After weeks of being out of the bakeshop, we’ve finally dusted off our rolling pins and gotten back to work. This week marked the start of our 3 week course in basic and classical cakes. This class is a sort of review-plus of our culinary techniques class, taking what we learned and building upon it. As of now, it pertains mostly to decorating, but I’m sure we’ll be adding to our repertoire of production techniques in the coming weeks.
After a brief rundown of the class and review of some basic techniques, we launched right into production. The first items of the week were raspberry cheesecakes and a variety of tarts. The cheesecakes were more like a warm up, acting as a sort of refresher for the motions of the bakeshop. They were a simple production with a delicious result. For the tarts we utilized the creaming method as we had done previously with cookies and pound cake. We made 1.2.3. cookie dough, or pate sucree as it is also known, which was rolled out and molded into tart pans. Each group was responsible for a single kind of tart. These included, apple, fresh fruit, pear, plum, and walnut varieties. My group produced the Hawaii tart, which consisted of a thick layer of caramel and macadamia nuts, covered in a thin layer of Kaluha ganache. As is the norm for our productions from this point forward, our desserts were sliced up and served to students dining in Farquharson Hall for dessert.
After cheesecakes and tarts, we moved onto layer cakes, starting with a refresher of the vanilla butter cream cake we had been tested on in our baking techniques class. Despite everyone in the class being required to produce their own cakes, we were only allowed to make one recipe of buttercream per group. This supplied each person with half the amount we had previously been allowed to use. To me, this seemed like an impossible task, as I had very nearly run out of butter cream when frosting my cake in the previous class. Amazingly, after watching our chef’s demo, I realized just how much ingredient I had been wasting. In the food industry, product is money. Learning how to properly assemble this showed me I was throwing away what would equate to half my profits. Everyone managed to frost their cakes, though the combination of us being out of practice and utilizing new techniques lead to some less than desirable results. At the end of our class, we were asked to do a self critique of our cakes. If we deemed them sellable, they would be served in Farquharson hall the next day, If not, they would go in the blue bin (food waste). There were no buttercream cakes to serve for Farquharson the next day.
Chef assured us that this happens with every class, and that the next day’s
production, a mocha butter cream, would be 100% better. Needless to say, he was right. Although my cake was still rough around the edges, I definitely felt more comfortable with the motions. At the end of the day, our class of 19 had 19 sellable cakes to be sliced up and served.
Moving on from buttercream, we tackled a slightly different beast, frosting with whipped cream. This technique would be utilized in the construction of Black Forrest Tort, a German classic consisting of Kirschwasser soaked chocolate cake layers, cherries, and whipped cream. The frosting technique was the same, and chef informed us that some would find it easier to work with it while others would find it more difficult. I fell into the “more difficult” school of thought. Although whipped cream is easier to spread, It deflates as you work it, making it near impossible to correct mistakes.
Week one concluded with carrot cake frosted in cream cheese frosting and topped with marzipan carrots. Next week moves away from the standard frosting procedure as we head into mousses and creams. The program has really kicked off now and I can’t wait to get back into the kitchen next week for some pre Thanksgiving fun. Till then, I’ll be practicing.