Pastry chef ’s advice is icing on cake.
Mich Turner has quite the client list.
The owner of Little Venice Cake Co. based in London has created cakes for Queen Elizabeth II, actors Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson, former Beatle Paul McCartney, rocker Ozzy Osbourne, chef Gordon Ramsay and soccer star David Beckham.
Turner has been baking cakes and other treats since she was a child, standing on a chair to make shortbread or stamp out biscuits.
More than 10,000 cakes later, the chair is decidedly unnecessary.
Turner will be in Central Florida this week for The America’s Cake Fair. The three-day show will host baking-themed classes, demonstrations, vendors and more Friday through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center. (Tickets, $20 and up, at
Turner will demonstrate how to make hand-painted sugar butterflies at 11 a.m. Sunday. She will also take the main stage at 11:30 a.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday for a discussion that includes her new book, “Have Your Cake and Eat It.”
In it, Turner shares recipes and tips on creating healthier desserts. There’s one rule with these “healthy” cakes:
“They have to taste amazing,” Turner said. “There’s nothing bland or boring about them.” Here are a few tips Turner shared:
Try different frostings. If you want frosting on your cake, give some thought as to the type. Is buttercream a must, or would a Greek yogurt frosting work just as well? Same goes for the filling.
“By choosing different ways of putting fillings and frostings together you can be clever with the calories you’re consuming,” Turner said. Think about ingredient quality.
Avoid artificial coloring for something more natural, such as beetroot powder for red velvet cake. Little tricks can cut calories.
Hand-piping instead of layering icing onto your cake can trim off some calories, Turner said.
Her recipe for Banana, Coconut & Caramel Pavlova exemplifies this. It contains all the flavors of a banoffee, an English dessert pie that uses bananas, cream and toffee. By serving caramel on the side it has some portion control as well.
Gluten-free and dairy-free coconut meringue is filled with fresh cream and sliced bananas.
Banana, Coconut & Caramel Pavlova
Reprinted with permission from “Have Your Cake and Eat It” © 2017 by Mich Turner, Sterling Epicure.
6 large egg whites at room temperature Scant 1½ cups superfine sugar 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar ½ teaspoon cream of tartar Generous 1 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1½ cups whipping cream, whipped 3 ripe bananas ½ quantity salted (or unsalted) caramel (below) 1 ounce dried coconut flakes
1. Preheat oven 350 F. Draw a 10-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper, turn it upside down, and use it to line a baking sheet.
2. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks, but not dry, and add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff and shiny. Add vinegar and cream of tartar and stir in the dried coconut.
3. Spread meringue onto the circle on prepared sheet and make an indentation in the center with the back of a spoon.
4. Transfer meringue to oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 250 F, and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn off oven, open door slightly and leave the meringue to cool completely in the oven.
5. Place meringue on a large plate, pile with whipped cream and slice over the fresh, ripe bananas. Drizzle caramel over the top and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serve additional caramel sauce on the side.
The meringue can be made up to three days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Once filled, it should be consumed the same day, within four hours. Not suitable for freezing.
Salted caramel sauce
2⁄3 cup heavy cream 3⁄4 cup superfine sugar 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter A pinch of salt Put cream in saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Melt and cook sugar in a saucepan, with no stirring, until it turns a dark caramel color. Remove from heat and add cream — a little at first, as it will bubble up, then pour in the remainder. Add butter and stir until it has melted. Add salt to taste. Cool and let thicken. Store for up to 14 days in a jar in refrigerator.