Meredith circa 1982

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This past weekend we started Modlule 3 - Cake! We started by learning the various mixing methods used to make various batters and then dove right in to baking a bunch of cakes! First we made two types of pound cake - Traditional and High Ratio Pound Cake. I actually didn't take pictures of these loaves because I wasn't that impressed with the recipes compared to the excellent pound cake I'm accustomed to - thank you Paige & Aunt Manie!

We then made flavored pound cake - this one is Bourbon Pecan and we chose to bake it in mini-bundt pans.

We then used the creaming method to make Muffins - we made Banana Chocolate Chip - again, muffins are nothing special so I didn't take pictures. One thing that I have never baked before, which is a little surprising given its popularity, is Crumb Cake.

We baked our Crumb Cake in a 1/2 sheet pan and topped it with blueberries and crumbs.

I think the next thing we made on Saturday was our Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting. We baked ours in 1/2 sheet pans, and then when finishing we cut the cake into thirds and layered them so that we had a rectangular cake. I have no idea why I didn't take a picture of this - I guess I just forgot. It wasn't beautiful or fancy, but it was really, really yummy! Something I'm sure I will make again!

Saturday and Sunday we worked on components to make two cakes - the basic layers were Chocolate and Lemon Scented Vanilla. The fillings and frostings we made gave us options to create many different types of cakes.

For my chocolate cake, I made a Prailine Ganache Filling, Vanilla Buttercream and then a Ganache Glaze. Aside from making these components, a huge part of the lesson was learning how to professionally finish the cakes.

Chef Nicole taught us how to frost the cakes using our buttercream and showed us how to give our cakes a flat top to hide the curvature that naturally forms when you bake round cake layers.

Here is my Chocolate Praline Cake garnished with toasted hazelnuts.

Here you can see all the rich layers. Fudgy chocolate cake, praline ganache filling, vanilla buttercream frosting covered in a ganache glaze.

This pictures shows how the top of the cake is flat and forms a 90 degree angle with the edge of the cake. Chef Nicole said I did an excellent job for my first time finishing a cake!

With my Lemon Scented Vanilla Cake, I decided to turn it into a Coconut Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and toasted Coconut. Not quite as involved as the Chocolate Cake, but a good classic cake.

(I just love that picture!)
Lots more cake to come!!!

Polish Pastry in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

In April, Roger's parents came up to visit Easter week and we made a trip out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn which has the largest Polish-American population in NYC. We had a yummy lunch of traditional Polish food (I had really great peirogi's) and then we visited this bakery to buy sweets to take home with us.

The bakery was quaint and had a lot of pretty sweets. Only Polish was spoken here, so my Mother In Law asked them if it was OK if I took a few pictures. I knew I would want to write a post about these sweets and pictures were a must!

The bakery was very busy with people buying sweets and treats for Easter Sunday. Below you can see some bunny shaped cakes on the top shelf of this rack.

We had a hard time deciding what to buy, because it all looked good - but we settled on 4 things. I don't know the Polish names for these so I'll just describe them.
This was a marble pound cake of sorts that had bits of cherry inside. Very moist and great texture.

These two desserts were sold by the pound so the ladies at the bakery just sliced and weighed the amount that we wanted. The one of the left was also a marble type cake with cherry and had a ganache glaze on top. The dessert on the right was an apricot cheesecake like dessert. They used Farmer's cheese so the texture was a bit grainier and not as sweet as most American cheese desserts. It also had a crust on the bottom and a thin crust on top dusted with powdered sugar.

Finally, this dessert is one of my in-laws favorites and something we usually look for in Manhattan at Zabar's when they visit. It's a poppy seed roll - the filling is slightly sweet but is almost 100% poppy seeds. (Have a mirror ready to check your teeth after eating this one!) It's rolled up jelly roll style in a dough and then sprinkled with sliced almonds.

We each had a "sampler" plate to try out all of the sweets! All very good and such a neat experience to go to a Polish bakery!

I'm Back!

Wow - it's been a while! We had some computer issues and an extremely busy April - so I apologize for not posting in over a month! Anyway, I've completed Module 2 of my program and I am now half way through my training. In this post, I'll just show pictures of everything I did to finish up Module 2. Enjoy!

BEAR CLAWS.... my pastry obsession!

Cheese Danish & Pineapple Danish

Pain au Chocolat and Croissant

Almond Croissant, Pain au Chocolat, Croissant


Mozzarella and Prosciutto Turnovers

Gateau Pithivier (Almond Frangipane filled puff pastry tart)

Puff Pastry & Berry Tart

Apple Strip


Cheese Strudel

Breton with candied pecan filling

Individual Galletes - Roasted Plum & Ginger filling, Roasted Pears & Dried Fig filling, Apple Cinnamon Filling

Linzer Torte with Raspberry Filling

Chocolate Walnut Pie

Apple Walnut Lattice Tart

Blueberry Peach Tart with Pistachio Frangipane

Blueberry & Almond Frangipane Tart

Man, we did a lot in one month! Luckily we had lots of friends and co-workers to share everything with!