Claire's Cakery and Bake Shop

The food blog of a baker and new business owner.

Progress…Thursday is Clifton Park Farmer’s Market…

Friday I will now be doing a small market that’s just getting started in Colonie. I don’t expect much, but I can bring things from the previous day that are still good (ie cookies), and it’s not going to cost much.

Starting next Tuesday I’ll be at Malta Farmer’s Market.

So that’s three markets. Which all end by the end of October.

And I spoke to my hourly job about reducing my hours there and they’re cool with it, so hopefully I’ll be less on the verge of constantly collapse from exhaustion and stress. :) That’d be good. :) :)

Question For The Tumblr Baking Community

red-velvet-bakery:

What brand products would you say are the best for producing different types of frosting/toppings?

Buttercream Components (American and Italian)

Ganache Components

Whipped Frosting Components

For my buttercream, I use whatever pasteurized egg whites I can find at the grocery store, Domino sugar, and Cabot butter. Flavorings vary widely but I try to go with high quality ones - I do a lot of fruit jams, and things like honey or maple, as ways to make frosting flavors.

(this is Italian buttercream, I don’t do American).

I don’t make ganache often, I don’t like working with it.

For whipped, I generally just make stabilized whipped cream - heavy cream, gelatin, and 10x sugar.

People seem to think it’s all pretty tasty, but I don’t know if it’s “best.” :)

milabaker said: So glad I came across your blog. Just reading your entries calms my anxieties. I just changed my position at work so that I can go into r&d for my bake shop. I’m going to sell at a green mrkt too. It’s nice to hear about what u have going on too.

Good luck!!! 

Though I’m kinda shocked that my rather intensely anxious ramblings calm your anxieties…I’m really glad they do. :) I do find that sharing them helps calm me down…

Some shots from the August 7th Market. I completely forgot to take pics of the one last Thursday (the 21st) so these will have to do until next week. :) 

Also: my poor, melty buttercream…I wish I could blame the weather…but in fact I think when I was making it I didn’t let the Italian meringue whip long enough, and the butter I added was too soft, and the result was one big goopy mess…lesson learned…

fencehopping:

Tim Burton received this handmade cake from his animation team and it’s basically the coolest shit ever.

(via bakeddd)

jennitheodd:

9prodlums:

Polygons measuring spoon

My one concern would be that the teaspoon and tablespoon might not fit into most conventional spice jars (can’t tell how big they actually are, but spice jars are narrow and obnoxious). Otherwise, niiiifty.

This is crazy. And awesome. Crazy awesome.

(via handsofham)

huffposttaste:

jawnpalace:

omg that was beautiful

whoa

I can’t stop staring…

huffposttaste:

jawnpalace:

omg that was beautiful

whoa

I can’t stop staring…

(via milabaker)

iwanttosingabouttragedy:

literarydisneyprincess:

rabbittwalter:

gamtav88:

brooklyn-knight:

jalexintheimpala:

god bless gordan ramsey 

Dude is only a dick to adults, awesome.

because, those adults should know what they’re doing, they’re cooks these are kids hes teaching to cook, therefore he is patient. 

gordon ramsey is one of my favorite people in the whole world ok

The only reason he gets so angry is because the people he’s yelling at claim to know what they are doing and are charging people accordingly. If you listen to why he’s actually angry more than half the time you’d realize you’d be furious too. This man is beyond patient and kind toward people in normal circumstances, but he is really serious about his profession and what should be demanded of it. He’s one of my favorite people too

I love the commentary as much as the posts themselves.

All the Gordon Ramsey love. He’s not always a great person - all his anger is not actually justifiable, and some is just for the cameras - but nonetheless I think he’s not too bad. :)

(Source: yourmanwontdancebutiwill, via bluroux)

Speaking of gluten free…so, fireun hasn’t actually told me she received these, but I’m going to assume that she did, cause I want to post pictures, dang it. So, fireun is a good friend (and was on a rival GISHWHES team) who has had to go wheat-free and various other things-free due to her body being terribly mean and nasty. As there was a GISHWHES item about doing something nice for someone on another team, I decided to send her cookies she could eat. These are rolled sugar cookies made with rice flour. I used this recipe from Betty Crocker and decorated them with royal icing. I thought they had a really nice flavor, but a kinda weird texture - the rice flour isn’t as smooth or small grained as wheat flour, so it was…like sandy, I guess.

I hope she enjoyed them…I hope she could eat them at all… :)

simpleleighme said: I really, really wanted to try this one and couldn’t get things together fast enough to do it GF. Gluten would have been to hard to clean up on such a large project.

Oof, yeah, that would have been impossible with the gf restriction…and it definitely did get gluten everrry where. I wonder if it’s possible to build walls strong enough to support weight without gluten giving structure.

Anyone know?

The plan! There’s a plan. Sort of. I’ve said THAT before…so we’ll see…but anyway, some background.

Since I started the Clifton Park Farmer’s Market in July, I have not worked less than 60 hours in a week (except last week, when I was away for five days…but it was not the relaxing recharging kind of away…). In September, I’ll be starting at the Tuesday market in Malta, too. And that’s good. My life goal is not to earn minimum wage working 29 hours a week at the YMCA forever. But the problem is, I am currently working 29 hours there for minimum wage, and I’m spending vast amounts of time on the business - a lot of it is still background work that won’t have to be done more than once (organizing recipes, for example) but it needs to be done NOW cause if I don’t do it right from the beginning, it’ll just get harder and harder to keep track of information. Or, like, if I don’t keep on top of my accounting, it’ll be a nightmare next time I owe taxes (which is Sales Tax, which I owe by September 20th…). There’s a shocking number of moving pieces to doing this by myself. 

Today is pretty typical. So, I woke up at 4 AM. I left for work at 4:15, got there at 4:45, and worked until 9 AM. Then I met up with my dad and step mom (atypical, but you can substitute any social activity there). I had a doctors appointment at 10:30 (quite typical, since I’m still trying to get pregnant, which requires multiple doctors appointment a month, though this one wasn’t actually related to that). I got home just after noon, plopped my butt in front of the computer, and am still working, all of it on business stuff, much of it organizational in nature. (right now at 5 I’m at the “update my blog” item on my to do list, and I’m still hoping to get to “update my webpage,” though it’s looking less likely by the minute…). Today is kinda special, in that I didn’t just go to one job, come home and immediately start working on the other. Thursdays are a 13 hours work day every week just to get to the market.

I’m doing all that work, with the expectation that I will not earn enough in a month to cover my basic expenses, which with a mortgage and a couple credit cards total to around $1200. (this month, I’m short by almost $400, for example, due to an unexpected $100+ thing that came up.).

I’ve been resisting asking for help from my family - avoiding asking my dad because he doesn’t have much and I hate to ask, and avoiding asking my mom because while she has more, it’s not unlimited, and I’ve asked her to invest in the business when the time comes, and would prefer that favor to having living money now. But, that hope doesn’t mean the mortgage can be not-paid. So I bit the bullet and asked for help.

My dad is awesome and said he’d do what he could, to the tune of a couple hundred a month, which was the outside of what I hoped he’d be able to do - he’s retired and on a fixed income.

My mother’s response was not what I had anticipated. She said she’d be happy to help (which isn’t a surprise, I’ve known for months that all I had to do was swallow my not-insubstantial pride and ask), but on her terms, not mine. Her terms are way more generous than what I was going to ask. I was just going to ask for a couple hundred so that I could make ends meet and have a small cushion when unexpected things come up - which they do every month, in my experience. Instead, she said that she’d only give me money if I would take enough that I could work less at the Y and focus on the business.

To some extent, I was already starting to do that - I’ll have less hours next month, I’ve asked for Saturdays off so I can use them to get in another market, I’m definitely in markets on Tuesday and Thursday for the next couple months, and have a chance to get in a Friday market that I’m currently considering. Furthermore, I’m putting in applications two of the three Really Big local winter markets - one in Troy and one in Saratoga - which if I got them, would be awesome.

But that’s a big IF, and if I DON’T get them…well, I can stretch out bakery earnings through the end of December by doing holiday markets, and after that, I am back to depending on the Y income until the summer comes back. And the home producer rules means I can’t do things like earn extra money by taking a mess of orders for holiday pies and buche de noels and stollen - I’m not allowed to do ANY direct sales like that. So my current potential is capped pretty low.

The help from my parents means I can work less. If I’m working less, it opens up some wonderful possibilities - specifically, I can start focusing on my business plan, figure out how much mom can actually invest in the business, and then start speaking to banks about loans. 

The sooner I can get my hands on a commercial kitchen, the sooner I can start doing custom cakes, eclairs, pumpkin bread, and all the other wonderful things that I’m not currently allowed to sell, that I KNOW people want. Not to mention direct sales.

It raises a lot of exciting possibilities…and involves a lot of risk…I was originally thinking I’d do the markets thing while also doing a part time job for the next few years, but now I’m thinking next year is the “open a business” year.

I can’ figure out if I’m terrified or not. I think I am. But also…I feel up to it. Usually.

Sorry to write an essay…I’ve got a lot on my mind… :)

The most frustrating thing about being a home producer is all of the rules. Like, today I discovered that I’ve been violating one without even realizing it - something I THOUGHT I was allowed to make, but it turns out I’m not. I mean, the list is pretty obnoxious - here’s everything I’m NOT allowed to make:

  • Any finished food product that requires refrigeration is not allowed to be produced as a Home Processor.
  • Breads containing Fruits or Vegetables
  • Pickled or Fermented Foods
  • Cheesecake, Cream Filled Pastries
  • Refrigerated Baked Goods
  • Meat, Fish, or Poultry Products
  • Vegetable Oils, Blended Oils
  • Any Products Containing Raw Nuts
  • Garlic and/or Herb in Oil Mixtures
  • Wine Jellies, Vegetable Jellies, Chutneys, Fruit Butters
  • Cooked or Canned Fruits or Vegetables
  • Cheese, Yogurt, Fluid Dairy Products
  • Sauces, Salsas, Marinades
  • Direct internet sales (commercial on-line transactions) are prohibited under this exemption. 
  • This exemption does not allow for home processors to make specialty items, such as birthday cakes, per order. Furthermore, it does not allow for direct sales of product from the home.

It’s a good thing that the current version of the plan involves having a commercially certified kitchen sometime next year. Cause any rule that forbids me from making cream pies and anything containing pastry cream has GOT to go…

Speaking of the plan…I think that gets it’s own post, actually.

So, this past week was GISHWHES, If you’ve never heard of it, it is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, the brain child of Supernatural actor Misha Collins. Teams of 15 people from around the world compete to complete absolutely insane ridiculous items on a list of 200 or so challenges. This is the third year that I’ve played along. :)

I did a bunch of things (I built a free-standing 1.5 ft. tall T-Rex entirely out of office supplies!) but most aren’t relevant to this blog. However, this was one of the items:

IMAGE. Gingerbread Villages are always so cute and quaint. Make a gingerbread village that shows urban blight: needle exchanges, prostitution, heavy police presence, etc.

Needless to say, I was soooo there. Here are some pictures of my ode to New York City in the 80s, and every bit of it is edible (though I did use stale bread and moldy raspberries, so eat at your own risk… ;) ).

I didn’t get to do nearly as much finishing work on it as I wanted, because my 5 story building lacked structural integrity and I didn’t have time to really let the royal icing dry, so I had to skip doing a lot of decorate work. Still, I’m not displeased with my results.

The weird crack dealer is the Elopus, an elephant-octopus that was this years GISHWHES mascot. :)

Paging fireun, cause I wanted to share. :)

atavus:

I&S BBDO - Design NORI


Visually appealing Sushi rolls with laser-cut seaweed to entice customers with an artistic meal. 

(Source: atavus, via fallenwithstyle)