For the next three weeks, our homework every night for our Basic and Classical Cakes block will be to pipe out different shapes of shortening and water whipped up to impersonate icing. We drew lines on cardboard, covered it with plastic wrap, and held it in the oven for a little while to create a sealed surface, so we can pipe our shortening unfettered. I’ll just be happy if my car survives unfettered by shortening while transporting them.
I’m a bit uneasy about this block. Although I usually love tasty cakes, there is one huge element of some cakes that I don’t like: piped frosting. I just don’t like the way it looks. I’ve already written my tirade against the star tip, so I won’t repeat it here except to express my concern. Because, not only do I have to aid and abet the piping, I have to do it a lot and try to perfect something that, in my mind, can’t be perfected: it will always be a star tip, or a plain tip, or a flower made of frosting. Many people might not see what the big deal is here–it’s just a cake, so deal with the frosting, it’s cute–but to me, my desserts are expressions of how I think dessert should be enjoyed, and I regret wasting that on empty appearances that conflict with what I consider appealing. It also takes time away from exploring more minimalist and unique designs. Of course, inspiration for a better alternative can come from mundane sources and technique is technique blah blah blah, so for every single rosette that I pipe, all I can do is internally chant, “Good will come of this… Good will come of this… Good. will. come. of. this.” We will have a Contemporary Cakes block later on in the program, so eventually, we’ll break loose.
Anyway, this block is a little different from the others so far because, instead of 1 practical at the end of 13 days of class, we will have 2 practicals, one for each of the two 6-day segments. One practical will be for the Filled Cakes and Tortes, and one will be for Unfilled Cakes and Tarts. Coming up, our cakes include Black Forest Cake, St Honore with Chibouste Cream, Vanilla Charlotte, Raspberry Yogurt Cake, Chocolate Cognac Cake, Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake, Chocolate Shingle Torte… Yes, I approve of all the chocolate… Then Frangipane Tarts, Tarte Tatin, Lemon Semolina Cake, Basque Cake, Torta Ricotta, Cheesecake, Flourless Carrot Cake… So, some warhorses steeped in technique, but also some interesting spins.