Playtime and Mealtime with Mom

  • Personal background and history

I am a chef and cookbook author, as well as the founder of Maison Tara. A year and a half ago I also became a mom to a boy named Michael.


  • Life aspirations

I would like to use my skills to help people be happy and more efficient in both their day to day lives as well as on special occasions.


  • What is a bento box / lunchbox to you?

A bento box to me is an amazing tool that allows me to have better control over what I and my loved ones put in our bodies. It provides me with an easy way to make sure we all have something healthy and nutritious to eat. Since cooking is my love language the bento boxes allow me to show the people in my life that I love them even when we are not together sharing a meal

  • What do you pack in your takenaka bento?

I use my takenaka bento boxes for everything. I use them to pack lunches for both my husband and son but also for us whenever we are on the go which is daily. I pack snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner and even cake!


  • What is your favorite part about the boxes and what colors have you chosen?

My favorite part about the bento box is their sleek design, compactability and durability. I bought my first boxes in 2018 and I still use them to date! I have so many different colors and shapes they add so much brightness to the lunch box.


Preheat the oven to 350F

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 + ¾ cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp lemon zest


Cream butter, lemon zest and sugar for about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat well until combined. Add flour, vanilla, baking powder and milk and mix until just combined. Do not overmix it will result in a stiff cake. Transfer to a greased and lined baking sheet and bake until toothpick comes out clean (about 30min)



You can add some coloring to a portion of the batter. To get the marbled effect pour the colored batter in small dollops over the uncolored one. Use a knife or toothpick to swirl around to create the marble effect.


Allow the cake to cool down completely before filling and icing



1 pack 8 oz cream cheese

¼ cup powder sugar

½ stick butter (room temp)


Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and airy for about 3 minutes .



½ cup icing

3 tbsp cup red fruit preserve

Zest of 1 lemon

Fold in the fruit preserve and icing until well combined



Split the icing in 3

Color in different colors and design

Make the most out of the color you would like to use for the cake

Use a piping bag to decorate the rest of the cake.