…excellent pastry could only be done with the best ingredients. Butter, sugar, chocolate, flour, almonds … I have always chosen the ultimate products, without ever making the slightest concession on quality, at a time when we did not hesitate to replace butter with margarine.
—Gaston Lenôtre (source)
My philosophy on baking (ironically perhaps) resembles a cake. There are three tiers, with each building upon each other.
The First Tier—Foundation
My philosophy on baking starts with my family. My grandfather taught me the importance of fresh ingredients, my grandmother taught me how to follow my taste buds, and my mother taught me how to decorate cakes. A voracious appetite for cooking and baking shows continued pushing me forward with my craft as loved ones passed on.
The Second Tier—Quality
Dedication to the best quality ingredients is the base of everything I make. I am very proud of the fact that nothing coming from my kitchen is boxed, pre-mixed*. My ingredients are organic and fair trade whenever possible.
The Third Tier—Handmade Intentionally
I intentionally use a smaller mixer, so cake batters and doughs are prepared immediately before baking. Refrigerating or freezing large batch-made product is simply not an option. I hand roll the doughs I use for bread and other yeasted products. Sure, this means it takes more time, but it also means that each and every product I make proudly bears a label stating, “This handmade treat came from Stacey’s Custom Cakes”.
* Unfortunately, it is a reality that some artificial things sneak into the confections. An example is vanillin, a substitute for vanilla extract, is used to ensure pure white buttercreams stay pure white and do not take on a sickly tan shade. Another example is the edible prints use FDA approved ingredients. Your safety is always my first concern, and I will always take precautions if you have allergies or religious dietary restrictions you observe.