Sunday, October 12, 2008

So much to do, So little time...

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! It seems like every Sunday I swear that I'm going to make sure I schedule blogging time, and the next thing I know it's the next Sunday. I don't know where the time goes. These last two pastry school classes (Intro to Cakes and Advanced European Cakes) have taken a lot more out of school planning and prep time. I've loved every minute of it, but it certainly hasn't allowed for any crafting or blogging time. This is my final practical exam for Intro to Cakes. We had to complete a three-tiered fondant covered wedding cake. The design and decoration was totally up to each student.

I'm THRILLED with how it turned out! I've never worked with fondant in my life & I can't believe how smooth I managed to get my cakes. To do the garlands I made over 300 fondant flowers (I did those at home) and "glued" each one on individually. I just want to make sugar flowers all day. Anyone in Connecticut need a cake decorator? We'll get to the job front in a minute...

Here's a shot of the all of the cakes in my class. At the risk of be too catty, I do think mine stands out a bit :)
The class I'm currently in is Advanced European Cakes--Lots of tortes, layers, almond flavor and mousses. The one exception was doing a "dome" cake, which basically is a simplistic form of a sculpted cake created in a bowl and turned out once firm. We could use the dome to create any themed marzipan covered cake we wanted. I decided to alter the dome form a bit and create a cornucopia.

The cornucopia is all cake (vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream, nothing exciting), the pumpkin to the right and the large apple to the left are mini cakes. Everything is either covered with marzipan or made out of marzipan. I think it's so cool. It took about 6 hours total to complete.
For the final exam for this class I've decided to make a similar type of decorated cake, but it will be a cheese platter theme (think wheel of cheese, crackers, olives, etc). Check back at the end of the month for that one!

Here are some of the other creations so far from this class:

Individual mocha layer cakes

Zebra Cake -- Chocolate genoise cake with peanut butter butter cream, covered in ganache. Don't you love the stripes? It's actually pretty easy, the middle is like a big swiss roll on it's side with a disk of cake on the top and bottom.

Dobos Torte--7 layers of sponge cake with 7 layers of chocolate buttercream. The top is a layer of sponge cake covered with caramel & dipped in chocolate. This one was A LOT of work for so so payout as far as I'm concerned.

Flourless Chocolate Cake --This cake is AMAZING. Made more like a baked custard cheese cake, very rich and chocolatey.

Here's another impressive looking cake, but give me plain cake with frosting any day. This is a Havana Cake -- A bottom layer of chocolate hazelnut cake, middle layer of vanilla hazelnut cake, another chocolate cake layer, crumb coated with chocolate buttercream and enrobed in ganache. Looks cool, tastes like dry crumbly nuts.

In addition to doing all of this I've been obsessing about my externship. I only have 4 more weeks of classes, then we all must complete a 10 week externship in some sort of baking establishment. I started looking weeks ago. It's such a strange thing to be a grown adult with a fairly decent (but not applicable) resume begging to be allowed to take on a minimum wage job. In this economy bakeries just aren't in the position to take on help, even for peanut wages. I think my resume was also scaring people a little. But alas, just when I thought I'd be working at the local grocery store, I landed an unbelievable opportunity.

A new four-star hotel is opening up in New Haven (trust me, it's needed) with a up-scale restaurant that will hopefully also be four-star dining. I really didn't want to work in a restaurant mostly because I don't want late night hours. Did that when I was in my 20's, don't really want to do it now. But they really needed a pastry cook, and since it's a hotel they would also be serving breakfast & lunch. So I decided to check it out and was hired on the spot. As a pastry chef!!!! Yes, I reminded them that I'm still a student, but he really liked my portfolio. I start next week and the hotel & restaurant open at the end of the month. It's called The Study at Yale
and I love the look and philosphy of the hotel. I also really like the Executive Chef. He has a very impressive resume and I'm hoping to learn a lot of from him.

My emotions keep switching between "how did I land this amazing opportunity" and "I really just want to decorate cakes." I'm going to keep working on my cakes and building a portfolio so I can hopefully move to that specialty in the future. In the meantime I do need to make some money and get my foot in the door. I'm excited and freaked out. I'll need to get over my hatred of creme brulee. But at least I have an externship/employment plan so I'm going with it.

The down side of all of this is not knowing how much time I'll have for crafting, my Etsy shop and my new LolliShop. Wish me luck!
xoxox Heather


CupcakeDD said...

How lucky are they to be getting such a talented pastry chef!!!
You're gonna be GREAT!!

Amanda said...

Congratulations, that's awesome! LOVE that pretty cake with the flowers, you did a great job on it.

Catholic Runner said...

Your cake is so beautiful!

ALBIE said...

Heather, congratulations. Wish I was there taste your creation, however I am in St. Louis. I am currently looking for a recipe for Havana cake. The only ones that are coming up from the Internet are with gelatin and crumbled cookies. I'm looking for the one with hazelnuts.

Can you please send me the recipe, or where I can find that same kind? Thanks so much! Please email to my email address:


Dee said...

Hi just happened to "stumble" upon your blog and you are quite a cake making expert! Actually I was looking for a Cornucopia glitter graphic to put up on MYSPACE page. You never know what Google will give you...I feel lucky. Another "co-incidence" (which btw, I don't believe in) is that I live in Meriden, CT...I think I have something you might be interested in....send me an email at if you'd like to chat!
Oh, you can also visit me at my Meetup Group:

Good luck with your new, exciting endeavor!

Deborah Jones, Meriden, CT

Zorana said...

Youre cakes and pictures are wonderful.
I am looking for a recipe for Havana cake. It is almost impossible to find. Do you have the recipe for the cake that is on youre picture, that is what I'm looking for - the one with chokolate and hazelnuts.
Can you please send me the recipe, or write where I can find that same kind?
best regards