There was a Covid outbreak at my school last week. The principal told me that since contact tracing had put me in close proximity with someone who had fallen sick, I would now have to self quarantine until I could produce a negative Covid test. Given how infection rates have soared in my local area, three days passed before I could get a test. I wasn’t able to return to work until last Thursday and this involuntary absence disrupted my plans to teach my Culinary I students how to produce a chocolate cream cheese pie. I was also supposed to have worked with my advanced students on the production of crêpes sauce chocolat, crepes with chocolate sauce.
Since it took me three days to produce a negative Covid test, I used this time to begin setting up my store’s inventory. Since I live in Nevada, I have access to a free on-line retail platform called Shop Made in Nevada. This site was launched in 2020 by the Nevada SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and it’s free for all Nevada based businesses whose products are primarily made within this state. Pictured below is a partial listing of my inventory. My store, which is not yet operational may be found by clicking this link. I have also added a link to the Tasty-Candles store on the home page of this blog.
While I was setting up this inventory, I watched an episode of Britain’s Best Bakery. In season 1, episode 4, “The Genoa Cherry Challenge,” the program’s judges, Mich Turner and Peter Sidwell traveled to the Southeastern part of England to judge three bakeries. In the first round, each bakery was evaluated on the basis of the eye appeal of their products and the knowledge of their staff. In round two, each bakery presented the judges with a signature product that best represented their business. The final round was a Genoa cherry cake challenge. Each bakery had to produce their take of this recipe.
If you google Genoa cherry cakes, you’ll find all sorts of variations. Some add nuts, currants, or raisins to the batter. Others may include a chocolate mousse filling or an almond paste. Some are dusted with powdered sugar while others are topped with an icing glaze. Regardless of these variations all of these cakes always have cherries mixed throughout the cake. These cherries could be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. Some recipes may even call for the use of cherry jam or Kirsch, a colorless double distilled brandy made from morello cherries.
Inspired by the Genoa cherry challenge, I produced these cherry cake candles which will be added to the Tasty-Candles inventory after they’ve had time to cure. Each candle features a sponge cake coated with a vanilla icing and topped with candied cherries, cherry jam, and a large cherry centerpiece. The cake smells like vanilla sponge cake and sweet cherries.
To simulate the cherry filling, I dabbed spots of cherry filling inside a silicone cake mold. This filling was made using a medium density candle gel that was mixed with red dye and a cherry candle oil fragrance. After the gel had set, I poured in the wax for the sponge cake to create the body of this candle.
Undyed candle wax scented with a vanilla fragrance was brushed onto each cake. The cherry center piece was then added along with eight cherry halves. After the vanilla scented wax had dried, I filled the inner circle formed by the cherries with a simulated jam made from medium density candle gel. Additional gel was poured over the cherry center piece while clear gel was brushed over the smaller pieces.
I was quite pleased with the first production run of eight candles. They were not difficult to make. They smell great and are aesthetically pleasing. I particularly like the brightness of the cherries and the contrast between the red fruit, the white icing, and the yellow cake. The large cherry also adds vertical height to this candle.
Edit: I forgot to mention in the original post that after returning to school I found that one of my classes was hit hard by this outbreak. 2/3rds of one class were absent and are either sick or in Covid quarantine until they can produce a negative Covid test.
It’s fortunate that we have a district wide mask mandate. As bad as things are, I can only imagine how much worse things might have been if we weren’t wearing masks.