Well… it’s over. I have finished the Baking & Pastry certificate program as of Friday! I still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that I’m done… I have such mixed feelings!
On one hand, I’m looking forward to actually coming home from work and going to sleep, relaxing, etc, as opposed to standing on my feet for 4-5 hours and stressing myself out over how a rose looks or whether my chocolate is tempered.
On the other hand… I will miss my friends I’ve made so much, and I really wish I could keep taking classes just so someone will continue to push me out of my comfort zone and make me try baking/decorating new things!
My finals for this quarter consisted of making up a business plan, decorating a 3-tier wedding cake, and putting together a chocolate sculpture/showpiece.
I LOVED the way my final cake came out, even though I had some issues along the way. First, we used styrofoam instead of cake, as these cakes were going on display for who-knows-how-long. Styrofoam is interesting to put fondant over… the edges are all pretty sharp and want to tear through fondant like there’s no tomorrow. After figuring all of that out, we had to wrap our cakes up and save them for the following week – thus the plastic wrap markings on all layers. Unfortunately we all had this problem, but as our Chef said, we will never do this in the future, and she wouldn’t count it against us.
I was very proud of the way my hydrangea turned out, and the fondant colors on the cake turned out just the way I envisioned. The only thing that was different from my plan was that I originally intended to put the bottom hydrangea ball up one layer, but when I put the cake together there just wasn’t room.
What I had was a 12″ round bottom layer, an 8″ square middle layer, and a 6″ round top layer. On the top layer were 3 balls of hydrangea with 11 leaves, then 1 hydrangea ball and 5 leaves each on the second layer and very bottom.
For our chocolates final, we had to create a showpiece that was 18-24″ high, had “movement”, multiple textures, multiple colors, and included the use of modeling chocolate and a polycarbonate mold. My team (there were 3 of us) went through several ideas, and ended up on an abstract table of items falling over.
This was an INCREDIBLY difficult process – we had many issues along the way, and that definitely did not stop when it came to the construction. Every time we got confident in our work, the chocolate pieces decided to take us down a notch and fall over. First one of the legs snapped off the table when we were putting it together, leading us to have to start gluing the legs all over, then all the shapes fell off the top towards the end, leading us to have to temper fresh chocolate and start all over. One of the rules was that we had to be able to carry our showpiece without it breaking… which was difficult (and my job, as I was the one who had 1) been a waitress and 2) been in marching band, so I knew how to walk smoothly and carry delicate things!)
Our piece consisted of a dark chocolate tabletop and base, white chocolate legs, a milk chocolate sphere made in a mold and colored with fat-soluble colors, and shapes made mostly of modeling chocolate, with the exception of the white chocolate rounded square. The last piece is my favorite (and my little baby) – a little frog made out of modeling chocolate that I made on a whim.
All in all, my finals went very well. I got an A on both finals, which was absolutely wonderful considering all the work put in. And now I move on to the reality – have a few cake orders coming up, and starting an internship at a cake decorating store to get some more experience.
Here I come real world!