There’s finally enough flour available in my local stores to create this series of photographs. My cake series highlights what many have been doing to pass the time these days — baking up a storm!
My first COVID-19 baking episode happened at the start of the pandemic when I began using my new bread machine to create pizza and focaccia. It didn’t take long for 5 pounds of bread flour to disappear! Then flour became scarce for a while, and cake pans and supplies were even scarcer! I started googling and realized that everyone was baking to relieve stress and boredom.
Ingredient persistence pays off and this lovely series reflects many new ideas for baking at home. I just couldn’t resist experimenting with all of the wonderful pans, colors, sprinkles, and other baking supplies you can find on Amazon, never mind the tsunami of Amazon reviews I saw posted for these products during the pandemic. Amazon reviews are always really entertaining! I decided to research them and start to replicate this fun way of baking myself.
This COVID-19 baking project took 1 day of research, 3 days of nonstop baking, and 1 day of shooting in my new white studio. My new studio is an incredible room with matte-white walls that yield the most beautiful, soft light for tabletop work.
So how did I do all of this in just 5 days?
I drew heavily on my experience as the executive pastry chef of 2 Hyatt Hotels after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and the Fachschule Richemont in Luzern. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that have not been forgotten, even as my work has changed over the years. For instance, the skills to ice a cake came back quickly. I also found myself using my old recipes along with the new ideas for colors and shaped pans to make this baking scene!
And finally, here is my favorite recipe for the Yellow-Striped Bundt Cake, adapted from one I used to bake for brunch at the Hyatt.
Lemon Ginger Butter Bundt
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2 cups bar-fine granulated sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- zest and juice of 3 Meyer lemons
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, scraping the bowl smooth. Combine the flour and baking powder together. Add all at once to the bowl along with the lemon juice and zest, the sour cream, and the fresh ginger. Scrape the bowl. Mix until the cake batter comes together and is mixed well but do not overmix.
Place the batter into a bundt pan that is coated with butter and floured. Once the batter is in the pan, tap the pan on the counter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then invert on a wire rack. Wrap the cake and freeze it until you are ready to ice it.
I used the NordicWare Platinum Heritage Bundt Pan for this cake but any 10-12 cup bundt pan will do the trick!
Icing for the bundt:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp cream
- pinch turmeric
Sift the sugar through a fine sieve, then mix all ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle. Place the icing in a pastry bag and pip each line for the cake separately.
Rainbow cake by Betty Crocker
Chocolate Whiskey Bundt by New York Times
Strawberry Bundt by New York Times – this one is incredible because it uses butter, yogurt, and real strawberries!
Stylist and Photographer: Judy Doherty
Model: Caitlin Rowles