Cake Sculpting Contest

This is officially GBCs fall reading week but for the last two day I have been in the baking lab, by personal choice. The big long story is that our schedule was rearranged in September due to the delayed construction of our baking labs. Since we missed out on cake sculpting, due to this issue, our chef decided to have it as optional attendance over the reading week and make it into a contest. So we had the last month or so to come up with ideas on what we were going to do and plan it out. My idea came from my sister when we were leaving her work one day. They sell fun hats and hair things and she said I should do a hat with a veil for my cake. I though this was a good idea and would be a good way to show off my skills. As it turns out, I did a very good job of showing my skills, because I not only came home with a headache today but also a first place medal and prize from the contest. Hip Hip Hooray! God really has blessed me with cake skills, so all glory to Him! Here are some pictures of the prize winning cake. It is a pill box hat with veil on a mannequin head with feathers and flowers on one side and a string of pearls at the base of the cake. ENJOY!

Tarts and Puff pastry

This week at GBC we made quite a few different items. Day one started off with puff pastry that we had prepared and frozen the week before. We ma

de Tarte Tatin which consists of apples and caramel covered with a circle of

 puff pastry and baked. It is inverted before serving so the apple fan/design is displayed. (top photo). Sadly, the pectin we used either wasn't the right kind or it wasn't enough so it didn't the caramel and we ended up having a bit of a runny but tasty mess. We also made Palmiers which are strips of puff dough rolled up to resemble a palm leaf. The dough is rolled out with sugar which caramelizes while baking and adds sweetness and extra crispness the the pastry. Last but not least we made Pithivier; two large circles of puff dough filled with almond cream (frangipane) with scalloped edges and a

scored design on top. (second photo).

Day two we were working with sweet dough. We rolled our dough out into five large tart shells and made three Chiboust tarts and two Apple Normand tarts. The Chiboust tarts were made by filling the shell with a frangipane mixture and baking. When still hot, we brushed the frangipane with a syrup for extra flavour and moisture then we cooled them in the fridge so we could put the peaches, raspberries, and the chiboust on top before the end of class. For the Apple Normand we filled the tart shell half way with frangipane and then topped it with a fan of apples. When it was partially baked we removed it from the oven and added a drizzle of Calvados and a milk mixture. We then finished baking and until the milk mixture was set.

Day three we worked with almond sweet dough and finished our Chiboust and Apple Normand Tarts. With the almond dough we made Cherry Clafoutis. These were made by lining a tart shell with almond dough, placing brandy cherries in the shell, and then filling them with a clafoutis mixture (similar to a pancake batter, but runnier) and baking. (The third picture shown is when they have just come from the oven). The finishing of the Chiboust tart was done by adding an orange mirror glaze, fresh fruit, and chocolate. The Apple Normand was 

finished with apricot glaze, almonds, fresh fruit, and chocolate. The Clafoutis were finished with a dusting of icing sugar, a whipped cream rosette, and chocolate shavings. Sadly I had to leave class early for a badminton tournament (which went really well) and forgot to take pictures of the finished products before I left, but I did get a shot of the almost finished Apple Normand  (last photo) ENJOY!!

Birthday Cake

So one of my 2nd cousins once removed (I looked this up because I was very curious) was celebrating her 26th birthday today and she asked me to make her a cake. She had a design chosen and I basically copied it but also changed it slightly so it had two tiers instead of three and I added a bow for extra height. The bottom tier was chocolate/chocolate chip with chocolate peanut butter buttercream. The top tier was vanilla with vanilla almond buttercream. The whole cake was covered with fondant and the dots and swirls are buttercream. The bow is also fondant. 

Champagne Mousse Cake

This week at GBC we made mousse cakes. Each day in class was full of work, as we were also preparing items for the weeks ahead. Two types of mousse cakes were created; half the class doing champagne mousse and the other half making chocolate and cassis mousse. Kristen and I did the champagne mousse which had layers of vanilla sponge, fruit jelly, and of course champagne mousse, all wrapped in a green and yellow decorative sponge, topped with glaze, and decorated with fruit and chocolate (in picture). The chocolate and cassis mousse was made with vanilla sponge, chocolate mousse, cassis mousse, wrapped in a pink and yellow decorative sponge, topped with black currant puree and glaze, and decorated with fruit and chocolate. ENJOY!

Pumpkin spice meringues

I am currently home for the holidays! So since I knew I would be coming home for thanksgiving, and that work would inevitably end up on my weekend schedule, I decided to make a tasty treat to bring to my chums who will be working with me. As it is the harvest season and pumpkin pie is a festive favourite I decided to make ... can you guess? NO not pumpkin pie! Pumpkin spice meringues with chocolate and chopped nuts. mmmm these little guys a a personal invention (as most things I make are) and are hard to keep your hands off of. Enjoy! (I know I did! heehee!)

Here is the recipe:

-3/4 cup egg whites
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
-orange food colour (optional)
-dark chocolate (optional)
-chopped nuts (optional)

Place egg whites and sugar in a clean dry bowl. Place over simmering water (do not let bowl touch the water) while constantly whisking. Heat until egg and sugar mixture is warm/hot to the touch. Remove bowl from simmering water and use electric mixer to whip until cool. Add pumpkin pie spice and orange food colour (if using) to meringue and mix in well.  Move oven racks to the top of oven and heat oven to 200F. 
Place a large round tip into a piping bag and fill bag with the meringue mixture. Pipe toonie sized rounds of meringue onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven but leave meringues inside to continue to dry out (at least 1 hour).  
If using nuts and chocolate:
Melt chocolate over a double boiler and stir to cool until just warm. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate then into chopped nuts and set on parchment to dry. Enjoy!


The new baking labs are awesome! Bright, colourful, and well organized. There is really one one problem; the racks under our work benches are slightly too large for the trays so you have to be careful to place them in properly. I did hear my chef mention they are fixing something, so hopefully that is what will be fixed.
One of the best features of our stations are the induction burners. It is much better having your own team burner at your station, rather than trying to squeeze all together for burner space in one part of the class room. This came in very handy when we were working with hot sugar this week. 
There is one more issue but I am the one to blame for it. The work bench I picked is right beside the scaling station, so when everyone is scaling ingredients at the beginning of class Kristen and I are very squished and bombarded with people. Not much fun. Otherwise things are great!
So this week we made rum babas which are little cakes with currants and soaked with rum syrup. These were pretty easy to do but for some reason Kristen and I didn't quite follow the directions and scooped our batter before we let it proof. Luckily we noticed right away and fixed the problem and in the end they work out beautifully. The second day we made brioche which is a rich yeast dough. We made this into a few different pastries which included cinnamon buns, sticky buns, doughnut bites, apricot pastries, and tetes. The sticky buns were delicious and had browns sugar, butter, cinnamon, and pecan spread in the bottom of the tray so when we flipped them they had a gooey sweet topping that was absolutely amazing! The other things we made just didn't compare. Our last day we made the croquembouche (see picture). These were fun and a bit stressful as we started to run out of time. I also burnt myself while cleaning out our pot which really was not very pleasant. Thankfully it was a water burn and not a sugar burn or I probably would have needed to go to the hospital. Thankfully it wasn't too bad and I was able to finish my work. Sadly the rushing at the end of class didn't allow me to make the finishing touches as nice as I would have liked, but I was happy with the final product anyways. The only problem with this class was that we had to take our croquembouches home (yes I'm sure most people think I'm crazy for not wanting to take it) which resulted in my eating about half of it that night! Sugar coated cream puffs are really quite addicting! Well that's about it for this post, get ready for next week when we do mousse cakes! ENJOY!