Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yaaa. I've been getting yelled at a lot recently for not writing on my blog. So, let me tell you what's going on. I've finished all my classes and am now doing my internship at a swanky restaurant. :) My final class, that I did not blog about, was sugar and chocolate work. We did a range of sugar work including a sugar sculpture, a pastillage (Sugar paste) box, and a gingerbread house. This class was awesome because it allowed for whatever your creativity and ability could handle.
Here's what I came up with. :)This house is totally gingerbread, candy, and royal icing. It took a lot of hours. This is my favorite project ever. It was a real challenge's awesome! I took the design from Tim Burton's, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love it!
I used a picture of an African Drum to design this piece. It's just Pastillage painted with food coloring gels. the ropes on the outside are made of royal icing, piped. I had to defy gravity a little bit on this. Actually, I had to do that a little bit with all these pieces. :) I would like to point out the sugar sculpture originally had an orange bodied fish to match the fins (instead of a blue body) However, I was doing the finished touches on this sculpture when the lower body cracked and ended up crashing down before I had any time to react. This was our very last project and my reaction was just hysterical laughter, because... well what else is there to do.
I don't have pictures from the restaurant yet. I'll start working on that in a bit. I've only got 3 weeks left!
Thanks, everybody, for being patient and glancing at my blog even when I don't. Heh Heh.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weee! So. We are now officially done with the "Wedding Cake" class at school. I had a little bit of a soap opera, but in the end I think it turned out rather well.

A. Lets not be silly. I did not make a full out real wedding cake. This is a Styrofoam dummy, covered in fondant. The stripes were more of a pain in the ass then I thought they'd be. Of coarse, I've been staring at this thing from it's inception so I can see (quite clearly) every dent, every curve that should be straight, and every smudge. Errr. Make no mistake! I am excited about this cake. I think it turned out wonderfully, but I am my own worst critic.
The fabric-like stuff you see going down the side of the cake is fondant that's rolled out thin, covered with lace fabric, and spread with a thin layer of colored royal icing. Then you pull up the lace and it creates the pattern (just like a stencil).
So, ya. Pretty good for a first timer?
The last few days I've been volunteering at this seminar going on at my school. It's really fascinating and there are lots of awesome chefs doing workshops. I've only been there 2 days and I've learned loads of things and gotten tons of ideas for my next project (which will be sugar and chocolate work). The pictures are of a sculpture one of the chefs did this evening. It's awesome. She did it in about 3 hours. I've been very impressed with all the chefs I've worked with so far, and there are still 3 more days of the program! Eeee! (I'm a nerd)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Settlers of Catan

Let me just say, I am always willing to make cakes for friends and family. I enjoying it immensely. The featured cake for this post is a birthday cake I made for my friend Matt. His favorite board game is Settlers of Catan. So, having absolutely no idea of the mechanics of the game, I decided to make a cake replica. Apparently, I was able to grasp the concept and feeling of the game because everyone was super amazed and impressed at the likeness. All I can say is Got save Wikipedia. If you look up Settlers of Catan on wikipedia, you will see the picture that I copied, start to finish, on this cake.
The cake itself is a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting and fondant. All the little pieces are fondant as well. I was actually disappointed with the taste of this cake because I was originally going to make a German Chocolate Cake, but I was running short of time, so I used the cake recipe for German cake, but not the filling. Turns out that makes a way less awesome cake. So that's too bad.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Woo! Fondant!

It's really amazing what fondant can do to smooth out ruff edges of a cake. Everything looks so much cleaner and neater. Granted, it isn't always the best tasting, but if you're looking for perfection, this is you game. Actually, I realized this past week that it isn't that fondant is disgusting, it's that what I've tried of it is disgusting. I had only tried Neutral fondant, which does taste like butt, however the chocolate and white chocolate varieties we get in from school are actually fairly decent (also pretty freakish expensive).
I've been enjoying myself quite a bit the last week. We've learned how to fondant cakes and decorate them in various ways. We're spending the rest of this week working on making gum paste flowers, which should be interesting. Also, our portfolio's for our wedding cake final is due on Friday and I'm pretty excited about what is going on. I think it'll be awesome!!
Cake decorating has turned out to be not quite as annoying as I'd originally feared. I still think I'm more comfortable with platted desserts, where the important part is the flavor combination, versus cakes, where the most important part is to make the flowers look real. I am enjoying myself, though. I might even like to do wedding cakes for a side business. :)
Anyway! You probably want to look at some pictures, right?!
First up:
This is actually just a butter cream frosted cake with a pastiallge plaque (sugar plaque) with a cocoa painting. I stenciled the cartoon I found online. This thing is so cute! I tried to make a film wheel looking design with fondant around the side of the cake, but it didn't turn out so well...thus the pictures don't really show the sides.
I also did a painting from my favorite childhood book, The Sweet Touch, but I decided not to use that one.
Next we get into fondant cakes. This next one I did for a contest we had that day on who could come up with the best cake design for an 11 year old boy. Now. I will say I was surprised at myself for making this design. And while I don't actually condone this hobby for small children...I thought it was a cool cake!
Long story short, I did not win the competition. A cake in the shape of a Turkey Sandwich won the prize, which, you know...totally makes sense. Hhhem! And, if I might also say, it is probably a little silly or weird to take this cake to a classroom with 2 French chefs in it who immediately giggle at the cake and make "silly American" comments. My bad. :(
And lastly! We were taught how to make silly ridiculous bows that I may never use in the rest of my career, but hey, this cake is cute!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Only the French

So...Second day of wedding cake class and, as were are getting a French style education, we had to learn how to make the traditional French wedding cake. A Croquembouche. This little beauty is comprised of a series of small Pate Choux puffs (the same dough for eclaires) filled with pastry cream and stacked together using caramelized sugar. The best way I can describe it to you is...if you just glanced at it, with no idea of what you were looking at, you'd think it was a big pile of rocks or acorns. This is not really an attractive dessert! In fact, the classmates I was working on this project with had no end of obscenities regarding the ugliness of the cake, the ever increasing leaning angle, and well just the French in general. I am rather hoping this is the only time I will encounter having to make a Croquembouche, but all I can do is hope.

We've also begun learning more decoration techniques. I've spent the last two days pipping rose after rose after rose. I do understand the need for repetition to achieve the necessary skill, but..oh my god, there are only so many times I can make those freaking things before I go cross eyed.
We're going to begin some chocolate molding tomorrow We're also doing some sugar paintings. I'm excited to learn all this stuff and I am having a wonderful time, but I still don't think the wedding cake business is the way for me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Banana Fritters w/ Burnt Honey Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce
Okay. Yes. I'm sorry, I haven't written for a while. My last class went by like a shot. Between work, school, and lagging immune systems, it's been a busy month.
My last class topic was plated desserts. This is a big class for me because it's basically what I want to do when I get out into the working world. Our final project was to create and execute a menu of 10 desserts, 2 chocolate, 2 Traditional, 2 Seasonal, 2 Frozen, and 2 Hot. The project actually didn't go as well as I would have liked. My first day went well, but as time went on... I started getting frustrated. And my chef and I seem to differ a little on proper textures.
But! Here are some lovely pictures of a few of my final platings.
Clove Wine Sorbet w/ Candied Cherries

Honey Goat Cheesecake w/ Roasted Dates and a Lemon Raspberry Sauce
(although, this was suppose to have roasted FIGS, but none were available.)

Mexican Hot Chocolate w/ Churos
(The kick to this chocolate was not for a faint of heart)

Those are the one's that turned out the best. After that...I stopped taking pictures. Over all it was still good! I did enjoy the entire class and we were allowed to develop more creative desserts and such.
The class we have now is commonly referred to as the wedding cake class. The final being....yes, make a wedding cake. We get to choose if it will be a dummie cake (Styrofoam) or a real cake. Most people opt for the styrofoam because then it can be displayed for a while, possibly years, in the school. So that's exciting. I'm going to be using it as the practice round for Maria's wedding cake which a friend and I are going to be making in June. I'm very excited to design my sisters wedding cake! Ah! Fabulous!
Okay. Promise I will actually be a little more on the ball about blogging this time around. Sorry!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Okay. Okay. No more excuses! I've been terrible about writing on my blog. Sad Sad.
I've been on vacation for two weeks and this past week was the start of a new class. We are now in the home stretch people! This is the first of 3 final classes and I'm done. Yay! I'm having an awesome time though. We are working on plating in this class, so this is where are the finite details come into play. We've spent all this week making sauces and cookies and such to go along with desserts that we then make as something of an after thought. It's been really good and it has allowed for maximum creativity, which is really nice. The pictures are just two platings of the same dessert. It's a Creme Caramel flavored with orange water (which is my new favorite thing) and a blackberry sauce with cardamom tuiles.
We'll have more platings tomorrow, but the finish products for this class are slow going. I probably won't have as many pictures as usual. Our final is to create a menu of 10 desserts, make them, and plate them over the coarse of one week. That'll be fun and hurty.