Friday, December 28, 2007

Daring Non-blogger

I'm very excited to finish my first Daring Bakers challenge!!! I was hoping that the challenge would be a yule log this month, so thanks to Lis and Ivonne for reading my mind and picking a wonderful recipe, perfect for the holiday season. It was a joy to make and a joy for my family to eat at our annual Christmas gift exchange and dinner held at my house this year.

The genoise was light and airy - although I think I would bake it one or two minutes less next time. I rolled it in a tea towel to cool (excellent tip fellow DBers!) but still ended up with some cracks when rolling. The log was filled with chocolate hazelnut spread, toasted hazelnuts and some of the coffee buttercream (and maybe a splash or two or three of rum!!). Everyone raved about the buttercream and I was quite proud of its lush, silky texture. It hid the cracks amazingly well and tasted incredible - definitely one I would use again. Everyone was fooled by the mushrooms and they were passed around to make sure that they were in fact made of marzipan and weren't just from my vegetable crisper.I have to admit that the daring part of the challenge for me wasn't the baking. I had so much fun making components of the recipe that I had never made before and putting the log together.

The challenge for me, I found, was more in the blogging itself and the picture taking. I spend a lot of time at work on technical writing that I find it hard to sit down and write like I am talking to a friend. But I realized that being daring means really participating in the group, trying to find my voice and giving all aspects of the challenge a try. And I really did try with the photos. My hubby can attest to that -we had every light on in the house at 11pm moving the cake from room to room to find good lighting and a workable background. I took picture after picture trying to find a shot that could convey how good the cake actually looked in person rather just than a shadowy lump on the plate. Well...I came to the conclusion that photography really isn't my thing and I need more than a point and shoot camera if I want nice pictures. Since my frustration with the camera was starting to colour, what had been up to that point, a really stress-free, successful baking session, I decided to call it a night.

My good friend and neighbour Shelly came to my rescue the next day by offering the photography services of her husband Jason. He did a wonderful job with the pictures and even brought some props (the cute birch trees) to enhance the look. While the rest of drank some wine and relaxed, he was an artiste with the log and came up with some wonderful pictures. Thanks Jason for your help (and now you know what the pictures are for!) Luckily I've since found out that I have many friends with photography skills who would like the chance to practice their skills in the food styling arena. So while I can be daring in the kitchen and with my writing, for now I can leave behind the stress of photography to those who find it their daring challenge. Happy holidays to all!