Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Home-Based Bakery Expectations vs. Reality

Hello Home Bakers, Cake Enthusiast & Readers,

As you all know my Adventures of Cake Girl blog documents recipes for Cake Girl the home-based bakery (baked to order vegan & gluten-free sweet delights). I began Cake Girl about 5 years ago. Cake Girl is still a work in progress, I haven't devoted my full attention on Cake Girl because I had been focusing on finally finishing college and obtaining my BA degree. Right after high school I was totally lost, I knew I loved cooking and baking. I took college courses on and off thinking that college is something everyone takes, just like elementary, junior high and high school. After attending community college on and off and realizing at the time that I wanted to pursue my passion, so I applied to Le Cordon Bleu for their pastry and baking program. This was the best decision I've ever made. 

During my pastry and baking program, I did my externship at Babycakes in 2010. It made sense for me to want to bake vegan sweets because I was a vegan at the time. Babycakes now called Erin McKenna's Bakery taught me that baking took patience and love. Baking vegan, gluten-free and even sugar-free was completely different from your everyday gluten based flour. 

When I was baking there, I didn't understand the process of coming up with recipes. How difficult it must be, especially when you are deriving recipes to focus on a small niche of people at the time were actually gluten intolerant. Although my presence at the bakery was short, my experience has taught me nothing is easy but working hard only means you are getting closer to a result.

After Babycakes, I decided on Cake Girl. I knew that even though there were a few vegan bakeries out there, there is still a large population that needed and wanted vegan & gluten-free sweets. Although my expectations far exceeded the actually reality. For one, thought I was ready for everything that was about to come to me. I didn't really plan out the logistics of pricing, delivery fees, contracts, a set menu, website, or ordering. I only had the name Cake Girl and an email. I did artwalk events and sold my products through small pop-ups. In the beginning my expectations was to do both days of artwalk and bake for the event the night before. The reality was that I was exhausting myself. I would bake and package everything the night before, sleep for 3 hours and sell for 8 hours at the Cake Girl pop-up.  And repeat the same routine for the next day. The only help was my boyfriend who assisted me. I didn't mind working hard and giving up sleep. But the reality was I lacked planning and time management. Though through these life experiences, I am able to build my business and give it a better foundation. I am always learning no matter how small the learning experience. The more I work out the kinks of my business and the more time I focus on mu business the closer I will be to my end result and what I consider reality.

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Donut Post (Vegan & Gluten-Free)....updates and more.

It's donut type of day here in Los Angeles. Find my vegan & gluten-free donut recipe here. I haven't posted in a while. I would like to say that I've been busy but honestly, I am simply enjoying my summer break. I never though summer would feel so long. Did I do anything fun or interesting this summer? To answer your question, I would have to say 'no'. Don't get me wrong, I tried being productive by baking and experimenting with new recipes. I came up with some but they were not well documented. 

Also, I recently began working at a small cafe near my house. It's super cute and they bake their own bread there that is used for sandwiches. Although, my position their is not a baker but a server. Working there has taught me that serving is not as easy as it seems. This is a completely new experience for me. I learned to read ticket orders, work as quickly as possible to prep the orders and walk it out to them. One thing I have noticed about serving is that my whole body hurts by the end of the day. My feet hurt from walking super fast, my calves hurt, my back hurts and my arms and fingers hurt from carrying the heavy plates. 

Upon this I bus tables. I guess my position is more of a unicorn than a server alone. But another thing I notice while busing tables is how wasteful customers actually were. Just yesterday, a customer left behind a practically whole sandwich and a side salad. The customer only ate two bites of the sandwich. Another family left behind their opened bags of chips with plenty of chips inside. These types of this surprise me, but what can I do? I would give it to a homeless person if they were around the cafe, but the area where I work is quite quaint. 

The one thing I do enjoy about this job is the friendly helpful coworkers. This has been my second week and I feel that I can really connect with them and carry on a conversation. Another thing I enjoy about this job are the tips. Yes, MONEY! I had never worked at a place that had great tips. Thus I am totally surprise and content. Hopefully, maybe one day I can make my way back to the back of house where I am most comfortable.

Till next time. Stay awesome! 

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Toasted Bagel (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Bagels. Bagels. Bagels. 

I am always in love with bagels. Though bagels always do me wrong. Bagels are so glutenous, they put me to sleep right after having half of one.  The gluten-free bagel options at the grocery or bakeries are a bit on the pricey side. So, I decided to make my own. This is my first batch of gluten-free bagels, that are also vegan, soy-free, and nut-free. There is corn in this product because I used cornmeal for the bottom. I have always liked a crusty corn meal crust. A recipe of my gluten-free vegan bagel is soon come. 
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cheap-O-Cabbage Detox Soup

I used Italian Style Diced Tomatoes

before cooking

detox soup is on!

I was never a believer in the cabbage soup detox. But I guess there is no harm in trying cabbage soup, especially right before the holiday season. I too like to binge of vegan mashed potatoes and vegan green bean casseroles. These are some of my favorite holiday dishes that I enjoyed while growing up. Even though I come from a Chinese background, many of my family are Americanized and on the holidays we celebrate with a huge holiday potluck. 

Our potlucks are always a melting pot of All American holiday dishes and then we have the traditional Chinese symbolic dishes. I admit, I love both sides of my culture. I look back on how far we have come. 
And each year, we celebrate the holidays by being together and catching up and remembering. And each year I stuff my face with food and that is why I need a simple detox right before the holiday season. This cheap version of the cabbage soup detox is a easy process that will have me and you looking good by the end. 

a quarter of a medium cabbage shredded
1 cup crimini mushrooms sliced
1 can diced tomatoes (I used Italian Seasoned)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large pot add your shredded cabbage, sliced crimini mushrooms, can of diced tomatoes, and cayenne pepper. Fill pot with water until it slightly covers the veggie mix. Turn on the heat to high & bring the cabbage soup to a boil. Let the cabbage soup boil for 10 minutes then simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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