When my 10-year-old daughter is allowed to have television time, we have found her watching cooking shows many times during the coronavirus lockdown. “Cake Wars,” “Kids Baking Championship,” “Sugar Rush,” “Zumbo’s Just Desserts” and “Nailed It!” are a few of her favorites.
We even drove to Brunswick to go to The Hive Bakeshop—great customer service and cupcakes, by the way—because the owners were contestants on “Sugar Rush” and she wanted to meet them.
While she watches a bunch of baking shows, she doesn’t get to cook all that much due to school and other extracurricular activities. My husband has a degree from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and bakes occasionally, but he has always said pastries were not his strong area. I never really cook. I am more of a put water in a pot to boil and dump pasta in kind of chef. The microwave and oven are my friends. I can open a frozen pizza box like a champ!
However, when my daughter was recently watching a holiday baking championship show, I realized that I wanted her to have the opportunity to participate and not just watch it. I thought it would be great to make a dessert from scratch rather than from a box, which is what we usually do when baking.
As a way to do something different during this never-ending pandemic, I looked up The Kitchen Studio Cooking School. The Frederick-based, locally-owned business traditionally hosts classes on a variety of culinary topics, including sushi, ramen at home, Maryland surf and turf, crêpes and croissants.
A few days out from my search, the school was hosting a virtual class over Zoom called “Falling for Cupcakes.” I decided to sign us up. We only had to pay per device, which is nice because my mom was visiting that weekend and she could participate with us. It was five people for the price of one device.
The day before the event, my kids and I went to Wegmans to get all of the ingredients for the two recipes we would be baking—chocolate pumpkin cupcakes with hazelnut cream cheese frosting and maple snickerdoodle cupcakes. The nice part is that all the stuff we would be using could work for other cooking activities too, so less grocery shopping in the future is always a win.
Our instructor was very knowledgeable and provided a lot of good tips throughout the 1 1/2-hour session. For years, I have always used a metal knife to test whether a dessert was done while in the oven, but apparently a wooden toothpick is best as the crumbs and batter stick to it better. Eggs can be kept well past their expiration date if you put them in a food-safe lime solution—#TheMoreYouKnow.
Preparation is one area where I made an error. Before the start of class, the school asks participants to have all their ingredients measured and ready to go. This approach allows folks the opportunity to focus on cooking while in class. I got all the ingredients out but ran out of time before class started to measure them. The school also asked participants to print out the recipes, which I forgot to do, so it was a bit chaotic and it was all my fault. (Kids—this is why you should listen to your teachers!) If you are thinking about taking a class, make sure you prepare ahead of time. It will definitely make things go much smoother.
Overall, we really enjoyed our experience in the class. My daughter felt like some of the bakers she watches on television, so that was good. The cupcake recipes we made were delicious, and my mouth is honestly watering right now just thinking about them.
If you are looking for a new way to bake or cook, consider taking a virtual class this holiday season. Just make sure you prep your ingredients ahead of time!