Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old Baking Photos

I recently plugged Chris' old digital camera into our computer and found a few photos that I had taken while in culinary school that I never got around to posting on here.  The most interesting is the cake I had to make for my cakes final.  For each section we had in class (basics, cakes, breads, and advanced techniques), we had a written final and then a practical final.  Chef Katie would write down random foods from that section on slips of paper and make you pull them out of a mis en place cup.  For my basics practical I had to make crispy chocolate chip cookies and apple pie.  For my breads practical I got semolina bread and apple crumb loaf.  The advanced techniques final I got spiral danish and babka. And for the final final we chose items from the entire year.  Oddly enough, I got the exact same pick as the breads final and had to make semolina and apple crumb again.  The cakes final was really epic.  We got to be really creative within the parameters of our pick.  I pulled white cake, swiss buttercream, and baby shower.  So I could make whatever shape/decoration/colors whatever cake I wanted as long as it was themed for a baby shower, was made out of white cake and was finished in swiss buttercream.  We had a full day to complete it, but of course I had delusions of grandeur and designed an intensely complicated cake.  Everyone else was struggling so much that she ended up giving us the morning of the next day as well and allowed us to take home fondant and make our decorations if we needed to.

So.  Even though I had never had to frost a square cake before, (it's more difficult because it's all corners instead of one round side and one top), I had the awesome idea that I would make a baby blocks cake consisting of 15 mini square cakes stacked on top of each other.  WTF was I thinking. lol.  I made white cake in a half sheet pan so I could stack them easier, spent a lot of time measuring to make sure the cakes were all the same size, layered them with raspberry jam, and then began icing them.  I had mini cake squares everywhere, many of them shoved in random corners of the reach in refrigerator waiting for a second coat of icing.  BTW swiss buttercream is not as simple as let's say, simple buttercream.  It's easier than italian, but you still have to heat the egg whites and allow the  mixture to cool before you add the butter, so yeah.  I started with two double batches of icing which was not nearly enough.  I must have ran out of icing about 7 different times.  Luckily my friend Mihwa also had swiss buttercream and had finished her cake early, so I could use her leftover icing.  After frantically icing cakes for the better part of 4 hours, it was time to go home.  I had cut out the letters for the blocks already, but I took the rest of my fondant home to make my fondant decorations.

The next day I was positive I wasn't going to be able to finish, but somehow it all came together in the end.  Not my best work, but as a first try for such a complicated cake, I was rather proud of myself.  I would do a much better job of that cake if I were to try it again now, from all that I learned.  When it was time to bring it to Chef to be graded, she was like "WTF are you fucking kidding me?  When you said baby blocks I thought you meant like three big ones with like pictures of animals on them.  How the hell did you do this?"  Then she asked me who Heather was, to which I answered, I have no idea, no one, it was just the right amount of letters to support the top word.  I got like 100 on that fucking cake for sheer madness and ridiculous execution of a crazy idea.  Need I not mention that everyone else had done like a traditional two layer round, or a simple sculpted cake.  There were other standouts for sure.  Mihwa made Mr. Met out of a semi circle cake and it had a little baseball hat on and everything, so cute!  Someone made a wedding dress cake, and someone also made one of those cakes with the barbie sticking out the top.  I honestly don't remember what anyone else did except for Jamie and Brooke who made Dr. Seuss and Mix Tape cakes respectively.  I was in panic mode for 2 days straight.  The only comment Chef had was that the purple outline of the blocks should have been one continuous line instead of separate squares.  I actually had planned on doing that, but did the first few wrong and had to just stick with it.  Anyway, without further ado - my crazy ass bridal shower cake. 

P.S.  That thing was huge and heavy.  I went to work across the street after school, then had to come back to CALI to get it out of the fridge and tried to drive the 40ish minutes home with it in the front seat of my car.  I was dying to show my parents, but when I was getting out of the car a few of the letters fell off and the T and S ended up in the yard covered in dirt.  lol!

Julibean <3


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