium speed until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and mix for another 2 minutes to ensure no lumps remain.

Add the powdered sugar all at once and beat on low speed just until sugar is incorporated. Then beat at high speed for 10 seconds. Scrape down sides well. Beat the mixture again on high speed for 10 seconds.

Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, crumb the edges with the toasted coconut, and top with a caramelized baby pineapple and maraschino cherry.


beach town baking

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

Beach Town Baking's old fashioned peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cookies that are soft and chewy? Who can say no? I wanted to come up with a Peanut Butter Cookie recipe that would stay moist and soft for days on end, because who knows when an impromptu picnic at the beach might come up, prompting you to grab any available snack that’s on hand?

These cookies not only have an amazingly soft and chewy texture, but they’re also packed with rich peanut butter flavor. My secret was to use peanut butter and peanut butter chips in the dough to give it a double dose of peanut butter.

Beach Town Baking's old fashioned peanut butter cookies

These cookies are perfect for taking to the beach; the heat of the sun warms the cookie just enough to bring out the peanut butter aroma and melt the peanut butter chips embedded in the dough. It’s like taking a bite out of a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie, and who wouldn’t love that delicious just-baked taste at the beach?

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

Meal type Dessert
From book Beach House Baking
Delicious soft and chewy cookies packed with peanut butter goodness.


  • 1/2 stick Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Half and half
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Heaping cup Peanut Butter Chips
  • 3/4 teaspoons Baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt


Makes about 23 cookies


In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about one minute.
Add the egg, half and half, and vanilla extract, and mix for an additional minute. Mix in the flour, chips, baking soda and salt until incorporated. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a couple baking trays with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
Scoop the dough onto the prepared trays (I use a 1-ounce ice cream scoop). Flatten slightly with palm. Mark the dough with the back of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until edges are just set. Cookies will look underbaked. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool completely on the sheet trays.

beach town baking

“Goodbye to Summer” Peach Cobbler

Summer Peach Cobbler

Fall in Southern California doesn’t look a whole lot different than it does in the summer, and I’m not complaining!  But being from the East Coast, I sometimes do miss the true transitions between the seasons and the fun things that accompany it, like the turning of the leaves, the air getting crisper and being able to layer up and wear scarves and boots. With Fall finally ushering out the sweltering California heat waves, it’s starting to feel a little bit more like autumn around here, and I wanted to bake something that would properly bid adieu to summer.

I rode my beach cruiser to the market to look for inspiration. I came across the last summer’s crop of peaches and thought, what better way to send off summer than with a peach cobbler? I picked up the last perfect batch of peaches, and happily rode home.

Summer Peach Cobbler

Upon coming home, I realized that all of my pie pans had somehow ended up at my bakery, so I decided to improvise and bake the cobbler in a deep, cast iron sauté pan I had lying around. Turns out, it was the perfect pan to use since the side handles came in handy for pulling the cobbler out of the oven. I think I’m going to use this pan more often!

Summer Peach Cobbler

My cobbler topping is a soft biscuit-like dough. I took a clean, perfect shell I had picked up at the beach several weeks ago and used it to press into the dough to give my cobbler a beautiful beachy pattern.

Summer Peach Cobbler

Enjoy this cobbler warm topped with some lemon sorbet, and reminisce about your summer with every delicious bite.


Beach Town Baking’s “Goodbye to Summer” Peach Cobbler
Makes one 10-inch sauté or pie pan

3 pounds yellow peaches, ripe
½ cup sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstach
1 large lemon

Biscuit topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Peel and pit the peaches:

Score the pointed tip of the peaches with an X using a sharp paring knife. Bring a pot of water to a low boil over medium heat. Submerge the peaches in the water for about one minute (the less ripe, the more time you will need to boil them). Remove the peaches and dunk them in an ice bath until completely cool. Gently peel the peaches by pulling at the skin by the scored X or rubbing it off gently with your thumb. If the skin does not come off easily, repeat the boiling and cooling steps again. Using a sharp knife, slice the peaches in halves and gently remove the pits. Slice the peaches lengthwise to get 6 – 7 slices per halve. Set aside the slices in a large bowl.

Whisk together the sugar, orange juice and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for one minute. Pour the mixture over the peaches and stir to coat the peaches. Transfer peaches to a 10-inch oven-proof sauté pan or pie pan. Squeeze the juice of the lemon evenly over the peaches.

Make the topping:

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the ingredients on medium speed until a smooth dough forms. On a floured surface, pat the dough into an 8-inch circle. Press a clean seashell firmly into the dough to transfer the design. Cut into 8 wedges and place them over the peaches.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the biscuits feel firm when pressed. Let cool at room temperature. Serve with lemon sorbet or vanilla ice cream.

beach town baking



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