And here it comes: Our final “big” project of the year!
For my first ever In-Depth project, I’ll be embarking on a journey of learning how to “cake” and decorate. The reason I say “cake”, not “bake”, is because I’ll be specifically honing in on the skill of baking cakes and decorating them to be pleasing to the eye, and the taste buds. I might create the occasional cookie or cupcake, but we’ll see. I’ve also always had a burning life goal to one day bake French macarons because they bring me joy, but I hear they’re really difficult to make. (Just ask Deon.)
Although I originally debated doing my project on painting or design, I chose to do baking because of social media influence – lately, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram “how-to” videos of cooking and baking have increased in popularity, such as the channels “How to Cake it” with Yolanda Gampp, “How to Cook That” with Ann Reaerdon, and “Nerdy Nummies” with Rosanna Pansino. I was inspired by them, though not having much time or incentive to carry recipes out.
My current skill is…iffy. By that, I mean, I have never baked a cake I’m happy with and I’ve always managed to go horrifyingly wrong in some way. I’ve also never decorated a cake, cupcake, or cookie and my icing experience comes from elementary school gingerbread houses. My family has never been big on baking, and to be honest, until a little while ago, our oven was used as a storage area. This also means that I will have to purchase a majority of the utensils I need for my project, such as rubber spatulas, offset spatulas, cake pans, ingredients, piping bags and tips, etc. One of my frustrations in this so far is that I purchased a decorating tip set from Walmart, but when I opened it, it was empty! Luckily, I got a refund and the knowledge to check the contents next time. So currently, I still need those piping tips.
After some searching and asking around, I have found my mentor. I’m so delighted and thankful, because I’ve been most worried about the search for a mentor since I learned about the project! (Edit:) His names is Moses, a grade 12 student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary school. I found him through my older brother, because they know each other at school. My brother recommended him to me because he’s well known for being a passionate baker. So I got in contact with him, and here is some information my mentor provided me about himself:
“Born in Denver, Colorado, raised in Canada by a Korean family, I have had a life of diversity so far. My hobbies include a variety things from sciences to music. At home, I love to bake and cook a variety of Korean dishes and various desserts as I post pictures of it on Instagram. Outside of my hobbies, I work at White Spot Limited as a Fountain Cook where I cook, prepare and plate salads, wraps, desserts and drinks. Even though I will be pursuing biological sciences in my future, I found it important to continue to explore a diverse selection of skills and subjects to keep myself dynamic as a person. I find my uniqueness in my diversity.”
He knows how to bake, make fondant, and creating wedding cakes (?! Impressive, for a hobbyist!). I hope through sessions with my mentor (Edit: we’ll likely meet at my house or a similar place), I’ll receive plenty of good feedback and improve my social skills. I’ve always been timid when it comes to one-on-one interactions with people I don’t know well.
I will be updating my progress by posting pictures on my blog, and I might even make an Instagram account, like my mentor has. I really want to try recording video somehow, but that idea still needs work.
One last thing: I’ve applied to be a food preparation/service assistant volunteer at Dogwood Pavilion in order to have experience around food and food preparation. I don’t have prior experience, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be accepted. it would be a plus, though.
I hope this project goes well and yields tasty results! Good luck and positive vibes to all!