Friday, September 28, 2007

Occasional baker on a diet

first in a series of eight
For the next two months, I will be on the South Beach Diet. Over this time, I will post about my journey to becoming a baker and blogger, starting today with my very first cake.
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This is a Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache from Martha Stewart:


You will notice that this picture has a very different look and feel from the other pictures on this blog. This is because I wasn't blogging back then, and in particular, I hadn't even seen a single food blog at this point. What transformed the way I photographed food was becoming acquainted with La Tartine Gourmande. Click on that link and see how beautiful the pictures are. It is exactly what I want to be when my blog grows up.

I didn't know how to make my camera focus on specific parts of the cake and haven't ever used the macro function on my point and shoot. Or perhaps, I have used the macro function before, but was turned off by how it was sensitive to jitter. I have since discovered that a tripod is very helpful.

Just as helpful is the countdown timer on my camera. I set the camera to a two-second countdown so it doesn't jitter when I push the "shoot" button. I also find that I can make my arms still enough if I use the countdown timer, so I don't have to rely on a tripod. This is useful because most of my recent pictures are taken beside my kitchen sink where I get natural lighting.

Because I couldn't focus or close-up, I had to shoot from more than three feet away. The picture invariably captured all the mess and incidentals all around, which I had to crop out with my cheesy home photo application, thus the hearts all around the picture up top and the swishes on this one:


This was made for our first wedding anniversary in 2005.

The cake itself was moist and very chocolaty, which was very encouraging for a first-timer. If this cake had been an utter failure, I probably would never have baked again.

The ganache is probably the only part that didn't work as well. I pushed it around too much around because it wouldn't neatly flow down the cake. It became stiff so I ended up running my spatula around the entire cake. Thus, instead of the glistening, refined finish I was hoping for, I got a homey looking cake full of spatula-shaped marks which I tried to cover up with confectioner's sugar.

It may not be perfect, but with chocolate and roses, all you see are the good intentions.

2 comments:

Mansi Desai said...

Your photography is good, don't worry!! I've seen La Tartine, its great!!! everyone wishes to be like that:D

marias23 said...

Yo Julius! :) I'm a fellow baker on a diet too, heehee~ I know just how challenging that can be!