Happy Birthday to Meme

Friday, May 22, 2009 85 comments

Split personality: Coco-Mocha Flan Cake

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"
-- Satchel Paige

Next week, I will celebrate my 40th birthday. I thought about dissembling my age and offering coy evasions if asked to enumerate the years. After all, I am entering a new personal era which I like to call the Age of Euphemism - the period in many a woman's life when any direct references to age suddenly become verboten. Instead, figurative phrases are deployed to delicately sidestep the irrevocable and unyielding truth: I am getting older.

So at the University, I am officially classified as a non-traditional student [translation: older than some of my professors]; in polite circles, acquaintances may refer to me as a woman of a certain age [translation: too old to hang with the impolite circles]; and to the bright young things at the café, the classroom and pretty much everywhere I turn, I am simply M'am [translation: old enough to be their mother].

Admittedly, I sometimes wish that time could be suspended. Peering at myself in the mirror, I wistfully expect to see the smooth face of yesteryear instead of the more crinkled visage of today. When I notice the slight jiggle in my upper arms, where taut skin and well-defined triceps used to be, it seems to me less like untoned muscle in need of a good workout and more like a fleshy flag of surrender in the battle to stay fit when my body just wants to throw in the gym towel. 
 May Birth Flower:Lily of the Valley
And yet, I am in a good, enviable place - I have a husband whom no superlative can adequately describe, a sweetly goofy dog who gives me unconditional adoration, a lovely home that deserves a better housekeeper than me, and countless other blessings. If I am happy with the person I am today, then I must acknowledge that this person is the aggregate of forty years worth of living. Wishing for a do-over is like asking that the Leaning Tower of Pisa be rebuilt straight - it would be more symmetrical but it would also be just another old building. 

So, as I look forward to my birthday next Wednesday, I promise to look back on the past, not with regret at what I might have done differently, but with appreciation for what I have actually done to reach this happy point in my life. So far, so good . . . 

It's All About Meme

When it comes to birthdays, I subscribe to the idea of 'Queen for the Day': I get to choose the cake, the dinner and the day's activities. In short, it's all about me! As such, there's no better time to finally fulfill the two memes for which I was tagged several weeks ago. 

The first came from Christine at Maman and Gourmand, whose blog not only features tantalizing recipes and mouthwatering food photos but also offers product reviews and, more recently, amazing prizes for giveaways and contests - check out her latest prize of artisan chocolates

Her meme tag was followed by the 'Premio Meme' from two bloggers on opposite ends of the north-south axis: my fellow Minnesotan Scate Bakes who, when she's not blogging about food with a retro twist, knits  the cutest items and runs in half-marathons; and Bytes from Texas, a self-described 'Hornsfan' who "bleeds burnt orange"  while creating everything delicious from home-baked hamburger buns and English muffins to chicken tacos and Singapore noodles. If these blogs are new to you, please visit - you'll be in for some wonderful treats!

These two memes ask recipients to answer questions or list personal traits that would give readers an opportunity to learn a little bit more about them. I'm all for participating but rather than subject everyone to a double list of my life's minutiae, I've decided to tangle these two strands into one. It doesn't follow the rules, but hey - it's my party and I'll meme as I want to.

Two Memes, One Me

Taking a cue from my astrological sign Gemini, my meme theme is duality. For those of us born under the Sign of the Twins, each personal characteristic is a two-sided coin, a yin for every yang; it's a fine line between having a moody temperament and full-blown multiple personalities. According to Mr. Noodle, life with a Gemini is like a can of chocolate bridge mix: you never know which nut you're going to get. 

So, without further ado, I present my Gemini Meme

Sweet and Sour Noodle: a Tangled List
7 Traits That Best Describe Me . . . and What They Really Mean 

I am deliberate. I like to take my time and consider all possibilities before acting . . . in fact, I take so much time that I usually run out of it. Then, I tell myself that the panicky feeling is really adrenaline.

I am open-minded. I give careful thought to all possibilities to ensure the best decision . . . which leads to torturous indecision. After giving careful thought to all possibilities, they all sound good!

I am focused. When I'm working on a project, it has my full concentration and energy . . . unless I'm distracted. When I find a topic [snack time!] that really interests me, I do put my head [Judge Judy!] down and get to business but [squirrel!] not always.

I am energetic. I approach each endeavor with enthusiasm and high spirits . . . which can sometimes cross the line into spastic behavior. Even the dog is sometimes embarrassed to be seen with me in public.

I am sensitive. I am empathetic and deeply attuned to the nuances of emotion . . . so much so that if Mr. Noodle forgets to give me my morning kiss, I'm convinced he loves the dog more than me.

I am health-conscious. A fit body is the vessel for a long life so I eat nutritiously, exercise often, and visit the doctor's office regularly . . . because I am a hypochondriac. If I actually develop just half of the tumors that I've self-diagnosed, I'd look like the Elephant Man.

I am modest. Notwithstanding this 'me' post, I prefer to remain in the background and let others take the spotlight . . . that way, if someone wants to steal an identity, chances are they will overlook me. A bit paranoid, you say? How do you know? Are you spying on me? 

Although most memes ask that new recipients be named, I would like to invite everyone to pick up the Premio Meme; see details at Scate Bakes or Bytes from Texas. Or, feel free to take up this Gemini Meme - simply list as many traits as you'd like that best describe you, followed by their flip-side meaning.

Finally, to complete this birthday/duality post, I offer a treat that can't quite make up it's mind - is it a flan or is it a cake? It's a Flan Cake!

Coco-Mocha Flan Cake
The best of both worlds - airy chiffon cake topped with a creamy leche flan, together in one dessert! I had a slice of this during our Philippine trip and I finally found the perfect occasion to make it. I decided to incorporate the three C's of favorite flavors - coconut, coffee and cocoa - while keeping it as light as possible. I also opted to prepare it in individual ramekins although it is usually baked as a whole cake; in hindsight, the traditional form may turn out to be a more visually pleasing presentation than the ones offered here.

Ingredients and Instructions

For the Leche Flan:
(Adapted from one recipe found in both Signature Dishes of the Philippines (1st ed.) by Sony Robles-Florendo, and The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon)

This flan is lighter than most Filipino leche flans; if you'd like a richer, creamier texture try the luscious recipes recently highlighted by Jenn at Bread + Butter and Heather at Girlichef.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster (a.k.a superfine) sugar
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1 cup coconut milk (For a much more pronounced coconut flavor, increase coconut milk to 1 1/2 cups and reduce 1% milk to 1 cup.) 
2 tsps vanilla extract

1. Put sugar and water in small saucepan and heat without stirring until it turns a deep, golden brown color. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a large glass baking dish or casserole. Tilt the dish so that the caramel coats the entire bottom surface before it hardens;
2. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolks until foamy. Gradually add caster sugar and beat until thick and light;
3. Heat 1% and coconut milk, then add gradually to the egg and sugar mixture, beating constantly. Stir in vanilla;
4. Set aside while preparing the chiffon batter;

For the Chiffon Cake:
(Recipe from Baker's Manual (p. 105) by Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees)

Due to the use of vegetable oil, chiffon cakes tend to remain moist when refrigerated, which makes it the ideal cake base for this chilled dessert. Feel free to use any chiffon cake recipe you prefer.

2/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup strong black coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In one bowl, whisk cake flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined;
2. Whisk in egg yolks, oil, coffee and vanilla until batter is smooth;
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites almost to stiff peak stage. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in two additions;

To prepare Flan Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF;
2. Strain flan custard into the caramel-coated dish. 
3. Carefully pour or spoon out the chiffon batter over the custard;  don't worry - batter will float on top! Use only enough so that the cake will not overflow the pan as it rises during baking;
4. Place dish into a larger baking or roasting pan then place onto oven rack. Pour boiling water around and half-way up the dish;
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, testing for doneness by inserting a knife through cake and custard. When knife comes out clean, remove cake from oven and let cool.
6. When cooled down, cover with foil or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator, preferably overnight;

To serve Flan Cake:

1. Place dish in a larger baking or roasting pan and pour hot water around and half-way up the dish. Let sit for a few minutes;
2. Run a knife around the inside edges then place a large plate over the dish and invert. Cake should slip on to the plate; if not, carefully turn the dish over again and put back into the water-filled pan, replacing hot water if necessary. Repeat.
3. Slice into square portions, spooning caramel sauce from the dish. Serve and enjoy!

Not quite as cake-y but still delicious!


  • Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

    This is the third flan recipe I've come across in the past two week. Just delicious-and guess what??!!My b'day is coming up next week too!!So,I guess it's a sign from above as to what I should make to pamper myself-as I had mentioned in my comments for girlichef-I'm the only one who likes it(good for me)!! I can eat it all by myself-hah;)

  • Unknown said...

    Wow! That's one amazing looking cake!
    Great post, too. I love learning a little bit about other people. Sounds like you have a great attitude & a great life. Enjoy every moment & Happy Birthday!

  • Dewi said...

    Happy Birthday... how exiting it is to be 40. I pass my 40th almost 4 yrs ago, and going to be 44 in July, waaaa!!!!

    Enjoying myself to read all of this good value about you. Unlike you, I am having a hard time to focus, always easily distracted!

    Anyway, this flan get bookmark! Look luscious to celebrate your happy day!

  • Heather S-G said...

    This is simply gorgeous! It's like a Mexican ChocoFlan...which has always amazed me. I love your gemini meme...and I definitely think that you are only as old as you feel...and that we only get better with age :) I hope you have a super 40-year-young birthday!

  • Reeni said...

    I loved learning more about you! Your a fascinating woman. The flan-cake is like a work of art, and the flavors are lovely! Happy Birthday!!

  • Caitlin said...

    1) This cake/flan looks AMAZING!
    2) This is a very well-written post-enjoyable to read, funny and one with which readers can identify
    3) You are from Minnesota? I'm from Duluth, originally, but live in Boston. Where in MN are you?

  • MyCollegeKitchen said...

    Hi TangledNoodles !!! thanks for visiting my blog and left me a comment. I love your writing, and those pictures are delicious. Happy b-day young woman! =) I tell my folks I stop growing after 25, so all my subsequent b-days are all 25th b-day. BTW, I checked out your "fav" links and I'm a bit addicted to browsing etsy now =) the handbag one is pretty interesting too. Are you doing any of these crafts ?

  • Sapuche said...

    I loved your reflection on time and getting older. For some reason I don’t mind birthdays, but I do my best not to dwell on the fact that I’m getting older and there’s nothing I can do to reverse the process. It’s touching to hear you describe yourself being in such a good, happy place in your life. Oh, and your Tangled List cracked me up! The Geminis I’ve known have always been the most fun and inspirational to be around. :)

    Here’s wishing you the happiest of birthdays, and a new decade that surpasses in satisfaction and accomplishment all that preceded it! If your celebration involves more of that amazing-looking coco-mocha flan cake, you’re in for good times!

  • Anonymous said...

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I had NO idea you were "old". Seriously. From your youthful tone of voice and energy and passion, I always thought you were a college student.
    And I loved knowing you more!
    ooh....YUMMY flan! what a bomb!

  • Susan @ SGCC said...

    Oh, honey! I hear you about that looking in the mirror thing! I just celebrated my birthday this week (let's just say I'm on the farther side of 40)and I still expect to see that sweet young thing I used to be staring back at me. Sigh.....

    Your fabulous cake could make me forget for a while, though. It is gorgeous!

    Happy Birthday to you. I love your attitude!

  • Daily Spud said...

    Can I say firstly that your head-on approach to your impending 40th is nothing short of inspiring. We are of a similar age, you and I (well, ok, I've got another 9-ish months to go to 40) and I am somewhat in denial about the fact that this "significant birthday" is coming my way next year...

    Can I also say how alike we are? I was reading your list of traits, going yep, yep, yep, oh wait... she's talking about herself and not me. I would love to meet you in person sometime and not just in blog comments. And if it also meant scoring some flan-cake, well that would be even better :)

    In the meantime, have a wonderful birthday and I have no doubt that Mr. Noodle will dance attendance on you, as is only right and proper!

  • Anonymous said...

    H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y!!!

    I have no idea what the heck you are talking about with wrinkles and sagging upper arms. Come on - guys and gals half your age could not move on the Wii with the finesse and skill that you show, I'd peg you at 25 and that's the truth!

    I have to ask. With the Filipino deal of the birthday gal giving a blowout celebration for her sis's what are you going to do?

    Hope you had fun with Mr. Noodle and his sis and had a rousing celebration at the restaurant.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you, everyone, for all the birthday greetings!

    Sweta - Definitely make some flan all to yourself! At first, I considered making something else since Jenn at Bread+Butter and Heather at Girlichef posted such excellent recipes but I really, really wanted to make this! 8-)

    Happy Birthday to you, too!

    Lisa - Thank you! My husband and I shared a serving a couple of hours after I put it in the fridge and it tasted good. But the servings that we enjoyed the following night were even better - the coconut flavor in the flan and the mocha in the cake really deepened.

    ValleyWriter - Thanks! I was dubious about baking the cake part right over the flan but it actually worked! As for my b-day, how could I possibly complain about age when I could spend my time doing fun things - like cooking and eating!

    Ciao Chow Linda - Thank you! I don't know who first thought to bake cake and flan together but I would like to thank them profusely!

    Pear - You are sweet!

    Elra - Thank you! Remember: 40s are twice as fun as 20s. 8-D I'm actually rather shy talking about myself - I'd rather talk about food - but this list was fun to do. And it's all so very true about me!

    Girlichef - Thank you so much! I should have given even more credit to you and Jenn for your flan recipes - when I saw them, the craving was immediate. Your recipe with condensed and evaporated milk makes the most creamy flan ever!

    Chow and Chatter - Thank you! My degree incorporates anthropology, history and sociology under an umbrella theme of "Food and Immigrant Identity". As much as a I enjoy cooking and eating, I'm fascinated by our personal and often subconscious relationship with food.

    5 Star Foodie - Thank you so much! If I had half your energy and creativity, I might have tried a celebration like the one you had for your daughter. Talk about spectacular!

    Miranda - Many, many thanks for sharing your award! I'm happy that you've enjoyed reading my posts.

    Jackie - Thank you! I can't resist the urge to add cocoa to just about anything. BTW, I am looking forward to seeing all the upcoming new features on your blog!

    Eatingclub - Thanks! I only tasted this combo for the first time this past December in the Philippines. I need to hang with my fellow Pinoys and Pinays more often. What other goodies am I missing?

    Reeni - Thank you so much, although 'fascinating' might be too kind - I'm sometimes more like an accident that you can't keep your eyes off while driving by! 8-D

    Sophie - Thank you! No dinner party - instead, my husband, sister-in-law and I are going to enjoy a barbecue lunch. I'm embarrassed because I should do the 'birthday blowout' - treating everyone to a big meal or a dinner out. It will just have to wait a few months until more family members come to visit.

    Mediterranean Kiwi - Thank you! And apologies for being absent from your blog for so long. I'm about 3 posts behind as of today but I'm planning to settle in and read your latest posts leisurely.

    Pigpigscorner - Thanks! Now I want to make flan more often but I'll also have to work out harder . . .

    Justin - Thank you! Even though I'd actually seen and eaten such a dessert before, I was skeptical about baking the cake and flan together at once (I was convinced the batter would sink). But it worked!

    Doggybloggy - Thank you! It tastes pretty good too . . .

    Caitlin - Thank you! I enjoyed baking the cake and writing the post. One of the best parts about this whole endeavor is discovering how much in common we share with each other. My husband and I live just west of the Twin Cities near Lake Minnetonka (about a mile from Excelsior). We don't get to go up North often but when we're in Duluth, we love to stay at the Matthew Burrows 1890 inn; our favorite time to go is in September for eagle watching at Hawk Ridge!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thanks, Part II

    MyCollegeKitchen - Thank you so much! It's funny how the actual number of years don't much up to how young we actually feel!

    Thanks for checking out those links! Etsy is an awesome marketplace for handmade, original items; I've spent hours just looking through all the shops! I love to knit and sew - the handbag blog has some great tutorials but so far, I've only made simple totes. Unfortunately, crafting has taken a bit of backseat to my food blogging for now.

    Confession Nook - Thank you! And if you get a chance to make flan or flan cake, I know you'd love it!

    MrsLavendula - Thanks! The flan cake that I had during our Philippine trip in December was the straightforward, regular leche flan and vanilla chiffon cake. But I'm a choc-aholic so I had to add the cocoa!

    Sapuche - Thank you so much! I have to admit that I momentarily succumbed to self-pity about aging and I really do look at the mirror and feel pangs of panic about new wrinkles and sagging skin. But I realized that it was such wasted time and worse, it was incredibly ungrateful!

    The scary part about that list is that it's all so very true and probably a lot worse! After having to listen to my stream-of-consciousness chatter one night, my husband told me he felt like he was trapped in my head! 8-) We Geminis are fun but we can also be CRAY-ZAY!

    Many, many thanks for your well-wishes! Although the actual event is still a few days away, the celebrations have begun - the table is laden and the spirits (of the potent liquid variety) have begun to flow!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thanks, Part III

    Burpandslurp - That's so sweet of you to say! Perhaps that's why I don't mind announcing my age: it really doesn't affect my outlook. I'm still having such fun!

    BCGW - Thank you!

    Susan - Sweet treats remind me that there's so much to enjoy in life, regardless of our ages! Thank you so much and I look forward to reading more about your Seattle trip and the food bloggers' conference!

    Daily Spud - I wasn't nearly as laissez-faire about this birthday at first (these wrinkles seem to develop overnight no matter how much cream I glop on!) but there's so much fun still to be had.

    I knew we were kindred spirits the moment I read your blog for the first time. I am determined to return to Ireland as soon as possible - that Filip-Irish post was not simple whimsy. I really do feel that connection and there is still so much to explore. I truly wish that I could have joined you and OysterCulture (my SIL) in SF but I'm convinced we will indeed meet in person some day soon. And I will come armed with flan!

    As for my birthday, Mr. Noodle has already begun to pamper me (btw, I spent my birthday in Kilkenny two years ago. If I ever win the lottery, I will start a new tradition of spending my birthday in different parts of Ireland!)

    Forager - Thank you so much! I do like the idea of being showered with goodies 8-D

    Rebekka - Thank you for the comment and for visiting! I just popped over to your site and what did I see? Popcorn! It's a favorite in our household and I'd love to try it with truffle oil!

    OysterCulture - Girl, you haven't seen me since Thanksgiving: several months and tens of thousands of calories ago! 8-)

    The birthday blowout may have to wait until I can gather more family together - in the meantime, Mr. Noodle, younger SIL and I will celebrate with some good old Pinoy barbecue. And dinner at the Brazilian restaurant last night was delicious! I ate way to much but I'm allowed to! 8-D

    Thanks for the b-day greetings yesterday!

  • Terecita said...

    That Coco-Mocha Flan Cake looks AMAZING!!

    I hope you had an awesome birthday! Everyone deserves to enjoy their day!

    And I love your funny description of yourself! :-) Very entertaining.

  • Midge said...

    A dessert with the three Cs I love the most: chocolate, coffee, and coconut - YUMMY! (Alas, however, since I'm on an anti-depressant, the coffee's been labeled off-limits at the moment. *sigh*)

    I think it's the perfect dessert for a memorable occasion; happy birthday!

  • Chitra said...

    Happy birthday TN:) Have a blast!! Cake looks absolutely perfect..Nice treat for ur bday:)Enjoy!! Coming to ur question in my blog abt grating coconut..For chutneys, i dont grate coconut , i cut coconut into pieces and grind it well..For that upma recipe in my blog, grated coconut gives better taste..So i grated coconut for that:)

  • Jo said...

    Happy belated birthday and I really must add that you are only old if you think you are "old". Forget about the wrinkles, etc, just enjoy life and live it to the fullest. Before I ramble too much, I love the pictures of the flan and think the recipe sounds fantastic.

  • curiousdomestic said...

    Well said. I applaud your authenticity, as well as your gorgeous dessert.

    Have a very happy birthday! I hope your next forty years are rewarding and full of entertainment.

  • The Beancounter said...

    Happy birthday TN!

    Thanks for sharing...very funny and very personal!

    I especially like this bit:

    "Wishing for a do-over is like asking that the Leaning Tower of Pisa be rebuilt straight - it would be more symmetrical but it would also be just another old building."

    Can i use it? ;)

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    This is a fabulous dessert - I think the best have these split personalities - they complement each other so well. Happy Birthday! Amazing how quickly time goes by - I still feel like I'm a kid playing house...then I realize that nope this is real life and not make-believe. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and enjoy your Queen for a Day.

  • Manang said...

    This looks like a better version of our typical (Filipino) custard cake, especially with that chocolate...hubby will surely appreciate that!calwei

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and learning more about you, dear Noodle! Happy, happy Birthday ... one day early!! :)

    I, too, am a woman of a certain age ... that age being even older! And I couldn't agree more with your birthday reflections. I circle back and read this in July ... so I won't be tempted to cry when its my turn. ;)

    Love, love the dual natured cake as well. Its perfect!

  • Sippity Sup said...

    In those 7 things I think you forgot touchingly self-aware and a heck of a good writer. I enjoyed this little read. It's good to be back among the bloggers! GREG

  • Admin said...

    Happy birthday. The gratitude and joy which you have accumulated in the past 40 years definitely come through in this post. The arms may be jiggly, but to enter the era of euphemism with such grace and wisdom is something to envy.

    The flan cake looks really. One of my great aunts used to make a similar cake like this (we call it custard chiffon cake) and it was her all time greatest hit. The flan layer is thinner than yours though. In fact, my post on that should be up soon. This one seems much more special with the pairing of the flan and chocolate cake. I SO know I'm going to love this.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you all for the lovely birthday greetings!

    Terecita - Thank you! My birthday is actually tomorrow but I've been celebrating all weekend. 8-)

    Midge - I could resist the opportunity to get those C's into one dessert. At least for you, 2 out of 3 isn't too bad! Thank you for the greetings!

    Chitra - Thank you for the birthday wishes and the information! A lot of recipes using coconut indicate the dried, sweetened kind but I prefer fresh, even if it is a little bit more work.

    Jo- Thank you! For the most part, I surprised myself that I'm feeling rather calm and happy about this milestone. I promise to enjoy myself and not worry about the little things!

    Curiousdomestic - Thanks! I'm doing my best to make sure I'm in good shape for another 40 years! 8-)

    Fahrenheit 350 - Thank you! I'm happy it turned out well.

    Kissmyspatula - Thanks! If you do, please let me know how it turned out (and what music you paired it with!)

    Maris - I certainly did! Good thing I shared it with others, otherwise I'd be spending my birthday on the treadmill trying to work off the calories! 8-)

    Beancounter - Thank you! And by all means, use the quote. 8-D My only regret is that I haven't done a blowout anywhere like the one you had! It was just my husband and SIL this weekend. The big party will have to wait until we have more family in the vicinity.

    Gastroanthropologist - Thank you so much! I'm not so much bummed about turning 40 as just somewhat surprised that it's here! Time flies when you're having fun, right? 8-D

    Manang - Thanks! The one I had while visiting in Marinduque in December made such an impression but I love chocolate so I thought I'd change it up a bit. And hubby definitely enjoyed it!

    Phanitha - Thank you! It turned out quite tasty, too, to my great relief! 8-)

    Diva - Thank you so much! I really do feel rather serene with this birthday - I guess it's because I'm having too much fun to complain! 8-)

    Greg - Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. I'm sorry to be so scarce on your site recently - I can't seem to get organized but I will be by soon to catch up!

    Angela - Thanks! An extra set of hands would be most welcome but in some cases, the housework IS my workout! 8-D

    Leela - Thank you! I can not possibly be anything but grateful for the life I have so I'm determined to appreciate it fully. 8-)

    I can't wait to see your post! I was trying to do some informal research on its origins - I know that chiffon cake is an American invention (dating to the 1920s) but I couldn't find who first thought to pair custard/flan with it! If you have any insight, I hope you'll share it in your post!

  • Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

    Happy happy birthday. Looks like I arrived at your party a little late but the wishes are none the less sincere. May you have many more.

    I LOVE the Queen for the Day concept and I'm going to adopt it myself. Like you I have a very special birthday coming up in August, only I'll be a bit older than you. I'm telling my husband - get ready - the Queen has arrived.

  • Deeba PAB said...

    Memememe...I'd love a piece of that! But first things first, Happy 40th to a wonderful sweet & savoury tangled noodle sorta person. LOVED reading your well-written meme & nodded a lot over the jiggly arms & the good hub...then also where if he forgets to shower me with hugs & kisses in the morning, I feel least loved of em all! Aaah women, we are so complicated!! xoxox

  • Lori said...

    Wouldn't you know that I just had the chance today to catch up on my reading and it is Wed. Which I think means today is your day!! Happy Birthday!

    A beautiful post with such wonderful reflection. Be sure when you count those blessings you include your fabulous writing skill. Your posts hook me every time. No do-overs. Our journey always takes us to where we are supposed to be. Oh, but I hear ya about the ma'am thing. I get that too! Ha, ha! Not a big fan.

    That cake is amazing! In Brazil they call their flan-type dessert pudim. I am determined to make it and once I master that I am taking it to a new level with this. Gorgeous!

  • Teanna said...

    Happy Birthday!!!!! I also wish I could freeze time... I would have freezed it on my sophomore year in college - that was a good year :) That cake looks SO delicious. My familiy would love this one!

  • Jescel said...

    Happy birthday fellow Gemini! I am convinced that all Geminis are gorgeous.. I'm also going to have my big 4-0 like you couple of weeks from today... and.. i've been craving for this custard cake.. yours is to die for!

  • Carolyn Jung said...

    I think that's the best part about getting older -- you feel more comfortable in your own shoes. I wouldn't trade that for fewer gray hairs or the waist-size I had in college. ;)

    And heck, I'd happily turn 40 over and over again if I could have that flan cake every day.

  • nora@ffr said...

    sound addictive.. tummies are rumbling :) photography is stunning.. found this blog very interesting.. rili enjoyed a lot.. keep it up.. and thank you sharing this amazing recipe..

  • raquel said...

    Happy Birthday, TN!! that is one fantabulous birthday flan cake...and that syrup is calling my name! LOL! Hope you have a memorable 40th!

  • Chef E said...

    Oh my, I guess I also have some blog catching up to do! Hubby would so jump into this dish, I would eat the bottom! I love it, so gorgeous!

    I have something for you on my site...

  • Caroline said...

    Happy Birthday! Here's wishing you get to be the queen not just on your birthday.
    And as for that flan cake, I didn't even think that is possible! I've made cheesecake flan but an actual cake layer with flan -- genius!! Can't wait to try this recipe.

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

    The important aren’t the age-numbers, the significant are the spirit behind the person so here we go...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    You coco-mocha flan-cake is fascinating …I'd love to eat it with a dollop of dulce de leche (here flans must go with dulce de leche hehe)

    Big Cheers for you!


  • Brenda said...

    This is officially on my list of things to make ASAP. Being Mexican and therefore having a series of inevitable synesthetic associations (positive, of course) with Flan, I think this will go down a treat with my family next time we all get together. :)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    My deepest, sincerest apologies to everyone who commented after the 26th! I'm sorry for responding so late.

    Navita - Thank you! I was a bit surprised that I took this birthday calmly but I really don't feel different so why worry, right? 8-D

    Sam - Have those trumpets tuned and ready to announce the Queen's August festivities! Thank you for your birthday greetings.

    Deeba - Our husbands might shake their heads at our antics but they know it's what makes us special to them! Thank you for the greetings and I'm so pleased you enjoyed (and related to) the meme!

    Lori - Thank you! Being a published writer, your opinion and compliments about my work are greatly appreciated. I'm not going to look for do-overs because it will take time away from new opportunities. However, if I can get all the m'am-ing deleted, that would be great. 8-)
    You know that I'm so keen on South America, Brazil and Peru particularly - I'm going to look for a pudim recipe but I've also bought some table cream for the dessert you posted a little bit ago. I can't resist the sweet, creamy treats!

    Teanna - Thank you! As for freezing time/going back, it would be fun but only if I could bring back with me the things I know now! 8-)

    Jescel - Geminis rule! Happy early birthday to you; I hope you'll let us know when it is so that I can wish proper birthday greetings on your special day!

    Jackie - Oh no! I sent you an e-mail so if you have any questions, please let me know. I'm so sorry it didn't work out but I hope you won't give up on it - it's a really tasty dessert.

    Juliana - Thank you so much! I had a fun week of celebration.

    Carolyn - I'm coming to that realization now! I'm actually enjoying myself and feel more confident at this age: when I was younger, I tended to be quiet and defer to others. Now, I speak up, express my opinion and don't worry about what others might think (well, sometimes).

    Nora - Thank you for visiting! I popped over to your sight and will return for a longer read - I love the great health articles!

    Ricardo - Thank you so much! I will trade you some of this for a slice of your twins' birthday cake!

    Deb - Thank you! I hope you'll try it. And I'm already plotting how I'm going to use the Black Lava Salt - I'm so excited about it!

    Ozge - Thank you, sweetie! I loved the birthday greeting on your site.

    Duo Dishes - Thank you so much! This would be the perfect cake for you two - each one takes care of one half. When put together, it makes a Duo-licious Dish!

    Raquel - Thank you so much! I might double up on the caramel next time, just to get more of that syrup.

    Chef E - Thank you for the sweet comment and for sharing the best, funniest award I've seen!

    Caroline - I hope you do try this out; I was dubious that the cake batter and flan would stay separate but they did! Thanks so much!

    Gera - Oooh! I'd love to try this with dulce de leche! (I'll keep it in mind next time). Thanks so much for your greetings!

    Brenda - I hope you'll enjoy it! Please let me know if you do make and if you decide to put a different spin on it. I tend to go traditional with the stuff I make but I love seeing the creativity of others. I'm hoping I'll absorb it through some kind of virtual osmosis!
    You know, the Philippines and Mexico have an incredibly strong food connection that's closer even than with Spain . . .

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Spryte - Thank you so much! I had a great time celebrating my 40th. As for my worries about the single serve, it's because when I made the 'leftover' batch of flan (the last photo), the inside of the flan looked so much better than on the round version! But the flavor is what counts and I'm happy it turned out well!

  • Cris said...

    I can not forgive myself for missing your birthday... I even had plans for a card when you commented in your e-mail. I am so sorry. We both have the same age now, even though it still looks like you are in your 20's... Beijos.

  • Phyllis said...

    Don't cha just hate it when people call you ma'am? Hubby and I still act like teenagers even though we're in our mid 30s, but I'm reminded of my age everytime I look at my hands - they are starting to resemble chicken feet (which I inherited from my mom - we used to always make fun of her at dim sum by grabbing her fingers with our chopsticks, but I think people are going to be reaching for my fingers pretty soon)

    Loved reading about your 7 traits. I shudder to think about what traits would best describe me, so I probably will not be doing this particular meme (can already cross off health-conscious and modest off the list, Hubby says I have a 'superiority complex' but I think I only act that way with him)

    And that dessert is my hubby's dream come true. Maybe I'll make it for his upcoming birthday.

    Happy Belated 40th b-day!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Cris - Obrigada! You are so sweet and too flattering. If you're referring to the picture I sent, the lighting was quite dark - very favorable for hiding all the little lines and blemishes! Someday soon, we will celebrate our birthdays together since they are not that much apart. 8-)

    Sophie - Thank you! It was indeed a very sweet treat - I was quite proud of myself for making my cake instead of buying one!

    Phyllis - I never think they're referring to me until I look around and there's no one else! I hear you about the hands; I didn't mention them b/c that's really the one part that I'm most self-conscious about. The chicken feet comparison is so funny! My mom would KILL us if we even teased her that way. Thanks so much!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Julie - Ooops! Sorry - I inadvertently skipped over your comment so you get a whole reply box to yourself! 8-)

    Thank you both about the flan and the reassurances! Since I had a great time in my 30s, I'm really looking forward to a continuation in my 40s!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Food Addicts - Thank you so much and many congratulations to you as well on your wedding! Isn't it wonderful when these special occasions give us a great reason to indulge in cake? 8-)

    Nora - Thank you! And no worries - everytime I receive a birthday greeting, I feel like it's a chance to keep celebrating. 8-D

  • Aiden said...

    that flan cake looks fantastic. its def on my list of things to try.

    i do have a question for you though. what if i constructed this in a cupcake try instead? i dont know if the thickness or material of the dish would affect how the flan cake would come out. what do you think?

  • BettyAnn @Mango_Queen said...

    How did I miss seeing this terrific choco flan post? This is fabulous and your photos are irresistable. And one more thing, how did I not know we share the same astro sign? Gemini? Get out! When did you celebrate? Belated Happy Birthday, dear TN !


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