Saturday, November 14, 2009

Website updates and even more cake adventures

My website is filling out more! Hurrah! If you've forgotten the address already click here for cake and tart love. Yes, I've finally gotten myself together and put up the majority of the cakes and tarts that I sell. Weebly is seriously the greatest website host in terms of layouts. As I've stated before, my HTML skills leave something to be desired so I could never whip up great photo gallery frames, pop ups, etc, etc.

I was incredibly busy with cake orders last week. I had promised a co-worker that I would make a vegan cake for a presentation she was making at school. The other ones were two baptism cakes for a friend of mine. Only three cakes, you say? That doesn't sound like a lot! Well, when you take into account that I have 10 hour days (1 hour commute each way to work, and then my full 8 hours work until 5:30pm), by the time I get home that doesn't leave a lot of time for relaxation AND cake making! Don't misinterpret this as whinging - I love doing it, I was just mildly stressed this week :).

Here are some of the baptism cake photos (I don't think you'd want to see every single angle that I took!)

The pink cake was a vegan fudge cake with vegan chocolate icing, and the ivory cake was a vanilla genoise with pear and vanilla buttercream.

One thing I've learned when working with coloured fondant is - if there is some cornstarch left over, do not, and I repeat DO NOT try to get it to disappear with water! Yes the cornstarch will go away but it won't dry properly and it will remain sticky and weird.

My piping has been improving with practice, but what I find really helps is to reduce the amount you work with. I used a cornet that was filled with probably a tablespoon or two of buttercream for the ivory cake, and I found I had farm more dexterity that way than filling up a piping bag and worrying about my small tips shooting out the end (I'm still warming to the idea of couplers).

Going back to the vegan baking, that's an area I'm really fascinated by. Being a Cordon Bleu graduate I'm supposed to revel in all things dairy and eggy, and my boyfriend constantly says that it's a "waste" of my talents working within vegan parameters. On the contrary! It's all too easy to whip up a buttercream and a wonderful sponge cake with good old butter and eggs, but what if you couldn't eat those for allergy reasons? Why should you be left out from having wonderful baked goods? If anything I find vegan baking all that more challenging. I'm currently striving to find ways to, for example, recreate a rich egg yolk laden French buttercream vegan-style. I've tried a recipe with the soy margarine from Earth Balance, but I'm not such a fan of that taste. Off to Loblaws for me to find more vegan butter substitutes!

Another adventure I'm going down is gluten-free baking. Eggs can easily be replaced by foods like apple sauce, but how do you get a cake to taste like cake with no flour? I remember a customer coming into my work wondering if we made gluten free cakes, and although we don't I offered her another place she could go, but apparently all they do is mousse cakes and I can still see the disappointment in her face knowing that finding a gluten-free cake that tasted like a gluten-full cake (what a mouthful!) is pretty near impossible in this city.

I really hope to start a line for vegans and celiacs. I want them to feel like they're getting in on the action without having to sacrifice their beliefs or compromise their health.

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