Saturday, October 22, 2011

COOKING: Professional Cakes Attempt #1

I should have updated this earlier. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't as I've been jumping off the walls excited about getting bakery  tools and beginning to invest in running a bakery one day.

Even though I've never lost steam or enthusiasm for this idea, walking up and down State Street every day has kicked me into gear. State Street is where my desired future bakery shop is, in a place that is currently a notary. The place makes me nearly drool, as there's so much I could do with it. Every time I pass it I look in and my mind runs wild. So far they've very successful as they double in vinyl making - who knew that could go anywhere? But I heard the owner talking about having enough of a business to open on the internet for international sales, and they were profitable enough to afford building a handicap slope outside their door.

I have back ups because of this. In fact, the notary is attached to another store. The store front is smaller but it has a huge back room, ideal for baking. The place I like has a very small back room, probably not enough to bake on premise. This attached store holds promise and looks cheaper to rent. There's a store on the other side of my favorite store, separated by an alley lane. It looks pretty shot down and would need work, but it's charming looking and reminds me of Buddy's store, if it was even smaller than it is. But I won't have the money to fix up an entire place, so that's a last shot. Across the street is a huge place, ideal window store front and very nice looking, but I doubt I'd be able to afford the first year's rent, even after saving up for a few years. I think I'll stick with fantasizing over the two red attached stores, as they're my best bet.

ANYWAY, I didn't mean to say any of that. I meant to say that I'm buying lots of tools to build up my baking artilery. They're expensive, so I can only afford two or three things at a time, which is about every two weeks. But I'm going to keep gathering. So far this past week I bought three things that are just wonderful. First, my favorite baking thing ever, my professional grade cast iron bottom cake stand. It doesn't wobble, not even a little. It's so smooth and perfect.

Then I got a cake pan that makes mini three tiered cakes. It's like making little mini wedding cakes, they're adorable! The pan works GREAT. I couldn't believe how easily the whole cake slid out, as I anticipated it getting stuck (I made two cakes thinking one would probably crumble, but no problems at all there!) The cakes are so cute.

Then I bought icing presser patterns. These are fancy shapes in different sizes that let you push them into the icing, leaving a pattern. Then you just easily follow the lines with icing and it looks like you did it perfectly by hand. I love these - it's something so simple that really helps make cakes look amazing and professionally done.

The cake stand arrived yesterday, as I planned it would. The day before I prepared to make everything I'd need to have a professional looking cake and yesterday I unfolded the plan.

Things went a bit rocky. First, I followed the recipe on the cake pan since I wanted to try something new. It was a vanilla cream cheese cake that tasted great. I assumed that since it was on the cake pan, that it would be enough to fill the cake pan. It wasn't, it only made two instead of four. I was fine with that - it would have taken double time to do all of them and that would have drove me crazy. I enjoyed only working with two.

Then I made buttercream. I knew i needed to cover both mini cakes with it and have plenty left over for the decorating, so I made a double batch, having no idea that it needed so much powdered sugar. I had about half of what i needed. I just went with it - the icing tastes pretty buttery this way but hey, it's called butter cream. It ended up making so much I still have enough for another normal sized cake.

Then I realized oops, I used all my powdered sugar, which I had to have for the fondant - the fondant being the most important experiment of the day. It was like 8 PM and cold, so I couldn't just run to the store with Katie. Instead I called my mom and convinced her to let me have her powdered sugar, her fondant rolling pin, and to drive it down to me for a small payment. Thankfully that worked out, and I made the fondant with little problem after that.

Though fondant is SO difficult to work with. I wasn't at all surprised, as I never heard anyone refer to fondant as something easy to work with. It dries up within ten minutes, which means you have to roll it out, shape it and get it perfect on the cake within 10 minutes. LOTS OF PRESSURE! Especially when you have to scrap it and reroll it about 5 times over because it won't stop tearing on the cutting board.

When they say to "dust the cutting board" for your fondant, don't listen to that. You want to COAT the board like you're trying to keep the fondant warm for the frosty winter using only powdered sugar. You need layers on everything that touches it - including your hands and wrists. And DON'T touch you're clothing at all, as fondant loves fibers. Keep any clothing that's fluffy out of the kitchen, as fondant acts like a magnet.

I tried two different methods with the cake. The lazy way, ie, just covering the whole cake with icing and putting fondant on it, and the better way: cutting the layers off, fondant-ing them individually and gluing them back together with icing. You can see which one worked better!

It took about 4-6 hours to make and decorate these cakes, but I had fun. In fact, I'm doing it again today, this time with a new chocolate cake recipe and doing a normal 9" round cake so I have more room to decorate.

Here's pictures from yesterday. Note: Some of the decorating was done with one hand while holding a baby!

No comments:

Post a Comment