Student Diary: Advanced Pastry Arts, Day 3

Day 3, Advanced Pastry Arts

Something I forgot to write about regarding Day 1. I sat in the back of the room next to a couple of friends from previous classes. As usual, Chef asked each person to introduce themselves and say a little something about themselves. My friend next to me introduced himself and said he had to take the class because “You the man!” he said, pointing at Chef. I looked at my friend and asked the class how I was supposed to top that. “I’m Julie, and I hated cooking and baking until about 5 years ago because it was such a chore to try to prepare three meals a day for seven people that I’d always try to avoid it. But now that I’m learning a few things about it, I’m enjoying it and starting to run with that.”

This week was much less eventful than last week. Chef had been busy at his day job, so he had a friend build his power point presentation. His friend included a character guide, similar to Microsoft’s paperclip character that would pop up with MS Word. This character guide was a snarky, sassy marzipan octopus named Marzie. It was hilarious!

In class, we filled and masked our wedding cakes, practiced some piping skills, then made marzipan and gum paste to practice forming into flowers. Our buttercream, which had been in the fridge for a week, was really stiff despite beating it to death in the Hobart mixer. It took a bit of work to warm it up in our hands to get it even remotely soft enough to pipe. After a few ugly blossoms, I piped a decent rose, then went on to the standard shells, rosettes, and doolie dads … random stuff.

I had fun with the homework that was due that day—piping an assigned border and "Happy Birthday" onto cake boards.

piping practice with toothpaste

It reminded me of working kids’ parties at the Zoo where the other birthday party hosts and I had to pipe "Happy Birthday So and So" onto birthday cakes. I really stunk at it and would always stand back so someone else could do it. For each party, we’d post a whiteboard sign at the party site saying “Happy Birthday So and So” to welcome the incoming party. Sometimes, So and So would be spelled wrong, and a guest or parent would point it out. That’s when we’d know that the receptionist who booked the party had written the kid’s name down wrong. That’s also when we knew that we’d have to run into the kitchen to scrape Sew and Sow off the cake somehow so we could rewrite it correctly.

The other part of our homework was to design a wedding cake and hand in a sketch of it. To practice, I sketched some real cakes out of our textbook.
my sketch of CIA cake my sketch of CIA cake 2

I misunderstood and thought we were supposed to design a square wedding cake, but we were supposed to turn in our designs for cake designs for the cakes we were building (round). The design I turned in was specific for square cakes stacked at an angle. Chef asked if I wanted to use the same design for my round cakes. It won’t quite work because they’re round, and because the borders between each cake layer are only an inch deep, where the square cake layers had a couple of inches where I wanted to plant big fat roses. I’m modifying it in my head, though. The design I turned it looks like architecture plans. Hooray for 5 years of drafting/design studio! Here’s my preliminary sketch.

my wedding cake design

My design concepts were simple, organic, textural, and dynamic. Woot! Join me next week when maybe I'll write about having a completed wedding cake, or maybe a complete disaster!


Tablebread said…
Wow Julie, what a beautiful cake design! I think Chef would give anyone a break for misunderstanding the assignment when the mistake looks like that!
That whole offset design look is real popular right now so that is probably why you have to do that. Oh and, HELLO! That's some pretty amazing piping skills you got there girl! You should this dangerous boy with a pastry bag, stand back!
Marvin said…
Nice sketching skillz Julie! I can't wait to see the finished cake.
Julie said…
Lewis--thanks! The final cake didn't quite come out like the sketch--I had some temperature problems--but I was happy with it all around. =) I need to practice piping short straight lines, apparently!

Marvin--thanks! I'll do that post at the end of the week, time willing.

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