Cake: an emotional rollercoaster

Cake has somehow taken over my life. It used to be a special occasion kind of treat I would make for birthdays, but suddenly there is cake in my home every day of the week. I am in deep water here…I need more vegetables.

I made almost all of the cakes in class; some turned out spectacularly, some close to disaster, but most were in between. I have sworn, yelled triumphantly, danced, sang, and cried about these cakes. My very sanity has been shaken, and my healthy habits tossed to the curb, but at least it’s really good practice. As my chef/teacher told us, this is the time for us to make mistakes. So I’d like to share with you the highs and lows and pounds of butter of the past few weeks.

This was the first cake of the quarter. It was new, novel, and it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect. I miss those days.

My taste-buds were thrown for a glorious loop with this one. A chiffon cake with french butter cream topped with cake crumbs. Oh my word, it was heavenly. So smooth and light and rich and creamy and just all around divine. Did you know french buttercream is made with egg yolks instead of whites? And obviously, lots of butter. Does that give you an idea about how disgustingly fantastic it is?

And then, for what I like to think of as balance, angel food cake with runny marshmallow frosting. It would have been better with just a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Then I made a rad character cake.

I walked out of that kitchen with practically no white to be seen on my uniform or apron, only splotches of green, black, orange, yellow…and somehow blue.

Then I met the dashing, Hungarian, Dobos (pronounced dobish) Torte and got to play with caramelized sugar, which is even cooler than fire. The most badass thing I’ve learned in school so far is how to stick my hand in boiling (300 degree) sugar without getting burned. (The trick is starting and ending in ice water).

Tiramisu is good in any form, such as this roll. Something to do with the coffee, chocolate, and booze.

Then, in cake decorating, we practiced our buttercream flowers. Unfortunately, I was standing in a sweltering kitchen that was about 100 degrees, and slightly weary from the previous night’s birthday celebrations, so my flowers (and myself) were in a sorry state.

I was determined to practice my flower making at home over the weekend, but my life was soon consumed by Operation First Communion Cake. As I’d expected, icing a rectangular cake is much, much more difficult and frustrating than a round one. Looking back it doesn’t seem so bad, but I tell you, that cake reduced me to tears more than once. Thank goodness I had my one silver lining: I knew it was going to taste phenomenal. I had four layers of this amazing buttermilk yellow cake, separated by a chocolate Swiss buttercream that I adore. I tried to continually remind myself that no matter what people thought of the exterior of the cake (and those accursed edges!), once they tasted it all would be forgiven. Overall it was really good practice, and I am proud of how it turned out.

Then came a Black Forest Torte, a Ganache Torte, and a “basketweave” decorated cake. Notice the “messy” look of the ganache I had to use due to the uncooperative frosting.

As cool as these might look, when it comes to working professionally, I need a lot more practice. Luckily, a truly spectacular cake, like the Opera Torte, doesn’t need a lot of frills to make it beautiful. The taste alone, (of coffee, almond, and chocolate), makes this cake a work of art.

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3 Comments

Filed under Cake, Chocolate, Pastries

3 responses to “Cake: an emotional rollercoaster

  1. Nana & Papa Tom

    buona sera nipote,
    Our favorite is definitely the Opera torte, the chocolate frosting, the cake, espresso flavors all blended together were irresistible. We rationed our slices.
    ciao,
    ragazza Kelly

  2. Dana

    Kelly, these look incredible! Can’t wait to try one!

  3. Atia

    Kelly,
    Maya’s communion cake was soooo delicious. Everyone was commenting on how well balanced the flavors were. The outside of the cake was beautiful too. It was just what I had requested. Simple and elegant – as it should be for a young girl on her special day. Thanks again for all of your hard work.

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