I decided to review this class on Decadent Chocolate Cakes because it's holiday baking time, and because people need to put the cake mix boxes down and learn how to bake a cake from scratch, for pete's sake. If you need a baking refresher, or you just need to learn how to bake a cake without Betty Crocker helping you, this class is for you.
The instructor for the class is Alice Medrich, who has written multiple cookbooks on the topic of desserts and chocolate, and who has been given numerous awards as well. So she knows what she's doing.
The benefit of this class is that it goes over everything instead of just telling you to do it. So when she says fold the egg whites, she shows you how to do that. When she says mix the wet and dry ingredients, you see how to do that the right way. Yes, there is a right way.
There's also a segment about making chocolate fans, so for people who already know how to bake, there's enough info there to learn something. The sections on chocolate itself are informational, and would be good for people who aren't familiar with tempering and melting chocolate to learn from.
The class provides recipes and shows the techniques to make three different cakes, the Queen of Sheba, a Chocolate Raspberry Ruffle cake, and the "Ultimate Birthday Cake." That would be devil's food, apparently. The raspberry cake involves a chocolate genoise, so she goes through the process of making a genoise. Which is a good thing to know. For anyone who wants to call themselves a baker.
The Queen of Sheba also involves a glaze, so there's a section on making a ganache and glazing the cake with it, then using white chocolate to decorate it.
The final review:
Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate
Equipment you have to have:
Sleep-inducing level: Not so bad, but looking at chocolate keeps me alert.
What it assumes you already know: Not very much, it's pretty thorough with the step-by-step.
Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: Not much
Annoying Host Habits: Not a lot, she's very comfortable
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: For a beginning scratch baker this would be a wealth of information. For someone who knows how to bake but isn't really familiar with "chocolate theory" it would also be good. If you're an experienced baker and chocolatier, you won't get much out of it.
Go here for the class: Decadent Chocolate Cakes
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and is a Craftsy affiliate.