Maybe if this off-topic Q&A goes well, we can do others in the future.
What is your favorite thing to bake?
Lots of different things, for different reasons. I love super fancy complicated things because they’re so pretty and impressive, but also, nothing beats the simplicity of a good chocolate chip cookie. Cream puffs are one of my favorite things to make to take to a fancy do, because people think they’re impressive, but they’re really easy to make.
This is brilliant.
So many questions. How to choose?
We follow the recipe & instructions precisely, but we can’t get the bread to rise very well. I mean, maybe four inches or so. It never looks like store-bought. Any tips?
If you’re sure the yeast is fresh and you’re following the instructions, the fail could be in technique, equipment, or recipe. Easiest thing first, are you doing the same recipe each time? Paste or link it here.
Temperature for proofing is a common failure point. But you’re the baker, I’m just a cook that bakes 😛
Maybe. Though I’d be more likely to suspect underproofing as a function of time.
Fondant – blessing or curse?
Assuming you mean rolled fondant to cover fancy cakes. Blessing! No, it’s not the best tasting stuff. It’s not terrible, some people like it, some not. But the flavor is not the point, because you always put regular icing underneath it, and just peel it off if you don’t like it.
The point of fondant is that it makes a nice smooth surface for decorating. It is sturdy and can be touched without a giant smear, unlike if you put your thumb into smooth buttercream. And it keeps cakes fresh because it seals in moisture, and if you’re making super fancy cake, you’re making it ahead of time.
What’s your favorite bread?
French! Crusty outside, soft, chewy inside. The plainest of breads. White flour, water, yeast salt. It’s perfection.
What do you find more fun to make/decorate: cupcakes or theme cakes?
Full size fancy cakes are fancier, and prettier, and generally tastier, cuz of layers. But they are also super stressful to make, because if you’re making someone’s wedding cake, the pressure is ON. If you drop one cupcake, it doesn’t matter. And you can taste it ahead of time. Also easier to serve. So they both have their advantages.
So, I’m sure you’ve had to deal with people who keep angling for the “friends and family” discount. Have you ever had someone just not accept “no”?
Nah. I don’t do much freelance work, and when I do, my friends know what my time is worth. On the rare occasion I do something fancy, like a wedding cake, I charge a LOT. Not way out of line with industry standard, but definitely top dollar. Because I have to do it in my time off, in a kitchen not equipped for efficiency. I’m a busy person. My time off is precious. If I’m going to bake in it, it’d better be worth my while.
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