I sort of had a revelation this weekend. Nothing earth shattering, more so a bit of self-awareness that I hadn't realized before. At some point during the six hour long gumpaste-flower-making marathon I got to really thinking about how much things have changed over the past year or two, and ultimately how I have changed. My perspective on my work, new projects, and life in general has completely changed from a nervous, second-guessing stance, to a confident, fearless approach. Can I make a tiered, square fondant covered wedding cake, even though I have never done anything like that before? Sure, why not? Should I try my hand at making a flower out of gumpaste for a cake I am delivering tomorrow instead of purchasing a real flower to slap on top? Hell yeah, I think I can do that. No, I know I can do that.
Maybe I have been lucky, and all these projects that I have taken on (maybe some of them a bit foolish) have worked out, and worked out well. But maybe, just maybe, it's this new found confidence I have in myself that is responsible for me being successful all the new things I am trying. Letting go of the fear is paving the way for sturdy cakes, delicate sugar flowers, and new and exciting opportunities in the kitchen. I used to worry so much about completing a project on time, and completing it to my standards, that it would get in the way of my productivity and the quality of the product.
So where did this come from? It came from finally doing something that I feel great about. I got out of a field where I was always second guessing myself, and feeling like my skills weren't up to par. I didn't have the passion for product design that the job really requires, and that in turn affected my confidence with my work. I didn't believe that I could draw a beautiful spatula, for example, and therefore I couldn't, and didn't.
In the kitchen, I believe that I can make a beautiful cake. I believe that I can do something, anything, even if I have never done it before. I still have SO much to learn about pastries and cakes and decorating, but I believe that I will take it all in, and will be able to utilize all this knowledge in my new life in the pastry world.
It is really amazing what happens when you sit down to make about 35 layers of gumpaste chrysanthemum petals. I know I have talked before about baking being therapeutic, but I feel that way now more than ever.
Whew, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Now for what you really came here for: the goods.
This cake and the macarons were made for my sister's very dear friend for her baby shower. She is due in March, and they held a lovely shower for her here in Chicago at the Drake Hotel. I went with some recipes that I know and love, which enabled me to focus on trying something new with the decor. I did a simple and delicious devil's food cake, with cream cheese frosting. The macarons are plain colored shells, some with chocolate ganache, some with lemon curd filling. Some citrus colored ribbons, and a gumpaste chrysanthemum tied it all together, and definitely made me look forward to spring.
You can find the recipes here:
Devils Food Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting