Students always want to bake cakes! Maybe it’s because the cakes they get at home are typically prepackaged or out of a mix! Don’t get me wrong…those are great once in awhile and have saved me on more than one occasion, when time was at a premium! However, when talking to students, I get the impression that most only get scratch baked cakes in rare instances or on very special celebratory days! I guess I was lucky growing up because my family baked cakes often, as desserts were a delicious way to end the evening meal! Because of this, I was fortunate to be exposed to a variety of different cakes. The funny thing is that while growing up, I thought there were tons of different types of cakes, but in reality there are only a couple! This lesson focuses on a cake overview of history, types, solving cake problems and includes some labs, focusing on the two basic types of cakes!
Who would have thought that the age old canning jar would be perfect for dessert food labs! When choosing recipes for labs I try to select recipes so students get a nice sample to taste, but leave very little, if any leftovers. Not only does this cut down on waste, money spent on ingredients, but it also forces students to practice portion control and eliminates arguing over who gets the extras.
Vanilla is expensive and vanilla beans even more so. This is a great lesson to teach students about vanilla without breaking the bank. One vanilla bean required!
I learned so much at the Johnson & Wales Baking & Pastry Summer Educator’s Program. I described briefly what we did each day of the class. I also have included some products that were discussed and used during the class…
I just got back from this year’s Fancy Food Show in the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The Fancy Food Show is put on by the NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade).
“Since 1955, the Fancy Food Shows have been North America’s largest specialty food and beverage marketplace. Between the Winter Show in San Francisco and the Summer Show in New York City, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade events bring in more than 40,000 attendees from more than 80 countries to see 260,000 innovative specialty food products, such as confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more. Only NASFT Members can exhibit at the Shows, where retailers, restaurateurs, distributors and others discover innovative, new food and beverage products. The Shows are attended by every major food buying channel, influential members of the trade and consumer press and other related businesses.”
Have you ever wondered how they make candy bars? The scientist in me was so intrigued I just had to figure it out. Nothing can get students more excited than the prospect of making candy. They often remark, “you can make your own candy bars?” “Yes” I say, “its magic.” But really all it takes is a whole bunch of problem solving skills-a great way to teach students these skills as they beg you to engage in this lesson.
Food Network is very popular among my students so I decided to have them create their own show! I specifically have them demonstrate how to make a cake in front of the class but this idea can be tailored to any unit that lends itself to student demonstrations.
Given a basic knowledge of how to make homemade pasta and how to deep fry, students will synthesize these methods to create cannolis. This recipe is one that I created after much experimenting due to a “zero tolerance” alcohol policy that does not allow us to use any form of alcohol in our recipes. That being said, the shells taste good but may not taste as authentic as one might like. My goal was for the students to be able to learn the process more than the taste.