Saturday, July 18, 2009

saturday wrap-up

Ahh what a week, tying up lots of loose ends today. There actually weren't too many crazy new cakes this week - instead we had 5 wedding cakes which involves a totally different system and workflow. Obviously, all the individual cakes get baked, then they need to get stacked into tiers [either with buttercream or sometimes fruit filling], prepped, iced, possibly covered in fondant, then each tier needs to be doweled and stacked - then it's usually passed off to me for the "decorating." The point is, I have some "down time" while all these other steps are getting done but there's plenty to do with answering the phone, checking out customers, covering cake boards, boxing cakes, finishing my Hannah Montana guitar:
Then I dotted another wedding cake - this time on a 3-tier ivory buttercream cake. See, you don't necessarily need fondant - the buttercream can look just as smooth!
Then I helped Joan prep these red velvet cakes for a wedding. I had made 2 red velvet cakes last Christmas and was curious about its origin. Basically, it's a chocolate cake that is dyed red for effect or sometimes naturally from an acidic reaction with some types of cocoa. Some say it originates from the South, there's also stories of bakers using beets to "enhance" their cakes during rations in WWII - check it out at Wikipedia. I'm sure you can make it from scratch but it's easier from the box, it tastes wonderful, and is suprising to the eye when cut from a pristine white wedding cake. Anyways, it's really difficult to prep - obviously the first layer of frosting is to catch all the cake crumbs so that they don't surface on the top layer of frosting but you have to be really careful with the spatula so you don't kick up any of the red spots - looks like a rash or tiny mites - yuck.
Joan was finishing up another graduation cake and asked me to write out a quick diploma to place on top. So I busted out the felt tip marker, performed some calligraphy, rolled it up, and voila:
I still remember one day in sixth grade when our teacher [Mrs. Nelson aka the Nelsonator] had our class of 11- to 12-year-olds spend a whole school day learning how to do calligraphy. I still have no idea why, but we did, she brought in the special flat-tip markers and everything. Anywho, I actually really enjoyed it, probably bought my own calligraphy kit, and have since been able to do it and it paid off today in a small way. Joan was impressed with my marker "swirly skills" [her words, not mine], so she allowed me to do the swirls [in icing] on the red velvet wedding cake:
Very cool, it went really quick and looks quite nice.

Well it was quite a long week, baking on Tuesday seems like ages ago. I had burned myself a few times taking all the pans out of the oven and they have now developed into some lovely welts on my arm. Working 5 days at the shop has run me down a bit [I know those of you who actually work 5 days a week every week are rolling your eyes at me right now] and I'm caked out. I'm off to NYC in the morning to visit Jess, take a break from Troy, maybe get a start on some thesis reading, and maybe even get back into some architecture? We shall see...

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