day twelve - cakes

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

Last Thursday was an abbreviated day in the kitchen because it was 104 degrees outside, 190 degrees in the kitchen (probably) and it was only going to got hotter because we had to fire all of the ovens up for the cakes. So, we cut out one recipe (our kitchen assistant made one Indian pound cake instead of us all making one), we got to wear our civilian clothes instead of the hot chef's jackets and we got out of class a bit early.

So, cake! Did you know the word cake comes from the Norse work "kaka"? That's a fun fact you should always tell people before you are about to serve them delicious cake. It will make them hungrier. Anyway, first we made lamingtons, which translates to "layers of beaten gold," I don't know about that, but they are little sponge cakes, sometimes filled with raspberry or lemon, coated in chocolate and nasty nasty coconut.

They were delicious! Except for the nasty nasty coconut! The texture of the cakes was very nice and they had a nice shape. And they were very easy to cut and coat. I tried a bite of one with the coconut and I have not changed my mind about that disgusting fruit or nut or whatever it is. Luckily we snuck a few without coconut onto the tray and I ate them with a bit of the raspberry left over from the Queen Victoria cake and that was much better. Much more delicious and civilized if you ask me. In the future, I would just roll them in chocolate shavings.

Queen Victoria Cake. Like the Queen herself, very dry. (Just kidding, QV!). This is another sponge cake. I'm not sure why we made so many sponge cakes. We got a deal on sponges. Rimshot! Be here all week! Our instructor said we may have overbeat them, but we are very, very careful about overbeating (flour + water + mechanical action = gluten) and I find it hard to believe we all overbeat our cakes. Was it the devil ovens again? Who knows? Anyway, they are filled with traditional buttercream and raspberry jam. I'm not a huge fan of traditional buttercream, so that, coupled with the dry cakes, eh. Queen Victoria can have her cake and eat it too. (I think a moister cake, with maybe a lighter whipped cream filling, would have been more delicious). 

So, tonight starts the guest chefs: Chinese cooking with Helen Chen, including dumplings and stir fry.