We have finally made it to cakes in class and my oh my has it ever been a humbling experience. In general, I’m a humble person, but even so, trying to level out a cake and smooth on icing and make perfect little decorations? Not my forte. At least that is what I am learning as we are going through this unit. Mind you, I’ve decorated a few cakes over the years, and I thought they always came out rather nice – but some of the people in my class are geniuses with piping bags and have such steady hands, the decorations they come up with are beautiful. It doesn’t come as easy to me, but I am good with covering up any little mistakes I make.
As our Chef says, the key to succeeding in this industry is knowing that you are not the best – that there will always be people out there better than you. Know your strengths, and let this push you to work harder to improve in the areas you need to. (And I definitely could use cake decorating practice!)
Cakes are so versatile, which I think is what makes them so popular. You can produce tons of different kinds of cake with just your basic butter cake recipe. Using different extracts, fillings, frostings, the possibilities really are endless – and all using the same standard base. Fortunately for me, I can bake a cake with no problem, it’s when it comes time to tier the cakes and decorate where I run into bumps in the pastry road.
In class, what we do is bake a cake a few days in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, making it a lot easier when it comes time to cut into it and frost. At the beginning I was not even able to make an even layer, but with practice I have become better at it. We’ve practiced different borders like shell borders, the basket weave, and this week we started on flowers (my favorite).
We have another competition coming up in June, but it’s more like an iron chef competition. That’s nerve-racking! All of us are pretty excited, except we all have to battle it out to see which one is actually representing our school and going to the competition. The contest is on cupcakes, so I am scheming up a few different recipes because I really want to win. Cross your fingers for me!
Love & Sweets,