That's right, when you're in the area of Northeastern Ohio that was once part of Connecticut. The occasion was my umpteenth visit to the Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson, Ohio where I first taught in the fall of 1985. Opened by my dear friend Zona Spray almost 40 years ago, the school is continuing to thrive under the leadership of the present owner, Catherine St. John. What a pleasure it was - everything was clean, organized, and I had the best food and equipment to work with. Class assistants Kelly and Devin were so helpful at a certain point I felt as though they had really done all the work while stood around and talked! Hudson, by the way, is a picture postcard perfect New England-style village with a green running down the center of the town, a white-steepled church, and quaint shops like the cooking school lining, you guessed it, Main Street. The leaves were just starting to turn in patches of brilliant color - in a week or so they'll be splendid.
I taught 2 classes, the first an overview of techniques and recipes from BAKE!, the second a new class I call Spectacular Chocolate Cakes - it's mostly new recipes for my favorite kind of dessert. In the photo I'm finishing off a Russian Punch Cake on page 165 of BAKE! It's a superb Viennese cake that's made from light sponge cake layers moistened with a rum syrup and filled with a rich pastry cream. The outside is a fantasy of a special Viennese meringue frosting that has both granulated and
confectioners' sugar in it. It's a bit of work, but you can prepare all the elements of the cake over several days before you assemble and finish it. It's one of my favorite recipes in BAKE! and I know you'll love it too.