Big News!

I have big news to announce!  I have been given my first opportunity to do A WEDDING CAKE for one of the girls my sister knew in high school!  But wait!  There’s more!  The bride also asked if I would do cookies for a cookie buffet with four cookie varieties (chocolate chip, Mexican wedding, oatmeal raisin, and snickerdoodles) and I also accepted that task.  The wedding is in August, but I am already gathering ideas on décor.  She wants a 3-tier chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, with chocolate covered strawberries – AND NO FONDANT!  Which is great, because I dislike fondant greatly, not to mention this will reduce the cost of the cake and make decorating easier.  Now that I’ve got parameters to work with, I can start coming up with variations on the overall design.  I can’t wait.  The best – and more difficult – part of baking a cake or cupcakes is the decorating.  It’s also the part where you get to express yourself and feel the anticipation of whether or not your vision will materialize in the final product.  And when the vision matches the reality, or if the reality surpasses the vision, you wonder at your own ability because even you didn’t expect that from yourself.  I love it.

It’s going to be a lot of work, but I have enlisted the help of a fellow baking enthusiast who has had experience making tiered cakes.  I need her expertise on construction.  We’re going to do this project together, including the design elements because she will be helping with that part too.  Fortunately, I already have a chocolate cake recipe in mind, and possibly a frosting, so that part is not a worry.

I’ve been doing so much baking for other people lately that I have not been able to undertake the vanilla-cardamom pound cake that I’ve been wanting to try since last week…

Fueled by the momentum from my previous post, I recently went to dinner at Brick Café on 31st Av. and 33rd St. in Astoria.  I’d heard about this place before, and heard that the food was good, but I thought, “How good can it possibly be?”  So many places have boasted good food on paper but ended up just being mediocre, so I had my reservations (no pun intended).  I’m not that great at restaurant reviews, otherwise this blog would have been about restaurant reviews, but suffice it to say that Brick Café lived up to the hype.  At least from my first visit.  I had the baked filet of sole stuffed with shrimp and scallops served in a white wine chive sauce.

I apologize for the poor quality and lighting of this picture, but I must learn to carry my camera with me everywhere I go for occasions such as this, when I want to take a picture of my food so that I may blog about it later — I used my phone’s camera instead.

This dish was so deceptively light that I nearly cleaned my plate were it not for a sudden attack of my conscience, which implored me to save a little bit to take home and have the next day.  “For God’s sake, woman, don’t be a pig!” it said.  So I left 2/3 of the second filet and some of my spinach for wrapping up and taking home.  🙂  You know what makes it really good though — the butter.  At least half a stick of butter was probably sacrificed in the creation of this plate.  Paula Deen would be proud.  In fact she’d probably think there wasn’t enough butter.  But it was worth the time on the elliptical that I will have to do for this buttery crime.

This is one of those posts where I’m just talking about the latest goings-on.  I have four upcoming projects — there’s the Great American Bake Sale at the Brooklyn Flea on April 17th, favors for a friend who is participating in the Revlon Run/Walk and baby shower cupcakes both in May, and the grandmama of all my baking projects thus far — The Wedding Cake in August (it’s so huge I had to capitalize it).

It’s a pretty exciting time for me right now.  When I look back on it, I am very surprised to be standing where I am, considering that when I started out, I wasn’t aiming to be anywhere in particular with this whole “baking thing.”  It was just another form of therapy for me in addition to yoga.  But it’s funny where life takes you when you’re not trying to navigate to any particular destination — sometimes, you find yourself at a place that’s better than anywhere you ever aspired to be. And then you realize that this is what it means to be blessed.

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