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Cook's Corner

Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Mother and daughter Aracely, left, and Krystal Vega are co-owners of Zinnia’s Bakehouse on East State Boulevard.

Bakehouse owners make time for family

The year 2013 proved to be busy for mother-and-daughter pair Aracely and Krystal Vega, co-owners of Zinnia’s Bakehouse at 1320 E. State Blvd.

In addition to opening the business Aug. 5, Krystal, 24, and Aracely, 53, have been planning for an upcoming wedding.

“I’m getting married in February,” bride-to-be Krystal says smiling.

She chose to have wine bottles as table centerpieces. At this point, her mother says, there are 60 wine bottles painted and decorated for the wedding at the house.

Sitting inside the dining area of the business, Krystal, a 2010 graduate of Ivy Tech Community College Northeast and former employee of Yum-Mee’s Bakery, says that when the former bakery came up for sale, the family bought it as a business venture.

“We didn’t buy the business, we bought the building,” she says.

“We’re the only place in Fort Wayne that offers beignets,” Aracely says. “It’s a French doughnut that’s fried to order and covered in powdered sugar. (It’s available) on Saturday morning until we sell out.”

“They’re good. They’re very good,” Krystal says.

Despite their busy schedule, the pair say they still have time to entertain and enjoy family time.

“We love to entertain. We always eat together,” Krystal says.

Q. What’s your favorite cooking utensil?

Krystal: Sheeter, but that’s not a utensil. It’s a machine. It’s like a rolling pin on hydraulics. It rolls out the dough for the cinnamon rolls, fondant, beignets and empanadas. It does quite a few things for me.

Q. So, who does most of the cooking at home?

Krystal: (Points to her mother.)

Aracely: I always tell Adrian (Hernandez) that’s why he’s marrying my daughter – for my cooking.

Q. What one word would describe your cooking style?

Aracely: Mine would be “open mind.” I’m always open to new ideas.

Krystal: I don’t like it if it doesn’t come out perfect. Quality is a big thing to me.

Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food or meal you would have to have?

Krystal: Enchiladas. I love enchiladas, but red michoacan enchiladas with all the fixings. That’s one of my favorites.

Aracely: I think I would have grilled chicken and zucchini grilled and an apple and oregano salad and coconut rice.

Q. What advice would you give beginner cooks?

Krystal: Practice makes perfect.

Aracely: And to be humble. You’re going to have critics about your cooking. You learn from those.

Cappuccino Biscotti

1/4 cup espresso, cooled

1 tablespoon milk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

3/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso, milk, egg and vanilla extract. In the electric mixer bowl, beat the dry ingredients until combined. Gradually add espresso mixture; beat until dough forms, adding the chopped nuts and chocolate chips halfway through.

With floured hands, divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough into a log about 10 inches by 2 inches. Transfer the logs to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. On a cutting board, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4 -inch slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 24 biscotti.

Watermelon Sorbet

5 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into small chunks (6 cups)

1/4 cup sugar

Zest of 1 lime

Pinch salt

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Using a blender, purée the watermelon to get 4 cups purée. In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup watermelon purée, sugar and lime zest to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Season with salt. Pour in the remaining 3 cups watermelon purée, then whisk in corn syrup until incorporated. Pour the watermelon mixture into a 9-inch metal cake pan and freeze until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.

Let the frozen watermelon soften at room temperature for 5 minutes. Using a butter knife, break up mixture into 2-inch pieces. Transfer the pieces to a food processor in batches and pulse until smooth. Store sorbet in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 week. Let stand for 5 minutes before scooping. Makes 8 servings.

Glazed Chocolate- Pumpkin Bundt Cake


1 cup all-purpose, flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin purée

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup packed confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

To make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Whisk dry ingredients together. Blend 1 cup buttermilk, pumpkin purée and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Beat in whole egg and egg white. Stir in oil, corn syrup and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack, about 2 hours. Makes 16 servings.

To make glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a small bowl, stirring until completely smooth. Place cake on a serving plate. Drizzle glaze on top and garnish with chocolate chips.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-88; fax 461-8648 or email