Posted by on Sep 6, 2010 in Miscellaneous, Recipe | 17 comments

DSCN4528To most of you out there, today’s Labor Day – the holiday that occurs every year on the first Monday of September. However, to the Hwang family September 6th holds another meaning as well. While it may not always occur on a Monday, it usually happens close enough. Today, my baby sister turns seventeen. =] For those of you who attended the birthday bbq yesterday, you already know this. For those of you who couldn’t make it…

Happy Birthday Jasmine~!

Holidays are meant to be celebrated grandly, and birthdays are no exception. This means pulling out the nifty little trinkets to fancy things up a bit. For breakfast, I attempted to beautify boring old waffles and pancakes with molds…and completely failed with the eggs.

With the help of a few purchases that I obtained in Taiwan, I was able to mutilate transform pancakes into unnatural star and heart shapes. The recipe for the batter? I’ll admit it, I cheated and used Aunt Jemima’s instant mix – with an added splash of cinnamon and nutmeg. But hey, Aunt Jemima knows her stuff when it comes to pancakes and waffles!

As for the misshapen eggs? I was trying to squish them into star shapes but it turns out that either:

  1. the mold I was using was too big or
  2. the eggs were too small

because the closest thing I got to a star were really round flowers. Yea…

Now that I’m done stating my failures, let’s move on to the actual stars that appeared after brunch!

Being a tea fanatic (just a little) I had the idea of making cake with tea. I was sure I’d stumbled across sweets like that before but couldn’t remember where and so I turned to Food Network and was rewarded with Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing. Mmm, sounds like a winner already. Now to put it to the test.

As with all recipes, I tweaked it a bit and since I wasn’t making cupcakes but actual cakes the baking time was quite different as well. The end result? Take a look for yourself and then tell me if you want the recipe or not. ;)


Looking good ain’t it? I think so too. So, without further ado, here’s S.S.Munchies’ first recipe from yours truly.

Chocolate Cake with Earl Grey Icing


For the Cupcakes:


  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 bags Earl Grey tea

First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil some water in a pot and then let it simmer. Mix the chocolate and butter in a glass or ceramic bowl (metal works too but it’ll get hot) and place the bowl over the pot. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water! This works as a makeshift double-boiler and the chocolate and butter will melt slowly and evenly.

Mix the sugar and flour in a separate bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and soon you should have a creamy batter. Vanilla extract comes last (and I always like adding a little bit extra). Pour the chocolate concoction in and make sure to mix well…and your cake batter is done!

I used little individual cake molds but it’s really the same no matter what you decide to bake in. Keep in mind that you should always only fill the pan 3/4 full as it will rise while baking. If you’re not sure how long it will take to bake I usually go by this:

  • cupcake sized = ~12 – 15 min
  • anything bigger = ~30 – 45 min

I know that doesn’t sound very safe (no one likes a burnt cake) but plenty of patience and attentiveness will go a long way. Each oven is different so baking times may vary. I usually just check depending on the estimated time frames listed above and take them out to test with a toothpick. If the toothpick doesn’t come out clean, back in the oven for another 5 – 10 min.

Now onto the icing:

Whisk the sugar and egg whites together by hand. Empty the tea bags and add the loose tea to the bowl. I used Twining’s Earl Grey which was nice since the tea leaves have already been grounded very fine. If your tea leaves are pretty big then you may want to either crush them or pass them for a spin in the food processor.

Set the bowl of the pot of simmering water and make sure that all of the sugar has dissolved. With the help of a hand mixer, whisk until it looks like icing (is white instead of clear). Test it by picking up the mixer from the bowl so that you can see how thick it has become. Keep whisking until you’re satisfied.

Note: I’ve come to find that when making icing with egg whites, they tend to be more watery then icing made from heavy cream. While heavy cream can easily form into stiff peaks, egg whites tend to be liquidy but thick and will ‘harden’ slightly as it cools.

Scoop the icing into a ziplock bag, snip a corner (not too big), and start decorating your cakes!

End result?

One happy sister.

~ AJ ~

P.S. Be sure to check out the recipe section of the blog! Recipes will be added as they are posted, however readers are welcome to share as well. In fact, we already have one reader recipe for viewing. ^^

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang.
For complete selection of photographs, please refer to the photo gallery: Only Seventeen [9/6/10]



  1. Sep-6-2010

    I don’t know you, but happy birthday, Jasmine!

  2. Sep-6-2010

    Happy birthday, Jasmine!

    I’d like to add that I wasn’t forced or blackmailed in any way by a certain site administrator to tell you this.

  3. Sep-6-2010

    Happy b-day! Ur lucky to have such a wonderful prep from ur sis =]

  4. Sep-6-2010

    Happy 17th birthday Jasmine.

    Hope you’ll have a fun day with lots of presents and stuff ^___^

  5. Sep-6-2010

    Happy Birthday Jasmine!!!

    Thanks to your sister who woke up unusually early to prepare a wonderful surprise for you and your friends. The breakfast looks absolutely wonderful and the cakes are yummy; they were tender, moist and not too sweet, just the way I like it.

    This site is coming along fine and is making a slow progress to perfection. Keep up the good works.

    • Sep-6-2010

      What do you mean unusually early?! Just because I don’t leave my room until 8 – 9 AM doesn’t mean I’m not awake by 7 AM already!

      (Then again, there’s no guarantee that I’m not sleeping in either…)

  6. Sep-6-2010

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JASMINE!! sorry i couldn’t make it to the bbq :( i really wanted to go and it seems like you had alot of fun :) you’re so lucky annmarie does these things for you. sharlene never does anything for my birthday ._.

    • Sep-6-2010

      more like we dont own any cupcake mix or cake mix. and we always buy you a cake instead of making a homemade one. and plus i think you rather eat the bought ones than eat the ones i make anyways

  7. Sep-6-2010

    As is tradition to say in my family … hoppy birfday! =D *even had the traditional celebratory drink(s) in your honor*

    I can haz cakes now, yes? <..>

  8. Sep-6-2010

    Hey Jasmine,
    Happy 17th Birthday!! You’re getting old now. Hope you have a great time!

  9. Sep-6-2010

    happy birthday jasmine! even though i already said this to you on facebook! annmarie made me say it here in the middle of my studying at 11:21 pm. needa make it short to get back to my studies! hope you have a happy one!

  10. Sep-6-2010

    Happy birthday, Jasmine! At 17, you are standing at the precipice of adulthood and youth. How exciting! Well, even though I have not yet become acquainted to you, and only know of you through your sister, have a very happy and wonderful birthday!

    Before I end this message… it is very nice to meet you too! :D


  11. Sep-6-2010


  12. Sep-6-2010

    Happy Birthday Jasmine!! Sorry that I cannot make it to the BBQ either. If your sister actually told me beforehand, I would’ve went!

    That cake looks so delicious.

  13. Sep-7-2010

    Happy Birthday Jasmine!!! Sorry its really late, but I hope you had a great birthday party ^_^

  14. Sep-9-2010
  15. Oct-11-2011

    With all the doggone snow we have gotten recently I am stuck indoors, fortunately there is the internet, thanks for giving me something to do. :)

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