Make her a breakfast with warm popovers and fresh sweet strawberry butter.

Buy the most beautiful flowers you can find, peonies prefered a must.

Whip up a delightfully light coconut cake with lemon curd and swiss meringue buttercream- three layers will do.

Take her to the Legion of Honor to see the Cartier Exhibit.

I made a Happy Mom.

For mother’s day, I made a no frills, simple breakfast for my mom.  Eggs cooked her favorite way, fruit salad with mangos, pears, bananas, and strawberries, tangerine juice, hot tea and warm popovers.

Popovers was the one thing my mom requested I make for her.  She had clipped this recipe from the newspaper.  They were fantastic. I didn’t have popover cups so I used a muffin tin; worked out just fine.

A few tips to making perfect popovers: make sure the milk and eggs are room temp before mixing.  Don’t try to save calories by using cooking spray, use a good amount of butter to line the muffin tins (popovers are pretty dang low cal anyways!).   Never open the oven while the popovers are cooking, like a souffle they will deflate 😦 .  Popovers do not freeze well, and let the batter rest about 30 minutes before putting them into the oven (allows the flour’s glutens to relax).

With this recipe you put the popovers into a cold oven.  I know, wtf!? But it works out, trust the process.

Popovers are impressive and so easy to make.

Recipe Adapted from the Marin Independent Journal

(using a muffin tin, this made 9 popovers)

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup milk, room temperature (I used about 1/2 buttermilk, 1/2 milk mixture)

1 Tablespoon melted butter or veggie oil

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

adjust oven rack to lower third of the oven.  Grease each muffin cup generously with softened butter.

Whisk the eggs, milk and butter in a large bowl.  Add the flour and salt and mix until smooth. ( Now this is when you let the batter sit for awhile)

Pour batter into the greased cups about 2/3 full.  Place in oven and then set to 400 degrees.  Bake until puffed and golden brown about 35-40 minutes.  Do not open the oven before they are ready or they will collapse. Voila!

For the strawberry butter I adapted a recipe from Joylicious

This recipe is more taste-as-you-go, but I’ll give you an outline of how I made it.

I used about 3/4 of a pint of sweet, ripe strawberries and minced them

It gave me a little over a 1/2 cup

I also added about a 1/4 cup of organic strawberry jam

I put that along with about  1 1/2 sticks of butter into a stand mixer and mixed until uniform

I added more jam, and powdered sugar to taste as I went along.  I ended up making quite a lot that’s still hanging out in my fridge.

As for lemon coconut cake, this one  shines.  The frosting and curd is not to sweet, and the cake has a beautifully tight crumb.  I usually make my own lemon curd but I found some jarred, store-bought curd in the house and decided to try it out.  I must say that homemade is 100% tastier than the store-bought variety, however this worked out better because the texture of the jarred curd was thicker and made frosting the cake much easier than I imagine working with fresh lemon curd would be.  Both would work!

I also just got back from New York.  Quick trip, I think I literally spent 24 there.  Great Foodie post coming your way soon!

I adapted this recipe from Not So Humble Pie

Lemon Coconut Cake

2 1/4 cups (244g) cake flour

1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup (295ml) whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature

4 large egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 cup (302g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons fine lemon zest

1 stick (8 tablespoons 113g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Buttercream

1 cup (201g) sugar

4 large egg whites

3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter at room temperature

1/4 cup (59ml) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure  coconut extract

To Finish

about 1/2 store bought or fresh lemon curd

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded or desiccated coconut

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F and place a rack in the lower third of your oven. Coat two 8″ or 9″ pans with butter or nonstick spray and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment. Place the pans on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a second small bowl, combine the milk and egg whites and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest and mix for a minute on medium speed until fragrant. Add the butter and cream together on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the coconut and vanilla extracts and then grab your bowl of flour and milk.

Reduce the mixer’s speed to slow and add 1/3rd of the flour. Once moistened, increase the speed to medium and mix until incorporated. Then add 1/2 the milk mixture and beat until the mixture is uniform. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, alternating until you’ve finished with the last 1/3rd of the flour. Mix the batter for a further 2 minutes to ensure it is lump free and well aerated.

Divide the batter between your baking pans (I think it was a bit over 500g for each pan) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the centers of the cake springs back when touched lightly.

Place the cakes on wire racks to cool. After a few minutes, run a knife around the outside of the pan to release the cake and remove from the pans. Allow to cool right side up until room temperature.

To make the buttercream:

Combine the sugar and egg whites in a bowl over simmering water. Whisking constantly, beat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is no longer gritty. Remove from heat and continue to beat until you have a thick, glossy meringue.

Transfer the meringue to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for several minutes on medium speed. Once the bowl of the mixer feels cool to the touch you can add your butter, one stick at a time beating on medium high. Once the butter is all in, continue to beat for 6-10 minutes.

The mixture may seem to curdle at some point but don’t worry, continue to beat and it will come together into a velvety buttercream.

Once well beaten, you can add the lemon juice a little at a time, beat until absorbed and then adding more. Then add the extract and you’re ready to frost

To assemble the cake:

Spread a third of the lemon curd onto the bottom layer of the cake and then a layer of buttercream. Top with a second layer of cake and repeat two more times. Place the last layer on top and then crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of icing. Chill the cake until the icing is firm and then frost the cake with the remaining butter cream. Smooth the remaining buttercream over the cake with an offset spatula until it is level and smooth.

Sprinkle the coconut over the top of the cake and coat the sides by gently pouring the coconut between your hand and the cake.

The cake is best eaten the day it is made. If you need to store it, refrigerate it covered for up to two days, allowing plenty of time to bring it back to room temperature before serving.


Blast from the Past

January 23, 2010

I knew I wanted to start my own baking blog from the time I was first introduced into the food blogging world.  Anticipating the start of my own site, I was a rampant baker and used my small digital camera to document every item produced in my kitchen, taking hundreds of shots of my cupcakes, cookies and cakes that I knew would one day be posted on my own blog.  However, now that I have my blog, I never look back or consider posting those old recipes I’ve made, however successful they were.  Maybe it’s the crappy lighting or blurry photography, or maybe it’s just because I can’t even keep up with posting my new recipes.  Well, today while looking through my iphoto albums, I was inspired to share some past photos and recipes of things I have made.  I do indeed have hundreds of photos sitting around serving no purpose!

Here is a brief excerpt of my baking, pre-rollininthedough.

Since I began baking, I have made a coconut cake every year for my mom’s birthday in October.  It’s her favorite, and I always try out a new recipe.  October of 2008, I was feeling ambitious and wanted to do something grand.  I found this recipe months before the date, and marveled over its impressiveness; I knew it was perfect.  However, when I read through the recipe, I was repulsed by the 10 sticks of butter called to make the entire thing.  I’ll repeat that: TEN STICKS OF BUTTER.  My family is pretty health conscious, so I tried to improve this buttery situation by opting out a few sticks from the cake batter.  Now I don’t quiet remember exactly what I did, but what I will tell you is to NOT do what I did.  If your going to make this cake, go ahead and make it with all its 10-sticks-of-butter-glory.  I followed the recipe for the frosting to a T and it turned out amazing.  Real vanilla beans.  As for my attempt to manipulate the fat out of this cake, well it had a weird flavor and dryness to it.  Looks impressive though….right?  I wasn’t confident enough to make a six layer cake, so I made it four layers.  I’m sure it will be amazing if it is done right.  Don’t mind if I just post a link, this recipe is super long: ultimate Coconut Cake

This next recipe is Dorie Greenspan’s Berry Surprise cake; a white cake with berries hidden inside, so when you cut it open the cake bursts with berries. This was a recipe done on a week of Tuesday’s with Dorie.  I fell in love with how this cake looked.  So pristine white, and berry beautiful 😉  One of my favorite blogs, Tender Crumb had one of the most beautiful interpretations of this cake which I was inspired to emulate.  I made this for my brothers surprise birthday party, so it seemed only fitting to make a Berry Surprise Cake. (I’m a corn-ball).  Known for over-doing it in the dessert department,  I also made ice cream sandwiches.  I can’t remember which chocolate chip cookie recipe I used (from the picture it looks like the NYTCCC), but I made two types of ice cream: strawberry balsamic and salted caramel.   What great flavor combinations,  if I don’t say so myself, these ice cream sandwiches were pretty dope 😀

To make the ice cram sandwiches, I let the ice cream thaw to room temperature, filled the cookies, wrapped them in plastic wrap and refroze.  Then about 30 minutes before consumption, I took them out of the fridge so they wouldn’t be hard as bricks.

I got the strawberry balsamic recipe from Tender Crumb blog as well: here

Salted Caramel Ice cream recipe:

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

Adapted from David Liebovitz

2 cups whole milk, divided

1½ cups sugar
4 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the ice cream, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

Spread 1½ cups sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later.)

Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.

Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go.  The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup of the milk.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Finally, I’m going to share with you the first paid order I did; how exciting!  I remember slaving over these mini cupcakes all day.  It was so much work, but it was also well worth it.  I felt so accomplished and everybody loved these Chai tea and matcha green tea cupcakes (not pictured).  These were made for the Marin Chinese Cultural Association Asian scholarship dinner, so I went with tea flavors. Michelle from une-deuxsenses blog raved about this chai recipe, and I used a matcha cupcake recipe I created myself.  My first attempt at Swiss Merengue buttercream, it was glorious.  Recipe is here

A sample of past baking.  I can promise more is to come……

to be continued!