Cakes! Day 2

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Today we made an Italian buttercream icing and then we plated our pound cake and decorated the high ratio cakes.

To make the Italian buttercream icing, we whipped egg whites until foamy and added a little granulated sugar to them and continued to whip until they reached stiff peaks. We made a simple syrup by boiling water and sugar to 240 degrees and then SLOWLY added them to the egg whites. I am not kidding when I say slowly. We poured it down the side of the bowl so it wouldn't splatter everywhere very, very slowly. Another team added theirs too quickly and the whites fell flat and they had to start all over. Once that is done, the mixture is whipped until it is room temperature. Then you throw in room temperature butter a little at a time until it is all well incorporated. It spreads very easily and tastes ok, but I wasn't crazy about the texture. To me, it felt like room temperature butter in my mouth and that was kind of gross. To each his own, though.

While all that was going on, we also were plating our pound cake. I had cookie cutters and biscuit cutters and we were able to make a cute little mini-cake out of pound cake. If we had more time, it definitely would have been prettier, but everyone seemed to think it was gorgeous. I guess I am just OCD and like everything to be perfect. The chocolate ended up being a little messy for my taste, but teamwork is what it's all about. We cut out pretty layers, spread with a thin layer of Italian buttercream and topped that with tiny chopped strawberries, drizzled the whole thing with chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar. We also had to make miniature samples to take around and ours were gone in seconds.


Then we got to decorate a high ratio cake. Chef gave a demonstration on how to cut the top off of the cake to level it, and then cut it into layers. She then showed the proper way to add the other items to the interior of the cake and then how to properly frost the outside of the cake. I love watching the demonstrations! I am probably standing there grinning like an idiot, but I don't care.

I did well on this part of the day. It helped me regain my confidence. I was REALLY down after yesterday since some of our cakes kind of flopped. It also helped that Chef CJ told us today that we are learning in 10 weeks of this class what someone would learn working full time in a bake shop for a YEAR. And two of those weeks were only one day weeks. That definitely made me feel better.

It was so much easier to decorate this cake having the proper tools. Using an offset spatula made spreading the icing so incredibly easy!! I had used a butterknife at home before because that was all I had. Wow. Having the right tools is an amazing advantage. The pastry scraper also made things much easier because I was able to clean the round underneath while making sure the sides were nice and straight. I also had all my own tips for doing designs. I have to really keep an eye on my stuff, though. My sifter almost disappeared a couple of times. Now I make sure that if I am not using something, it's IN MY TOOLBOX!

Here is my cake frosted with plain icing and then the finished cake.


All in all, it was a successful day in pastry! I can't wait to keep working on cakes next week.


smbracy said...

Nice. I love cakes (not too sweet though) Your creative side is going to take you so much further than the others, I just know it. I can't wait to see the really creative stuff you make, not just cakes though, actual dinner dishes, etc. Keep up the great work!

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