The bakery cafe I work at is extremely popular on Mother's Day. Today was absolute insanity in the front of the house - it was loud, crowded, hot and hectic. Usually, I would be out there doing counter service: ringing up coffees and desserts, bagging, plating, drink-making, answering the phone, brewing more coffee, folding boxes, rolling endless cutlery, smiling and generally trying to be polite and nice to the customers.
Lucky for me, today was my first day working in the pastry kitchen. I was so glad to be working in the back, quietly decorating dozens and dozens of pastries and cakes that we would go through by the end of the day. Perhaps it was the novelty, but I had so much fun on my shift and had a chance to do much more than I'd expected, with very little supervision!
What I did in the kitchen today starting at 7:00am:
1) Decorate 4 cheesecakes - two whole, two already sliced (so clever, the fruit goes on the slice so it's not all squished with cutting!) Take sliced kiwis, strawberries, mandarin oranges and line them up all pretty around the cake and put on two coats of apricoty fruit glaze. The glaze wasn't as gross as I'd expected - I think it only looks congealed when it is put on too thick. Put toasted almonds all along the sides, wrap the slices with wax paper and reassemble the cake.
2) Assemble fruit tartlets: take shortbread crusts, paint them with melted chocolate (using a HUGE brush, why don't they have little ones?), pipe in pastry cream, top with kiwis, strawberries, oranges, glaze, put them in cupcake liners.
3) Finish a chocolate roulade cake: cover in chocolate buttercream, scrapes lines along length (this has a name, I think), sprinkle with chocolate shavings, pipe rosettes and leaves, then slice diagonally and separate with wax papers
4) Assemble cannolis: Ok, I was a little disappointed to learn that they buy pre-made cannoli shells. But apparently this is common. Pipe cannoli filling into shells, dip each end in chocolate vermicelli and put them in little papers
5) Decorate little custard cakes: Cut out of mold, plop in cupcake liner, top with a fanned strawberry and glaze (they really like glaze)
6 Cover rumballs with coconut
7) Roll marzipan fruit in sugar
8) Write birthday signs for lots of birthday cakes, decorate various cakes with the signs and pre-made flowers
9) Pipe borders and airbrush pre-made flowers in pastel colours for a girl's birthday cake. I did a lousy job on the writing the first time and the pastry chef had to scrape off the whole thing and we started over (I don't think I got in trouble though). Airbrushing was really messy, but kind of fun! My hands are covered in dye.
...and I finished up at about 12:00pm. What a fun day!! I was semi-worried I'd get stuck doing dishes or something lame, but they kept their word and actually let me near the pastries. So, I'm very pleased about that. I'm not sure what happens at this point - this might be my last shift before going on holiday, but hopefully I'll get to do this again when I come back.