Today was my final day in Advanced Baking. My departure from this class has been bittersweet. Although I was ill throughout most of the class, my passion, hard work, dedication, and focus helped me to learn a great deal and to perform on top of my game. At the end of class today, my chef instructor announced that I received the highest grade in her class. Of course, I was very proud of my achievement and called my mom to tell her the good news! I will miss my chef instructor, Chef Lomeli – she is awesome! And I will miss creating pretty confections. But really, I’m excited to start cooking real food again!
As a huge lover of chocolate, I didn’t think it was possible, but I experienced a chocolate overload in this class. Days ago, I already grew tired of it so I gave my cakes away to my sister, Riva, who then had friends come over to share the chocolate goodness. One of my favorite things to do is to put smiles on peoples’ faces. This weekend, 2 of my newest nieces will be Christened in San Diego, and I’m going to be a Godmother for the 2nd time. I packaged and stored my chocolates properly so that I can take them with me. I hope they don’t melt because I’m sure my sisters will appreciate and enjoy them! They were surprised to hear that I made chocolate candy in Baking class. I, too, was surprised and was happy to have learned so much about what I had been curious about when at a bakery or restaurant.
I always wondered how bakers made such beautiful, seamless chocolate coatings on cakes, and yesterday I learned just how it was done. The next time I coat a cake, I need to watch my temperature because I experienced blooming on my Sacher cake, which means I overheated my chocolate and now have grayish-white streaks. Grayish -white streaks indicate improper tempering or storage. Below is the Sacher cake, pronounced “soccer”. It was pretty, but I didn’t care for the taste. The cake has almond flour, sugar, cocoa powder…and I can’t remember the rest. Then, I saturated the dry cake with a brandy simple syrup. I filled the cake with apricot preserves, which I am not accustomed to. If the cake had been a regular chocolate cake, I may have liked it. The Sacher cake was too dense and not as sweet and rich as I like my chocolate cake to be. I don’t see myself ever making the Sacher cake again, only using the technique to pour the chocolate glaze over a different cake and filling. I now know how the people at the Ding Dong cake company coat their mini cakes.
Another cake I made this week was the Gateau L’Opera cake. Still, after considering all the cakes we made in Baking, I must say I loved the Chocolate Mousse Cake the best. If I eat chocolate cake, I like it very decadent. My last year living in Santa Cruz, I lived in a house with such good energy. I actually lived with a couple and their 2 year old son, Matt, Miranda and Aedan. I refer to them as my “hippie housemates”. They belonged to an organic farm coop so every week, we’d get a crate full of organic crop. This family taught me how to eat healthy, simply, and deliciously. The matriarch of the family, Miranda taught birthing classes and living in the moment… she also spoke to me about living in the moment, without a television. And not only did she teach me how to roast chicken and vegetables, she also taught me what chocolate cake should taste like. She made the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. I believe she was given the recipe from her grandmother. The cake is so good that she had a bakery use the recipe to bake their wedding cake. Miranda liked me so much that she shared with me the secret recipe. If I ever have a bakery or restaurant, I would sell this cake. It is incredibly delicious! I call it Miranda’s Grandma’s Chocolate Cake.
So back to what I learned in class. Gateau L’Opera cake was a delight for my sis, Riva, and her friends, although they like Miranda’s Grandma’s Chocolate Cake better. Riva remembers having L’Opera cake at bakeries and of the ones she’s tried, she said she likes mine best. She thinks that bakers at the local bakeries may have attended the same culinary school, used the same recipe, and mine just turned out better. I think she may be right. Although the cake is beautiful, I can’t imagine myself making it for a living. This cake was so time consuming and tedious. I always say I’m not a perfectionist but my classmates tell me I am. I think I am just anal and there’s a difference. The passive stress that resulted from making this cake killed me, but finally when all was said and done, I was so proud and loved it. If Riva or any of my other loved ones wanted me to make this for a special occasion, I would. I just can’t see myself working at a bakery, making these….
Gateau L'Opera cake, after thrashing around in my car... took the pic at Riva's house
Oh love, sweet love...
We had to decorate the plate with a music theme. I thought there was too much dead space
So I added lyrics from "The Sound of Music"... my chef instructor didn't get it... but it was old fashioned, like the something-phone that I drew....
Like I’ve said before, I can’t draw but I can model clay, decorate a room or put things together and complete a look well…
In class, we spent a day making sweets for those with dietary restrictions. This low fat chocolate tartlett was a team effort. All I did was combine the crumbs and raspberry jam. While I made our team’s low fat Creme Anglaise, Viviana made the tart shell and the chocolate custard. I feel like Viviana made this alone. Thanks, Viviana!
We served the low fat Creme Anglaise with a low fat, low sugar, Apple Spice Cake. It was beautiful with a rich color and bouncy texture, but tasted low fat and low in sugar… I’m taking the bread down to San Diego too. Oops, forgot to take a picture :P
Chef Lomeli felt that we were a special class and wanted to remember us by having our pictures taken. I threw my camera over to the picture-taker. I’m at the bottom left.
Practice Run - made this flan at home
I made this flan for my final.. the caramel had a better color than the practice flan
The humidity in the classroom caused my caramel garnishes to melt… I like my practice garnish much better, but the caramel color and shape of the flan was much more rich today. I have about 10 flans in my fridge right now that I want to throw away if no one claims them by tomorrow. Contact me if you want flan. I’ll see what I can do. By the way, it isn’t as good as my Auntie Delia’s Leche Flan. She makes the best… but she also uses evaporated milk… it is incredibly rich and dreamy!
My truffle and cookie platter... my pride and joy
I made dark chocolate truffles with orange liqueur and orange zest, thank you Lalo for the Triple Sec and orange… I also made milk chocolate hazelnut truffles with a soothing orange sunset design… And in the middle are my sable’ cookies that turned out much better than two weeks ago.
Since I am done with Advanced Baking – hallelujah! I don’t have to work with chocolate anymore and I don’t have to worry about my calorie intake as much! I swear I gain more weight in baking classes because of all the sugar that turns into fat because I don’t exercise!
I’m supposed to move this month (across the street).. where I will take advantage of the nice gym with very good equipment. I plan on hopping on the elliptical machine and treadmill so that I can slowly get back to my pre-culinary school weight.
Well, I hope you enjoy your weekend. Till my next entry. Happy eating!
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