Friday, June 21, 2013

Moving Forward with Cake Pops, Body Combat & Yoga

I built myself a sizable backup fund while I pursued baking, but sometimes when I let fear sink in I psyche myself out.  I knew going into this I would be choosing a different lifestyle.  And it has absolutely been worth it.  While I feel bad that we can't go out as much anymore, it has lead to creative ways of having fun for less. While working I had zero energy to exercise.  Now it's all we do, and it's actually our form of entertainment now.  I've discovered Body Combat & Body Pump classes at 24 hour fitness.  It's so much fun, and I feel so much stronger and healthier.  I used to practice Yoga in college and loved it, so I'm also re-discovering my flexibility.

Thank goodness for the gym, because cake pops are part of my life now.  I'm a PAID baker and decorator with Just A Bite Cake Pops in Irvine. YEEEEE...I love saying it.  While my income is Significantly lower, I am happy to go to work and create beautiful cake pops.  It's been almost 2 months with my new job, and it's been more challenging than I thought.  It hasn't always been easy, but I'm definitely learning a lot about the baking world, even if it's a tiny niche like cake pops.  I'm so grateful to be learning from experienced and wonderful entrepreneurs and decorators.

Ice Cream Cake Pops

Grad Cake Pops

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cake Boss, I Am Not.

I finished Wilton Course# 1: Basic Cake Decorating, and I'm not going to lie; not as easy as I suspected. I walked in overly confident, and now I leave feeling humbled and wanting to learn more. I truly believe all bakers/decorators have some form of Obsessive Compulsiveness, so perfecting something within 2 hours is challenging. Now I have a deeper appreciation for frosting a cake without getting it all crumb-y.
First Cake Decorated in Class....Crumbs!!!!  Fail...
From this class, I learned to be more patient; to quiet my mind when I've messed something up and instead of screaming out, I try to think of how to fix it.  Life is the same way; we should all stop screaming out in frustration about our "problems," and instead look for the solution.  There's my preach for you today.

Second Cake Decorated in Class.... Zero Crumbs!!!! Booyah!

While I'd love to pursue the cake decorating classes, I'm way too broke to keep going.  There's a surprising large amount of time and money that goes into them.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Food Service Virgin No More

If I was going to enter into the world of food service, I'm glad I didn't have to start from the bottom like at a  McDonalds; and I mean no offense to employees at McD's.  It would be depressing to go from a 28 year old Chemist with a 401K and health benefits to a 28 year old burger flipper.  And again, no offense to the 28 year old burger flippers - dammit!  If you haven't given me the bird yet and stormed away from my blog after offending you, my point is, I feel fortunate to be doing exactly what I want to be doing in food service - baking cakes.

Yesterday was my first day baking for money!  It's a part-time gig, but in a matter of 5 hours I was trained to bake a cake, make frosting, roll cakes, and decorate cakes.  My suspicions were confirmed; being a baker is truly like being a chemist - except baking has more style...more creativity...I love it!  There's a lot of running around, a lot of standing, dish washing, time management skills, and a lot of powder getting in your face (except I'm not squeamish from inhaling  flour as opposed to a raw material chemical that has been proven to be carcinogenic.)

Next time I'll be sure to take some pictures!  I'm normally a picture taking mongrel, but in all the excitement it actually slipped my mind.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gallery of Food Porn

A blog is nothing but a place to vent, relay information, and above all else - a great place to show off & strut your stuff.  So enjoy, critique, and I do hope I get you drooling =)

All pictures displayed are of goodies made with Dorie Greenspan recipes.

Holiday Bundt Cake (pumpkin bread, glazed with maple syrup & filled with cranberries, walnuts & currants)

Rugelach: tiny, tasty & old-fashioned cookie

Vanilla Rum Cake: sticky, with a pound cake texture

Thumbprint cookies: organic raspberry filling in an almond cookie

Brioche: fluffy and buttery, as it should be

Almond Biscotti:  keeps well and full of almond flavor

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life Changes All At Once

Never mind that I recently became engaged this past December, I'd like to throw in a career change in the mix too!  If everything is going to change, might as well do it all at once.

I am no longer a Chemist by day and amateur baker by night.  I am a full-time amateur baker!  After years of being too scared to leave a decently paying job (with benefits!!!), I finally took a flying leap off the diving board and into unemployment-ville.  Of course I could never have done it without the full support of my finace.  He has been completely supportive of my dreams, and even though I have full confidence in myself, it helps that he's behind me 100%.  I owe it not only to myself, but to the love of my life to be the best person I can be.

I love this picture; it's just too bad half my face is missing ;)

Somewhere in the social media world I found a great saying that I repeat to myself a lot:  Goals are dreams with deadlines.  It's all well and good to dream, but there needs to be action behind those dreams to make them real.  Hence, my goals include enrolling into a pastry/baking certificate program offered at a local community college whilst working in a bakery.  I've been able to secure a part-time baking position with a small, up and coming bakery so I feel like I'm on Cloud 9.  It's actually happening!  The ball is rolling!  

There's lot of crazy planning going on with both career changes and wedding planning (8 more months!), but I don't think I would have it any other way.  Expect to see more blogging from me!

I now leave you with a random picture I took of freshly baked chocolate chip scones I made today on this beautiful Friday.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sick of Being Sick

    I've been sick twice for the past 2 months.  It's quite frustrating when all you love to do is bake. Alas, no one wants to eat baked goods from someone who needs to blow their nose every 10 minutes.  I COULD bake, and I COULD just eat it all.  

   Essentially I decided to write up a blog today, because it's been a long time.  When I'm sick, my blog is sick.  I need to output something on my blog even though I'm out of the kitchen right now.  Dust off the proverbial cobwebs, and also to remind myself that I have a blog, as quiet as the traffic is on it.

   Need to get better before the busiest cooking/baking season of the year!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cookies, Croissants, Etc.

Chocolate Chip Cookies cooling on the rack

Apparently, I haven't baked chocolate chip cookies in a Long Time.  Normally, you add dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) a few portions at a time to butter & sugar you've whipped to a soft texture.  When I had read instructions I barreled through and it wasn't until I took my first bite of a cookie did I go "wtf...why is this texture weird?"  The cookie was chewy and soft, which is normally good, except that it was falling to pieces.

Lesson learned - don't barrel through. Read instructions carefully.  I guess I will have to practice some more!

Speaking of following instructions, I just acquired the cookbook "Tartine" by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, as a present from one of my biggest baking fans - the boyfriend.  I've been lucky enough to try croissants at Tartine in San Francisco, and I've always wanted to replicate it.  After reading the recipe, I'm convinced if I can successfully follow their instructions, I will be able to interpret any recipe given me.  They are Extremely precise & anal retentive; no wonder their croissants are so famous - they have  the highest standards in the business.  They combine creativity & old school baking techniques, but because they have the highest standards in terms of ingredient quality, measurement, and technique, trying to produce their baked goods at home will prove quite the challenge.  

Challenge accepted.