Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baking Joy

Although I have graduated from three Wilton cake decorating courses, I am a self-taught baker.

That meant I started out mostly using cake mixes for my decorated cakes. There is nothing wrong with cake mixes. They contain your basic ingredients and are super handy when you do not have time to measure everything.

However, as I progress with my baking, I decided the inside of my cakes should be as exciting as the outside. In the past few weeks I've been experimenting with all kinds of new recipes!! I'm happy to report I've stumbled across the most amazing red velvet, chocolate, carrot, and white vanilla cake recipes. Then of course there are so many filling options with cream, chocolates, fresh fruits, or all of the above!

The skateboarding cake was a challenge. The cake itself had to be super sturdy to support pounds and pounds of fondant and gumpaste. I chose a chocolate pound cake recipe. I like the recipe, but will work on making it more moist, yet still sturdy and carvable.

A few things I've learned along the way that are keys to baking success.

1. high quality cocoa powder matters
2. butter makes it better
3. sifting, sifting, sifting
4. quality baking pans make a difference! Sometimes I get lucky and it bakes leveled.
5. never bake late at night when tired from chasing two young kids around all day!!!
6. get good at reading your cake eaters' expressions. You'll know for a fact it if was a hit or a dud.
7. I use high quality vanilla extract. I get mine at The Spice Merchant, it's amazing.
8. It's ok to get buy in bulk or use off brands of flour and sugar. But sift the powdered sugar for the best results.

That's all on my mind for now! Better go check on my chocolate cake.

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