Sunday, April 13, 2014

We Made Our Cake and Ate it Too

It didn't take long for my community members to learn of my ridiculous baking addiction, and soon afterwards they were eagerly inviting me into their homes for baking lessons. At first, I just considered the afternoons a great way to break the ice and get to know my new neighbors, but I soon realized that their curiosity to learn made for a great potential project. 

Eager to get to work on this promising (and delicious) project, I made signs to hang around town and invited previous bakers to more formal lessons. And that's how, slowly but surely, our informal home classes have slowly morphed into a community baking group that spends each session baking, taste testing, and analyzing the costs and potential cost cutters. 

Instead of starting with something they had never even had before, like peanut butter cookies or apple pie, I wanted to focus on things they already spend money on and could therefore save by making it themselves. For my community, there was no question that would be birthday cakes. On birthdays and special occasions, they not only pay for the cake itself ($10-30), but also for transportation to get to a city that sells these cakes. 

Wanting to encourage them to explore their options, we made two cakes- one from scratch and one from a box, and then frosted them with either canned frosting or a homemade concoction. After the baking was done, we had a blast experimenting with food coloring and practicing writing things like "Feliz CumpleaƱos" on a plastic plate. 

We baked the cakes using the pot within a pan method and learned that a small hole in the lid will lead to escaping air and a cake that looks a little like a volcano.  Thankfully, it still tasted pretty good. 

They learned that they can save quite a bit of money by making their own cakes, and have even put to practice what we learned by baking while I was out of town! 

Needless to say, we're excited for the next class. 

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