Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Pink Macarons, Rosewater Cupcakes - My first paid order

        So about a month or so ago I was contacted on facebook about a catering order by talented Miss Van Anh Nguyen. She loved my stuff so much that she was keen to pay me to bake a few items for her for a high tea shoe party she was hosting. I have had questions from people at work about wether I considered catering but because I love doing it so much as I hobby I really never thought much about it. I was a little suprised about the request but agreed to take the order.
        Knowing that she is also Coeliac I wanted to make stuff that she could actually eat. Macarons were requested so they were a given but she also requested a cake and some cupcakes.
        For the cake I decided to do a chocolate hazelnut (flourless) cake. I also made some hazelnut praline to decorate the cake, ended up just crushing it and sprinkling it over the chocolate ganache because my shards didn't look pretty enough. I really wanted to keep the cake for myself because I just loved how the finish came out.

        When I read that she wanted macarons I was nervous, these little temperamental but gorgeous little morsels strike fear in me every time I make them and I am yet to produce a perfect batch. They all taste fantastic but compared to the ones you buy, they were not exactly perfect looking, especially my feet.
        I actually had to make these twice as I forgot to age my egg whites for the day I wanted to make them and produced a failed batch. I then put aside some whites to age to make them again the next day. A little heavy handed on the food colouring too, but the previous batch was even brighter! My feet were too wide but I wasn't prepared to make a third batch. These were just plain shells with white chocolate ganache.

        Last but not least are the cupcakes, to keep with the girly pink theme I decided to make rosewater cupcakes. I bought some gluten free flour especially for these. Unfortunately they came out a bit flatter than I had imagined but I think it's because of the flour, first time using gluten free flour. The icing is simply lemon flavoured icing made of icing sugar and lemon juice with pink food colouring. Originally was going to decorate them with a single dried rose but I had a last minute request for letters to be iced on the cakes.

        Because the white icing didn't quite turn out I grabbed a tube of black writing gel I had to trace over the letters. It definately created some striking contrast against the pale pink icing. The next morning, my flower cupcake was runny and smudged because it was slightly slanted so with some dried roses I went to cover up the mishap. The other cupcakes now looked a little plain so I went and poked in a couple of roses on each cupcake to pretty them up.
        I left for work, telling my parents that someone would be coming to pick up the goodies during the day. At 3pm I receive an sms telling me that no one was answering the door. I started freaking out and made an excuse to leave work early to go home because I couldn't get in touch with any of my family members (who were close to home). Of all days Mum decides to go to the doctor and Dad was out. Mum said that because no one had come yet she thought she could quickly pop out but didn't realise that no one else was home. Anyway all dramas aside, and a good 30-45 minutes later Mum came home and the goods were picked up.
        The goods were well received by my very first customer and her high tea partakers. It was a bit stressful baking knowing that someone was actually paying for the finished goods. There was also a little bit of negotiating of pricing which I think I was way too generous about but seeing as it was my first order I wasn't sure where to benchmark my goods. I can say it was definately a learning experience for me too, I just look it as a way to build up my experience.

Photo from Van Anh Nguyen

Photo from Van Anh Nguyen

Photo from Van Anh Nguyen. The high tea party was also a shoe party for Dawn Lu Shoes.


Jen said...

Well done you!! Here's to many more paid orders :)

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

What a fantastic effort! I think your macarons look amazing, and yes, it's always worthwhile costing your ingredients plus labour when negotiating pricing. Make sure you include plenty of business cards for future jobs too :)

A cupcake or two said...

Yay Ange. Paid jobs are great. Your macs looks amazing and that cake is gorgeous. My flourless chocolate cakes always look like deflated balloons. Hope you get plenty more orders soon.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

How fabulous Angie! Congratulations on your first order and may there be many more to come :D

OohLookBel said...

All the cakes look just beautiful, especially the pink colour. You're well on your way to making a career of baking, Angie.

Richard Elliot said...

Congratulations Angie!! Looks like you did a fantastic job and cooking for someone with coeliac's disease in your first job is brave!

Pricing is a really tough one. I've done a few cookery jobs and a I woefully under-charged. It's a really tough one to get right.

* As an Englishman I feel it's my duty to try and educate all Aussies they are abusing the term 'High Tea'. Judging by the photos you almost certainly cooked for 'Afternoon Tea'! ;-

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Congrats on your first catering gig! Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get better at pricing as you go along but it's so encouraging that people want to buy your goods =D

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Jen: Thank you! =)

Hi Helen: Thanks, never actually thought about cards for catering, might as well seeing as I have cards for my flowers =) And I've been asked for cards for my blog too which I thought was weird!

Hi Kath: Aww thank you =) Yeah I was a little worried with the flourless cake when it started going down but luckily it wasn't all too bad.

Hi Lorraine: Thank you! =)

Hi Bel: Thanks, you know what? I might as well be on my way with my job going in another year or two... ;)

Hi Richard: Thank you! Yes, I used retail prices to benchmark and took a portion off seeing as it was a home job so no high overheads but paying for your ingredients retail doesn't help, plus the customer wasn't willing to pay for the initial amount... but I wanted the practice so had to settle on something.

And regarding high tea... yes I stand corrected =p Well SHE called it 'high tea' ;)

Hi Rita: Thank you! Yes it is quite encouraging, I am one with very high expectations of myself though which doesn't help because I always have self doubt about what I produce.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Angie!!! Cheers to many many paid order in the future!! All your baking looks stunning!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Ellie: Thank you!! =)

Maria @ Scandi Foodie said...

Well done Angie, you did a great job!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Fantastic effort and a job well done :) Hope many more to come

Gastronomy Gal said...

Congratulations on your first contracted baking job! So exciting for you! I guess working things out like the costing etc is all learning and I'm sure this was really good experience.

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Maria: Thank you! =)

Hi Penny: Thanks dear =)

Hi GG: Thank you! Every little bit counts when you're gaining experience hey? =)