Moving right along…

I’ve completed another item on the 101 list.  We had our last baking class this past Friday and that completes #  – Take a baking class at ICE. 

This week was sponge cake and angel food cake.  We learned the proper techniques for whipping egg whites and our cakes came out light and fluffy and delicious.  Look at this gorgeous chocolate angel food cake…

It doesn’t look all impressive like the cakes from last week, but it was delicious with a little strawberry compote and vanilla whipped cream.  Even J liked it and he hasn’t eaten any of the cakes so far…because they were too “fancy” for him. 

This is Roberto.  He is a student there and was the chef’s assistant for our classes.  He loved us and often brought us treats from the professional classes.  He also told us we should open a bakery. 

This is our instructor, Chef Reeni.  She was hilarious and a great teacher…and was once a competitor on Food Network Challenge: Ultimate Wedding Cakes. 

Overall, the class was fantastic.  Marisa and I had so much fun and we learned a lot about making our cakes light and moist and delicious.  Next on the agenda…we have to learn how to decorate them and maybe even sculpt them…Reeni is offering a class on it in the spring.  Duff Goldman, watch out. 

I decided to reward myself for finishing the class with a brand new apron, which I fully intend to wear with pearls, just like in the photo…

It’s from Creative Chics and I think it’s just adorable.  Freda, the proprietor, is wonderful as well.  Definitely check our their Etsy store and their blog.

To celebrate crossing another item off my list…I’m going to cross yet another item off the list.  I’m going to give one of you an apron too!  That’s right…a giveaway…although let’s call it a present…I don’t like the G word.

I also don’t like rules, so I’m going to make this simple…

  • every comment you leave for me this week is one entry. 
  • post about this on your own blog you will get three extra entries.  (make sure you let me know you’ve posted)

That’s it.  Easy, right?  At the end of the week, I will select the winner at random using Random.org.  I will accept entries until Saturday and I will announce the winner next Monday.  The winner will be able to choose any apron from Creative Chics. 

Last, but not least…I have to give a special mention to my favorite sister-in-law.  Today is her birthday and she also got a new job.  Both of these things are very exciting so please join me in wishing her the best birthday and oodles of luck at the new gig. 

Happy Monday everyone.

Just call me Betty Crocker…

So far, the morning is not going well. 

I woke up at 4AM and couldn’t fall back to sleep. 

My hair…which I got cut this weekend…was not cooperating with me.  For this I blame my stylist…apparently “please don’t make short layers” means “chop tons of short layers all over the place so it takes me an hour to make my hair look right”. 

I walked out of the house without my makeup bag, so I’m going to be really pale with big dark circles under my eyes all day. 

There was a lot of traffic because…well, I guess because it’s raining and people seem to forget how to drive in the rain.  Because of that my bus ride in took forever…which is usually good because it’s more time to read my book…except this really annoying guy took my bus this morning and he didn’t shut up for one second.  It was very distracting. 

Then, to top everything off, some asshole in an Escalade was in a really big hurry this morning and decided to fly down Fifth Avenue…but right up close to the sidewalk…you know, where the puddles are?  Yeah…he slammed a puddle right as I was walking past it and everything on the sidewalk…including me…got soaked. 

So am I happy this morning?  Nope.  But I have to get through my day…and the entire week…which is going to be rainy and gross…so I have to get into a better mood.  In order to do that, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things ever…cake.

Friday night, Marisa and I took the first of three cake baking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education.  We have both been looking forward to it because we love to bake, but sometimes things just don’t come out quite right.  On Friday night we found out that it’s mostly due to over mixing and incorrect measuring.  Who knew? 

The class was great.  We went over techniques for measuring and how important it is to be consistent in your methods.  Also…if you are following a recipe see if it says anything in there about how to measure…like should you sift the flour before measuring.  It makes a huge difference.  Oh…and when it comes to eggs…size matters.  If a recipe calls for large eggs, make sure you use large only.  Using three extra-large eggs can be like using four large ones…which will result in your cake not coming out right.  Again…who knew?

It was also fantastic to be working in a commercial kitchen.  Everything we could have possibly needed was right at our fingertips.  The fridge and pantry were completely stocked with the freshest ingredients and delicious produce.  And the best part…there was someone to wash the dishes as we finished with them and then he restocked the equipment shelves as he washed…which means we never had to stop to clean out of bowl or rinse a mixing paddle. 

This week’s lesson was pound cakes and crumb cakes.  We made three different recipes.  The first was for blueberry crumb squares…

Here they are cooling on a rack.

I think I measured the cinnamon wrong on these because they definitely could have used more.  But the cake was light and fluffy, the blueberries were big and fresh and delicious and the cake to crumb ratio was perfect. 

The second recipe was for a marble spice cake…

Still cooking...

I’m not a huge fan of spice, but this cake was amazing.  The texture of it…it was unlike any other cake I’ve ever made.  It was really light and fluffy and it sort of melted in your mouth.  It will be making an appearance at Thanksgiving this year. 

The last cake we made was an orange pound cake…

I wish this picture was scratch and sniff.

This was by far my favorite.  It had a lemon orange glaze on it and the texture was like velvet.  It was pretty dense, but just perfect.  The juice from the oranges and the lemons was freshly squeezed by Marisa and the smell was amazing. 

Other people made different recipes…there was an Irish currant soda bread and a lemon pound cake and a pineapple crumb that was absolutely heavenly.  When all the cakes were done we had a little tasting party…

Chef Reeni posing with our marble cake...with Marisa looking over her shoulder.

That big giant silver bowl on the table was filled with the most fabulous buttercream frosting for us to use next week…layer cakes.  I’m excited because that is baking, but also decorating…which I’m not always so good at. 

The one thing that didn’t work out so well was my footwear.  I was planning to wear Crocs…I know they are ugly, but sooo comfy.  Anyway, the Crocs didn’t really go with my outfit, so I stupidly wore Converse sneakers.  Bad idea.  I have bad arches and those sneakers don’t have enough support.  My feet were killing me by the end of the night and have been hurting since then.  So next week I will be wearing comfy footwear…even if it doesn’t go with my outfit. 

Stay tuned for pictures of our layer cakes next week.