Wednesday, May 27, 2009

first day at the chateau

so after a lengthy, yet disappointing, period of applying for architecture internships, I have finally given into my other passion (besides architecture - of course) and will be decorating cakes for the summer. A classmate of mine set me up with a woman in the area that does custom wedding and birthday cakes, and so begins my apprenticeship.

This morning, I donned my uniform:
_ t-shirt - check
_ jeans - check
_ sneakers - check
_ apron - to be provided
_ hairnet (as my mom suggested) - not yet

and drove the 15-minute drive over to the shop in Latham. It's located in a large two-story house; the owner, Joan, rents out the top floor as an apartment and then the whole first floor contains her kitchen area, storage, and office space. She describes the working areas as "organized clutter" and it's a fitting description - the room is overflowing with tools, fondant tubs, books, magazines, recipes, pans, everything you can imagine. It's great! And Joan said I can have all the diet soda, homemade bread and butter that I want ... and I thought "wait, maybe this job was meant for Jenna Lettenberger?"

So my first task is to roll out, cut out, and stamp 188 fondant hearts to go on top of cupcakes for a wedding. Sounds easy enough, but it took a while to get a system going to get all the pieces to look perfect and uniform. Three hours later, my last tray of hearts was looking much better than the first. As we say with studio, just like making a model - it's not necessarily the hardest work but it takes a lot of time to do a good job. And I'm going to develop major forearm muscles from rolling out all that fondant. And maybe my model-making precision and skills will improve...

The afternoon moved away from just manual labor when I started a retirement cake for a man retiring from a car dealership. Joan had already baked the cake yesterday so I set out to frost (1/4" thick and make as smooth as possible - I still need much practice), letter (not centered, kind of shaky), and frame/miter the edge w/ black fondant so that it resembled a license plate. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous and it certainly wasn't my best work but I'll get the hang of it. My one goal for the summer is to NOT end up on Cake Wrecks (as a wreck of course). We're putting the final touches on the retirement cake in the morning so I'll get some pictures then ...


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