Bakers take the cake at cooking demo
COOKIES, cupcakes, and edible sparkles were some of the sweet highlights of a Christmas-themed young ones' cooking class at Lismore's Peppertree Kitchen.
While rain battered the streets outside, the tween-aged bakers were discovering the age-old secrets of egg white and sugar.
Any cook worth their salt knows mixing these two ingredients makes meringue, but in the humid weather of our region, the old-fashioned way just wouldn't do.
The sugar absorbs moisture in the air and the meringue softens and deflates.
That's why instructor and professional food stylist Sarah De Nardi taught the aspiring chefs how to make a Swiss-style meringue butter cream.
The Swiss version, bless their ingenuity, gently heats unbeaten egg white over the stove before slowly adding sugar and beating to create perfect stiff peaks.
All that work was just the topping on a classic lemon cupcake, which also included a generous injection of lemon curd into the middle of the cake, and a blowtorching for good measure.
Other treats on the menu included sugar cookies with edible glitter and strawberry surprise cupcakes.
"For them it's about learning about timing and sequence," Ms De Nardi said of baking's golden rules.
"I'm always bringing them back to the recipes. In order to achieve the best outcome they have to follow a set of rules - although sometime rules can be broken."
Tahlia Gibbes, 11, ditched her sugar cookie stencils in favour of "free-handing" a butterfly and a festive house.
"It's all about experimentation for me," she said proudly.
Another hungry baker, Grace Hine, also 11, was predicting her creations would not survive until dinner, let alone Christmas.
"They'll be gone by this afternoon," she declared.
Others, like Madelene Barnsley, 9, were sticklers for the recipe book, displaying a perfect tray of sugar cookies stencilled into Christmas trees, bon bons and other festive shapes.
"The best part is at the end of the day they have fun and create something," said Ms De Nardi.
"They're always really proud of themselves."