Dreams can change without you realising

Good grief, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. This website has closely followed my adventures as I chased my dreams to Toronto to help myself become the best cake decorator I could be, but recently things have changed a little.

During my 4 month course whenever a teacher would ask us what our dream job was, I replied with cake decorator without hesitation every time. There was nothing else on my radar, I had found my passion.

And then I came home.

I’d imagined that I would jump straight back into cakes, throw myself into building a business plan and organising my life so that I could sustain my dream & get along financially. However, I found myself being hesitant and unsure. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t make cakes for people… My insurance had expired, I wasn’t sure if I’d missed the annual council inspection of my kitchen, I hadn’t worked out a pricing structure yet. The list went on.

I made one cake and while I still definitely enjoyed it, I didn’t feel the same passion I had before. Talk about a shock to my system!

A week later I woke up craving toffee. I found myself back in the kitchen with my candy thermometer, attempting to temper chocolate without a marble slab (fail!), cooking toffee on the stove and… I felt what I’d been missing in my last cake.

“Buttercrunch” Toffee, chocolate & macadamia nuts

Suddenly I was no longer reading cake blogs learning about new decorating techniques, I was reading up on the science of sugar, I wasn’t browsing my large library of cake decorating books but pulling out my Adriano Zumbo book I’d never even read before. Instead of looking in kitchen stores for new decorating tools, I was searching everywhere for a marble pastry slab.

Instead of baking cakes, I’ve been whipping up toffees & marshmallows, and practising my macaron skills.

Not perfect yet, but getting closer!

Of course, having a new dream does not mean you have to forget the old ones. I will never give up cakes entirely as I still love them dearly. I guess it’s just time to branch out a bit more and look at new opportunities that I hadn’t considered before I graduated from Bonnie Gordon College.

A friend recently said to me “same river, different stream” and I feel like that’s pretty accurate.

I am very excited about the future, finding my next adventure, and being able to share it with you!

PS. We also recently passed the 2000 ‘likes’ milestone on Facebook and I am just so grateful for everyone who has stuck by me and supported me during my journey so far! Thank you!

Pies, Tarts & Choux Pastry at Bonnie Gordon College

After Haute Couture cakes finished up recently, we were thrown into four days of pastry.

First up was pies & tarts with instructor Charmain Baan.

Having never worked with pastry before (except for pulling sheets of puff out of the freezer!), this was all new and a bit overwhelming at first. It ended up not being as difficult as I expected, and turned out to be a very enjoyable week. An added bonus in pastry week, was that we got to make a quiche – and eat it for lunch! Mmm-mmm!

Don’t tell my mother this but this was pretty much my first “home-cooked” meal since I’d left Australia in March! Oops!

My favourite mini project for the week were these tiny bite-sized chocolate tarts. They were both adorable and delicious! I think I ate at least a dozen of them in one sitting. Double oops!

Bite-Size Chocolate Tarts

There was something satisfying about making pastry from scratch, although I’m not sure I would bother with home made puff pastry in future. I know it tastes better, but geeze – at what cost?! So much rolling, and turning, and waiting, and rolling, and turning, and waiting! Exhausting.

The week also introduced me to the Canadian specialty of Butter Tarts. I’d heard a lot about these little treats that were apparently terribly bad for you, yet deliciously worth it.

Canadian specialty – Butter Tarts

I wasn’t convinced at first, but after 2 or 3 I began to come around and understand the enjoyment. Still, in future I think I’ll stick to the chocolate tarts. That’s where my heart truly belongs.

After pies and tarts wrapped up, it was onto Choux Pastry with Michael Smith. I admit I was a little terrified, but Michael is such a calm teacher that it was all okay.

We got to play around with profiteroles, pastry cream & caramel and created these cute little french desserts called “Gateau St. Honoré”.

French dessert “Gateau St. Honoré”

But of course, the show stoppers for choux pastry are the decorated eclairs that you see all over the Bonnie Gordon College advertising! It’s no wonder, when they’re so pretty and so delicious!

Pastry cream filled eclairs

All in all, I think pastry week was a success! I’d really like to play around with the eclairs some more and try some different decorating techniques with them. I’d also like to make more chocolate tarts. Lots and LOTS of chocolate tarts.

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?

Bonnie Gordon College Week 7

This week at Bonnie Gordon College was Chocolate Week with instructor, Michael Smith.

‘Chocolate Week’ sounds incredible right? Hell, it sounds so good we should make it ‘Chocolate Month’! But why stop there when we could make it ‘Chocolate Life’?! Mmmm chocolate life.

In reality however, I’ll just begin this post by saying that there is a very slim chance I’ll be becoming a chocolatier. Very, very slim.

Now don’t get me wrong, working with chocolate sure is fun and even if it doesn’t look pretty you still get to eat it after so it’s a win-win. Except that there wasn’t a single thing I did this week which was 100% right. Maybe the pools of melted chocolate were distracting? Maybe the fact that I was eating it constantly caused a sugar rush that affected my brain.

Or maybe I just don’t have a talent for working with chocolate. All plausible scenarios.

Chocolate Week was also very messy.

And this was a good day! I think my apron is permanently stained!

Alas, despite my numerous blunders and just general flailing around all week with no idea what I was doing – I am so sorry Lily, you really should have tried to swap baking partners – our results weren’t too bad. They were certainly edible. You may even say delicious!

“Buttercrunch”

Out of the few projects we attempted this week that actually turned out, this Buttercrunch was one of my favourites. Deliciously chocolate-y, caramel-y, hazelnut-y goodness. It’s not overly sweet, and I could probably eat the entire bag… in fact, I think I almost have!

Another project that turned out deliciously edible were these chocolate ganache bars. Aren’t they cute with their little chocolate transfers?

Chocolate Ganache Bars

Okay – so maybe these were actually meant to be bite size chocolate ‘bon bons’. Maybe I got a little carried away and made them into (extra) fun size chocolate bars. It’s possible that someone less in love with chocolate than I am would struggle to eat a whole bar. What’s that saying? Go big or go home?

My favourite of everything we made this week were these chocolate salted caramels.

“Chocolate Salted Caramels”

Made with… Australian Murray River pink salt! Whoa! These won’t be hanging around for long!

We also made dark chocolate fruit truffles but I let my baking partner take all of those because well, fruit. Blurgh. I also attempted white chocolate bon bons that just didn’t want to come out of their moulds, a chocolate flower which never got off the ground, and a chocolate box which… well, let’s not talk about the chocolate box.

Needless to say, I am praying that chocolates won’t be in this terms practical exam!

This week we get to briefly return to cakes – phew!