Bake it till you make it : What the fudge is a travel cake? A well traveled cake.

We started to actually bake. And even though I heard and read a plenty, I had no clue what the travel cakes module refers to. Thru all my gawking years at Youtube video, Instagram tv, scrolling the pages of the internet or flipping thru the pages of cookbooks, I’d never come across this term. Until this moment. So obviously I did what any person does now: consulted Google.

Turns out I’ve made these cakes before, these travel cakes. I just didn’t know they can travel🤣 . Lol! Travel cakes, or gâteaux de voyage, are cakes based on a sturdy, rather compact type of batter. They are neither light nor airy. These cakes can be packed easily and taken with you on your travels. They rather enjoy it😋. They are also characterized by the lack of fillings.

Some examples, please.

Some examples of such cakes are pound cakes, marble cakes, chocolate chip cookies or any cookies, brownies, madeleines, financier, muffins etc.

The modern gâteau de voyage

But since the pastry industry is ever evolving and pastry chefs are some of the most creative and ambitious people, so are some of the gâteaux de voyage. There are amazing, mesmerizing, complex and mouth watering creations out there that have taken the simple pound cake to a whole new level. Could it still travel light, without that extra luggage of cream, ganache and decoration ? No. Do we care enough to comment on such technicalities when you can see something so inviting? Or better yet, when you can actually smell and taste one ? Nope.

Here are some examples that I found😊.

Pistachio Praline Cake

Pecano Cake

Pierre Hermé Pound Cakes

OK, Lia. And how was the class ?

During class, we made two versions of a pound cake, two of brownies, cookies 🍪 and madeleines. We work in pairs, so my colleague and I got to work on one pound cake, a cookie recipe and one of the brownie batter. It was surprising to see how the steps were a bit different than my usual brownie recipe and better yet, my colleague did some interesting things with his recipe, that I plan on trying. Also got to use some new ingredients, such as trimoline ( invert sugar ) or praline paste. I’ve always assumed pralines are a type of chocolate bonbons, but they are a totally different thing. It’s a mixture made from 50 or 70% nuts🌰 plus caramel, blitzed until it becomes this wonderful flavored paste. When it’s 100% nuts, no added sugar, it’s a nut paste. For example, a natural peanut butter is what we would call 100% peanuts paste.

After preparing everything, we display everything, take pictures, wonder at all the marvelous and delicious things we’ve made in a few hours and then we all take some doggy bags. We now already know that as pretty as they look in the moment, that is NOT how they end up at home, after we squash everything in lunch boxes and they travel.

At the end of each class, we have an insane amount of dishes to do. Huge baking trays, spatulas, baking tins, bowls, silicon mats, more bowls, more spatulas and those micro-perforated trays that are impossible to wash without taking a shower yourself. And while some are on dishes duty, others needs to wipe clean every surface of the lab: the freezers, fridges, islands, mini stoves, Kitchen Aids, scales, floor. It’s a whole hour of people running around and scrubbing or packing things away😣.

But when I get home, my back aching, unpack my uniform ( which still smells of vanilla and chocolate) and I enjoy a piece of cake in the quiet of my kitchen and think of all the new things I’ve learned ….it’s so worth it and amazing. And I can see how important it is to learn and do what you love. I used to feel bad during my studies. I was mostly quiet, not interacting with teachers or asking too many questions, trying not to be noticed. Now I try to get involved when they ask who wants to try this technique and my hand bursts into air. I no longer avoid asking questions when something is unclear or I want more details.

If you know there is something you love doing or have the sightless curiosity on a subject, do it. Don’t wonder if you can, just go for it.

Next module is all about meringue and the dreaded, but all so admired and loved, MACARONS 😊😅.

If you want to keep up with my pastry school shenanigans or home experiments, follow my blog and social media (FBIG) for future posts. The fun part is just ahead. Likewise, you can hit me up with a comment or message or even a virtual coffee date. I’m a big fan of those since the pandemic. Also, if you happen to live in Bucharest, you can help me with my homework.

Featured Image Credit: @SilviuPhotoShop

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