A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a really fun private cooking class in my home with Pastry Chef, Clemence Gossett, owner of Gourmandise Desserts. So what were we cooking up? Well, cupcakes of course, specifically two kinds: chocolate and vanilla bean.
Before we even started, we were all given the recipe cards so that we could follow along, then we started putting together the ingredients for the chocolate cupcake. Egg whites were cracked into the bowl with flour, sugar, other ingredients and finally the melted chocolate was added later. Once the batter was mixed, portioned scoops were used to pour them into the cupcake liners.
What was nice is that everyone participated in some form or the other, whether it was cutting the butter or melting the chocolate or putting the cupcake tin inside the oven.
While the first batch of chocolate cupcakes were baking, we started in on the vanilla bean cupcakes. Again, everyone had a chance to be hands on throughout the class. Who wouldn't want to be part of the action, especially if you can sneak a finger in the bowl for a lick. Yum!
As both cupcakes were in turn baking and cooling, Chef Gossett showed us how to make a chocolate ganache, which serves as the filling for the cupcake. The ingredients were quite simple, just cream and chocolate shavings. When mixing the ganache, we were told to stir at a slow pace so that we get a smooth consistency. Air bubbles were a big no-no.
Once the cupcakes were cooled enough, the next step was to scoop out some of the cupcake middle so that you can spoon in the ganache inside the cupcake. If you want to put other things with the ganache like cut fruit or candy or nuts, that was the time to do it. As soon as we were done with our task, we learned how to frost the cupcakes using a piper with a delicious Italian meringue.
Throughout the whole 3 hours, Chef Gossett shared a lot of tips with us like the importance of putting a cookie sheet tray under your cupcake tin while it's baking so that the bottoms of your cupcakes won't burn or if your cake recipe comes out too dry, it's okay to add an extra egg yolk next time for moisture.
I also appreciated how patience she was with all of us, even when we peppered her with a lot of questions. She answered them all with a smile. I also have to say that the chocolate cupcakes we made were so moist and delicious, that they were almost sinful.
Along with her cupcake baking classes, other classes she does include cake baking and decorating, making gingerbread houses, learning how to make homemade marshmallows, caramels and funnel cakes and so much more. Along with private classes, she also teaches at Chefmakers.
Overall, the class was a great experience. Everyone who attended really enjoyed themselves and of course, being able to bring home cupcakes that we frosted ourselves is a pretty cool achievement. I would definitely host another class with her.
As a side note, Gourmandise Desserts used to sell pastries to a variety of restaurants; however, Chef Gossett is no longer doing that. Instead, she's concentrating strictly on teaching, although she'll occasionally will do a special cake or dessert if asked.
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