The rise and fall of baking.

Hi all,

I’ve been having a good run on cakes of late and getting to challenge my skills with some new techniques and decorating styles. Over the weekend I decided to move away from the cakes for a couple of days and into world of laminated dough. My son always asks to help me when I’m baking, sometimes it’s a ploy to avoid going to bed but mostly it’s cause he wants to help. Only problem is he gets bored quickly and walks away. So I thought we can make some croissants for Sunday breakfast. The joy of  a laminated dough is that you roll, fold and rest. That way it doesn’t take up heaps of time at once and he won’t get bored. Well it kinda worked, we did get to spend some quality time together in the kitchen and I tried explaining what we were trying to achieve including showing him some you-tube video’s. I think in the end we did a pretty good job though he did leave me to do the last roll and while he cut the dough he left me to shape them ( Sunday morning cartoons were more exciting).

After we gave them time to do the final proof it was more like brunch than breakfast but they looked nice when they came out of the oven and the smell was amazing. You could even see the beautiful layers, all 54 of them.

pastry - croissant

There was one problem. The butter we used was the salted butter I use for my cakes and I forgot to take the salt out of the recipe to balance it back out, so the result was beautiful looking and smelling croissants but the flavour was horrible and salty. We probably could have cut them open and added jam or melted some cheese or something but we do tend to be purest and like them plain.

But wait there’s more!

I had a staff room cake to make so things got better  but then they got worse.  Like I said at the start, I’ve been having a good run on cakes of late and getting to challenge my skills with some new techniques and decorating styles.

Well today is no different, only the result was no where near what I thought it would look like nor the standard at which I like to present them these days.

I asked one of the staff what they would like for the cake as they had done us a kind gesture even though we told her not to worry. Her reply was that it wasn’t hard and she wanted to make sure the cakes kept coming in. (or something like that). Anyway she had the privilege of the next cake. she said she liked caramel and chocolate and white chocolate but didn’t really know. Well at least that gave me some options to work with and some room to try something new.

I decided I’d make a caramel cake with white chocolate butter cream filling and I’d try a glacage for the topping as it is all the rage at the moment. What is Glacage? I hear you ask, well it’s the mirror finish glaze that is pretty popular at the moment. It’s really easy to make and really effective (or so I thought).

The cake baked nicely and while I don’t normally worry too much about leveling the cakes I did today just to make it easier to get it nice and flat.

naked mirror glaze cake

I torted and crumb coated the cake in preparation for the magical mirror glaze to transform this cake into something spectacular!

naked mirror glaze cake

So it turns out I really should have given it more of a base coat than a crumb coat, then put it in the fridge or better the freezer. As well as made the glaze before the buttercream so that it had time to cool. Of course you don’t go looking for answers until you realise you actually have a question and at 11:45 at night who has time for questions.  So all the recipes say to pour the glaze once it has cooled to at least 90F or for me 30C. Well being that I was really burning the midnight oil surely 35 degrees would be close enough? Turns out it’s not! It might have been ok if the cake was cold or frozen but at room temperature it didn’t want to stay on the cake. The result was that it was thin which in turn caused it to be translucent. Had I put a decent undercoat you wouldn’t have seen the cake underneath and that at least would have given it a more consistent colouring. The positive was that it did indeed have a mirror like finish.

naked mirror glaze cake

One of the things I love about my wife is she knows how to get a smile back on my face. She knew I wasn’t happy with it so she said “I’ll call it a naked glaze cake”, and that is exactly what it is.

naked mirror glaze cake

Even though I’m embarrassed at the presentation of this cake, this has given me a chance to go back and reflect on what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. I’ve always been a glass half full kinda guy and don’t like getting too weighed down in life’s challenges for too long.  Last night I was filling the cake layers and my wife asked me “Do you get bored doing that?” and the answer is No. I love all the mundane parts as much as the stressful and rewarding parts. I have come a long way from when I made my very first post 2 years ago but in essence everything is still the same. I’m here to document my baking adventure good, bad and in between. If you had of asked me 2 years ago would I be making engagement and wedding cakes I’d have said your crazy. If you had told me that my minecraft cake, paleo honeycomb and paleo sticky date pudding would be regularly repined on Pinterest I’d have told you your dreamin’, but it’s all true. So while today I stumbled and grazed my pride,  I’m already back up and running full steam into the next project. Still not sure what that is but I cant wait to do it!

Thanks for travelling this journey with me,  It makes me proud and happy that others like and are interested in what I do.

Thanks for Readin’


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