Sweet Relief Bake Sale for Bastrop

In an effort to raise money to help Central Texas Fire victims, the ladies of the Community Renaissance Bakery Collective joined whisks to bake for the Central Texas chapter of the American Red Cross. Sweet Relief Bake Sale was part of the city-wide Austin Bakes for Bastrop event the following weekend.


Sweet Relief Bake Sale included baked goods from Objects of Confection, Sugar Tooth Bakery, Sugar Pop Sweet Shop, and a small contribution from kathyphantastic (in collaboration with Objects of Confection). It was quite the spread.

We sold cake balls and Central Texas cake pops by the handfuls.

I wrapped chocolate chip cookie sandwiches.

The cookie sandwiches themselves were a handful.

Of course, there were cupcakes a-plenty of the regular and vegan sort.

We sold platters of mini peanut butter pies for Mikey (and Bastrop). More about A Pie for Mikey at Eatocracy.

Cupcake-eating baby Molly stopped by to visit. I may have created a mini cupcake eating monster.

Before

After

We were so glad to help Bastrop by doing what we love. Community Renaissance Bakery helped raise $1,335.95(!) out of the total $12,500, coming in at fourth place among all the bake sale sites. Thank you, Austin.

photos by Tina Phan

Custom White Persian Cat Portrait Mug

Last December, I had the pleasure of drawing Charlotte the White Persian cat. When asked about her personality, her mama's friend Sarah called her a very regal and prissy cat who loves long naps. Sounds good to me, I need a long nap.

Sarah also revealed that Charlotte has quite the brush collection. She has four brushes and chooses which brush she wants to be brushed with!

Have your kitty's portrait made on a mug or plate at my Etsy store.

Behind the scenes (please ignore my holiday crafting mess):

Why yes, those are penguins putting up a Christmas tree pajama pants.

Photos by Tina Phan

Kidney Donor Cake Pops

In December of 2010, a close friend of mine was ready to give his mother the ultimate gift, that of life, with one of his kidneys. in honor of Alex' love and sacrifice I created these kidney cake pops. These pops were honoring the incredible bravery, courage, and dedication of person who I made (mostly good-natured) fun of on a daily basis and diamond sweaters for once.

Unfortunately, on the day of the scheduled surgery, doctors declared Alex's kidney was no longer a match. His mom's medication had complicated the situation, and her body would no longer accept his kidney.

I've been saving this post for over a yearwaiting, hoping things would turn out and Alex's mom would find a match. Now, after reading Bakerella's post about her year and receiving a kidney transplant (and the inspiring comments afterward), I decided to finally release mine.

Alex's mom is still on dialysis and is currently on a waiting list, hoping for a match. If he could have, Alex would have saved the day, sometimes, these things are beyond our control. I continue to keep his mom in my thoughts.

photos by Tina Phan

Rio's Brazilian


After a long day of waiting in line to see the Architects of Air exhibit, lil Phan, her friends Katie and Caitlin, and I went to Rio's Brazilian for a post-Luminaria snack.

I am currently obsessed with beets. This is a perfectly acceptable obsession as it's much cheaper and healthier to be obsessed with beets than, say, Louis Vuitton handbags, Ferraris, Monte Cristos, or shar peis (not sharpies, those are affordable). My favorite beet salad is from La Condesa, but the apple and beet salad from Rio's is pretty good, too.

My favorite item from Rio's is their famous cheese bread, pão de queijo for my Portuguese-speaking readers (of which there are none, according to Google Analytics). I wish they offered them by the dozen. They come as a trio - original, red pepper, and basil. The triple dose of cheese bread is probably best for my waistline.

While I had my apple beet salad and pão de queijo, lil Phan had the veggie Tijuca sandwich and not one, but two orders of yucca fries. Her friends had a risoli de frango each. We all loved our dishes and the fact that lil Phan had ordered so many yucca fries that we'd get to share. 

Valentine's Day Cake Pop Featured on Cupcakes Take The Cake

This just in from my friend Michelle from Foodie is the New Forty: kathyphantastic Love cake pop was featured on Cupcakes Take The Cake! Umm...I've kinda been obsessed with that blog for years. Big news in the world of kathyphantastic.

The kathyphantastic love cake pop was one among 10 Valentine's Day cake pops by food bloggers. One of my goals for the year was to get featured on Cupcakes Take The Cake. Maybe I can try to be featured twice?

via cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com photo by Michelle Cheng

I sent Michelle a Valentine's and Chinese New Year cake pop package the other year when I made my first batch of Love pops. This was a year when Lunar New Year and Valentine's fell within a week of each other. Being a food blogger, Michelle ate and blogged about it. I'm not sure in which order. I think ate then blogged.

Here's the post on Foodie is the New Forty and my original post on Valentine's cake pops and the kathyphantastic/Objects of Confection Valentine's cake pop class.

Thanks so much for featuring us! I'm so psyched.

Orangette's Nutmeg Doughnut Muffins

This post is dedicated to my friend Michelle - "Optimista," if you will - who has been very excited about this recipe after seeing my Instagram photos. Hi Michelle.

I've had some time off from work over the holidays and have been doing a lot of cooking and baking lately. Man, my interns are missing out.

This afternoon (because I now wake at 11:00am or sometimes 1:00pm) I made Orangette's Nutmeg Doughnut Muffins for breakfast. You read that correctly, doughnut-muffin hybrid. Baked in a muffin pan, tasting like a doughnut.

Orangette is one of my favorite food blogs. Ever. I was lucky enough to see hear her speak at SXSWi last year. Here are my Orangette sketchnotes.

I saw so excited about the recipe, I got all spirited and wore my Doughnut Plant NYC shirt. Wearing doughnut clothes while making doughnut muffins is totally my style. Wearing a pizza costume while recruiting for Whole Grains Pizza Iron Chef competition entrants: apparently also my style.

You can find the Nutmeg Doughnut Muffin recipe on Orangette's blog. I've also included the recipe below with my comments in grey.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Scant 1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg *Mine was not freshly ground. I'm sure it would have been even better if it were
¾ cup plus 1 Tbs whole milk
2 Tbs buttermilk
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar
2 large eggs

For topping:
4 - 6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar

*I used organic eggs, butter, milk, and flour. OMG organic dairy tastes amazing.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack to the middle position. Spray a standard-size muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, and whisk to mix them thoroughly. Set aside.

Combine the milk and the buttermilk in a measuring cup, and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or, alternatively, in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters nearby) *I actually had a KitchenAid stand mixer with an electric beater next to it, and beat on medium speed for a few seconds, until the butter is soft and creamy. With the motor running, add the sugar in a steady stream. Continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until the mixture increases in volume and lightens to pale yellow. It should look light, fluffy, and wonderfully creamy, like frosting. This could take a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are just combined.

*Is anyone else scared of cracking eggs? After years of baking I'm still frightened. I have some sort of egg shell fear.

With a wooden spoon, mix ¼ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture. Continue to add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dries. Mix until the dough is smooth and well combined, but do not overmix.

*I refrigerated the dough overnight so I could eat my doughnut muffin brunch at 1pm. I knew I wouldn't be waking up earlier than 10am. Orangette wasn't lying the dough does keep well in the fridge.

Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin tin. *I tried to use a scoop. My scoop was too small so I had to put multiple scoops of batter in each muffin circle. It did make for a nice picture. Bake until the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-32 minutes.

When the muffins are cool enough to handle, prepare the topping: melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop, and pour the powdered sugar into a deep bowl. Using a pastry brush and working one muffin at a time, lightly brush the entire outside of the muffin with butter, and then roll it in the powdered sugar. *During the brushing, I accidentally buttered my hand. Mmm...organic buttered hand.

 Shake off any excess, and place the finished muffins on a rack or serving platter. Serve.

This is the second time I've baked these muffins and they are best on first day. Next time, I'll probably divide the batch and bake half one day and the other half the next. Twelve nutmeg doughnut muffins in one day, though quite delicious, may be too many. I ate three today.

Lil Phan loved these so much she's now looking for a way to make enough money to support me so I can just cook and bake for her every day while she works.

She looks like she's eating a snowball, but I can attest to it being a doughnut muffin covered in Imperial powerdered sugar. I will testify to this in a court of law. I can only hope it would be televised and called Confection Court and feature characters from Candy Land with court-related titles. But I digress...

I am now scrambling to find ways to use the rest of my buttermilk before it goes bad. Maybe I'll try Orangette's buttermilk cookies with lemon zest before I have to go back to work next week. I seriously Googled "orangette buttermilk" hoping for positive search results. Thanks SEO.

2011 in review

*Where was this taken? Scroll to January for details...

2011 was an exceedingly busy year with lots of travelling, weddings, and travelling to and from weddings. I explored two countries I'd never visited and I found a new job that was more difficult than I ever imagined but also more fun that I could have hoped. My job switched from working with young people selling things to working with old people trying to sell things to young people - and them not understanding why those young people weren't biting. This is where I come in. Of course though, being closer of age to the young folks, the older people didn't understand where I was coming from either.

I made new friends, started mentoring students, collaborated on cake pops, suited up in Dallas Cowboys pads and crafted (not all at the same time). I became so busy with work, weddings, and crafts I didn't sleep, stopped exercising, continued eating, and gained weight. The nuptuals eventually subsided and I started working out again, turning some of that newfound fat into muscle. Unfortunately, my pants, like honey badgers, don't care - they can't recognize the difference and are unrelenting. Feel free to write to your congressman regarding my pants. This is most definitely a petition-worthy issue.

I stopped blogging and lost touch with good friends for a while, but reconnected over the holidays. I hope to blog somewhat more consistently in 2012.

I faced new challenges and learned new lessons and have a better understanding of where I want and need to be and where I don't.

In 2011, I lived, laughed a lot, ate maybe even more than I laughed, and moved forward towards bigger things. Here are some of the highlights. Ideally, I'll be able to turn some of them into full blog posts, but once again. It's been really busy (and wedding-y).

January

The redhead, my best friend Wendy and I started off the year right, in a foreign country where we were all illiterate.*

*except for the signage at MBK Center in Bangkok at the top of this post, which we had no problem reading

What was going to be a destination wedding turned into an international adventure to Thailand and Vietnam with my best friends, who aren't necessarily best friends with each other.

February

Jessica from Objects of Confection and I taught a Valentine's cake pop class, hopefully, the second of many more lessons in cake-poppery.

March

I went to my first SXSW interactive with a badge(!). I found myself drinking cocktails mixed with Monster Energy Drink and reuniting with an old friend over hotdogs and leapfrog. It was crazy times.

photo by annie ray

Oh and I started taking sketchnotes.

April

photo by Nathan Russell

photo by Aimee Wenske

In an effort to raise money for Japan earthquake victims, I made a whole bunch of Sanrio cake pops for Austin Bakes for Japan (using Objects of Confection cake balls, of course). Hello Kitty was a best seller at the bake sale.

I celebrated a birthday, and I celebrated a reason to have birthday cake.

May

The redhead and I went to Mexico and did not get beheaded. His parents kept talking about beheadings before our trip. Luckily, we kept our cabezas intact.

Our main purpose for this trip was for a private destination wedding. The bride wanted to keep wedding-related posts under wraps until her big ceremony and reception in the US. I'll post more once I get her permission.

Michelle Savage-Mena wrote about me and my cake pops in the Austin Post.

June

This guy turned the big 2-9 and ate a bunch of barbeque.

I also had my 10-year high school reunion. It was in a small banquet room of a hotel with open iced tea, and incredibly awkward. At least I didn't get really fat.

July

Work sent me to the NACUFS National Conference in Dallas and my work partner-in-crime Meagan and I found ourselves in the Dallas Cowboys' locker room during the lockout.

The redhead and I ate cheese and drank champagne with our friends Dee and Ryan who always guarantee a hilarious time. We love these guys, but rarely get the opportunity to laugh (and eat) with them in person. They're Dee-lightful.

I went on the "East Coach (sic) Tour" with my family. It was a Chinese-language bus tour that somehow covered seven states and two countries in eleven days. This wasn't really a highlight, as much as an extremely bizarre life experience I don't ever want to relive, but the memories will last a lifetime. Luckily, the tour didn't.

August

The East Coach Tour continued through the first week of August including my favorite part, The Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. I'd like to visit Canada again without a tour bus.

The Fall semester started, which everyone at work - old and young - refers to as the "crazy semester." I hired a bunch of new interns.

September

photo by annie ray

My work team and I planned (and marketed) our first big event - Mexican American Cultural Dinner and it was a huge success.

Texas Football started again. Meagan turned 30 and continued to look 23.

I was in put in charge of a banana suit that was accidentally shipped to a different state. Luckily it was later found. On me.

You can now call me Commander Bananasuit.

We went to ACL, one day of it anyway, and found a few old friends. You might not guess which one of us found Kanye's performance life-changing. HINT: Here's a picture of that person from 2009.

kathyphantastic donated cake pops to Objects of Confection's Sweet Relief bake sale raising money for the Central Texas fire victims.

On our way to yet another wedding in New York, the redhead and I visited our friend Fran in Philly and ate a lot.

Here we are eating Bassett's Ice Cream.

Fran convinced me to start using my Instagram account, so there's another place to follow me, if you please. I'm kathyphantastic there.

October

I was reunited with my good friend Katy who I worked with at IKEA. In NYC, we ate veggies, talked clothes, and I finally met her dude. Our dudes talked about their digidevices. One day, I'll be able to afford to have Katy design some furniture for me. Maybe a replacement chair for the one the redhead broke in 2011?

The redhead and I went shopping, ate doughnuts, explored Brooklyn, ate more doughnuts, and Jitneyed over to Montauk for Amy and Justin's nautical wedding and visited a lighthouse while we were there.

photo by Minnow Park

My workplace entered an intense Whole Grains Challenge. It involved a lot of (Whole Grain) pizza costumes.

photo by Jane Ko

I styled a bridal shower, went to a burlesque-themed bachelorette party, helped set up a La Dolce Vita Food and Wine Festival booth, and made a bunch of Halloween and dia de los muertos cake pops for Austin Chocolate Festival.

November

My best friend Phuong got married to her Hieu. I toiled away in a 3-day-long sweatshop leading up to the event, but it was worth it. Man, am I glad it's over though. 2011 was pretty much the year of Phuong. (Hi, Phuong, I love you.)

I'm the red one.

kathyphantastic and DottiePop did our first craft show at Craft Riot - unfortunately on the same day as Phuong's Vietnamese Catholic wedding and reception with afterparty immediately following. Needless to say, I wasn't there, but the crafts and Lauren Blazic from DottiePop sure were.

photo by Jane Ko

Ade and Robert also got married in a fake tiny town outside of Austin - not a Mr. Rogers train model-sized town, but one some people decided to create as an event venue. I'd never seen so many Asian people in a country setting nor had I seen a fake tiny town.

The redhead and I saw Green Day on a school night for $20 each.

I relaunched my Etsy store for the Holiday season and did a few giveaways on my kathyphantastic Facebook page.

December

I added a bunch of new products to the kathyphantastic Etsy store with fab photos by my friend Aimee Wenske.

kathyphantastic's second booth at a craft show - Austin Flea Holiday Show feat. Kathy Phan. I again shared the booth with my friend Lauren from DottiePop.

This led to a lot of dog and cat drawings on mugs to cap off the holiday season.

I took the opportunity tag along on a brief trip to Denver and see my friend Courtney while Chris went to work meetings. It was cold.

The redhead and I went to a bunch of Holiday parties over the course of a weekend. We checked in at 4 events on one Saturday.

We stayed in Austin for Christmas with Chris' family. I decorated ginger cookies to look like the redhead for his family's Christmas presents. The day after Christmas, Boxing Day to some, we drove to Houston for a brief visit with my parents who generously gifted the redhead this generous (in fabric) Nassau, Bahamas t-shirt. We also had dinner and drinks with some good friends.