Wednesday, November 30, 2011


 I just wanted to take a moment to chat about Cake.  Not just cake in general, CAKE, the place that I was interning at.  I still pop in there a couple of days a week, I cant keep away.  There is a wonderful warm atmosphere there and there is still so much for me to learn!

Cake are the bakery that supplies wedding and party cakes to many of the major hotels and event venues in San Diego, including the Hotel Del Coronado.  Their cakes are instantly recognizable as they are over an inch taller than usual.  Jen doesnt like to short change people over cake, so they make sure there is more than enough!  The most popular flavor is banana truffle, and it is divine!  One thing to note is that they only make cakes for parties over 30 people, so keep that in mind when placing an order.

The cakes are also different in the fact that they never use fondant.  Cakes are baked from scratch and decorated in buttercream.  Modelling chocolate is used for amazing design elements.  I've seen princess castles, boats, tequila bottles, and all sorts of other crazy designs!  This is never at the expense of flavor.  It is so refreshing to meet another baker who feels so strongly that the flavors of the cake is paramount, then the decoration comes second.

The bakery is going to be opening its doors to people and hoping to be more of a neigborhood hangout and coffee bar.  They started on the right footing with the wonderful coffees from Cafe Calabria, and of course the baked goods are delicious!  Some signature items include the gooey brownies, soft cherry chocolate chip cookies and tangy lemon bars.

To announce their new project they will be holding an open house on Sunday December 4th  from 12-4pm.  Stop by to taste the coffee, sample some delights, and see the wonderful space down there.

Another place to catch up with the 'fabulous cake girls' is to pop into their stand at the December nights event in Balboa Park.

If you cant make it to these events, just stop into the shop!  Its always fun to see what they are working on, and to smell the delightful smells coming from the ovens!

Coffee will be served from 6am every morning.

3085 Reynard Way, San Diego 92103
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pecan pies for mama's kitchen

Mama's kitchen is such a wonderful organization, I was so excited to finally be working in a commercial kitchen so that I could make some pies for their big 'pie in the sky' fundraiser!  Bakers all around San Diego craft delicious pies and donate them, and mama's kitchen sell them for $20 apiece to benefit their charity work.
I started by volunteering at the Just Call Us kitchen so that I could learn about making pecan pies from the pros!  They made 300 pies and I took charge melting butter.  The pie shells were ready made, which made it easier, but it still took all day with lots of experienced volunteers to make them.  Its always fun volunteering with Julie, she has a stellar crew of experienced chefs and you'll always meet someone interesting and pick up some wonderful tips in the kitchen while you are working there.  You generally find yourself thanking them instead of feeling like they should be thanking you after a day with the volunteers.

 Then the next day I started on mine!  I had already made all the pastry, which was a huge workout using Rachel's method!

Despite the fact that I'd tested the recipe and I was confident my pies would be good, I did have some trouble.  Hand made dough plays all kinds of tricks, it seemed a little thick to cut through on my first batch, so the second time, I made it thinner and it shrank into the shell.

So my contribution was considerably more rustic than the one from the other bakeries.  I was very happy to have been a part of this great endeavor and I'm eternally grateful to Darlene for helping me out on a rainy Sunday evening. 

Its funny to work with someone who doesnt normally work in an industrial kitchen, she was tasked with breaking 60 eggs into a bowl and it was a mind bogglingly large batch of filling we ended up making!

Thanks also to vintage sugar cube and gemini desserts for contributing towards the ingredients, this made the burden somewhat easier to bear.

Thanks also to Just call us kitchen and Cake for allowing me to use their kitchens and ovens for production!

I hope you all had a nice thanksgiving.  After all this baking, I was very happy to allow someone else to cook for us! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My first proper halloween!

My halloween evenings since moving to this country have generally been spent hiding away with the lights off, we really didn't understand!

The holiday is a little confusing in the UK, there is a lot more 'tricking' than treating, I distinctly remember my mum cleaning silly string off the porch on November 1st.

This year, I decided I would participate.  I know people are super paranoid about not giving their children 'home baked' treats, which seems terribly sad to me.  I decided to go ahead and bake sugar cookies, and I took advantage of the fact that I rent commercial kitchen space to make them, so they were fully legitimate, and I packaged them up, so hopefully they didnt get thrown straight in the trash.  They were sugar cookies, some sandwiched around chocolate ganache and some simply covered in royal icing.

I then tried to make use of my new vegetable carving skills with some pumpkin carving!  I didnt go totally crazy, but I wanted something fun, so I went traditional with one, and made a cute kitty with the other.

It was really fun answering the door and checking out the cute costumes!  I think my favorite was the little kiddies who were dressed up as a zoo ranger, a chicken and Anne of Green Gables!  The kiddies loved the kitty pumpkin, and they were really excited about the cookies, so I'm glad I didn't go the safe route and buy candy!  They started calling at 6.30 and they were all gone by 7.30!  Next year I need to bake double!!