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Culinary School Update Part 3 : Gift Box Devils Food Layer Cake

Eight whole weeks have passed since my last culinary school post. Read school update one and culinary school update 4 here!

8 weeks; 118 recipes and 21 pounds of butter (which is actually not a lot of butter, by the way).

I’m not going to tell you where all that butter went. This is a safe space.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Genoise with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
cherry pie latticed unsliced.
My Top Pie Baking Tips
Everything you need to know about pies from a professional pastry chef!

I have both so much to say and too little to say all at the same time. The recipes blend into each other; the days blend into weeks; the facts swirl about in your brain until you dream about piping “Happy Birthday” and you can make pastry cream in your sleep (or until your arm falls off).

If time has passed this quickly thus far, someday soon school will draw to a close.

And, honestly, that thought made me inordinately sad.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Chocolate Mousse Cake

What about the friends that I have made?

What about my favorite chefs that I won’t get to see everyday?

What about the learning and the fast pace that have become quotidian?

What about this City that I love?

But the most heavily weighted question…

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Marjolain (aka layers of chocolate, cake and all sorts of awesome)

What will I do?

I have no clue, but I think about it everyday and it weighs on me. I am open to any and all suggestions.

But let’s not talk about that…let’s talk about what I have been BAKING!

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Fraisier

So much, so much.

Let me take you on a quick tour of Cakes, Bread, more Cakes and Petits Fours!

Marble Pound Cake Slices

Though I didn’t know it at the time, they eased us into cakes with this Chocolate Swirled Pound cake (one of my favorite photos, by the way), a Lemon Pound cake, and chocolate fudge cupcakes.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Cupcakes, Angel Food Cake & Success au Cafe

That’s right. Cupcakes! You better believe I was like a little girl on Christmas morning. Do try to contain your excitement, Lindsey. #fail

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Lemon Pound Cake

Did you know that to get the perfect slit down the middle of a loaf cake, chef’s actually open the oven after 15 minutes and cut it with a knife to ensure a perfect slit?! Yeah, I didn’t. I thought that stuff was magic.

Turns out magic only exists in Harry Potter. #dreamscrushed

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Chocolate Ganache Cake

And apparently there is more to life than the Creaming Method. And bubbles alone are supposed to leaven your cake. Mmm hmm. Air.

Can I get a witness!?

It’s not magic it’s science. (See above!) And it’s really easy to deflate. Not that I would know anything about that… 😉

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Happy Birthay

And this whole time, we’re squeezing in piping, because apparently piping “Happy Birthday” is a pastry chef’s new best friend.

I want a new friend.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Flourless Chocolate Cake

Never fear, Flourless Chocolate Cake to the rescue! Those are sticks of chocolate meringue sprinkled with cocoa nibs. #ooc
And with the blink of the eye and one more “Happy Birthday”, we are on to bread!

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Happy Birthday

If you thought I got excited about cupcakes…

Bread is my weakness.

I know I said that about Puff Pastry, and it’s totally true, but bread is the weakness I have had since birth. Right, Mom?


Culinary School Update Part 3 : Bread Collage

This unit can pretty much be summarized by the following…


Culinary School Update Part 3 : Scones, Blueberry Crumb Muffins and Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Like cakes we were eased into bread with Quick Breads, which, Chef Jürgen will have you know, are not called that because they are made quickly. They are called quick breads because they are made with chemical leavening instead of the slower Organic Leavening (yeast in layman’s terms), and chemical leavening mimics the yeast but in less time.

Soooo unless I missed something in the 20 times this was drilled into my head, quick breads are bread that are leavened quicker than yeast-leavened breads. Am I dense or are they splitting hairs?

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Stollen

I don’t even know where to start with breads! We made so many in such a short amount of time: there were bagels, English muffins, foccacia, traditional harvest grain loaves, milk bread, orange swirl bread, pecan sticky buns…HOLD UP!

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Pecan Sticky Buns

These pecan sticky rolls are todiefor. They are actually made with the orange swirl bread dough, which is spread with even more cinnamon sugar and topped with the best caramel pecan topping I have ever tasted. Cinnamon sugar makes everything better.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Challah


And if that wasn’t enough butter and eggs in your bread, there is always brioche. Buttery, rich brioche. So good.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Brioche A Tete

My weakness (and not in the good kind of way) is croissants. I have yet to make a croissant dough without my butter breaking. Grrrrr.

I have perfection in my blood, and it is not pleased that this skill eludes me. Not pleased at all.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Pain au Raisin

Danish is like croissant dough but it has more milk and eggs, which means it’s AMAZING.

Why I can make Danish dough and not croissant dough when they are basically the same damn thing is beyond my comprehension. I don’t have an answer to these complicated questions.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Assorted Danish

I can tell you that Bread is the last time I saw my waist.

And we are off to Cakes 2!

The breakneck pace did not abate just because we entered a more complicated unit. No, no. Not at ICC. The complicated cakes in Cakes 2 made the first unit look like child’s play.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Charlotte Russe

Say hello to the Charlottes.

Above we have Charlotte Russe, which is ladyfingers filled with fruit mousse; and below we have the creepy looking Charlotte Royal, which is a jelly roll painstakingly shaped into a half sphere and filled with Bavarian cream. It was disgusting. I’m just keepin’ it real.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Charlotte Royale

And if those aren’t complicated enough for you, behold the modern entremet cakes.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Modern Entremet Collage

These are layers upon layers of textures and flavors that all come together in one cohesive beautiful dessert. No small feat.

Lets take the Chocolate Caramel Tropical Fruit Entremet for example (the top left and the bottom right photo above). The base of this cake is a coconut biscuit daquoise cake that is then topped with caramel milk chocolate Bavarian Cream, homemade pineapple compote, a chocolate génoise cake, then a layer of passion fruit Bavarian cream. You surround the whole thing with a light, egg-foam cake that is baked over a yellow pâte à cornet pattern (yes, you make that too…it’s like a cookie batter) and then you flood the top with a chocolate ganache and decorate it.

Culinary School Update Part 3 :  Caramel Milk Chocolate Tropical Fruit Entremet Cake

Oh and there is gold leaf, because it just wouldn’t be complete without some bling.

And that is why these types of cakes cost $20 a slice. It’s a lotta work peeps.

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Gift Box Cake & Kugelhophf

We learned how to make, color and cover cakes with fondant…

Culinary School Update Part 3 :  Chocolate Caramel Roulade Cake

And fondipan (a mixture of fondant and marzipan)

And we wrote Happy Birthday…a lot.

Culinary School Update Part 3 :  Chocolate Caramel Roulade Cake

There still was barely enough time to complete the complicated assembled cakes like the Chocolate Caramel Roulade Cake above, but then you had less that 20 minutes to decorate it.

What can you do in 20 minutes?

Culinary School Update Part 3 : Carrot Cake

Last but not least there is the carrot cake that my husband and I loved so much, I made them into carrot cake cupcakes.

These are the moistest, most delicious Carrot Cake Cupcakes | A recipe I learned in culinary school that my husband said were the best ever!

This next definition is for all my friends and food recipients who expected tiny cakes when I promised them Petits Fours. Petits Fours are basically anything you can eat in 1 or 2 bites.

So macarons? Petits Fours.

Gougères? Petits Fours.

Marshmallows? Petits Fours.

Culinary School Update Part 3 :  Petits Fours

Some of these little guys were so intricate I wouldn’t even want to imagine making 40, not to mention 1000, for a party. Like those little boat shaped ones on the far left of the tray above…

Chestnut Barquettes. You fill a tiny little mold with pate sucrée and pipe in a miniscule amount of classic almond cream, then you bake it. Next you fill them with chestnut cream and shape them with an offset spatula so they have that beautifully tapered shape. And then, because all that isn’t enough work, you dip them into a chocolate glaze being super careful not to get any glaze on the pie crust.

I know. The French.


Culinary School Update Part 3 : Petits Four Tray 2

For a week I had petits fours coming out of my ears. More than I can even show you here. More than could fit on the trays. I can’t even with the petits fours.

This is where I leave you. There is so much more to show you, but I am sure I have outlasted your attention span, and I have most certainly outlasted my own!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more pictures of what I make each day and the sweet treats and savory goodness that I try in NYC!

You can also, if you just haven’t had enough, read my First and Second Culinary School Updates!

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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  1. These are truly inspiring and very helpful to our culinary students as well. I am looking forward for more such well informative articles in future too.

    1. That’s so wonderful to hear!!! Best of luck as they brave culinary school, I know they can do it. ????

  2. Oh my gosh those carrot cake cupcakes look too irresistibly cute (and tasty)! I’m so glad you have a recipe on them because I will definitely try it out. I have never experimented with marzipan before though, so I guess I’ll have to pipe out those carrots. ):

    1. They are so good, Joyce! Everyone who tries this recipe in either cupcake or cake form LOVES it! Marzipan comes in blocks or bars and you can work with marzipan almost like fondant. You can roll it and shape it but it isn’t thin enough to pipe it. I’ll put that on my list for video tutorials! It is super fun (and delicious)!

  3. Hi LIndsey, Glad to see you doing so well. I have been so busy and buried with weddings that I stopped reading your blog for a while. Wow!! I was missing out!! So many doors are now open to you!! Actually I am cruising your blog because I have made 3 of your recipes this week – the Rosemary Chicken, the salad that accompanies it the second day, and your Quinoa Roasted Veg Chopped salad tonight. This last one was a total wow! We loved it, and I have sent the recipe along to all 3 of my cooking children. I have to say…. way better than Crushed Red.

    I still owe you guys a wedding album, so if you have an hour to spare next time you come to town, I will help you narrow your choices down. Or you can do it yourself on my website where there is still the gallery of your choices. Let me know, and BEST WISHES!!

    1. It is full blown wedding season, so I can only imagine how busy you are!!! It makes me immeasurably happy to hear that you are still making some of my favorite dishes!!! Love that quinoa salad. love it. I’ll definitely talk to you soon about the wedding album. Good luck with all the weddings!

  4. Loved reading this post! What an adventure you had. Can’t wait to see what is next for you in your world of baking. Did you start your externship yet? How is that going and did it influence what you will do next?