Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sometimes you just need cake...

Since I can ever remember… my earliest birthday… I have always had a sumptuous golden vanilla cake with fudgy dark chocolate frosting.  Yes, there were the occasional birthdays with something different, but I always go back to that deliciously golden cake with its contrasting flavor. The cake was fluffy and moist, but never too sweet because the frosting was what mattered.  So at 11:30pm last saturday night, I had a craving… and me being the baker I am, I made a simple vanilla cake with chocolate fudge icing. Because lets face it, I needed it.

Life has been one heck of a journey the past while… heck, past 2 years… and things are finally on the up and up. I have been dealing with life. I have a job that doesn't change much; the most exciting part is a fellow employee who just sings and dances to the music (which ranges from disney, top 40, 80's, 50's dowop,  and 90's techno/dance… oh and you we can't forget Frozen). He could care less what he looks like and does it with a smile on is face. Those days are bearable because at least I have something to laugh about. I also have been trying to figure myself out. What do I want out of life? What makes me happy? How do I find that Job that makes good money and is doing something I love? Do I have the kind of friends who really are there for me and can help me achieve this goal? Yes, All of this, and more, has been on my mind the last few years.

So, sometimes you just need that sumptuous piece of cake with its contrasting flavors of vanilla and chocolate to calm you nerves. To bring you back to a time when things were a bit more simple, more manageable. And sometimes, you have to eat it again for breakfast to start the day out right.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I know... it's been a year since my last blog post... I am a big slacker... but alas, I have not forgotten you!

Lately my motto has been... if I can make it and I have the stuff (or just need one thing) I am going to make it. Lately by creations have included braciole (italian beef rolls with a filling), Mediterranean barley salad with feta and basil pesto, some cakes and cookies as well.

Tonight I made one of my favorites, Yellow Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing.

I grew up with this as one of my staple birthday cakes, I still love it. However, I have graduated from the box mix and jared frosting (I have for some time). this is one of my favorite cake recipes to get that perfect fluffy yellow cake with homemade taste. I get it from America's Test Kitchen!

It requires a little extra effort, but not much at all. The results are deliciously worth it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

More adventures in the bakery

I have been using "Big Bertha" as she is called here in the Bakery at Jacob Lake Inn. I believe she is 20 gallons... but that's just an estimate. We make just about everything in her... Bread, Rolls, Hamburger Buns, and of course, cookies. 8 pounds of butter is the average for every batch... and a whole flat of eggs...

So far we make, Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Parfait, Gingersnap, Peanut butter Chocolate Chip, and Cookie in a Cloud (a chocolate cookie with marshmallow, and topped with chocolate icing). I also make about 12 loaves of bread every other day, and about 7 dozen hamburger buns every other day as well. Pies, well we have peach, cherry, blueberry, and apple. I make about one or two of each every day!... So far I am loving the bakery. It is tiring as I work like 9am-5pm and I take about a 30 min break for lunch.( on a busy day) on slower days, I take smaller breaks throughout. I am done when all my work is done, and the floor is swept and mopped. So far, my love for baking has remained the same, it is just hard being the only... so it is tiring, but that's it, I still love it! The forest around us is great, and the other night after watching "War Horse" (AN AMAZING MOVIE!), I saw 8 doe while walking back to my dorm. It was neat!

We will see how things go when it picks up on May 15th, when the North Rim of the Grand Canyon opens! Hopefully its not too crazy! I know it will be because we are completely full (hotel, motel and cabins) for the entire month of May starting may 15th!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New beginnings at Jacob Lake Inn

I started my summer job at Jacob Lake Inn, just outside of Fredonia, Arizona. We are in the sticks, literally. We are on the Kaibab National Forest Land and about 45 minutes from the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

This week I finally have been able to work full days in the bakery. I have made pies, cookies, breads, rolls, and hamburger buns.


It is neat because I make everything in large batches... and I get to use a sheeter for rolling out the pie dough, buns, and rolls. 

Stay tuned for more updates. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Floral and Bridal Show

I was asked to make a cake in my spare time for the floral and bridal show. The theme of my room was a Turkish wedding. This took me quite some time, but I sure enjoyed it. I used some skills I hadn't used in a while, and some new ones.

The main thing being the styrofoam for the bottom three tiers of cake. Many weddings now have styrofoam cakes and then serve sheet cakes... its not any cheaper. The trick is because the foam is so firm, it can be challenging, however, I love it! It is also durable in case you drop it on the floor... but that would NEVER happen to me... ok I dropped the blue one right after I had covered it in fondant... boy was I mad... but luckily nothing happened to the styrofoam, the fondant just tore. So, I tore off the fondant, kneaded it again and rolled it out to about 2 feet in diameter, then covered it again.

It took about 40 hours to do the whole cake, working in the evening gradually... 5 hours at a time. But.... it was worth it, another cake to my portfolio.

Cakes and desserts

Its been a while since my last post... 2 months to be exact. School has been fairly busy. These are some of the things I did recently. I made a birthday cake for one of my friends. It was french themed hence "Joyeux Anniversaire" (happy birthday).

Also, This is my final for my Pastry class. It is a lemon sponge with raspberry bavarian, meringue, and a raspberry jelly with a flower tuille cookie as a garnish.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Delicious and Healthy

In my Culinary Nutrition Class I have been learning a lot about nutrients, and benefits of certain foods and products. We focus a lot on how it applies to the food we cook with and consume. We seem to always apply it to nutrition labels. I now know what "whole wheat" really means and breads that say "wheat bread" don't necessarily hav
e whole wheat.

Half of our grain and cereal intake should whole grains like, whole wheat, oat meal, and cooked grains.

So... I decided to make some whole grain bread. I used all whole wheat flour, ground flax seed, and oats. As a side note I learned that flax seeds really only benefit your body if they are ground or crushed. So I ground the flax seed a little in the blender.

Honey Whole Wheat oat bread with Flax

1 C Water, Hot
1 C Milk, warmed slightly
1 C Rolled Oats
4 TBL Butter, Melted
3 TBL Honey
1 TBL Salt
2 1/4 tsp Yeast
1/2 C Flax seed, Ground in blender
4 C Whole Wheat Flour

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in the mixer bowl and allow the oats to soften and cool slightly till warm, but not hot. You don't want to kill the yeast. (about 5 minutes).
  2. You can then add the flax (you can grid it while you are waiting for the mixture to cool) and yeast. Mix just to combine.
  3. Add 2 cups for the flour and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for about 15 to 20 minutes (feel free to let it sit for up to 30 minutes, it makes the flavor better). This will give a chance for the yeast to get going and really activate.
  4. Add the final two cups of flour and mix with dough hook for about 7 minutes (or knead by hand for about 15 minutes). The dough should be fairly smooth, except for the flax and not stick to the bowl.
  5. Allow to raise about an hour or when your poke the surface it shouldn't spring back but stay indented. I keep mine in the oven when I have turned it on for about 20 seconds then shut off.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and flatten out. You can then proceed to shaping the loaf. If you want a bread loaf flatten the dough into a rectangle slightly longer then the loaf pan. begin rolling pulling in the ends as you roll. crimp the bottom of the loaf and place in slightly greased pan.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Allow to proof for about 30 minutes or until not quite double (it will rise more when baked 'cause the yeast goes crazy before it is killed in the oven). I spray the top of the loaf and cover it loosely with plastic to rise.
  8. place loaf in oven and bake till browned slightly on top and when you tap the bottom of the loaf it sound more hollow than heavy.
  9. Cool before cutting (cause the bread continues to cook a little).