Monday, September 26, 2011

I've been baking

I have been baking. Really I have I just haven't had much time to post lately.

We've been doing donuts on Saturday mornings for the football team. 4 dozen each week. We're getting better with the process. It takes us about 3 hours from start to finish. We end up with more than 4 dozen when it's all said and done, but we only have a set request from the football team so we share the rest with others. Others that live close, sorry for all you out of town friends. I wish we could share with you too.

I've also been making homemade pasta and pizza. I know it's not the same type of baking but I'm a big fan now of fresh pasta and my first attempt at pizza turned out pretty good. The crust was pretty thin so next time I'll double the recipe to get a thicker crust and fold over the edges after I put cheese in there. Next time I'll take a picture to share.

I made a batch of Kolatche's for a birthday here at work. They turned out really well. The dough was perfect. Bacon, Sausage, Egg and Cheese were the filling this time. I also made a peach cobbler. I tried a new recipe. It tasted OK but I didn't like the look. I will have to find a different recipe next time.

Last but not least we baked our third annual birthday cake in August. The pig and dog theme were used again. I think it was one of the better cakes we've done. Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. The idea for decorations came from Bob. I thought it was pretty clever and it was well received so I guess it was a good choice.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where have you been?

No I did not fall off the face of the earth. I wish I had a good reason for not baking these last few months but really all I have is excuses.

"No one ever excused his way to success."~Dave Del Dotto

On that note, I want you to know that I will be baking again soon. I just got a new really cool book on bread baking.

Bread and I have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes my loaves of bread come out great, other times not so good. That will soon change. I plan to make bread until I figure it out. I'm not going to say that I'll be an expert, but I've come to realize that as you bake you start to notice things about your dough or batter that effect how your baked goods turn out. I want to gain that understanding with bread. At least then I'll know if my loaf is going to turn out the way I want it.

"When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work." ~George Bernard Shaw

If I make ten times more bread there will be loaves to share. Keep an eye out, I might be sending some your way.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sticking To It

"This one step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything." ~Scott Reed

I love goals.  I could set 100 goals no problem.  My struggle is sticking to it.  There have been many times during baking projects that I have wanted to give up on my goal to open a bakery.  In fact I'm pretty sure that while we were working on the wedding cake a couple of weeks ago I decided to quit baking. 

It was late and I was tired and things were not going well.  I remember thinking "why am I doing this?"  Of course I couldn't quit right then I had a cake that needed to be finished and delivered so I decided that after it was finished and delivered, I was done baking.  I even told Bob this was it, I'm done after this cake.  He just looked at me and said nothing.

He knows me all too well.  Once the cake was done and I had gotten some sleep, the idea of quitting was gone.  We've had a lot of challenges over the last couple of years as we've decorated cakes, learned about donuts and worked to learn the "tricks of the trade." 

We've gone from our first cake:

To our most recent:

The best part is that I feel we've made some improvement and while there's still lots to learn and overcome, I plan to stick with it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wedding Cake

 I know it's been a while since I posted but I have been baking.  Mostly its been practicing for a wedding cake we made last weekend so there weren't really any pictures to share.  But now the cake is done and delivered so I can post some pictures of it.  I think it turned out pretty good but boy was it heavy.  I'm glad Bob was around to help me deliver it or they might not have gotten their cake. 

The bottom tier was vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream, the middle was lemon cake with white chocolate buttercream and the top was red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.  Everything was edible except for the ribbon.  I cheated and bought that.  

Bob made the stand the cake is sitting on so now I have something to put cakes on that I don't have to try to cover and make look nice.  One less thing to worry about.

Overall it went well but there are still lots of things to work on. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Samples and Scouts

Since last Saturday I've baked 9 cakes.  Not huge cakes but still 9 cakes.  All for good reasons but that's a lot of cake. 

The first round - 4 cakes, were for my son and his fiance.  They wanted to pick out the flavor of their wedding cake.  I made red velvet, chocolate, vanilla and lemon.  I frosted the red velvet with cream cheese frosting.  I didn't do anything else cause I don't know of any other frosting that goes with red velvet, but the other three I cut in half to have more cake to frost.  I made chocolate with chocolate frosting and peanut butter frosting.  The vanilla cake was frosted with chocolate and strawberry icing.  The lemon with white chocolate and vanilla frosting.  I'm glad I didn't have to choose cause I liked them all. 

The next batch - 3 cakes was for another couple that I'm making a wedding cake for.  I had to make up a sample platter so it could be picked up and taken to the groom to be for his input.  I had a small amount of red velvet cake left so I included that too.  I made the same flavors as before. 

As I get better at this I want to try a few more "fancy" flavors.  Like cookies and cream (chocolate cake with Oreo frosting) or dreamsicle (orange cake with vanilla frosting).

The last two cakes were made for the blue and gold banquet.  Each year in February the cub scouts celebrate scouting.  I made a cake for them last year.  It was 100 years of scouting so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do for the cake.  This year I had no idea.  I searched the Internet for inspiration and with Bob's help decided on a camping scene.  Our cub scouts don't camp over night but still it was cute and was fun to make. 

 I still struggle with people, that's a work in progress but the cake covered pretty well.  Better than some of my other projects which was nice.  We just keep learning as we go.  I hope someday it will be as easy as it looks on TV.  That may be asking too much.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Twisted Pigs

I had someone call and order some donuts and cinnamon rolls (thank you Norene).  I wasn't too worried about making them but Bob thought we should practice.  Just in case. 

I really hate it when he's right.

I didn't realize how much you forget when you don't do something for a few months. 

We started on Sunday and made donuts.  Everything came out OK,
but there were some glitches. 

Then we made some more on Tuesday. 
I tried making a batch of cinnamon rolls and having them rise overnight in the fridge. 
 I didn't like how that worked.  I decided to get up early and make the dough the morning I needed it.  I know that will work.

We've been trying to figure out an alternative to maple bars.  We don't have a bar cutter, 
(it's expensive so it's not a priority to purchase right now).
We decided to try maple twists. 
Not with the chocolate dough just the plain and we left the sugar out of the middle. 

Anyway, those turned out OK.  Still need to work on them some but they are coming along.  Tuesday in our test run we made maple twists with bacon.  Bob, who feels the need to name the donuts decided to call them "Twisted Pigs".  He liked the name so much he thinks we should use it for the name of the bakery.  Please feel free to comment on that idea!!

So today was the big day to make two dozen cinnamon rolls and two dozen donuts.  I made three batches of cinnamon roll dough and two batches of donut dough.  We ended up with about 2 1/2 dozen cinnamon rolls and 5 dozen donuts. 

Not having industrial size equipment is a challenge when you have to have more than a dozen or two of something.  But since we don't make several dozen donuts a day it's hard to justify buying industrial equipment right now.  We'll get there. 
Sooner rather than later I hope!

Here are some pictures of today's creations. 
Please feel free to weigh in on the "Twisted Pig" idea.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekend Baking

I had a couple of baking projects to take care of and last weekend was quiet enough to get them done.  I was asked to make my marbled caramel slice.  I usually make it at Christmas but a friend of ours had me make a batch at Christmas but gave most of it away so she wanted another one.  The topping is milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate with some white chocolate swirled in.  That's the marbled part.  This time I melted chips instead of blocks of chocolate.  I think it worked better cause I could control the amount of melted chocolate a little better.  

The second project was a thank you project.  I had a lot of helping getting a proposal out at work and I felt I should say thank you to all those that made sure it got done.  Since I got such rave reviews for my chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting I decided to make it again.  This time it was cupcakes instead of cake but the same peanut butter buttercream.  
Once again it was a success.  

I didn't take pictures this time.  I'm not sure why but my next project 
I will make sure to take pictures.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Princess Cake

I have been baking over this last month even though I haven't posted anything.  Just know that there was lots of chocolate and sugar involved.

The new year began and I had my first request for a cake.  Actually the request came before the new year but it was for an activity in 2011.  The Young Women's group at church had a kick off activity to start the new year off right.  The theme was "Princess and Happily Ever After" and they asked me to bake a cake.

I don't know why but my first thought was Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  So, I made chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream.  I really like this new buttercream recipe and have added it to my ever growing recipe collection. 

I wasn't sure at first what to do to decorate the cake but as I thought about princesses Walt Disney movies kept popping in my head.  I thought about Cinderella and found some pictures of pillow cakes and decided that was the way to go.

After the cakes were baked they went into the freezer so we could carve them.  I say we, but really it's Bob.  He doesn't trust me with a knife and I don't trust myself enough to cut a cake.  Anyway, we carved the sides to give it a curved edge instead of straight.  It was covered in pink fondant and decorated to look like it was quilted.  Trim was added along the bottom and the words "Happily Ever After" were piped on the top.  We added a crown which was the only thing not edible on the cake. 

I was really happy with the way it turned out.  What do you think?