Wholesale Dessert Manufacturing and Design
Here are some photos of the desserts that I designed and/or manufactured while working in wholesale bakeries.
Chocolate Pecan Mousse Tortes
These tortes were made from two layers of crunchy pecan cake with a thick layer of chocolate mousse in between. They were enrobed with chocolate glaze and garnished on the sides with chopped pecans. On top, they were piped with a ring of buttercream frosting rosettes decorated with chocolate espresso beans. Here is a photo of me wearing a chocolate-covered apron after a few rounds of decorating this kind of cake.
Lemon Mousse Cakes
My recipes and techniques for crisp finishes
Smooth Buttercream Cake Frosting
Cranberry Champagne Cheesecakes
These cheesecakes were wrapped with red ribbon and rimmed with piped buttercream frosting. A generous mound of cranberries cooked in champagne and sugar was then piled in the center. It was the middle of the night when I took this photo, after a long day of production.
White Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cakes
These heart-shaped mousse cakes studded with whole raspberries were covered with a layer of white chocolate ganache then decorated with molded white chocolate hearts on a bed of white chocolate shavings.
Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes
These heart-shaped cheesecakes were studded on the inside with whole sour cherries. The crust made as per a traditional cheesecake crust except instead of crushed cookies, we used cake sand, i.e. repurposed cake tops that were toasted until dry and ground fine. It’s a bakery trick that I discuss more extensively here: What To Do With Leftover Cake. I share production tips and tricks on how to bake in high volume using these heart cakes in the following video: Valentine’s Inspiration 2 – Bakery Tricks.
Flourless Chocolate Heart Cakes
These flourless chocolate heart-shaped cakes were enrobed in chocolate glaze and garnished around the base with chocolate vermicelli. The tops were inlaid with an arc of piped white chocolate dots that were pulled by the tip of a toothpick into a heart vine pattern.
Flourless Chocolate Decadence Cakes
These flourless chocolate cakes were enrobed in chocolate glaze, garnished around the sides with chocolate vermicelli and decorated with a piped white chocolate geometric design. At the bakery where this cake was the best-seller, I first learned how to Pipe Chocolate with Paper Cones. At first, I was terrible at it but the high production volume provided ample opportunity for me to practice. Day after day, week after week, with lots of repetition, I grew to be proficient at this task.
Get the Chocolate Glaze Recipe
Halloween Spider Cakes
These Halloween spider cakes were enrobed in chocolate glaze and garnished around the sides with red velvet cake sand. The tops were inlaid with rings of piped white chocolate that were pulled by the tip of a toothpick into a spider web design. This was done while the glaze was still wet, within a minute after it was poured on the cake. The spider in the middle was made of a chocolate disc with two white chocolate piped eyeballs. The cakes to the left of the spiders were called Chocolate Siren cakes. They were enrobed in chocolate ganache, finished on the sides with chocolate cake sand, and decorated on top with a piped chocolate “S” studded with three piped ganache flower buds.
Banana Walnut Bread Loaves
At one particular bakery where I worked, we manufactured a variety of sweet loaves referred to as “teabreads.” Banana Walnut was my favorite flavor. It was also one of our best sellers. To make one big batch, at least a week of preparation was involved in waiting for two whole cases of bananas to reach the perfect ripeness for optimal flavor.
Bird’s Nest Cupcakes
These bird’s nest style cupcakes were first dipped in glaze then topped with a swirl of chocolate buttercream using a grass piping tip. Jordan almonds nest like eggs within the swirl.
All of the cupcake and sandwich cake designs shown here are from the archives of my product development portfolio of failed ideas. At one of the baking factories where my job was to design and invent dessert, these were considered too labor-intensive for the production line. So they died. Nevertheless, they live on in photos.
Individual Boston Cream Pies
These individual Boston Cream Pie Cakes are made from two layers of vanilla sponge sandwiching vanilla buttercream filling. The filling and sides are protected by a ring of acetate. The tops are coated with a thick layer of chocolate ganache plus one maraschino cherry.
These spring daffodil cupcakes were first dipped in vanilla glaze then decorated with a yellow ring of piped flower petals. The orange centers were achieved using a round tip piped in the shape of a spring.
Strawberries & Cream Cakes
These strawberries & cream sandwich cakes got saturated with juices from the fresh-cut berries. They were topped with poured fondant glaze and whole strawberries brushed with apricot glaze.
Triple Chocolate Sandwich Cakes
These triple chocolate sandwich cakes were enrobed in chocolate ganache, sprinkled with chocolate microchips, decorated with a dollop of chocolate buttercream accented with a piped chocolate design.
Orange Chiffon Cupcakes
These orange chiffon cupcakes were decorated with a two-toned buttercream swirl. The flowers on top were edible. I did not make or design the flowers. We just happened to have a lot of them in inventory and were trying to create a product that would use them up. This was one of my ideas.
Red Velvet Cake Bundt Cake with Crumb Topping
When I worked as a product developer at a baking factory where the main product was bundt cakes, I presented the idea of cake sand as a decoration that doubles as a way to repurpose leftover cake and it was used to top cakes that were distributed to wholesale clubs and supermarkets all over the continent.
From 2007-2008, I was the pastry chef in charge of producing two Trader Joe’s tarts including this French-inspired Tarte Tatin baked in a balsa wood ring. Both desserts were distributed all over New England. Keeping up with production, staffing the operation (which continued around the clock) and increasing efficiency were all challenging tasks. I learned a lot from the experience.
Assorted Mini Pastries
One of the wholesale bakeries where I worked also included a catering company as one of its subsidiaries. From that arm of the business, we received all different sized orders for petit fours. Here is one such order.
My favorite part about manufacturing these peppermint patty brownies in high volume was the whole cases of candy, which we bought, froze then cut into pieces and inserted into our mouths.
Otherwise known as the “Leopard Crisp,” the “Congo Bar” or the “Kitchen Sink Bar,” these yummy treats started out with a graham cracker crust loaded with mini chocolate chips, mini butterscotch chips, walnut granules and shredded coconut, all glued together by sweetened condensed milk, which caramelized in the oven. The edges came out looking so messy that we trimmed them off. Those trimmings didn’t go in the trash though. They were my own secret snacks.
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