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Class of the week: Baking & Pastry class whips up tiered cakes

By Katie Buzdor, Editor In Chief

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Baking and pastry III class working hard on three tiered cakes

Photo by: Katie Buzdor
Baking and Pastry III class working hard on three-tiered cakes

The smell of fondant and gum paste filled the room in Heritage Hall as the Baking and Pastry III class was in full swing.

The seven-week class is one of three baking and pastry classes offered to Owens students working on their baking and pastry certificates.  Students must take the first two classes before taking the final class.  Baking and Pastry I is learning the techniques and basics for cakes.  The second class builds on what they learned the previous seven weeks.  Baking and Pastry III is the cream of the crop.  It builds on previous baking techniques and gives the students more advanced techniques in cake decoration, chocolates, truffles, sculptures, blown sugar and pastillage, which is a sugar dough used to make edible decorations.

Pastillage sculpture stands in the window located in Founders Hall inside the baking kitchen.

Photo by: Katie Buzdor
Pastillage sculpture stands in the window located in Founders Hall inside the baking kitchen.

Chef Kelly Wolf teaches the baking and pastry classes. “This is the first class that has had more than 4 students in it so we needed an assistant chef.  We are happy about that,” she said.

“I did not know that Owens even had this program and I thought that was perfect.  I was kind of self taught and I have never done sculpting because it was one of those things that you should learn before you dip your hand in it,” said student Beth Tolles.

Students worked on assembling three-tiered cakes in teams of two. They brainstormed what they wanted their cakes to look like and drew a sketch of their ideas.  After they agreed on the sketch, it was on to making the decorations out of gum paste and fondant.  They used Styrofoam dummy cakes because it’s faster and students already learned the baking process in their earlier classes. They covered each tier with fondant, stacked the cakes then decorated the tiers.

They were graded on level of difficulty, challenge and other components.

Meghan Slates, a student in the class said, “The reason why I went into baking as a specialty, is because I do not think that I can handle the stress in a kitchen.  I have had a pretty decent career in retail and I want to open my own bakery. That way I can have that control with making my own product because I know how retail works.”

Chef Wolf said, “Savory chefs are always asked their specialty but pastry chefs are expected to know everything.”  Pastry is a very broad term and sometimes people think that pastry chefs know how to do everything when it comes to baking.  Most pastry chefs have a certain expertise that they stick with.  Some only work on cakes while others only make chocolates.

Students can receive their baking and pastry certificate in only three semesters.

Photo by Katie Buzdor

Student Mary Sankovich (left) asks teacher Chef Kelly Wolfe for help rolling fondant onto a dummy cake.

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