27 July 2014

BGC Weeks 10, 11 & 12 AKA the case of the missing blogger

Three weeks with no blog updates - don't worry, I'm still alive!

July has been one crazy month. Do I "eat, sleep & breathe" confectionary art? This month I definitely have been! This past week was mid-term exams, and I must admit my stress levels reached a new height.

Not only did I disappear from blogging, I also disappeared from Instagram for 2 weeks, and when I wasn't at college I barely left my bedroom. There just wasn't enough time in the day to study all the things I needed to!

Let's just say it was very lucky that a slight amount of sanity remained for me to venture out and do grocery shopping and laundry every now and then. Phew!

But what did I get up to during these past few weeks?

Week 10 was all about figure modelling. For the whole week we worked on a bride and groom wedding cake topper. If I haven't mentioned it before in this blog, although I'm sure I would have, here's something you need to know about me. I have an extremely short attention span. To work on one thing for a whole week? Torture.

As my mind wandered, the less inclined I was to make a "happy couple".

Things got weird.

Week 11 was much more mixed up, however Monday was all about Composed Cakes which we knew was coming up on our mid-term exams the next week. Talk about stressful!

What is a composed cake? Basically, a cake that is put together with a variety of layers consisting of different flavours and textures. A cake that supposedly looks as beautiful inside as it does out!

We then delved into baking for allergies which I found quite enjoyable to be honest, although I must say I am very grateful to not have any allergies myself. It was definitely a very important topic to cover.

Friday brought us Petit Fours which was an interesting day, and one full of French words. The class was talking about 'guimauve' for a good 20 minutes before I finally figured out they were talking about marshmallows. Talk about confusing!

Soon enough it was week 12 and mid-terms. I still have a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. We all know that decorating is my strong point, and baking not as much. This exam had no decorating at all - at least, not fondant decorating. Ack!

We had to present a variety of recipes including Dark Chocolate Fruit Truffles and these White Chocolate Bon Bons which had an Earl Grey Ganache filling.

Checkerboard Cookies from the very beginning of our course were up next.

Followed by the Composed Cake and another Passionfruit Mousse Cake.

It was probably the most stressful week I have ever experienced. I am just thankful that I managed to present all recipes and the chocolates actually came out of their moulds, unlike the last time!

So what do you do to relieve stress at the end of an exam like that? Smash up the cakes of course!

Who needs therapy when you can just smash up a cake you spent a whole day working on?

6 July 2014

Montage: June 2014

It's a week late, but my latest video montage is up on YouTube!

This month found me settling into a bit of a 'rut' as I get used to living in this strange new environment (get used to? Psh, I'll never be used to this crazy weather!), and being wrapped up in my studies and swing dancing classes.

With mid terms coming up in a couple of weeks and this term being more about baking and specialty skills rather than cake decorating (my strength), I am throwing myself into an intense study regime.

Wish me luck! This Diploma Programme seems like it will only get more and more intense until the end!

Bonnie Gordon College Week 9

What a short week!

I enjoyed a wonderful 4 day weekend for Canada Day with a visit from my best friend, and spending a lot of time relaxing. Definitely a needed break with all this crazy studying and school stress!

The 3 day week let us complete our sugar work, and introduced us to a topic I had been very much looking forward to: Macarons!

Sugar Work was a bit less painful this week as I discovered, due to my skins heat sensitivity, I needed to prepare my hands with band-aids on each finger and 2 - 3 layers of gloves on top of that. It also made the medium a bit more enjoyable to work with, although still difficult as I didn't have quite the same control as you would with less bandaged hands!

To warm up I created a creepy looking duck, and then got busy with this cute little snowman. His hat had to be made twice, as the first time the table I was working on buckled which both gave me a heart attack and also shattered the sugar that was sitting on it. The scary dramas that come with heat lamps!

"Do you wanna build a snowman?"

After that we decided to work on a display piece as a group. An underwater theme inspired by this 'sleazy' pineapple that one of the girls had made - because pineapples and underwater themes go together, naturally!

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"

So too, do snowmen and birds apparently.

After my initial dislike of sugar work, I must admit I was a little sad to be finished with the topic. Perhaps this may be a new hobby I can play with in the future.

No time to be sad though, because Thursday was Macaron day! We got to make Coconut Macarooons first, and then some Rocher which were incredible. Nothing could stop me from snacking on them all day long.

"Rocher" from the French 'boulder or rock' 

Then onto Swiss Meringue, French Meringue and Italian Meringue Macarons! Fillings for mine included salted chocolate caramel ganache, chocolate hazelnut ganache, and swiss meringue buttercream. Mmm-mmmmmmmmm!

They definitely weren't as scary as everyone makes them sound, although I think I have Mardi to thank for introducing me to Macarons when I first arrived in Toronto and taking away that scare-factor.

Salted Chocolate Caramel & Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons

Which is my favourite recipe of the 3? Hmm, let me taste test...

Mmm... yummm... mmm-mmm... om nom nom...

The Verdict: I think I would have liked the Italian Meringue the best - but for something a little different we made Hazelnut Chocolate Italian Meringues which aren't really my thing. I do love chocolate, just not so much when it comes to a Macaron. I think I'll need to try them again with the normal recipe.

Oh, and just as a by the way: here's another look at what is a Macaron and what is a Macaroon...

Macaron vs Macaroon - get it right!

A Macaron has a smooth top and 'foot' at the base, sandwiched with a filling. Macaroons are more rustic with no filling (although sometimes dipped in chocolate).


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