The Kitchn's Baking School Graduation: Your final project!
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Congratulations! You have completed The Kitchn's Baking School! What an exhilarating, sugar-filled month it has been. Surely your fridge and freezer are packed with sweet goodies, or you've made some awesome new friends and are now the best neighbor ever after having shared all your amazing creations over the weeks. Most of all — you should be so proud of yourselves (insert happy dance around your kitchen)! We did it!
Before you officially graduate, here is your final project: We're putting together many of the things you learned along the way in the creation of one spectacular layer cake. Are you ready for your final trophy?
Your Baking School Graduation Project
There may have been a sugar coma or two, mounds of dishes to tackle, pounds of butter purchased and consumed, and perhaps even a blunder every now and then (it happens to us all, trust me), but I hope you all learned a few things here from Baking School. Before we go, let's take some of those new techniques and methods that we learned and combine them into one glorious, mouth-watering creation! You've come this far, so why not?
For this celebratory lesson, I will take you through the process of putting together and decorating a festive layer cake. Feel free to mix and match some of your favorite flavors and swap in any other techniques you learned or want to practice (I'll even give some alternatives to a layer cake below).
Step 1: Start with a Layer Cake
To start, review the lesson on layer cakes and pick a recipe to try. Want to make it two layers? Three? Or four? It's up to you! Remember that the cake layers should be cooled and then trimmed before filling and stacking. Or perhaps you already have a layer cake baked and frosted from the previous two days' lessons.
Review the Lesson
Step 2: Frost & Fill with Buttercream and Ganache
Going all the way back to week two, let's revisit buttercream for a bit. Silky, smooth, fluffy, creamy — buttercream makes for a delectable filling and frosting for any layer cake. Did you find that you prefer a meringue-based buttercream best? Or are you sticking to just classic whipped butter and powdered sugar? The choice is yours!
Review the Lesson
Try even making two batches (or different flavors): one for the filling and one to frost the outside of the cake. Swiss and Italian meringue buttercream make icing a perfectly smooth cake a breeze.
Not a fan of buttercream at all? Frost the cake with some cooked meringue — even give it a gentle torch, if you'd like!
Step 3: Decorate the Cake
Time to decorate! This is always my favorite part. For this cake, we pulled elements from throughout the entire month to adorn our cake. Drips of chocolate ganache have been paired with simple fresh raspberries on this swoon-worthy confection. Cocoa-dusted meringue kisses decorate the top of the cake for an added "crunch."
Okay, now it's time for you to flex your creative muscles and customize your cake to make it your own! Cover the whole thing with sprinkles, frost rosettes over the entire surface, or pour caramel sauce over the top — even place filled cream puffs around the top edge!
Now that we have all the tools to make all the pieces, putting together an elaborate layer cake isn't that hard after all.
A Few Alternative Final Projects
Some non-cake goodies to celebrate with include:
- Cookie cake: Skip the cake and layer giant cookies with frosting or ganache instead — either as sandwich cookies or layered together like a big cookie cake!
- Croquembouche: Make a croquembouche by "gluing" filled cream puffs together with caramel to form a pyramid.
- Mini tarts: Make mini tarts filled with anything from flavored pastry cream, to chocolate ganache over a thick layer of caramel, to pumpkin pie filling. Use up anything you have left over from your homework assignments.
- Ice cream and apple pie: Churn creme anglaise into ice cream while you bake up a classic apple pie.
- Croissants: Make up a fresh batch of croissants to serve with an array of dessert sauces for dipping.
Sweet, sweet congratulations on your successful completion of Baking School! All the lessons and guides are here for you as long as you need them. Happy baking!
Share your final Baking School project with us on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #kitchnbakingschool. We can hardly wait to see!