A year in Review…
Wow its been awhile since I’ve posted! I guess it doesn’t help to mention I had a great piping techinque to show for Mother’s Day (the basketweave) or that I wanted to pay tribute to my dad with his favorite cake for Fathers Day (yellow cake with chocolate frosting) or that I had about 100 great things to say about strawberries, and had plans to do a whole piece about canning (May and June is starwberry picking season). Well if you want to see some of the projects that have kept me from posting look in the galleries, as I’ve finally been able to update with some recent photos.
As August comes to an end and my thoughts instinctually turn to sharpened pencils and cozy fall clothes and new starts I realize that this blog is just about 1 year old, give or take a couple of days. And I got to thinking about what I’ve accomplished, learned, and experienced in the last 365 and 1 quater days…
So here are some highlights: after starting this blog I …
1. Got this blog a spiffy new look. Which was not easy in terms of going back and forth with a designer. But that designer turned into a good friend, who turned into a fabulous boyfriend, and the web design aint so shabby either.
2. Visited Florida, California, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont , some places I’ve been before, some not, all the same some good R and R.
3. Went to a couple of great live hockey games, including a Ranger Game on Valentines Day –I had great seats, even got to sneak some friends down from the bleeders to sit right in front of us. Saw Sean Avery get a great penalty shot, and me and my crew were on the Jumbo Tron. This was all topped off by the rangers winning the game!!
4. I paid off my car…then I totalled my car, then I got a new car. Paid off the last of my credit cards! And put some cash in savings!
5. Taught over 500 people the fundamentals of cake decorating. I’ve opened a second store as a Wilton Instructor. Did some great private work working with large and small groups. And I have some future demonstrations up my sleeve.
6. I’ve gotten over 20, 000 views on my Youtube channel and yes I will reshoot that annoying video where I say “uhm” apprx 65 times according to one veiwer. In fact I plan to reshoot “how to make buttercream”, as well as add a video on “how to make italian meringue buttercream”, complete with better angles.
7. I turned down a couple of jobs decorating including one position at a very famous bakery…with none other than the Cake Boss…sometimes opportunities just aren’t a fit. Began work in a new local bakery close by with lots of great people who allow me to experiment and let my imagination take me where ever it will!
8. Beefed up my portfolio.
9. Saw the yeah yeah yeahs in concert, began learning to sew, Hosted Thanksgiving, got braces 😦 , had a yard sale, threw a dance party, began collaborating on an illustration project, finally finished all the Harry Potter books, learned some songs on the piano, and Began doing some research for a host of other cake eccentric projects I’ve got cooking (pun intended)…
10. And finally I adopted an adorable german shepard pup named Billie. (like Billie Holiday– shes a girl. See above.)
In the last couple of months my schedule has been bogged down with weddings, summer get-togethers, birthday parties and bridal showers and lots and lots of work. Balancing 3 jobs, private cake projects, and a new dog aint a piece of cake. But right now I’m looking forward to the things I plan to fill my fall schedule with:
Sewing projects– some I plan to debut here on the Cake Eccentric
Some Continuing Ed classes at a local college– possibly including American Sign Language II– I love ASL
More Teaching!! I took off the month of August after limiting the amount I was teaching this summer. I’ll be back starting this September with Flowers and Cake Design as well as 2 project classes: Tall Cakes– this is a one time 3 hours class for adults who have completed all the Wilton courses and are hoping for a little additonal training in tiered cakes. I’m also hoping to add a fun kids class with a back to school theme. Click Current Class Schedule for the official dates and times.
So for a recipe…August is prime picking season for raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Hit up those farmers market stands before it gets too cool. My favorite farm stand is locate smack dab on the border for New York and Vermont. PattiesPatch.com. The smell of fresh, fruits and vegetables is absolutely intoxicating as you walk through the open air shopping. I’m also a total sucker for the fresh baked pies. Though kind of pricey they are totally delicious. Fruit of the Forest is my favorite light and mildly sweet, and traditional and hearty. The perfect dessert to usher us from Summer to Fall.
This recipe is from Desserts: A Collection of over 100 Essential Recipes by Parragon Publishing.
1 1/2 c blueberries
1 1/2c raspberries
1 1/2c blackberries
2/3 c sugar
Combine and simmer in a sauce pan over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
1 1/2c flour
generous 1/4 ground hazelnuts also called hazelnut meal
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter cut into pieces plus more for greasing the pie dish
2/3 c sugar
4 tb milk
finely grated rind of one lemon
1 egg yolk beaten
Sift flour, then add hazelnuts. Crumble butter in with your fingers or pastry mixer until mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add sugar and mix. Then add 3 tb milk, egg yolk, grated lemon rind. Once dough is uniform knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll 2/3 dough and drape over grease 8″ pie dish. Trim extra dough over edges. Fill with berry mixture. Lightly dampen dough edge with water. Roll remaining dough and place over pie pinching edge. Make 2 slits in center of pie. optional: use any ramaining dough to decorate pie top. Roll and use decorative cookie cutter to create design. Brush with remaining tablespoon of milk and bake at 375 for 40 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream or my favorite ice cream.
**The Fruit of the Forest at Patties Patch contain peaches and strawberries as well so feel free to go nuts.