Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Butterfly? Uh Oh, That's Old...

....let me see your JellyRoll! Yea, that's right, I went there. As previously mentioned, I missed the day that we did jelly rolls in class, so I had to get tips and tricks and notes from my classmates and instructors because it was on our midterm. I guess I'm a good listener and they're good tip givers, because I nailed it.

Jelly Roll

I made a thin sponge cake, pulled it out of the oven and rolled it up in parchment to give it "muscle memory". After 10-15 minutes, I unrolled it, spread a thin layer of strawberry jam on it, and rolled it back up. Some lovely diagonal cuts off the end and a light dusting of powdered sugar - jelly roll. Nothing to it really. Thanks for your help if you helped me and are reading this!


Le baguette. The only thing difficult about this 4 ingredient bread was that it had to be done by hand. Just because they wanted to see if we could do it. Super easy: Mix the water and yeast, add flour, add salt, knead 8-10 minutes. Let ferment for ~45 minutes. Punch, fold into small logs, let rest ~10 minutes. Roll out to full sheet pan length, proof ~30 minutes. Slit it. Bake it. Boom!

I won't even mention the written part of the final as it was quite simple. Tomorrow and Thursday is cookies! Friday and Saturday (yea school on Saturday) is 3.14159 (pie)! Should be a fun, fat week.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Second Helping of Cake

We finished up cakes this week with a couple fantastic cakes and some new techniques!

Strawberry Bavarian Cream

This cake has everything! It's got a light, fluffy sponge cake on the bottom; fresh strawberries around the side; a gelatinized strawberry créme anglaise; and strawberry glaçage on top. It's light and fruity and creamy all at the same time - not to mention festive! We got to make a créme anglaise and use gelatin and make a glaçage all for the same cake.


Wow. Don't be surprised if you find one of these in your stocking, because they are not near as difficult to make as they look, and they are tasty! These little mini cakes consist of that same light, fluffy sponge cake from the Bavarian, but only 3" around. In between the layers of cake is a praline cream that is just ridiculously delicious. We stacked and froze the cakes, and they still turned out great. That's where the "easier than they look" part comes in - the cakes can be done way in advance. Once they were defrosted, we melted milk chocolate and spread it thin on the bottom of a sheet pan and put it in the fridge. When it set, we let it warm up to just pliable and peeled it off with a putty spreader, then wrapped the chocolate around the cakes and folded it on top. We made little chocolate shard cones for the top and ta-da! - fancy little cakes.

Midterms are tomorrow. We'll see how good I can follow verbal directions because I missed the day where we made the jelly roll that I'm supposed to make tomorrow. My classmates better have given me good tips! I'll also have to make baguettes and take a written test (which I'm not too worried about). After that.........COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This is my salute to cake. Also appearing this blog, my pal Law - welcome to the big show buddy!

This was the week that I've been waiting for all my life. Cake week in Bake Shop. We started with an old standby:

Chiffon Cake with Swiss Buttercream

I was not in class on Friday - I was in Florida for Chase's wedding - Congrats Chase! - so my buddies Matt and Greg hooked it up by making an extra chiffon cake. That enabled me to decorate a cake for a grade. The Swiss Buttercream is fantastic. We heat up some sugar and eggwhites over a double boiler, whipped that in the KitchenAid, and added a ton of butter and a little vanilla. We got to use those cool spinning cake decorator platforms. We piped on a lovely border and wrote on it. This cake was great and I can't wait to use it outside of class. Who has the next birthday?

Sacher Cake

Next up was the Sacher cake. It's named after some famous German baker. We made the cake on Monday and put it in the fridge to set up for Tuesday. The cake was pretty dense, but still great. It has apricot preserves between each layer. Then it's coated with ganache and then coated again with a shiny ganache. Then we made little piping bags out of parchment and did that fancy double pass that probably made you say "ooooo" when you first saw it and the "Sacher" on there as well. Another winner that I will be able to use when someone asks for a "really chocolaty cake".


My pal Law and I teamed up yesterday and today to knock out these next two awesome cakes. This isn't a NY Style cheesecake or an Italian cheesecake or anything like that. It's just a plan old cheesecake. And it's great. It baked for 2 hours yesterday and set up over night. It's got some vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice, so it's got that nice twang that comes with citrus and cream cheese. We hit it with some apricot glaze - not for flavor, just for sheen. We were then allowed to decorate the cake with fruit as we saw fit. Of course, we went with the American flag. What else is there? Does anyone else here Lee Greenwood in the background?

Carrot Cake

What's up Doc? This cake was also baked off yesterday. It's got a TON of carrots in it, so it was super moist. We cut it into three layers and slathered each with cream cheese frosting. There's chopped walnuts on the outside. Cream cheese roses on top and Law's killer marzipan carrots - nice job buddy! This cake was great and is yet another addition for my cake-etoire.

I'm sad that cake week is over, but cookies, pies, and fancy confections are on the horizon. Stay tuned for Friday's blog, because tonight, I'm smokin' a whole pig for our Thanksgiving tailgate party tomorrow. You won't want to miss that!!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Anti-Atkins Class

Well, one full week of Bake Shop is in the bag and I know my fate: not a pastry chef. This stuff is sooooo tedious. Of course, the bread is delicious, but getting all the stuff together at the beginning of class is insane. Everything must be weighed out to the tenth of an ounce. One bread used three different flours for crying out loud! All that being said, I've already used what I've learned in school, at home. I made focaccia bread on Sunday night to go with herb roasted chicken minestrone. Good stuff. And now, for the photographic evidence of my baking prowess:

Pain Au Lait

These were some tasty rolls. They were pretty easy to make too: milk and yeast mixed in a mixing bowl with malt syrup, sugar, and a beaten egg. Then the flour goes in and the KitchenAid dough hook does its magic. Some salt. Then butter a little bit at a time. Once it's all combined, the dough goes into a sprayed bowl and into the proof box (a climate controlled box that is quite warm and humid) which aids in the fermentation process. Over the next 30-45 minutes, the dough will double in size. Then we punch it down, separate it into 2oz portions, ball it up, and sort of shape it into oblong shapes. We let it sit for about 10 minutes, then roll it out to 8" ropes and shape it into different shapes. Then it goes into a steam deck oven at 350º until GBD. See? Easy! For brevity, I won't go through the process of making each of these breads because most of them were the same method, just with different ingredients.

Multigrain Bread

How gorgeous is this bread? It's got walnuts, honey, brown sugar, buttermilk, oats, rye, and wheat bran. Once out of the oven, we brushed it with simple syrup to give it that oh so tasty-looking sheen. You'll all probably be getting this for Christmas.

Olive Sourdough Bread

I am not an olive fan. I absolutely hated this bread. We nailed it on the grade. In fact "gorgeous" was the word used by the chef. The vultures outside the kitchen lab seemed to think it was quite tasty ast well.

Margherita Pizza

Pizza. How could this not be excellent? That's all. It was just great.


Killer, killer, pretzels. I liked these a lot because they didn't require a second fermentation or a steam deck oven, so I could easily make these at home.

Hollaaaaa! (Challah)

Challah is a traditional Jewish celebration bread. It's made for Passover and other Jewish holidays. The dough is made and proofed and rolled out to several ropes. Those ropes are then braided. Those braided ropes are then eggwashed and proofed again. Then eggwashed again and baked. And then it gets eaten. Real tasty stuff.

Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

We made brioche breads - tetes, parisienne loaves, and then we had extra. What to do with extra brioche? How bout make some cinnamon rolls? YAYUUUHHHH!!!!!!!!

We're making crescents and danishes tomorrow morning. Then cakes next week. I'm going to get so fat in this class.