I do not consider myself a baker, and I do not have any formal training, but I did try many times recipes at home and learned by doing it. I have spent many hours in the kitchen baking and trying new recipes, even before thinking to make this as my business. There were lots of trials and errors until I got it right, but this process I decided to call it “learning” 🙂
Many people do not bake either because they never learned how and they assumed will not manage it once they try. Others are just too scared to try, they do not know which ingredients to use or they do not know how to read a recipe.
Baking from scratch is not simple and sometimes you are in a rush and do not feel like trying something new. Or you just feel comfortable baking from recipes you did over and over again and you felt good making them.
Centuries ago, people have started to bake at home. They were spending time in the kitchen, together with their parents or grandparents, watching, practicing and making things by themselves, and the most important correcting their mistakes. In most of the case, the women were to be found in the kitchen, while men were outside working the fields.
Children were helping in the kitchen, repeating basic tasks like peeling and cutting, stirring and mixing. All these processes are automatic now and kids are learning more through smell and feel. They recognize the smell of cinnamon and vanilla or they feel the texture of the dough.
Many of us living today did not have those opportunities. We grew up disconnected from our food sources, and from the kitchen.
I am so grateful that my child knows that bananas are not to be found underground and that carrots do not grow in the trees. She was around me in the kitchen since she was born, and she has few basic knowledge about baking and cooking.
I aim to reconnect people with the pleasure of baking a cake. I want to show you not only how to bake a cake, but also how to look forward to the process of gathering ingredients, preparing and enjoying the cake.
What I try at Top the Cake is to give you confidence that you can bake a cake, that you are capable of trying and experimenting new things and to make you feel comfortable once you return in your own kitchen.
Baking cakes and making dough are about measuring with accuracy, for sure, but they are also about allowing yourself to be creative. And not all desserts have to be pastry-shop-worthy creations that take hours to make. Yes, there might be less flexibility in a flourless chocolate cake recipe than say a one-bowl cake. But like a one-bowl cake, many desserts can be composed of inventiveness and lots of joy.
My teaching method is hands-on baking. The goal is to get you in the kitchen as soon as possible. Baking is less of skills set and more of a mindset, a way of thinking that can be applied to any ingredient. Is more about the composition and balancing the flavors.
As with any skill, practice makes it better. The only path to baking with confidence involves some basic techniques but lots of practice. Even the best world bakers they learned many tips and tricks by practicing a recipe, and they become better, calmer, cleaner and more efficient. Habits like preparing your ingredients before you bake or cleaning while you work through a recipe, you do not have at the beginning but will make the overall experience more pleasant.
I bake quite frequently for my family at home. I never had a formal training, but the idea of piping a muffin or making a pie crust does not scares me anymore. I grew up enjoying homemade baked goods, and I believe baking can be a lifestyle of day-to-day once you try it.
Baking is easy and is something to share with your family and friends. And here I mean that kind of baking that you can do in an evening together with your kids or friends, or by yourself, once they are all asleep, and this will not keep you up all night. One bowl cakes, or cookies that do not require advanced techniques, quick and easy recipes, galettes or muffins. This is the kind of baking our grandparents did as a way of their daily comfort.
This is why we never give students printed recipes during the class. Beeing liberated from recipes empowers them to really pay attention to what they are doing and enjoy the experience.