Monday, August 23, 2010

Cakes Class: Linzer Torte

I survived my first class as a "Rookie Chef"!

My first class of the week is "Introduction to Cakes" and it meets on Mondays from 11:00am-5:30pm. And yes, that is a normal amount of time for one class in a week. Luckily, in the hallway before class, I chatted up a woman standing next to me, Sarah, and we hit it off; she and I partnered at a work station for the afternoon.

After the instructor reviewed the syllabus and course expecations, she informed us that each day there is a "Chef of the Day"; basically, a student is assigned to oversee the cleaning and sanitation throughout and at the end of the class. Again, luckily for me, today's chef was a man named Jim who started taking classes in the summer and who has a natural knack for helping others and teaching them necessary things. I asked Jim about 37 questions. I am a firm believer that it's good to ask a lot of questions. Jim, thankfully, didn't seem to mind.

The instructor walked us through a powerpoint of the steps and then performed a demonstration for how to execute the recipe.

Today was definitely a day where I learned completely on the go. There was no other choice. So now I know a lot of important things, like, batters/doughs are usually made by a group of four and then divided. Simple math is important. As a team, we divided the ingredients, collected and measured appropriately, and then mixed our dough. Everything is weighed in pounds and ounces so I'll be working hard to transition away from "teaspoon" and "cup" and other home-baking terms.

Our first recipe was for a Linzer Torte, which really isn't a cake, but it was a good recipe to ease us into the course. Here's a photo:

This dough contains orange and lemon zest, hazelnuts, cinnamon and cloves. It smells like a combination of fall and the holidays. We also used raspberry preserves. As you can see on the photo, I struggled a bit with the lattice pattern. The dough didn't roll out very easily and I had difficulty making the diamond pattern. But overall, it was a good first effort.

With the leftover dough, we made thumbprint cookies. I think this would be a great fall/winter recipe and it is great because I can use a lot of different preserves. I also think I could try a white chocolate drizzle or a glaze.

We got to sample the instructor's demonstration piece, so I can tell you that this torte does have a very good savory flavor. It would go well with a cup of coffee or tea. The cakes we make are graded by the instructor and then boxed. The cakes are utilized in a course on retail baking where they are sold or they are given to a catering company who contracts with the school. So, no, I don't get to bring home what I bake. Well, that's not entirely true. I could bring the creation home, if I want to pay $10 for it. I decided it's better for my budget and my body that I don't bring everything home!


  1. I always wondered what they did with the stuff that got made by student chefs.

    The torte looks great! I'm crap at the finishing details, so yours looks great to me!

  2. What a great idea to utilize the goods for another courses' needs. Smart folks. :)

    Glad you succeeded in the first day, not that there was much doubt.