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Profile: Cooking Teacher Aissa Shelburn

Makes about 12 slicesCakeButter or vegetable oil for smearing bundt pan1 cup hot, strong coffee, freshly made¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting bundt pan1½ teaspoons baking powder2 teaspoons baking soda½ teaspoon salt½ cup vegetable oil1½ cups sugar2 large eggs, at room temperature1 cup buttermilk, at room temperatureCaramel Sauce1 cup sugar¼ cup water¾ cup heavy cream1 tablespoon unsalted butter {pinterest_rich_pins_images} Profile: Cooking Teacher Aissa Shelburn {/pinterest_rich_pins_images}

Profile: Cooking Teacher Aissa Shelburn

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    Aissa Shelburn
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    Devil's Food Cake
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    Devil's Food Cake
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    Devil's Food Cake with Caramel Sauce

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Dec 25, 2014

Print this recipe

Aissa Shelburn is a very good cook. A natural-born baker, she started playing with butter and flour in her native Philippines at age 10. “My mother saw I was really into it,” says Aissa. “She taught me the basics and got me my first cookbook. And then my aunt showed me how to make some easy desserts, like creampuffs and éclairs.” In Manila, Aissa took bread baking classes, and after relocating with her family to California, she continued her education and received a culinary arts degree.

Today, she is a sought-after cooking instructor at Great News! in San Diego, where she teaches classes on cake and cupcake decorating, pastry baking, and Asian comfort food cooking. She also has a successful business making custom cakes; so if a special occasion calls for a spectacularly jaw-dropping dessert, talk to Aissa!

Age 35 — Hometown Manila, Philippines (first 22 years) and San Diego, CA — Where do you live? San Diego, CA — Occupation Mostly stay-at-home mom. Also a culinary instructor and a baker — Signature dish Strawberries and Cream Cake, Apple Pie with Crumb Topping, Dulce de Leche buttercream — Who taught you how to cook? My mom — Favorite kitchen tool A sharp knife — Always in your pantry Sugar and flour — Go-to snack Coffee — Favorite cuisine Asian of all kinds: Filipino, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian — Do you diet? No, everything in moderation — Food addictions Changes every few months — Food allergies None — Food fad pet peeve That people don't know the reason/meaning/value behind the fad — Who’s your sous chef? At home, my 6-year old son. At work, I don't have a sous chef. — Drinking while cooking? Sometimes — What’s for dinner tonight? Not sure yet. Thinking a Caprese Salad and maybe pork chops in olive oil, rosemary and garlic. — Do you ever cry over spilled milk? Not all the time — Best meal you ever had Truite Amandine and Creamy Polenta at Bouchon — Contact

Devil’s Food Cake with Caramel Sauce

“This is my husband and son’s favorite cake,” says Aissa. “It is simple and very chocolatey. They like to have it with the caramel sauce, but it is good warm, with just a dusting of powdered sugar on top—the way I ate it growing up.”


  1. Makes about 12 slices
  2. Cake
  3. Butter or vegetable oil for smearing bundt pan
  4. 1 cup hot, strong coffee, freshly made
  5. ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting bundt pan
  7. 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  8. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. ½ cup vegetable oil
  11. 1½ cups sugar
  12. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  13. 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  14. Caramel Sauce
  15. 1 cup sugar
  16. ¼ cup water
  17. ¾ cup heavy cream
  18. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Smear a bundt pan with butter, or spray with vegetable oil, and dust lightly with flour.


Stir the cocoa powder into the hot coffee, mix well, and set aside to cool.


In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.


Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Whisk in the coffee mixture, 1/3 at a time, incorporating it well between additions.


Pour the batter into the bundt pan. Bake until the cake is set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it on a serving plate.


To make the caramel sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat in a heavy-bottom pan, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves completely. Continue cooking until the mixture turns amber in color, swirling the pot occasionally. Handle with extra care to avoid splattering the hot mixture on you.


Slowly, using a long wooden spoon, stir the cream into the sugar mixture. Add the butter and stir until melted and fully incorporated. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Warm it before serving.


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