Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blast from the semi-distant past

With all the news about wheat prices going through the roof, and small bakeries feeling the financial pinch, it made me awfully glad that the idea J and I had of opening our own bakery/cafe got delayed for the indeterminate future two years ago when we decided to buy our house in Seattle.

At about this time three years ago, I was getting ready to enter baking and pastry school. Quite by chance, as I was browsing my digital photo files for a pix to use in the previous post, I came across the photos I took of the lovely cakes I made in my advanced cakes class during my third term of school. Let's take a peek, shall we?

The first lovely pink, silver and white concoction was my first teeth-gnashing experience with fondant icing. Painting the stripes on was fun, though.

The next example (right) was my Round 2 with fondant. Went much better as I recall, in spite of the fact that the layers on this "crazy" cake came with sharp angles to smoothly fit the fondant over. FYI, in case you think any of these cakes look tasty, think again. These things were nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty. These cakes were all about the decorating, so we baked our cake layers, used them, scraped off the icing and used them again, and again. Did I mention nasty? The crazy cake was the THIRD incarnation of those cake layers. Once this sucker was graded, I could not wait to get rid of it.

Fortunately, I got to start fresh for this lovely buttercream number (left). (Did I mention we scraped and reused a lot of buttercream frosting, too. Nope, didn't think I had. Again, not tasty. It's all about appearances, people.)

But wait! Ms. Square Cake Layers got tired of her outfit. She needed a makeover...a Chocolate Ganache makeover! What can I say about ganache? How about, "tastes great, is a bitch to pour." Those truffles on tier 1 and 3 were old, recycled ganache, which didn't stop students from another class from eating half of them in the several days the cake sat unattended between classes. Nice!

Ms. Square had one more grading party to go to, and this time she wanted to wear fondant (left). Sigh. But she really did look pretty, didn't she? Too bad that, like her circular forbearer, she was destined for the Dumpster.

Although I wouldn't stick one bite of any of these cakes in my mouth for a million dollars (well, maybe if that million dollars came with a course of antibiotics), I can assure you that some of my work that term was both beautiful and infinitely edible.


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