Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I baked an apple pie last night. Well, an apple-strawberry pie. I had some apples that had been sitting in the fridge for a while that I hadn't felt inspired to eat and a pre-made pie crust taking up room in the freezer. Figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. I used a recipe from my school textbook for apple-cranberry pie and substituted some fresh organic strawberries I happened to have picked up at Trader Joe's yesterday. I also substituted some limeade I had on hand (thanks, Shannon!) for the orange juice that the recipe called for. Can I never make things by-the-book? I haven't tasted it yet, but it does look good. Pictures pending.

While I was at it, I checked to see if a 14" cake pan will fit in my miniature oven. It does, but only on the topmost shelf position, and only one pan at a time. I feel pretty good that that won't be a problem. I'm going to start baking and freezing layers for the trial cake this week. Thursday? Friday? Where is my spare time?

Three of my sisters, including the bride, are visiting from The OC on Saturday. I want to take them to a few local bakeries I found on the Internet. You know, get some ideas, scope out the competition, beg for a weekend baking job. Whatever.

On Monday, I attended a meeting of the San Diego Cake Club. Nice group, but I don't think our cake philosophies (if there are such things) overlap too much. Their emphasis is on the cake as a visual canvas. For their annual competition, they recommend decorating a Styrofoam block. They use a lot of dyes and sugar-based sculpting media which, though technically edible, aren't especially palatable. I prefer to focus on the experience of eating the cake. I do want my cakes to be elegant and attractive, but mainly I want them to look appetizing; to look like what they will taste like, if that makes any sense. The appearance should provide some indication of the flavors and ingredients. I'm not as interested in making a cake that looks like a hatbox, or a toucan, or a scene from Gone With the Wind, although those things certainly take a lot of skill. Just not my thing. If that's what you're into, the store that hosts the club also offers decorating classes.