Cakes – Breads – The End

There were two large projects that I participated in during this year of 2014 that I really enjoyed. One was a baking project for Eising Studio/StockFood. This took place during late winter and early spring. The second was my Artisan Bread Baking class during the Fall semester at York County Community College. Both of these projects tested my skills and knowledge as a baker.

Preparing a Chocolate Cake-7861

I learned a lot and had fun with my classmates. I also had some kitchen disasters, but that is what learning is about.  There are things I became more aware of and am sharing:  First, a calibrated oven is important for baking. As consumers we just go out and buy a stove or wall oven and start to use it. I discovered the hard way in using my Viking oven for baking that it needed calibrating. The large convection oven used at school also needed calibrating and adjusting – that became apparent as we had to move our breads around to bake evenly.

Pretzels baking in oven

Pretzels baking in the convection oven at school = uneven baking

Second, use a scale for weighing ingredients.  Weights and measurements matter in baking. Example: Measuring cups and scales are not interchangeable for dry ingredients. A scale is easy to use and available in every kitchen store. These are things the home cook does not think much about. Incorrect measurements and poor equipment leave you wondering why your cake didn’t bake properly. Just like any professional, in any business, you must have the proper equipment to do your work.  Maybe I’m just weird, but I don’t think of cooking or baking as work – I think it’s fun.  Lastly, use your nose and fingers.  When you smell a cake, it is close to done.  When you tap a bread loaf or top of a cake, you can tell if it’s done.

digitalmeasureingcupDigital scale kosher salt

Digital measuring cup – 1# flour  and  a digital scale with 3/4 oz. kosher sale

Here are images from my baking projects this year.  I love cakes!

Decorating Devil's Food Cake-7543Decorating Devil's Food Cake-7576Devil's Food Cake-7936

Devil’s Food Cake

Pink Frosting on Chocolate Cake-7672Frosting-6580Valentine's Cake-6081(1)

Chocolate Cake -Red Frosting-Heart Shaped Vanilla Cake

Pictures by Susie Eising/Eising Studio/StockFood

As for the Artisan Bread baking class at the local community college, I offer the following: Artisan Bread is a bread that is handcrafted rather than mass produced and uses a small amount of ingredients, no preservatives…warm water and yeast, flour, salt and a sweetener of some sort. I love bread!  Here are some of our class projects from the Fall semester.

ChallahBreadBasic White Bread loaves

Challah and Basic White with egg wash

Brioche Dough-perfect in KA with dough hookBrioche Dough-chocolate swirl added

Brioche dough, rich with eggs and butter pulling away from sides of bowl-adding chocolate swirl

Brioche-Petites Brioches a tete bakedBrioche-Petite Brioche a tete taste

Brioche -petite chocolate swirls with knot on top

Wheat bread and bagelsFrench breads baked

Classmates-wheat breads, bagels, bialys and French Bread

Lemon loaf and blueberry muffinsApple streusel cream cake

Lemon Loaf, Blueberry Muffins, Apple Streusel Cream Cake

Parmesan-peppercorn sconesPistachio Oat Bread-favorite

Parmesan Pepper Scones-savory taste and Pistachio Oat Bread-my favorite

Pita Bread puffing up in ovenPita Breads baked

Pita Breads puffing up in oven and baked  (need to practice my shaping)

Pizza dough-assorted toppingsPizza-spinach mushroom goat cheese olive oil

Pizza dough- assorted and delicious pizzas we shared!

Cheese bread round loaves Swedish limpa bread baked-big loaves

Cheddary Cheese Rounds and Swedish Limpa Breads

Pretzels nicely shaped Pretzel water dipPretzels salted

Pretzels – water dipped, baked and salted (need practice with my shaping)


Underground Chocolate Surprise Muffins (disaster-no rise & choc sunk) and Classmates’ Beautiful Muffins

Cinn knot dough with cinn sugar fillingCinn knot class shaped baked rum glazedCinn knot shaped
Cinnamon knots-ooey, gooey and so delicious – a classmate’s perfect knot

Olive Rosemary Foccacia for final-rectangularOlive Rosemary Foccacia for final-roundOlive Rosemary Foccacia showing texture

Olive Rosemary Foccacia breads for my final exam – (using yeast).  I think I did ok…

Honey Cornbread with pepper and bacon

and, Honey Cornbread with a little bacon and hot orange pepper! (non-yeast)

Honey Cornbread
3 cups cornmeal
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
2 2/3 cup milk
5 eggs
Place dry ingredients in bowl, set aside. In smaller bowl, whisk the oil, honey, milk and eggs. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk lightly, just until batter is moistened. Do Not Over Mix. Scrape into a greased 9 x 13 pan (or muffin tins) and bake at 330 convection, 20-25 minutes for pan, or 20 minutes for muffins – using low-fan for the muffins. If using a standard oven, bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Test top by tapping and watch for browning. This is a nice light and sweet cornbread. Throw in some chopped pre-cooked bacon or a jalapeno for more flavoring.

The End…

…well, not quite.  A few parting words for my friends, blog readers and classmates. I am setting aside my blog, for now.  It is time to explore other things and remove my fingers and eyes from all the screens and electronics I am tied to everyday.   I’m not retiring, just stepping back a little.  I have enjoyed sharing my passion, my family, my stories and recipes. I hope that you, my readers, have enjoyed reading and trying some of the recipes that I have shared. I sincerely thank you for your time and support. I would be happy to hear from you through my blog site; and, as I understand it, all content will remain here under  I leave you with one final picture from my baking experiences of 2014.  This is a professional shot (Eising Studio) of a cake that started out with the thought of just gobbing on the frosting and drizzling with caramel…why not throw sea salt on it too?  This is what professional photography, along with food styling, can offer.  Thank you again.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Caramel Frosting and Seasalt-8493

Respectfully, Susan

2 thoughts on “Cakes – Breads – The End

  1. Susan, It was so wonderful getting to know you at class! Your photos of our progress here are fabulous and I really enjoyed your tasty foccacia and cornbread for finals. You did a great job. I hope you are on to grand new adventures while stepping away from your blog! And I really hope to see you around town! Happy Holidays and best wishes for many exciting food related endeavors!

    • Hi Patty – Thank you and it was fun working with you too! I see that you asked to be friends on my StockFood facebook page. I only use that Facebook for photography related and my grocer clients and professional organizations I belong to. I would like to be friends on FB – but can you do my personal one – its just Susan Dean and there is a picture of me toasting with a martini-it says I”m from Portland. Have a wonderful Christmas and you might see me again at YCCC.

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