I used to think that Martha Stewart was the most amazing woman who ever lived. In fifth grade I bought a napkin folding book and by 6th grade I was having "etiquette battles" with my sister's boyfriend whose parents owned a high end restaurant in town. To this day, I still fold napkins into southern magnolias when I'm sitting at a dinner table.
Then came cake. I started baking in high school because it was simply fun. I'm a people pleaser by nature so there is nothing better than making a delicious dessert and making everyone smile a little bit bigger. My mom decided to take some cake decorating classes at Michaels one year and so I went with her for fun. My cake skills didn't reach beyond dumping out the mix of a Duncan Hines box and I was honestly quite content with that. But mom was going so I decided that making my Duncan Hines' devil's food chocolate cake would be much more fun if I could actually make the top of it look pretty.
And that's when it started. I didn't realize it at the time but I really began to love cake decorating. I made a Strawberry Shortcake cake (not the flavor--the cartoon) and was incredibly proud of myself. I could actually make something that looked just like a cartoon character and then eat it. It was amazing! I spent hours piping every last detail onto the cake to make it look perfect and I proudly brought it into cake decorating class the next day. I never do anything halfheartedly.
That's when cakes became a sort of relaxation and stress release for me. If things weren't going right then I could make a pretty cake. And then I could eat the pretty cake. It seems like a pretty good deal to me.
So for the rest of high school, I toyed around with cake decorating a lot. I made a few wedding cakes (believe me lots of crying and stress surrounded those) and had fun bringing cakes to my friends at school. Someone would run to the cafeteria as soon as the bell rang and grab about 20 plastic forks from the cafeteria. Then all of us girls would crowd around the cake and stick our forks straight in. I never moved past my Duncan Hines cake boxes because the decorating part was always the fun part. It really didn't matter though. We just liked to eat cake.
When I went to college, dorm life hindered my cake baking time and studying abroad basically brought it to an end. But once I got back, I rediscovered my love for measuring out the ingredients perfectly and excitedly taking a cake out of the oven. It made my house smell like a home. While working at a specialty cooking store for the semester, my love turned into a passion and I was able to teach some classes and stock my kitchen to my heart's content.
So during a particularly stressful time of the semester, I started baking even more. I stayed up one night and read The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum in it's entirety. I was fascinated by the science of cake that I had never understood. Apparently, there's actually a reason for sifting flour and the difference between powdered sugar and regular sugar is that there is cornstarch in it. Who knew! I vowed to never make a cake out of a cake box again.
So inspired by my love for the movie Julie and Julia, I decided that I would become a disciple of Rose. I chose her book Rose's Heavenly Cakes to bake through because I trusted her knowledge of cakes and wanted to learn how to make an assortment of them. I set a date, started a blog, and here I am!
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