Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Forgettable Week

Whoops! I didn't realise how long it had been since I last updated my blog, but looking back now, everything did kind of turn to crap after the day of my last post. I missed out on the Donut King job, and the kids have been sick, amongst other things that I'd rather not go into. Let's just say it hasn't been a good week, and I struggled to find motivation to do anything at all, let alone work on Mum & Dad's cake.

When the lady from Donut King called me about my application, it almost sounded as though the interview was a formality. Then the interview on the Saturday morning went really well and seemed so positive and promising, it honestly felt like they all but gave me the job on the spot. So I went home and waited... and waited... and waited... and by Sunday afternoon I still hadn't heard anything back, and I was starting to feel physically sick with worry.

I ended up calling them, and was shattered to find out they'd decided to give the job to someone else. Whether they meant to or not, they had me believing that I had the job in the bag, so I just have no idea what changed. I thought I was going to get my big break into the baking and decorating industry, but instead I'm still just a stay-home mum dabbling in cake decorating. I was so crushed, it took me about a week to get over the anger and disappointment. Having a pair of sick and whingy kids to look after as well during that time, it wasn't a very productive week.

Nevertheless, I still managed to slowly make progress on Mum & Dad's anniversary cake. I made marzipan and covered the cake on the Saturday night (while still on a high after the afore-mentioned promising interview). Then came that fateful Sunday, which was actually my parents 40th wedding anniversary, and I couldn't have possibly been any further from the right frame of mind for cake decorating. Last Tuesday, despite still not feeling remotely like doing it, I forced myself to make and apply the fondant. On Wednesday I did the shell piping around the bottom edge.

Thursday was a really bad day for reasons I'd rather not go into, and cake progress stalled once again. Nothing else got done until Sunday afternoon, when Daddy took the kids to Grandma's for a few hours so I could have a bit of peace and quiet. Not that I actually made much progress, after all that, once I found out the hard way that my home-made fondant loses its elasticity over time. It had gone so crumbly that it couldn't even be rolled without breaking, and no amount of kneading could bring back any sort of pliability, so that spelled the end of the draping that I'd planned to do on the sides of the cake.

At this point I had a major throw-my-hands-in-the-air "I wish I'd never offered to make this cake!" moment. I was feeling so bogged down by it, I just wanted get some sort of decoration finished so I could get it out of my kitchen and out of my life. I couldn't think of anything else off the top of my head to do instead of the draping, so I abandoned doing anything on the sides and just stuck the roses in the bottom corners.

I didn't want to waste the time I had with the house to myself, so I moved on to the piping. As with Terese's graduation cake, I'm still not confident with writing, so I tried the piping gel again. Since the way I did it for Terese's cake didn't work, this time I piped the gel onto the pattern and tried to stamp it on the cake. And this time, of course, there was too much gel, and it slipped and smudged all over the place. Well, I guess it's my own fault for doing these things straight onto a cake without doing a practise run first.

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