The Last Six Months, in Three Baking Projects

27 11 2012

It has been over a month since I have updated my blog. I am seized with an urge to apologize. But to whom, and to what end? If one truly creates for one’s self, why then am I so disturbed to find that my unique visitors have dwindled away practically to nothing, with a bounce rate approaching ninety-five per cent? These twin impulses—toward reckless self-regard and the approbation of others—neatly negate one another. This is the essential paradox of our time.

- From the genius New Yorker piece Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre, by Bill Barol

Well. I think Sartre said it better than I ever could, so I’ll leave it at that.  Existential crises notwithstanding, it’s been an interesting year.  When we last left off, I was working six days a week as the Executive Pastry Chef for Blend, one of Paris’ most highly regarded burger joints.  As of this month, I am no longer there, and next month I will be officially unemployed.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t be keeping myself busy.  I’m in the process just beginning to write a book – so far I’ve got an outline and a couple of recipes – and I’m also thinking about staging (i.e. working for free for a few weeks) in some of the best chocolateries, bakeries, and pastry shops this city has to offer.  Oh, yeah, and I’m blogging again, too.

A few things I’ve baked in the interim:

Last Spring I made these apple doughnut muffins, inspired by The Hungry Dog.  I meant to post the recipe, and then it wasn’t apple season anymore, and now I’ve decided I want to keep it for the book.  But I will share this photo.

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Over the summer, I once again had the good fortune to bake the wedding cake for two dear friends. Once again, I made cupcakes, but this time I added a small “topper” cake for the cake-cutting.  I spent three days in Celine and Jesse’s kitchen, and naturally there were a few stressful moments the day of the wedding, but in the end I was very pleased with the final cakes.  And the bride and groom seemed pretty happy, too.

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Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, to show my support for the Hostess Bakers’ Union (it’s as good an excuse as any), I made homemade Twinkies for my football-watching friends.  As I looked over the recipe I realized that like so many American classics, Twinkies also have their roots in traditional French technique.  For starters, the cake itself is a type of sponge cake – a modified ladyfinger or biscuit cuillère. The cream inside is like a mousseline - pastry cream whipped with butter – the traditional filling for the classic French fraisier, in which it is sandwiched with strawberries between two layers of genoise, another type of sponge cake.

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And then the way it’s put together is reminiscent of nothing so much as an éclair, poking holes in the bottom of the cake and hollowing it out, then piping it full of cream.  I baked my Twinkies directly in my silicone molds, which I normally wouldn’t do, but I thought that the weird rubbery texture the silicone tends to give the exterior of baked goods was just what I was looking for in the case of the Twinkie.  Also, fun shapes!

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The jewels are my favorite, but that should come as no surprise.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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17 responses

27 11 2012
Celine

“pretty happy”? These cupcakes – and the cake – were amazing!!! The sweetest part of our wedding. Thank you :)

27 11 2012
Scott DFW (@dallasfoodorg)

Glad to see the blog revived! Good luck with the book, Camille.

28 11 2012
Hannah

I cannot wait to read your book, my dear. I’ve been waiting for years and years already (can you believe it was the beginning of 2010 when we met up and walked by the river?!). So proud of you.

28 11 2012
Michel

Nice to see a new post. I have wondered what you were up to. Good luck with the book. Keep us posted on your progress!

28 11 2012
meredith

Looking forward to the book…and more posts :)

28 11 2012
croquecamille

Celine – It was my pleasure!

Scott – Thank you!

Hannah – Time sure flies. Alas, given what I know about publishing, it could yet be another couple years… but there are many adventures to be had in the meantime!

Michel – Thanks, I sure hope to update more regularly now.

meredith – Merci!

28 11 2012
Lindsey Tramuta (@LostNCheeseland)

If only we had known each other when I got married, I would have requested your indulgent services :) Already anticipating your best-selling book! xx

28 11 2012
Ann Mah

Yay, you’re back! I’m drooling over these photos and reminiscing fondly over the days when you were testing cupcake recipes and I was your willing guinea pig. Happy writing!

28 11 2012
Loulou in France

So happy to see you back! As always, I love what you are whipping up in your, or anyone else’s, kitchen. Looking forward to adding your book to my collection!

28 11 2012
hungry dog

Welcome back! We’ve missed you! Love all your goodies here (um, especially the homemade twinkies) and thanks for the shout-out on the doughnut muffins. I can’t wait to see your tweak on the idea but I guess I will have to wait for your cookbook :) How cool, by the way.

28 11 2012
croquecamille

Lindsey – You’re sweet to say so!

Ann – Cupcake testing is never bad. :)

Loulou – Merci!

hungry dog – The homemade Twinkies were a lot of fun! And hey, I just try to give credit where credit is due.

29 11 2012
Fiona Reilly (@nanchanglu)

So strange…I’m literally in the middle of nowhere, China (rural Guizhou, to be exact) when suddenly a thought pops into my head “I wonder what Croque Camille is up to? I’d love to read something about cooking and Paris!” That was three days ago. Thanks for receiving the message – in whatever form it arrived – and responding so quickly!

30 11 2012
jothetartqueen

Love the sound of doughnut muffins! The wedding cake and cupcakes looks delicious and beautiful! Good luck with your book!

30 11 2012
researchingparis

Yay! So happy you are back – looking forward to all stages of the new adventure (and reading about it here, of course). Inconsolable on missing those Twinkies, btw…

2 12 2012
croquecamille

Fiona – My pleasure! I’ve been trying to keep up with your adventures around China – what an amazing experience for you and your family!

jothetartqueen – Thank you so much for the compliments and well-wishes!

researchingparis – We’ll find an excuse to make more Twinkies together sometime, I’m sure of it. :)

5 12 2012
Dayna

That wedding cake! That cake looks fantastic!

It’s my first time here, but judging by all the excited comments that you’re back to blogging, I’m pretty excited to see what the future holds for you!

6 12 2012
croquecamille

Dayna – Thank you so much! And welcome!




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