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.

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.


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!