This is my version of a social media feed- I post general life updates about what I’m up to here.

Kitten 🐱

Eloise is just the cutest.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

A Mini Vacation

I took advantage of a little time off work to dig into some of the source material behind WandaVision. 🦹‍♀️🦸‍♂️

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Vaccinated 💉

She got her shot! Maddie’s been eligible to get vaccinated in California for a little while now, but our county has been running behind so she only just became eligible locally.

We went to the Oakland Coliseum which has been transformed into a federally operated mass-vaccination site. You can read more about it here. It was really well organized- I was impressed.

She’s already signed up for her second appointment in a couple of weeks. 💉

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

New Glasses

Decided it was time to switch things up from the frames I’ve been wearing since 2017… I really like them!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Baking a Cake

For Maddie’s Birthday this year I decided to bake a cake from scratch. I’ve been on a baking kick this year but most of what I’d tried have been simple things (lots of cookies). This would be a little more involved.

The Process

Maddie’s favorite childhood birthday cake was a vanilla cake, with raspberry filling, and buttercream frosting. I decided to try to recreate it but, as per usual, gluten and dairy free.

Raspberry Filling

I began, the night before, by making the raspberry filling. The recipe I found suggested letting the filling cool in the fridge for at least 12 hours to really bring out the flavor.

I was really pleased with this recipe in particular. The instructions were very detailed and I think my filling turned out quite nicely even though it was my time attempting something like this.

I used the following ingredients:

I had to purchase a mesh strainer as well.

I’ll just quote the recipe’s instructions directly here because they were so good:

  1. Place the frozen or fresh raspberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan and heat over medium high heat.
  2. Stir the mixture until it begins to boil.
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low, and allow the filling to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and remove the pot from the stove. Pour the filling into a metal strainer suspended over a medium sized bowl, and push through using a rubber spatula. Use a decent amount of pressure to really get all the liquid through the sieve. You should be left with about 1/2 cup of seedy pulp.
  5. In a separate small bowl, make a slurry by combine the remaining 1/4 cup of water with the cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch has fully dissolved into the water.
  6. Add this cornstarch mixture into the strained raspberry filling, and stir until it is incorporated.
  7. Rinse out your pot and pour the filling back into it (you don’t want any residual seeds getting into the filling).
  8. Heat at a medium high heat, and be sure to stir constantly during this stage to prevent the filling from burning.
  9. Cook until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low.
  10. Continue to stir, and cook for a few additional minutes.
  11. Turn off heat and pour the raspberry filling into a separate bowl to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.

The most difficult parts were straining the raspberries after the initial boiling and then trying to avoid burning the mixture after adding cornstarch and boiling for the second time. You really have to be stirring constantly and quite rapidly or it immediately begins to burn.

The Cake

The next day, in the afternoon, I started on the cake itself.

I had found a recipe for an Easy Vanilla Vegan Gluten Free Cake that looked promising since it used both apple cider vinegar and almond flour. In my experimenting with gluten-free breads I’ve found that recipes with these ingredients tend to turn out better.

Here are the (slightly) modified ingredients I ended up using:

The instructions were fairly simple. Basically I just stirred everything together in a bowl, poured it into two 9-inch springform pans, and baked it. 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

The Frosting

While the cake was baking, I made the frosting.

The frosting was really a lot of fun. I found a simple recipe for Vegan Buttercream frosting and purchased a hand mixer from KitchenAid. Both turned out to be great finds.

The recipe suggests a number of options for vegan butter but I decided to use what has become my favorite: Miyoko’s. The frosting turned out so well that I really think it’s the perfect match.

I began by using the hand mixer on a slow speed to cream the butter with the salt and vanilla extract. I then slowly added the powdered sugar cup by cup as I increased the speed of the hand mixer.

The frosting turned out to be one of the best parts of the whole cake and it was easily the most fun part.

Putting it All Together

I let the cake cool in the fridge for a few hours and then put it all together. I bought a couple of icing knifes that were really helpful here. The buttercream frosting was really quite thick so spreading it without damaging the cake was pretty difficult but the large knife helped a lot.

I finished the whole thing by adding fresh raspberries and, of course, candles.

I enjoyed putting it together and Maddie seemed really over-the-moon about it. I’m looking forward to trying more slightly advanced baking projects in the future now that I’ve graduated from cookie-land.

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Saturday, February 6, 2021

An Animal Crossing Date

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Saturday, January 30, 2021