I hope you have a wonderful, chocolate-filled day!
Tag Archives: decorating
Oh my goodness, this was so exciting, challenging and nerve-racking all at the same time. About three weeks before I made the cake, the bakery got call about someone wanting a simple wedding cake. They were part of the family who got the eggless Mickey Mouse cake and the grandma insisted they get their wedding cake from our bakery.
At the consultation, I sat with the bride after she had picked her flavor, filling and frosting with my boss, and talked to her about what decoration she would like. She wanted completely simple, almost to the point of no borders, but we decided a pearl border with a few small pearls on the edges would be a good combo. She was going to use fresh roses as the cake topper. Baking the vanilla cakes was no problem, and they came out of the pans beautifully, so I didn’t have to worry about fixing messy edges. I also had to make the raspberry filling (great choice bride!!) for the cake. I have made a few fillings at work and I can’t believe how easy it is to make. Literally you add 1 1/2 cups of fruit, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to a pan and bring to a boil until the fruit breaks down and the sauce becomes “clear.” On Saturday I finished all of my other work and began working on the wedding cake. The first step was to level the cakes, as close to perfect as I could.
I was already nervous and a little shaky at this point and this coffee cup totally summed up what I was feeling! I mean, I am in charge of making someone’s wedding cake, which they are expecting to be perfect on their day. You don’t want to be the detail that didn’t turn out right for a wedding!
Next step, place first layer perfectly centered on the cake board, pipe the frosting wall in the middle and add the amazingly tasty raspberry filling.
Carefully place top layer and finish pre-icing your cake. I repeated these steps for the top tier of the cake and placed both tiers in the freezer to set the filling and frosting.
After they had set, I put the final icing on the bottom tier and got it as perfectly smooth as I could. Then I had to put a few dowel rods into the cake to support the top tier. Push the dowel all the way to the cake board, mark where it meets the top of the cake, remove from cake and cut on your mark. At this point, finish icing the top tier.
The scariest step comes next – placing the top tier on the bottom tier. Did I mention this was my first tiered cake as well?? Oh yeah, my nerves were going crazy! Deep breath, deep breath and set cake. Thanks be to God that I was able to place the top tier almost perfectly centered on the first try.
Take a few deep breaths, say thank you prayers and finish icing your cake.
I have to give my boss a big thank you for trusting me to make this cake and I am very glad for the experience of creating a wedding cake and a tiered cake. Wishing the newly married couple a lifetime of happiness!
Anyone remember that song? Yep, now you can listen to it in case you don’t know what I’m referring to. I like ‘oldies,’ what can I say?
Back to this post…change is the major theme in my life right now. In only a matter of weeks, I have had some huge changes in my life. Unfortunately, one of them was the loss of my beyond amazing Grandma Noni. I still don’t feel like that is a reality, and I think being away from my family has added to that feeling. On the flip side, I have been thinking of her almost daily because I need her most important advice to get me through each day.
First things first; one thing at a time.
In late June I decided I wasn’t going to make it another year at my current job. We have gone under new ownership/management, software updates, personnel changes and beginning in July, we started learning a completely new software system. Now, maybe to the average person this doesn’t sound too bad, but adding these things on top of an already stressful job pushed me over my limit of healthy and allowable stress. I slowly started looking for new jobs, mainly on Monster and Craig’s list. I happened to look at the local universities and also local grocery stores. Just for the heck of it, I applied for three different cake decorating positions and one full-time bakery position. I also applied for traditional office/admin jobs and jobs that had more emphasis on accounting because I enjoy that type of work much more than my current position as payroll specialist.
I ended up getting a call back about the full-time bakery position and was offered a part-time position that eventually would get me into the bakery. They weren’t ready to put me in the bakery full-time because I didn’t have commercial baking experience. That was all I needed to help me put in my two-week’s notice. During the two weeks I ended up having two interviews and working try-outs with two different bakeries! One offered me a full-time baking and decorating position, so you are reading the blog of a newly employed bakery worker! Woo-hoo….I’m almost too exhausted to be excited but I can tell my stress level has dropped dramatically just knowing that I have a full-time job.
I am definitely scared that I won’t end up liking baking full-time in a real bakery, or that I’ll be super slow or be a horrible decorator. But, I took the position because the owner was willing to give me a chance even though I had no experience. I don’t know when another chance would come up to get this kind of experience, so I decided I had better try it or I’ll never know if I like the bakery world.
Now, if starting a new job isn’t enough change, let’s add in moving into a new apartment. Yes, we are crazy, thanks for asking! We had the opportunity to move upstairs in our current apartment and we jumped at the chance because the upstairs apartments have awesome balconies and HUGE kitchens compared to our current one. We will be losing a room, so I have absolutely no idea what I will do with all the stuff in our office, but gaining a balcony and bigger kitchen is totally worth it. Ben and I love being outside and we love cooking. With a bigger kitchen we may be able to cook at the same time now!
I have to give God all the credit for the great things that are happening in our lives right now. I could not have imagined actually having a job at a bakery and then God provides me a job at the bakery Ben and I both love eating at! I will be taking a slight pay cut, and God has provided us a better apartment for a little less money each month, so it shouldn’t affect us too much. Matthew 6:8 explains it so well “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask.” God has been giving me strength to work each day at my current job, but He also had everything prepared when I asked him for a new job.
What is God doing in your life right now? How have you seeing His blessings lately?
For our second week in cake decorating class, we were instructed to make 6-12 cupcakes, filling and frosting. I had some very ripe bananas that I wanted to use for banana cupcakes. I slightly modified my banana bread recipe, mostly by using cake flower in a larger ratio to the liquid ingredients. For the chocolate filling, I used butter, melted chocolate and a little oil. The buttercream frosting was the standard vanilla recipe from class.
We colored some of the frosting to practice decorating and then we learned how to swirl the frosting to make two or three different colors show up in one swirl of frosting. Pink, yellow and white were my colors of choice and it turned out beautiful! I was totally impressed at how easy it was to make the cupcakes look that cool.We also practiced two kinds of flowers, and leaves. My green icing for the leaves was a little too watery, so they kind of turned into green blobs on the flowers. I didn’t like the colors of the flowers, so I didn’t take any pictures. Oops…bad blogger! I’ll have to make some to put on a cake and show you pictures.
Thank you to my mother-in-law for buying me a cool cupcake carrier! It make transporting my decorated cupcakes much easier and I wasn’t worried about ruining them because they didn’t slide all over the place.
What is your favorite kitchen accessory? What new baking/cooking/decorating techniques have you learned lately?
Apparently July is the month for birthdays…I have several cousins, a brother-in-law, father-in-law, several co-workers and their children all with birthdays in July. What does this mean? It means I am busy making cakes in my free time. Yay, for getting more experience baking from scratch and decorating. My favorite thing about this is that I am able to make different flavors of cake and frosting to suit the preferences of each person. Two weeks ago I made two birthday cakes in one week. This is cake #2 because I forgot my camera and didn’t take pictures of cake #1.
This cake was a regular yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. I learned the chocolate buttercream is VERY thick and you need a lot of water to get it to the right consistency for spreading on the cake. I had a little left-over white buttercream from a previous project and colored it with violet for the edging and writing. I really felt that this cake needed something more in terms of decorating, but just didn’t have the time to figure it out. Such is the life of an aspiring baker/decorator with a full-time job! Here you can see the edging detail. I need to work on my swirls more, but I was pleased with how the spacing turned out.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be? I have a toss-up between two, one is owning a horse stable and teaching riding lessons and the other is a full-time cake decorator.
Another weekend and another cake experiment, this time with an instant Jello package added into the cake mix. The last two cakes I made turned out slightly dry, especially on the edges. In search of a recipe from scratch that would stay moist, I thought I had heard that adding pudding mix would help. And of course, if pudding would make a cake moist, surely Jello would do the same. I’ll be completely honest, it didn’t totally work out. For some reason there was a hard crust on all the cake edges, which I had to shave off before stacking and decorating.
The finished product did turn out quite well, even after the slightly messed up baking. I’m not sure I will use jello in scratch cakes again, or I will have to find out how to bake them properly. It worked great when I used the box cake mix, but I feel like that isn’t being a true baker.
I used my new frosting recipe which I learned in my cake decorating class. Everyone thought it was great and tasted “like a store cake.” I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I’ll take it to mean that I make professional tasting cakes. I working on using new and different decorating patterns and tips on each cake, so that I get more experience doing different things.
What flavor, style, color, and design should I use for my next cake?