Although I have been blogging with Tumblr for a couple of years, I’ve outgrown the tool and have decided to switch to WordPress. Hoping I can stick with this tool for a while. I’m going to gradually update my new blog with the old posts from Tumblr, but in the meantime, you can check out my new posts here: mimiturner.wordpress.com. Enjoy!
- 31st January
- 26th December
With all the food and sweets around this holiday season, I though I’d make a basic cake that would balance all the heavy dinners and sugary desserts. So, I decided to make my go-to cake. It is my nephew Ethan’s favorite. It’s because the frosting is replaced with whipped cream, the sponge cake itself is light and airy, and I pile on the fresh fruit (Ethan loves fruit).
The sponge cake recipe (courtesy of Joy of Baking) is as follows:
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
- zest of 1 medium lemon
- 1 cup (100 g) sifted cake flour
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an ungreased two-piece 10 inch tube pan.
2. Separate the eggs and make sure they are at room temperature. Set aside.
3. Sift and measure the cake flour and then whisk the flour with 1/4 cup (50 g) of granulated white sugar. Measure another 1/4 cup (50 g) of granulated white sugar and set aside for beating with the egg whites.
4. Place the final 1/2 cup (100 g) of granulated sugar in the mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the egg yolks and beat on high speed for about five minutes, or until they are thick, fluffy and light colored (when you slowly raise the beaters, the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon). At this point, beat in the vanilla extract, water, and lemon zest.
5. Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the batter, but do not fold in (you will fold the flour mixture into the batter along with the beaten egg whites later).
6. In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
7. Gradually add the 1/4 cup (50 g) of granulated white sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are shiny and stiff peaks form. Be sure not to over beat.
8. Gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites, folding just until incorporated. Do not over mix or you will deflate the batter. Pour the batter into the tube pan, evenly spreading the cake batter with your spatula.
9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately invert. Cool for at least one hour before unmolding. Run a spatula or sharp knife around the inside of the pan and then remove the center core of the pan. Then run the spatula or knife along the bottom and center core of the pan. Invert the cake onto a greased wire rack.
The whipped cream recipe (one that I just made up over the years) is as follows:
- 4 cups (960 mL) heaving whipping cream
- 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4-5 tablespoons (45-60 g) powdered sugar
1. In a large mixing bowl, place the cold whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar - mix at high speed to combine. Be sure not to over whip.
Since the cake is from a tube pan, I also mix ripe bananas with some whipped cream to fill the center of the cake. As Ethan would request, “Please make sure it’s a fruit cake!”
- 20th December
Lately, I’ve been doing a bit of work with Net Promoter scores, so being able to say that I am extremely likely to recommend something to a friend or colleague has become even more top of mind. That’s why I decided to give LUNA Bar a bit of love. Guess what I got in the mail?
Yep, that’s right, a little surprise from LUNA Bar. Totally unexpected, but perfect from a company with great tasting products and strong sustainability values. So yes, I’d be a 9 or 10 on the net promoter scale. Keep up the cool promotions! Signed, a loyal LUNA Bar customer.
- 11th December
If we’re just hanging out at home on a weekend morning, Jason and I often head up to our favorite San Francisco breakfast spots: Tartine or Four Barrel Coffee. Sometimes, we don’t plan ahead too well and the line at Tartine is way too long. You see, there is a wait to hunger equation that we must weigh.
Last weekend, we did not plan ahead too well, so we ended up picking up something quick at Four Barrel. Jason of course had his hand poured drip coffee along with a 20 minute conversation with the barista. The great thing about getting coffee here (besides solid beans) is that they also serve donuts from Dynamo Donuts.
I don’t know who’s been making them lately, but they were ON! Always flavorful, but this time, the dough was just perfect. Light, airy, not too eggy … just perfect. Jason had a maple glazed apple bacon donut while I had a passion fruit milk chocolate one. But these are not all the flavors available, see all the varieties here. So good. Craving another one.
- 20th November
This past Tuesday was my friend Jerry’s birthday. On Monday, we celebrated early at a sushi restaurant and Jerry got to blow out a candle atop two scoops of ice cream (green tea and sesame) and fried bananas. Then, on Tuesday morning, he was greeted with another candle on a slice of chocolate drizzled cheesecake from Hobee’s for breakfast. During lunch, he blew out his third candle which sat gingerly on a decadent brownie square surrounded by whipped cream and more chocolate.
So when it came to celebrating his birthday with friends in the office, we decided that we would go easy with the sugar. Lucky for us, on our way to purchase an ice cream cake at 31 Baskin-Robins, we found these pre-scooped mini ice cream cones in the freezer. They came nicely packed in a box of 16 and was the prefect afternoon treat for the office.
Oh, and yes, Jerry had another dessert post dinner. Dulce de leche pot de creme something … but all I know is that it too had a candle for Jerry to wish upon. Happy birthday Jerry. I’m looking forward to celebrating many more with you!
- 29th October
For my mom’s party today, I made a few cupcakes. Since we were going to have tons of chocolate, I thought I would balance things out with a “healthy” dose of carrots. I used a new carrot cake recipe I found from my All-Time Best Recipes from Cooks Illustrated.
The carrot cake recipe is as follows:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 pound (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups safflower, canola or vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This is good for a 13x9 inch baking pan, but I used 2 cupcake pans to make 24 cupcakes.
2. Whisk together flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
3. Shred carrots and transfer to a bowl and set aside. Mix both sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. Then add oil through a steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer.
4. Stir in shredded carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick or skewer comes out clean. For cupcakes, bake for approximately 15 minutes.
Once the cake or cupcakes are completely cooled, ice with the following cream cheese frosting:
- 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened but still cool
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
To balance out all the good of the carrots, I made chocolate flower cupcakes. Instead of making these mum cupcakes from Bakingdom, I modified them into basic flowers. Darla’s death by chocolate cake recipe is a really good one and I love the texture of how the cake crumbles. Yum. Might have to go enjoy another one.
- 15th October
I haven’t updated this blog in weeks. Not because I didn’t want to, but because there just are a lot of things going on. But the following conversation was just too funny not to share. So instead of going to bed, I’m sitting here typing away. Tears still sitting in my eyes from the laughter that came about tonight. I’m in the car with Jason. We’re driving home from an absolutely wonderful dinner. I get a text from my cousin Chris from NYC. And our text conversation goes like this:
Chris: So, question. And I’m not sure if this comes off creepy or insensitive … but do we know what we did with Ba’s (grandma’s) fur coats?
Me: LOL. I don’t know, but let me check with my mom. You better not be asking me to fit come dead animals in my carry on (as I’m on my way to NYC on Monday for business).
Chris: LOL … I haven’t figured out logistics, but I know I’ve been craving a fur coat for the winter.
Me: Okay. My mom says grandma was cremated in it. So the short answer is: No go Chris. My mom says that if you want some of her jewelry, she can give it to you.
So the funny part of all of this is (1) anyone who knows Chris understands that a question like this totally not unexpected from him (2) I wouldn’t be surprised if he called back and asked me to bring some of grandma’s jewelry and (3) it would have been really funny to see Chris in grandma’s fur coat - after all, he’s 5’10” and grandma was 4’10”. Grandma, it is good to see that you are still with us. Thanks for keeping us laughing and together. <3
- 14th September
When my husband and I bought our house, the developer who was selling it had the brilliant (and cheap) idea of painting the walls of the ENTIRE home the same dull pastry yellow color.
Because it was new paint, to change it was very low in the home improvement list. We had other things to replace like the front door, the back door, the fence, the dining room lights … the list goes on and on. But over Labor Day weekend, Martha Stewart paints were on sale. So I pulled out the color pallet, picked my hues and purchased paint for the entire house. I would typically use Yolo Colorhouse paints, but there were none to be found in my area, so I had to opt for the low VOC option by Martha Stewart.
However, our backyard project got too big, so I had to hold off on painting until this past weekend. My goal is to paint a room each weekend. Let’s see if things go according to plan. The good news is that the dining room is done. We just have to hang up our new Jake Early piece and all will be complete.
- 13th September
- 27th August
- 24th August
- 21st August
When it comes to my nephews, I’m a softee. They ask me to jump and the natural response is, “how high and did you want to see that done while I sing?” So when Aidan asked for The Wiggles as his birthday theme, it meant the race was on to find any type of paraphernalia related to these four dancing and singing men. A Wiggles party would mean a Wiggles cake. But there were no Wiggles cake toppers to be found.
So I did a bit of improvising. I used an actual toy as the main part of the cake. Hey, it’s rather practical - you get a cake and then you get to play with it after the sweets are gone. In this case, Aidan skipped sweets and swimming, instead clutching to his big red car all afternoon. Despite losing a few bids on eBay for the car, I was able to finally win one!
The cake looked really homemade. I’m quite far from being a professional baker/decorator, so the cake ended up being a double layer 9x9 square chocolate cake frosted with basic vanilla buttercream (a recipe from Billy’s Bakery in NYC). The birthday boy’s age and name was spelled out using decorated sugar cookies.
In addition to the cake, we also had a dessert bar, but amidst the chaos and commotion yesterday, I failed to get a picture of the entire bar. I’ll get my hands on a few shots and will post about it soon.
- 20th August
I love birthdays and I love them more when they belong to my friends and family. This is because I get to celebrate with them. Yesterday as my friend Kim’s birthday. And since she is a connoisseur of all things cute and petite, Vivi and I thought it would be a good idea to host a petite birthday breakfast for Kim at work. I finally put last year’s Christmas presents to work:
We had a simple breakfast of Greek yogurt, granola and fresh fruit with mango juice. For “dessert,” we had LU dark chocolate petit ecoliers, banana cream mini cupcakes, peanut butter thumbprint cookies, and sugar cookie pops (hidden behind the cake stands).
I must admit that I really liked the banana cream mini cupcakes. I read on a few online reviews that Sweet Passions Bakery made really good fresh banana cream cupcakes, so of course we had to give it a go. They were moist and the cream was light - making it a good cupcake for the am.
- 18th August
But another owl looking back at me! My sweet friend Vivi just returned from a trip to the East Coast where she visited the Smithsonian Museums. She (okay, well everyone by now) knows that I love owls, so here’s what she brought back for me:
A Peruvian carved gourd in the shape of an owl! Gourd artists begin by carefully selecting, scraping and drying the gourds in the sun. They then skillfully sketch and hand carve intricate designs into each gourd that brings them to life. I think that because my owl came from Peru, I’m going to name him Julio. He’s a rather full-figured owl because he is full of candy!
- 14th August