You gotta see this cake! Recreated from Winner Cake All at State Fair
There are bakers and then there are highly serious bakers.
Leslie Foster of West Linn and Kati Cline of Beaverton fit into the highly serious baker category. The women are members of the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) and last fall competed on the Food Network television show "Winner Cake All."
Though they do make simple layered cakes and multi-layered wedding cakes, the women specialize in creating cake sculptures. The cakes they make are artistically designed and engineered to amaze the eye, and are also pretty darn good
eating. The designs take as much time to create as it takes to build
the cake. The whole process of building the cake can take up to three days.
"People don't realize what it takes to hold up a cake," said Foster.
They are reconstructing the cake they made for "Winner Cake All," and will exhibit it at the Oregon State Fair running Aug. 23 through Sept. 2 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. But this time, due to the time the cake must be on exhibit, they will frost and decorate intricately engineered foam rather than cake.
Becoming competitors on "Winner Cake All" was no easy feat. There were at least three Skype interviews and an audition video to be presented. The baking took place in a tent on a Los Angeles cliff in 90-degree weather.
"We had no idea of what was in store," said Foster. "No tips were shared (from fellow ICES members who had participated in the competition before). We had seven hours to make the cake."
"We were given five minutes to get acquainted with the kitchen," said Cline. Equipment was either lacking or stored where one might least expect to find it, and they ended up improvising with what they had on hand. "We had one spatula, and had to MacGyver everything. I kept saying 'Who works like this?'" said Foster. "It was not what we anticipated. But at the end of the day we were proud of ourselves."
The women said the Oregon State Fair is the perfect venue to showcase the cake and gives them a second opportunity to demonstrate their skills.
Cline is the owner of Kati's Cakes in Beaverton, a small commercial kitchen in which she bakes. She has baked her entire life. She is also a sculptor, and relies on that talent to design the structures which will support the soft cake.
Foster is the owner of The Cake Room, a baking school and workspace located in her West Linn home. She also has a retail space in a garage for specialty baking items used in her classes.
You really ought to get to the State Fair to view their cake. Check out the websites too to view other impressive cake sculptures. Visit lesliescakeroom.com and katiscakes.com.
Baking is fun, even for those who are not highly serious bakers. Here are a few tips from highly serious bakers that will make baking a cake a piece of cake:
¦ For smooth, easy removal, prep your pans properly. When a recipe calls for buttering and flouring, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on the bottom of a pan (trace and cut it to fit). Coat the sides and bottom with softened butter, and then dust with flour, turning the pan on its side to get full coverage and tapping out the excess.
¦ Measure ingredients carefully, and use the correct measuring tools. Measure liquids in clear, spouted measuring cups, flours in dry measuring cups. Use measuring spoons instead of eye-balling it.
¦ Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly. Although it can be tempting to cut this step short, particularly when you're using a hand mixer, it's important to stick with it. This beating is where the texture and structure of a cake is made. Air is a vital ingredient in cakes, and it takes time to properly incorporate it into the batter. As you beat, the butter will lighten in color and you should see it increase in volume in the bowl.
¦ Take the time to beat in the eggs one at a time. Usually the next ingredients to add are milk and vanilla. Mix until just blended, don't overbeat the batter.
¦ Don't overbake the cake. Your best bet for even baking is to position a rack in the center of the oven and rotate the position of your pans partway through after the cake has begun to set. Opening the oven door too often can make a cake fall, so use the window in your oven door to check the cake's progress when possible. Check for doneness 10 minutes before the recipe suggests. For most recipes, a cake is ready when it starts pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!
Basic Vanilla Cake
with Browned Butter Glaze
1 ½ cup sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
Heat the oven to 400 F. Lightly coat an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Beat the butter one heaping ¼ teaspoon at a time using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not overbeat.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean — 30 to 35 minutes. Cook cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Unmold and cool completely. Ice with Browned Butter Glaze.
Browned Butter Glaze
¼ cup unsalted butter
1¼ cup sifted confectioner's sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Melt the butter over medium-low heat until golden brown. Whisk the sugar, salt, milk, lemon juice and zest together. Add the melted butter in a stream while whisking until smooth.
Recipes courtesy of CountryLiving.com.
Adelsheim Vineyard and Portland Trail Blazers celebrate 50 years
Adelsheim Vineyard, one of the founding wineries in the Willamette Valley, and the Portland Trail Blazers are both celebrating 50 years — and why not do it together?
Adelsheim has created to commemorative limited edition wines to celebrate the 50 years of pioneering spirit, to be released to the public Sept. 24.
"Making the wine was such an honor for our whole team," said Gina Hennen, winemaker for Adelsheim. "As a Blazers fan, to be able to team up with the Blazers to create this special limited edition wine to commemorate the team's 50th anniversary has been a dream come true. I think fans will love it as much as we do."
A wines, a pinot noir and a chardonnay, are both LIVE certified sustainable. They will be pre-released in August to Club Adelsheim members and Trail Blazers season ticket holders, and will be available for purchase at adelsheim.com and by the glass at Local Cork in the Rose Quarter on Sept. 24. For more information visit adelsheim.com/Blazers.
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