Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Baking Matters: The Rant Part Two

Pausing from another marathon of cake baking, building and beautifying, your friendly neighborhood cake maker returns to finish her long-overdue discourse on why baking matters.

Did you feel yucky after reading about the grocery store S.O.P.? 

I did. 

But I don't feel yucky anymore...because I've got a house full of fresh, flavorful, baked-from-scratch cake that I'm about to turn into a gorgeous wedding confection. 

In case you were wondering about the life and times of a Bake Lore is your window into the oven.

First...I collect the best possible ingredients.  I use dry goods almost exclusively from the Dutch Pantry in Odon, throwing some love to my local shop-keeps.  Thier cake flour is fantastic, and they have all the hard to find things - in bulk! - any time I need them.

Clearly prepping for a cake for the husband
The man can't get enough PB and cocoa:).
I spend a day or two baking from scratch - I use Fat Daddio pans (awesome!) and I don't rely on timers very much.  Once my cakes have been in the oven for about 30 minutes, I check them constantly to make sure they are never over-baked.

Using a great technique for level cakes:
soaking long strips of linen in cold water,
wrapping around the pan, securing with pins.

When they cool, I level the layers - each Bake Lore cake has 4 layers.  They call that torting, I do believe, and for me, it's part of the inner beauty of the cake.  It's pretty inside and out. 

Four layers...minus a bite...who can wait when there's cake to be eaten?

For a wedding cake - yes, I freeze the layers!  But never for longer than a day or two.  These cakes have to travel, they have to hold up all through a wedding and a reception, and the colder they are on delivery, the prettier they are in your pictures.  They are always completely thawed and ready for action when served.  They also spend some quality time in the fridge, aclimating to the perfect temperature for travel and eating. 

The butter cream is next - this gorgeous stuff lasts weeks in the fridge, so it can be made well in advance.  I use an Italian merangue butter cream - starts with stiffly beaten egg whites, then I add molten sugar and loads of real butter and vanilla...or whatever the taste-du-jour may be.

Mmmm...Bake Lore butter cream, as inspied by the one and only, Sylvia Weinstock

I then layer the cake and butter cream, add a crumb coat and a final perfect finish of butter cream before the decoration begins.  Sometimes it's a flourish of fondant...sometimes a gallery of gum paste...sometimes just piped perfection. 

Then I deliver, set up and (sometimes) serve.

Setting up in the reception hall!

Depending on the size of the cake, it's never longer than a week from start to finish.  It's always in the window of peak freshness, and it's always been met with rave reviews and smiling guests. 

Speaking of which...I have some work to do.  Delivery day is coming!

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