Sunday, September 21, 2008

B-day Cake: The Verdict

I'm currently:
Watching the last game ever at Yankees Stadium.

Some thoughts:
I'm happy to report that dinner went well, and the cake... WAS DECLICIOUS! It's so exciting when you cut open something so pretty and it tastes awesome too! I think everyone was a little suprised by how good it was :-P Can't really go wrong with carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. mmm mmm good!

Time to finish my wine and watch the game. Will write more soon...

Until then, Bake Big! -Christine

Birthday Cake!

I'm currently:
Finished cleaning the apartment, showering, and making myself look nice (for a change!).

Listening to Z100.

Some thoughts:
Tonight my parents and my grandma are coming over for dinner and to celebrate my (early) birthday. My gram has never seen our apartment, so I spent most of this morning straightening up and making sure everything looks perfect. I also prepped everything for dinner. I'll be making fettuccine with red sauce and chicken cutlets. My mom is bringing a salad and some fruit. And then comes the best part of the meal: the birthday cake.

Yesterday at work I made myself a small birthday cake. It was so much fun thinking of what I wanted to make. The possibilities were pretty endless. In the end, we decided that a 'serious' cake would be best (since my gram is coming over). So we passed on making a cake with elephants and bubbles, and instead I made a carrot cake with cream cheese filling, covered in sage green fondant, white dots, and a bunch of hand made gum paste flowers. I think it came out really well! A few of my coworkers guided me through it and showed me how to best attach the flowers. It was a great learning experience, and it was fun to make something that was my idea, and not something a client requested.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the results-- AND I had a blast making it. Now, well just have to see if it tastes as good as it looks. (I'll keep you posted!)

Now off to have a quick snack/lunch. Then tonight early dinner/birthday party! woowho!

Until Soon, Bake Big! Christine

Friday, September 19, 2008

First Full Fondant Cake!

I'm currently:
Acting busy while Adam does an interview for HGTV. (long story)

Some thoughts:
I made my first full fondant cake today! I mixed the fondant colors, covered it, decorated it, etc.! It was an 11" round light blue cake with a lavendar bow, and lavendar/white dots. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure the kid who's getting it will love it! I also made a Giants football field cake-- complete with (cake) football on top! I had help with that one, but it was still fun. I'm learning so much, and I can't believe how much I'm doing after only 3 short weeks!

Now I'm pretty sore and tired, but also very happy that I no longer have to work two shifts on Fridays! Tomorrow morning is the end of the week. On Sunday most of the bakers are going down to Atlantic City for a baking convention. I wanted to attend too, but since I work on Monday and dont ahve my own transportation (other than the bus with the old ladies), I decided to sit this one out. I'm sure on Tuesday I'll have aan earful of stories from their adventures in AC...

Anyway, the film crew is gone now. Time to make dinner. (I'M SO HUNGRY!) haha!

Until Soon-- Bake Big! Christine

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Back Hurts... (and so does everything else)

I'm currently:
Watching 'The Biggest Looser'

Enjoying sitting down.

Some thoughts:
Today was good (and long). I worked at the bakery from 7am-2:30 baking and from 2:30-8:00pm in the store.

Upstairs baking, we made about 3,000 cannoli's today. And we pulled the dough for sfogliatelle and lobster tails. I was mostly greasing the dough (with shortening) for the guys as they pulled, but after a bit the guys let me try to pull a few batches by myself. I pulled two rolls of dough, which they marked... tomorrow when they cut the rolls open they're going to inspect mine and tell me what I did wrong. haha! I'm looking forward to it ;)

We also 'dirty iced' 1 1/2 dozen layer cakes to be covered tomorrow with fondant. The guys wanted to have a competition between the interns as to who could ice one best. The icing needs to be perfectly smooth and the cake needs to be perfectly centered. Mine, though not great, were really good. They wound up not having the competition, but I think that if they had, I might have won... All that practice doing the layered cakes in the mornings is paying off!!

Anyway, so much more to tell, but I'm so sleepy! Today was a loooong day. Tomorrow, only working from 7-3ish. yeay! Then we need to food shop!

Until Soon... Bake Big! (and Sleep Well!) -Christine

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cupcake Queen

I'm currently:
Eating a whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter (thanks Adam!)

Rooting on the METS (in HD)!!! Whoooooo

Some thoughts:
What day is it?! Haha! It's already been a long week, but a very good one. Yesterday I helped my boss with a few of the 'dummy' cakes for the window display. One was a fondant cake with a tree and a multitude of fall leaves. I got to paint all of the leaves for the cake and even had some input as to where they show go on the cake. I also painted another one of the dummy cakes with an edible copper paint. Then painted a few of the hydrangeas for that cake.

Today I spent time working on layer cakes on the turntable. This is so much harder than it looks! The guy I've been working with has been doing it for 20+ years, so it's easy to feel mediocre next to him. But as they say, practice makes perfect, and I'm sure over time, I'll get it down!

We also made a bunch fo character cupcakes today. (The 'yellow bird', 'little red monster', 'little blue monster with a cookie in his mouth', etc. haha!) I also decorated another tray of the pumpkin cupcakes. One of the guys has started calling me the "Cupcake Queen". Not a bad nickname... especially when I think of all the other things they could be calling me....

Anyways, time for bed! Anther day tomorrow. Until soon, Bake Big! Christine

Sunday, September 7, 2008

1st Week Completed! Yeay Weekend!

I'm currently:
Making a supermarket shopping list

Debating what I want for breakfast

Some thoughts:
I woke up this morning at 6:45am feeling completely rested and amazingly sated. I guess that's what working in a bakery will do for your sleep habits!

Yesterday was a great day of work. The guy who had been training me how to do the morning cakes was out, so I was on my own-- and I didn't screw anything up! I made 6 tiramisu and 6 layer cakes all by myself! I also iced a bunch of cupcakes, helped make 2 racks of hydrangeas, and decorated a fondant cake.

By about 2pm, the guys were even crazier than normal. Two of them were (play) fighting. One guy jumped up onto one of the large tables (with a blowtorch) to chase after the other guy. He finally chased the other guy into the freezer (where he tried to lock him in). All in a days work... haha!

A little before 3pm Adam came to pick me up. It was the first time he'd ever been to the bakery. I introduced him to my bosses and everyone upstairs. They all seemed to like him, and they chatted while I finished up my work. On the way out, my boss stopped us and made us take home a box of the specialty cupcakes that I've made. (One pumpkin, one boston creme, one caramel, and one red velvet.) Adam and I split two of them last night. He liked them both, but his favorite so far is the pumpkin.

Today is my day off. Tomorrow I will be working at my old job (and getting paid!). Then Tuesday I'll be back at the bakery for a long day of baking in the morning and working in the bakery at night. I'm anxious to hear what all the guys have to say about meeting Adam. I also can't wait for the next week to begin! Yeah, it's tiring and a lot of change, but I'm really loving everything so far. It's amazing to think about how much I've already learned in just one week. I can't wait to see what week 2 has in store!

Ok, off to find breakfast (and to wake Adam up!) Until Soon. Bake Big! Christine

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Long Day Is Over

I'm currently:
Just typing tonight. Too tired to multitask.

Some thoughts:
This morning I got to the bakery at 7am. Did all the cakes for the front of the bakery, made flower parts out of gum paste, cut dots out of fondant, etc. Overall a good morning.

Around 2:45pm I went downstairs to the front of the bakery-- where the customers come in-- for my first day of training. More training? Front of the bakery? Yes and yes. You see, having a dream of becoming a baker and quitting your job to do so is all well and good-- except that leaves you without any income while you apprentice. So, I taked to the boss, and he agreed to give me some hours in the front where I can get paid.

The training wasn't bad. It was mostly a whirlwind. The hard part is going to be remembering how much things cost, and figuring out which size box to put it in. They have like 500 different cakes/pastries and it seems like no two things are the same price. And after working from 7am, all those darn boxes blur together. But I'm sure over time I'll get it.

The weird part was when everyone from upstairs came down to leave-- and saw me working. They were all like 'what the hell are you doing down here?!' I'm sure I'll hear more of that tomorrow. My friend says to tell them that it's paying my bills, and if they don't want me working up front, they can pay my bills for me. hah!

Anyway, today was a bit humbling. I'm an NYU graduate who worked my way up the ladder at a non-profit to the point where I was training other people, handling the board & committees, and answering questions of executive committee calls. Now I'm working along side sophomores & juniors in high school. Everything I do needs to be overseen by someone else. And everything needs to be explained to me. Even upstairs, it's frequent that someone will grab something from my hand to show me how I'm doing it wrong. Or will yell something at me across the room.

Sigh. I was really bummed about everything. And how overwhelming the change has been (and it's only day 4!!) Don't get me wrong- I'm so happy about the baking. But the enormous change is just a little hard to take in. And to top it off, it's Friday night, and while everyone else is out, I'll prob wind up staying in since I worked 12 hrs today and I have to be back tomorrow at 7am!

So I was bummed, but then I came home and checked my email. My former co-workers, my grandmother, and my cousins had all written me emails inquiring about how I'm doing and telling me how proud they are that I'm following my passion. It really gave me a boost. Thanks all... I needed that.

It's still so early and there's so much more to learn. Tomorrow is another day. And Sunday, my day off, is almost here. Things are looking up.

Until Soon... Bake Big! Christine

Thursday, September 4, 2008

3rd Day of Work (A.K.A. My Feet Hurt)

I'm currently:
Chugging a tall glass of iced tea.

Watching CNN.

Some thoughts:
Today was day 3 at the bakery. I already feel like I'm starting to fit in --meaning they've started to harass and make fun of me. hah! The guys are really too much and too funny. I thank goodness that I'm a girl because if I were a guy I'd be getting it a lot worse. I also thank goodness that I'm Italian and a Mets fan (two things that give me mega brownie points with the guys!)

I've been assigned to decorating the cakes in the morning (with assistance, of course). Today I did a few cheesecakes, some chocolate mouse cakes, white chocolate mouse cakes, and at least a half dozen different large trays of cupcakes. We made a chocolate cupcake with hazelnut butter cream icing and a drizzle of ganache. I tried one of these that smushed. MMMM It was actually the first thing I've tried at the bakery, and it was delicious.

My favorite task today was the new pumkin cupcakes. We decorated these with cream cheese icing, and then topped them with cute little marzipan pumpkins. They're seriously adorable, and I had fun rolling the pumpkins.

Anyways, now I'm home sitting down-- since I stood for almost all of the morning. My feet are a bit sore, but I'm excited for work again tomorrow. I'm anticipating a looong day tomorrow-- I'll go into work by 7am, and around 2pm I'm going to stop baking/decorating and go downstairs to the front of the bakery (where the customers come in!). Then I'll be training/working (and getting paid!) until about 8pm. Whew!

I'll keep you posted.

Until next time, Bake Big! Christine

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I'm currently:
Eating yogurt with fruit and granola

Listening to the Yanks vs. Tampa Bay

Some thoughts:
I'm officially a baker's apprentice. Today marked my first 'real' day of work at the bakery. It was weird waking up this morning and putting on a white t-shirt and cruddy pants, not 'business casual'. And although it was only about 30 minutes earlier than I am use to getting up for work, it was enough time to make it a lot darker outside.

I had to stay alert on the train to make sure I didn't miss my transfer. I was afraid my sleepy body would be on auto-pilot and take me to my old stop instead. But weirdness and sleepiness aside, all went well getting to work this morning. And when I got there, things were already going full swing.

My first job was to help decorate a few individual and small cakes (Carrot cake, Cheesecake, truffles, Mouse Cakes, etc). A big personal first: I ICED MY FIRST CAKE TODAY! Well, I've iced lots of cakes at home before, but never like this. Never on a pedestal with the correct tools and with precision in mind. The result? Well, I was pretty good. (Nowhere near great, but hey, it was my first day... and my first time!) I also cut forms for some flowers and assembled a hell of a lot of stems. May not sound like much, but this all kept me busy until around 2pm when we all helped throw together more Tiramisu then I've ever seen before.

By 2:30pm I was heading back to the train home. I threw my baking shoes in my bag and put on flip flops. When I got home I realized that the bottoms of my baking shoes were covered in icing, chocolate, batter, etc. Next time I probably shouldn't throw these into my purse... sigh.

Anyway, there is so much more to share... about the people, the atmosphere, the process of baking a few hundred cannolis today, etc. I also can't wait to write about the personalities and the way the men act (I'm sure you can guess about that one!) But all those details I'll save for another time. --I can't give away all the goodies on my first day!

Until next time, Bake Big! Christine