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Scratch Baking

     When I was younger, meaning like probably 12-16 years old, I baked a lot.  When I say I baked though, I mean I baked box cakes and used canned frosting.  A simple 9 by 13 pan fit one box of cake mix and a can of frosting perfectly covered the whole thing.  And let me tell you, I thought that nothing better on this earth existed beyond that sweet caramel flavored coconut pecan frosting in a plastic tub that I couldn't wait to peel the foil topper off and dig a spoon into before covering my "homemade" german chocolate cake for my dad to take to work and share with his buddies.  See, when I was that age, that was kind of what baking was to me.  And don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with it, but I hadn't yet been introduced to the world of real butter, real heavy cream and making some of the things that I thought only existed already put together. 

     I then went to pastry arts school in Pittsburgh and was introduced to baking on a level I didn't realize even existed.  I knew I loved to bake, but I didn't know the magic that it really was.  I started in a breads class making loaves of bread that I thought existed only in Peter Rhineharts "Bread Baker's Apprentice".  Then it was onto to cakes making beautiful layered French Gateaus, chocolates and candy courses learning how to temper chocolate and create showpieces followed by a plated dessert course which was by far my favorite of the whole year.  We created all the elements of the plated desserts, I would assume you would find in an over the top Vegas restaurant at the top of a high rise hotel looking out over the lights of the city that never sleeps.  It was magic. 

      Lastly, I ended my Pastry Art adventure in an Advanced Pastry class where we did the only decorated cake we would do in the whole course, learned pastillage decor and learned how to make a sugar showpiece.  This part of the course was during December so our showpiece theme was of course Christmas.  Mine had ornaments, tall branches and poinsettias jetting out of it along with gold and red streaked "ribbons".  Believe it or not, 16 years later, my sugar showpiece, though faded a bit, is still standing in a curio cabinet at my mom's house.  She borders a nervous breakdown every time she decides she needs to dust around it.  I was so inspired by the Dean of our pastry program at the time as he actually won one of the Food Network competitions in sugar sculpting and had the big check hanging in his office.  For a 19 year old, there was nothing cooler.

    All of this to say, when I set out on this adventure on my own, I knew the only way to make our product was the way that I had been introduced to in my pastry education, with ingredients.  It's funny really because after that, I seemed to almost forget that those cans of frosting (morphed into buckets in the commercial world) ever existed.  And that is how we continue today.  Every dough, filling, icing is hand crafted with love, ingredients and magic.  I was just asked last week, "Why do your baked goods taste so different and so much better?".  The answer is simple, we strip it down to the way that it was done before those cans of frosting existed and before there wasn't enough time to wait for the dough to rise.  It's part of why we had to make some changes in how we offer things recently also.  I have to fiercely protect the quality of our product for you and I hope you continue to see what is most important in this grand adventure, that quality always rises to the top!

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