I’ve made doughnut muffins a couple of times on this blog in different various forms. It’s one of my favorite recipes. Shaped like a muffin, the mini muffins taste very much like a sugar cake donut, except that it is baked instead of fried and doesn’t use any yeast. So far I’ve made mini donut muffins with chocolate glaze, mini pumpkin donut muffins, and cinnamon sugar pumpkin donut muffins.

It’s so easy to whip together, and you don’t even need a mixer. I’ve been playing around with different variations of the recipe. The other day, I got the idea to add some nutella. Since these are great breakfast treats, adding nutella seemed like a great idea.

I didn’t want to mix the nutella directly into the batter because this often causes the nutella flavor to get lost. So for my first attempt, I added a dollop of nutella to the middle of each. Unfortunately, once they baked, the nutella sank to the bottom. They tasted great, but I didn’t like the chocolate being stuck at the bottom.

So then I decided to try swirling the nutella with the batter. And these came out much better. The nutella taste still stands out and you get little bits of pure nutella mixed with the batter, but because it is swirled with the batter, it also doesn’t sink down. They look pretty cool swirled also and don’t need any decorating on top.

I couldn’t stop popping these in my mouth, they were so tasty. These make a perfect breakfast treat!

Nutella Swirl Donut Muffins (adapted from recipe found on Stylish Cuisine)


3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup fat free milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and egg until combined. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Mix until combined.

3. Then mix in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract.

4. Fill each mini muffin cup about 2/3 full with batter. Add a dollop of nutella to each and swirl it around a few times with a knife.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow muffins to cool before serving.

If you’ve been following my baking adventures, you might recall that I’ve tried twice now to make a castella cake with no success. You can read about that here and here. I get an edible cake, that is actually quite tasty, but it is definitely not the right texture.

Castella (also known as Kasutera) cake, is a japanese sponge cake that has a light, fluffy texture. It’s usually baked in to a long thin rectangle shape and then sliced. It’s delicious for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with tea.

I wish I could tell you that I finally mastered castella cake, but sadly I haven’t. I’ve found a couple more recipes but they require a lot of eggs and a lot of patience. This weekend, I saw some castella cake on sale. It is readily available at the bakery section of Japanese supermarkets. I got mine at Nijiya.

I thought I’d buy one and see if it was as good as I remember. Was it really worth the effort of me continuing to try to bake my own? One bite, and I was in heaven. The cake was so utterly soft and light. I ate three slices before stopping myself.

Yes, it was as good as I remembered. So I’m going to continue on my castella cake baking quest. Though if it doesn’t work out, I might just go out and buy it from now on. It’s not expensive and it keeps well.

Anyhow, I was munching on the cake and I was itching to take a picture to capture how a castella cake really should look. Which is why there is this post of castella cakes with no recipe.

If anyone is interested in trying to make the cake, the most promising recipe I’ve found has been on The Little Teochew. It involves a lot of work, but her cake came out so pretty.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Faye, one of my readers, letting me know that a new Taiwanese restaurant had opened up on Miramar. Since both of my parents are from Taiwan, Taiwanese food is near and dear to my heart and I immediately wanted to pay a visit.

Faye was nice enough to send me a picture of the Taiwanese menu, which is in chinese, so that I could have my mom help me translate before visiting. You can read Faye’s review of the restaurant on yelp here.

The small restaurant is located in the same plaza as Roberto’s. Once inside, I was surprised to find that all the customers were Taiwanese. Apparently they have been doing a lot of advertising in chinese newspapers.

We were given the chinese menu only, so I don’t even know what the English one looks like. I whipped out my translations from my mom to help me order, though the staff can help you out as well.

We were given some complimentary pickled vegetables.

We ordered the Taiwanese style meat ball.

Ground meat and bamboo shoots are tucked inside a translucent sticky dough. I thought their version was a little on the sour side. I’m not sure if they make it themselves or buy it elsewhere.

We also ordered the fried chicken roll. This was pretty tasty.

We also got the stir fried pork with tofu skin.

We also got a spicy boiled dish containing five ingredients including tofu, intestines and pork blood. I’ve had some bad versions of this dish but it’s one of my favorites so I usually get it wherever I go. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the version here.

Finally we got the beef noodle soup. The soup was very disappointing. The broth was too sweet and didn’t have enough beef bone flavor.

Overall, we had an enjoyable experience. The food served was definitely homestyle and it appears to be family run. I would not order the beef noodle soup again but I will come back and try some more dishes.

Here is the menu along with the rough translations (which may not sound too appetizing to those who don’t like tripe and intenstines)

A1- Taiwanese style meat ball (ba wan)
A2- Taro cake
A3- fried chicken roll
A4- Taiwanese sausage
A5- Fried fish balls (hua zi wan)
A6- Oyster pancake
A7- Fried squid
A8- Soy sauce braised bamboo
A9- Lu Zou Fan (a rice dish usually topped with braised meat, bamboo)
A10- Taiwanese sausage rice
A11- Red meat rice
A12- taro pastry
A13- Snow vegetable (xue cai) shredded meat fried rice
A14- oyster soup
A15- beef ball soup (gong wan)
A16-Missed this one. Will have to ask mom again.
A17- Sour vegetable with pig intestine soup
A18- Intestine and pig blood soup
A19- Che A Mian (It’s a noodle soup usually topped with shredded pork, bamboo and uses egg noodles)
A20- Spare Rib Noodle soup
A21- Meat noodle stew
A22- Beef noodle soup
A23- Taiwanese style noodles
A24- Taiwanese style rice noodles
A 25- Taiwanese mix soup
A26- Something tofu. Will have to ask mom again
A27- 3 spice chicken
A28- Stir fried vegetables
A29- Salt and pepper pork ribs
A30- Stir fried shrimp
A31- 5 ingredients spicy boiled dish including pig intestines, tofu and pork blood (wu gen chang wan)
A32- Stir fried Dried bean curd with meat
A33- Stir fried Tofu skin (bai ye) with shredded meat
A34- Spicy cow stomach
A 35- House special intestines dish
A 36- Stir fried sour vegetable with large intestines

Lai Chen
6780 Miramar Rd
Ste 104
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 635-6690