Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wedding Cake assembly extravaganza

Well, the week wrapped up with quite an effort the last two days to get everything done for my first wedding cake.  It was a great experience learning how to keep the cakes level and how to assemble all four layers so that they would hold up and be sturdy.  The flowers were finished and brushed with color and put on the cake at the end.  Fondant was also brushed with powdered color and used to make the lace appliques that were put around the base of the cake.  I had quite a bit of work to do and it was very fun.  I will be able to use these techniques in all of my cakes in the future.  We then moved the 60 pound cake into its location for a photo shoot and then took it all apart.  Here are some photos of the cake and the flowers we used for decoration.....all edible.

It was an incredible experience and I am very grateful to my teacher, Marda Stoliar and her patience with me.  Now it is back to Wyoming and the preparations for opening the bakery.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Angles are everything....

So I spent much of the last two days baking, filling and frosting the four layers that will make up this wedding cake.  It is an almond chiffon cake with orang curd and almond buttercream.  The cake is a very traditional and elegant French cake and is very flavorful.  I have never created a cake this big, so this has been a challenge.  Now that they are finally frosted and filled, we will begin decorating tomorrow.  They are in the freezer overnight to get them ready for the finishing touches.

The cakes are coated in a delicious almond buttercream that will keep them moist and provides a delicious accompaniment to the cake.  Getting all of the edges square is quite a challenge and is what you spend most of your time doing.  It is definitely a skill, and photos of the four layers are below in order from the top down.  We will get them ready to stand together tomorrow.  The top layer is 6 " in diameter and the bottom is a 14" square.  This cake probably feeds 130 people.

We also worked more on these roses that will become part of the decoration as well and are fun to make.  I am learning so much and am excited to see it come together.  Here are the centers of the roses.  More to be added in the next two days.

Well that is all for now...so far I have spent 29 hours on this cake....my first one. Peace, love, and baking!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Vive la France!,,,....wedding style

Well, we began constructing the wedding cake today that is essentially my cake final for this week.  We started by taking my design (which I accidentally designed a cake to feed 250....no need to do that in class.....right?) and modified it to a reasonable level.  We mapped out the sizes of the cake layers and the general plan.  I then had to bake out 2 1/2 full sheet pans of the cake to divide up into the layers.  Since my teacher's training was largely in Europe, the wedding cake of choice is a French cake.  It is called a Mascotte cake, but if translated into common vernacular...it is an almond sponge cake.  What makes this so very unique is that is has a very large amount of ground almonds in the batter and is still tender and light.  It is a great cake and will complement the flavors I have chosen for the filling and frosting, etc.   After all the baking was done we set to constructing the tulips from the petals we made two days ago.  Here are a few photos of that.  It was truly magical putting the flowers together.  WE painted some extra colors on them and still have to steam the flowers which will make the colors become more vibrant.  Yes...there is some Vegas bling in the center of the flower just for fun.  I was thinking of red Rembrandt tulips with yellow flames as I painted.  It is great fun.

We then moved on to roses and we had only just started when my rose fell off of the wire onto its face and this is after I had revived it with the tiniest spatula I have ever seen.  It needs more work tomorrow, but this is my first attempt at sugar flowers and I had a great time.  It is very relaxing. 

I finished the day by cutting out all the cake for the four layers and getting it in the freezer so it is hard and can be sliced better tomorrow.  More flowers to come as well.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happy Birthday William and Marda!....let the wedding cake begin......and Spring has sprung!

Well, my son William turned 15 and he celebrates a birthday the same day as my baking instructor, Marda Stoliar.  It was a great day and very peaceful and creative.  During the day we spent some time baking some loaves of soft white bread, which Marda was out of and I needed the practice on.  She bakes them up in 5" square loaf pans.  This is very much a typical size in Japan, where she lived for many years.  At The Bread Doctor Bakery, I will likely bake these up in 4" square loaves.  It is a great bread with good body and holds up to sandwiches well.  I had not baked it since my original class and it was good to do it again as the bakery is scheduled to open this summer!  Here is a photo of the bread.

We then spent the rest of the day setting up all the materials needed to make sugar flowers.  These are made up of a mixture of fondant and gum paste ( a sugar paste).  It is spread out in very thin layers and then cut and molded and decorated into the basic parts of a flower.  The parts are then assembled into the final flower.  It takes quite a bit of focused energy and I was very quiet and concentrating most of the time, but it is incredibly amazing to see what you can make out of sugar paste, and how delicate and life-like the petals can become.  It was an amazing first experience. We worked first on parrot tulips and I chose a coral color because that is one of the colors I want to used on the wedding cake next week.  Below, you will see a shot of some of the petals I made.  They have to dry completely before you can assemble them into flowers, so that will happen Monday.  I am then going to be learning roses and peonies and small filler flowers.  This is an entirely new art form for me and will be very exciting.  The end of the week will be coming very fast I am sure and I will be working frantically on decorations and making the big wedding cake.  If there is anyone getting married very soon who may want this cake...we are considering donating it when done. :)

Gum paste and colored fondant getting ready to mix together

Parrot tulip petals drying for assembly later.
The curved plastic fruit containers help keep the shape of the petal while drying,
My host family, Bill and Donna Pfeiffer are planning a birthday dinner tonight for Marda and that will be fun, and I have had time to renew my friendship again with Bob Sauter while I have been here.  He is a great man and a good example to me....he was my Scoutmaster when I was in high school.  I am surrounded by very nice people who are all helping me pursue my dream of becoming a respectable baker.  I am blessed.  I am most particularly grateful for my wife and family who are sacrificing the time for me to be here.  I love them very much.

Beautiful photos of flowers here in Bend, OR....Spring is in full swing and I am missing it in my own yard.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Let's Fill the Pastry Case!

Well this week has ended our quest to fill the pastry case at the bakery.  All of the cakes we have been designing and baking have been an aim to be able to bake and fill my pastry case with delicious edibles that are small portions that people can enjoy and are small versions of the larger cakes that I will be able to make at the bakery for special occasions.  We have come up with some wonderful flavors and combinations.  I am so grateful to my teacher, Marda Stoliar, for her tireless pursuit of excellence and beauty that has trickled down into the design of my cakes.  I am very excited

Today was no exception, we finished Red Velvet cake and Apple Spice cake.  Both of these are simpler presentations, because that is what compliments these flavors better.  The Red Velvet Cake is filled with cream cheese filling and coated with Italian Vanilla Buttercream.  The Apple Spice Cake is coated and filled with maple icing and has bits of apple in the cake with some rum flavoring.  It is a great flavor profile.  I am thrilled with the techniques I am learning and will be able to springboard from there.  Here are some photos of the finished cakes today.  We also sliced open the Chocolate Marzipan Pound cake.  Wonderfully rich dark chocolate with chunks of marzipan in the cake.

Well this is the end of rectangular cake slices for now and we move on to wedding cakes.  We will be working on design and construction to create the elements needed to have a successful wedding cake.  This will be a very new experience for me, but I am looking forward to it. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Did I mention I am taking a cake class..........?

 We are frantically baking more and more cakes to expand the flavor profile and offerings at The Bread Doctor Bakery.  I baked four more cakes today that will all be divided and put together tomorrow.  One of the cakes that we baked today was a delicious chocolate pound cake that has chunks of marzipan in the cake.  It is fabulous...I got to taste the ends.  Marzipan is a paste made of bitter almonds and sugar and can be used in many aspects of the baking.  The cake is covered with a chocolate icing that seals in the cakes moisture.  Here are  a few photos.

We were also able to slice today a cake that has been in the freezer since Monday.  It is called the Astor cake after the famous New York socialite family.  It is two layers of chocolate cake filled with two layers of mousse.  One mousse is bitter sweet chocolate and one is white chocolate and hazelnut.  The cake is covered with chocolate butter cream and chocolate caramel.  It is a beautiful cake and will be featured at dinner tonight. 

Also made two types of red velvet cake today and apple spice cake.  All will be put together tomorrow and will get some photos on the blog.  I am learning so much about different types of cakes and fillings.  All will be put to good use in the bakery. 

I should mention that during the last week I have also been reading many wedding cake books to get ideas for the wedding cake I will make next week.  Right now we are in the planning stage, but it will be and exciting culmination of what I have been learning and will be a great challenge.  I have never baked so many cakes in one period of time....what an exciting time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cake, Cake and more Cake

Okay...so I recently posted on Facebook a picture of a cake named the Basque cake (Cherry Shortbread Cake).  It is a very interesting and delicious cake that has a fruit filling (cherry in this case) that is baked on top of pastry cream inside a cake that turns out to be very much like a shortbread cookie.  It is a truly delicious number and one that I will likely make in miniature at the bakery.  Here are some photos of the cake sliced into and it is heavenly.

This cake is a sleeper because of its unassuming and humble exterior.  However, it is a great surprise for the mouth when you eat it.  A cake like this won the international cake competition once and surprised all of the fancy cake makers at its sublime flavors.  My teacher states that it is so versatile that people can eat it all day...for breakfast like coffee cake, or for dinner for dessert.  So I am excited to see the response back home. ......never judge a cake by its cover.  Okay...you have to be a real baking, cake-dedicated person to keep reading this because it is all about the subject of the month.....Cakes!

I have also been working on a Grand Marnier Orange Chiffon cake for the last two days.  We even preserved and dried orange slices for the top of the cake and I was under strict instructions to get the cake evenly frosted.  So I finally finished it today and it is here below.  Filled with White Chocolate truffle filling and  topped with Grand Marnier Buttercream, this cake is a delicate, sunny hit of orange and is fairly eye-catching as well.  I am please with the way this turned out.....and yes...the orange slices are edible.

We then moved on to Chocolate Truffle Dome, which is a mixture of chocolate cake and buttercream in a crisp chocolate dome, and only about 2-3 inches across...a great small dessert.

Then we made Lemon Coconut Snowballs....White cake with lemon mousse and white chocolate butter cream...surround by white chocolate and coconut.  Very tasty.

Well, it has been a busy couple of days and I think I am moving on to Red Velvet Cake tomorrow.  I am learning tons and have had my horizons expanded in a very big way.  I am working towards a wedding cake next week of my design and will see how things progress.  I have homework tonight to study wedding cake design and so I am signing off.  Stay tuned for more updates.