Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cakes Shmakes

I have pictured two of which resulted in one of the most embarrassing meltdown of my culinary life and the other in pure joy.
I love cakes, always have.

The first cake is a Black Forest and is taken sideways because it was one of the worst cake experiences ever. My group had an extra Genoise Chocolate Sponge cake that I decided to use to make a Black Forest Cake since my partner, Karl, had all the ingredients out. It went well for most of the time until I began to frost it. Black Forest Cake uses Chantilley Cream for icing which is very hard to work with and needs to be refrigerated. You're supposed to work it to a medium whipped consistency to be sure it doesn't get over-whipped and mealy while you're frosting the cake. So, I attempted probably three times and failed before I decided to make a HUGE batch of "not-so" whipped cream to ensure it not becoming mealy and to start from scratch. I whipped it, dumped it onto the cake and began bringing the off-set spatula back and forth in the motion Chef carefully explained...all the while the cream was everywhere, dripping off the sides and making an incredible mess.....I felt like a four year old trying to bake. By this time I was ready to throw the cake across the room but instead put my hands on the work surface, turned around to my classmate Denise and said while breathing heavily, "I'm over this, I'm seriously done with this...seriously." As I began my sentence I noticed Chef there with her...who noticed my extreme frustration and mess of whipped cream spilling over my cake and the cake spinner thing. He came over in all his height and said in his loud, bold voice, "listen, first of all, stop leaning on the bench, secondly, it's just a cake....calm down." It sounds like a normal interaction but it was basically like him calming down a little girl in a store having a temper tantrum over a pair of shoes her dad wouldn't buy her. He proceeded to show me and help me whip the cream more and spread it evenly...all the while I was holding back tears of frustration and extreme embarrassment. It took me a good hour to get over the feeling of wanting to not only burst into tears but throw a cake across the room. I hated that cake. I hate Black Forest Cake. It's gross. I never want to make it again, ever. Chef mentioned twice after the fact that there were "meltdowns" associated with the Black Forest Cake. I'm almost certain these "meltdowns" were referring directly to me.

The second cake I made was in honor of my upcoming birthday and to try and attempt making it in a professional atmosphere where it might turn out looking uniform. Also, I wanted to make it possible to cut into it without the entire cake disassembling. I was successful!
I let my teammates do the assignments for the day and I just worked on my cake. Cutting the layers, macerating the strawberries, making bavarian cream and lastly, whipping that darn chantilley cream for the outside. Despite my wretched experience with the chantilley and black forest cake I had a good time working with it here. Probably because I love this cake.
It turned out great and chef showed it to the class at the end of the day and basically gave me a pat on the back.

Gosh, sometimes I feel like adults revert back to being children, needing only the basics of positive reinforcements. I can't count the number of times I've seen the "child" of different classmates of mine come out in the kitchen. Not that it's a bad thing right?

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