There are a lot of excellent bakers writing blogs and publishing books. Why one more blog?
I took a Wilton cake decorating class in May at my local Joann store. During that month I made many cakes and pounds and pounds of frosting. I learned to be a better baker certainly, as well as how to decorate cakes. But I learned something else too.
There is no one right way to make a cake or to make frosting. Everyone wants something different from a cake. I found that something I know to be true about writing is true of baking as well: everyone has a voice.
A one month baking class and a lot of practice have helped me find my voice as a baker.
First, I am not loyal to butter. Butter is an emulsion containing water as well as the butterfat and milk solids. Also, butter has a wide melting point and is not very stable.
I use some shortening for stability in frostings. I also use vegetable oil in cakes for softness and lard in pie crusts for flakiness.
Taste is my first priority as a baker. That is why, right now, I am not interested in using royal icing or fondant. I like moist and sweet cakes with a medium amount of structure. I don't like frosting that is only sweet, with nothing else going on.
I also am mostly interested in making American baked goods. I used to live in England and, while I loved British food, I hated the cakes. British cakes are usually fruitcakes or a style imported from France: dry and sweet with marzipan and jam. Not for me :-)
What is your ideal cake? Is it all about the frosting? What about fillings? Am i wrong about British cakes? Let me know in the comments.