Note: if you have a FetLife account – and if you’re spending this much time reading my web site, it’s a good chance you should – you can read the original version of this here: https://fetlife.com/users/13913/posts/451108, along with the nearly 200 comments which suss out some more, also occasionally important, details.
A little while ago, I added “Bakery (receiving)” to my list of fetishes, and since then, I’ve been asked about it more than once (never a bad thing, discussing bakery), and even been offered bakery items as a gift before a scene, which I think is outstanding.
But there are some things that I feel people should know about Bakery, because let’s face it, there are some things in life that are serious, and Bakery is one of them. This is important stuff, people.
Therefore, I give you the Official Roughinamorato Baked Goods Guidelines (feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions; if they differ from mine you’re simply wrong):
Don’t foof it up. Bakery is a simple, basic delight. A chocolate chip cookie, well made, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. (Getting blown while eating it does take it up a notch, but that’s another thing). Making a chocolate chip cookie fancier or more complicated does not necessarily improve it.
Nuts and other hard things are interruptive to the texture of baked goods, and are an abomination.
Coconut tops from the bottom (I prefer to be the one to decide when I’m done chewing something, but coconut has other ideas) and shall not be tolerated, and is therefore likewise banished.
Oatmeal is a close cousin to coconut.
Chocolate is the food of the gods. However, there are some very tricky areas where chocolate chips, though delicious and made of chocolate, can fall into the interruptus texturus or even the rare chocolate inappropriatus categories. Chocolate chip pancakes, while not technically baked goods, are an example. Chocolate chips in bread would just be fucking weird – with the exception of a chocolate bread as Red Hen makes, which is mind-blowingly good.
Caramel is fine for candy, and it’s fine on its own (I tend to opt away from caramel, but that’s just personal taste). But for the love of all that’s holy, where does it make sense to you that if you’re making chocolate… anything, really… that you should add caramel and it’d get better? How about you add some guava too? Maybe some sawdust and raw pork? What the fuck is with people thinking more flavors make something better?
Try it this way: each of your flavors should stand on their own. Be brave, little pilgrim. Make a chocolate that is the best goddamned chocolate in the world, that stands up and says, “this, motherfuckers, is how chocolate should taste.” Don’t add marshmallows and maraschino cherries and roadkill and goddamned caramel to it. Let it be. If your chocolate isn’t good enough to stand on its own, maybe that’s where you need to look first. If it is, let it.
Brownies should be heavy and moist, with just a little bit of crunch to the top layer. Powder sugar is acceptable, but shouldn’t be needed. Putting nuts in brownies is like taking a shit in goulash: it’s possible nobody will know it’s there until it’s too late, and then they’ll hate you with an abiding passion for tricking them in such a way and ruining the brownie/goulash (depending on which way you were running that sentence in your own mind). Chocolate chips can work well, particularly if they’re soft. Brownies should not be served cold.
Frosting on brownies is a bonus.
Caramel is not (see above).
White chocolate is a lie. There is no chocolate in white chocolate. It’s just creamy fat. There is no redeeming feature to white chocolate unless you’re making props for a zombie movie and you need a material to make the edible bones out of, to go inside the edible arms that the zombies will eat on camera. That is the sole acceptable use of white chocolate.
This is an edit. I had (gasp!) initially written ganache (which is good) when what I really meant was fondant (which is vile – see below). Blame the French. The English do.
Fondant in all its forms is the work of the devil. Fondant, no matter how much they insist it is, is not frosting. Fondant is to frosting what cinder blocks are to a corned beef sandwich, and I don’t even like corned beef. Fondant should be consigned to sculpture, museum pieces, and repairing stucco ceilings – not things mean to be eaten.
(with thanks to @Peapod888 for reminding me)
Fruit in bakery, such as cake, is for cowards. Fruit belongs in pies, some bread products, Danish, and certain German bakery items. There is, however, zero excuse for “just a nice layer of raspberry” or any other such bullshit when it comes to cake. Cake should have two ingredients: cake, and frosting. Period. End of discussion. Decoration? Sure. That should be made of frosting. In between layers? Absolutely: frosting.
Fruit (exceptions): Raisins and Blueberries; Craisins; Cherries
(with thanks to @Vesper for reminding me)
Raisins are a special case. They belong in cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls, cinnamon raisin bread (can you tell), and a variety of other similar baked goods. Those who know what they are doing may – may – be able to navigate the very difficult balance of putting raisins in chocolate chip cookies. If you’re not sure, you’re not qualified, so don’t try it.
Blueberries have a much narrower allowable use, in blueberry muffins. Don’t get ahead of yourselves on this though; that’s it.
[edit 1]: Craisins have a similar narrow but acceptable use case for some bread items (perhaps muffins). Again: tread lightly.
[edit 2]: @CaraMea was able to remind me (by baking such a beast for me) that in some situations, chocolate cake can coexist with cherries.
Now don’t go crazy.
There are limits. No goo. No froth, no gel, no flavored viscous slime between layers joyously proclaiming how you’ve gone found a loophole and ruined a perfectly good cake. I’m talking about flavoring (perhaps from a liqueur?), and perhaps some actual cherries (for the love of god and all that’s holy, make sure they’re all actually successfully pitted…). But it can be done.
Going Crazy With Cake (it’s fucking cake, asshole)
Cakes should also not have a crazy 17-flavor theme to them. Pick a flavor and have the intestinal fortitude to stick with it. You’re doing a chocolate cake? How hard to you have to get hit in the head to think a layer of cheesecake would somehow improve things? Maybe if your chocolate cake sucks and you need to hide it, sure, but that really just takes us back to the basic elements and how you need to improve on your basics. If you can’t hammer a rivet, don’t try to build the Eiffel Tower. Walk before you run. Make sure your pieces stand by themselves.
Jesus, I shouldn’t need to tell people these things.
Biscotti, Scones, and Other Things Made Out Of Cardboard
I don’t know where this notion of “if it’s dry and primarily devoid of flavor, that means it’s elegant or sophisticated” came from, but it’s utter bullshit (see “Foof,” above). Mandel Bread falls into this category. Someone says “ooh, I have a sweet treat for you!” and then trots out a tray full of clattering hooves sliced into finger-size sections. What? Are you fucking kidding me?
Look, if you fucked up, and burned what you were baking, just man up and admit it. If you left it out on the counter for a few weeks and re-baked it, it’s still not going to work. Stale is stale, burned is burned, dry is dry. My mouth should be happy after bakery. It shouldn’t feel like an afternoon in the Sahara.
There is a special place in hell for the person who made this and then attributed the word “pie” to it. You want to make a tray of dead cockroaches, glaze them, and serve them up to people? Great, just leave me out. You want to serve it in a round tray? Knock yourself out, just stay away from my dishes, because that’s disgusting. Calling it pie? Why do you have to go and ruin pie? Did I come and take a shit in your wife’s gaping vagina just before you fucked her? No. No I did not. So why are you trying to ruin the good name of pie?
For those who like pecan pie: as an exercise, next time you see one, imagine that it’s moving, just a little bit – like a couple of the cockroaches are still alive. Now try to eat the monstrosity before you. Feel that crunch? Yup. Legs.
Kringle (a kind of a large ring-shaped Danish native to SouthEastern Wisconsin) is good.
But only those kinds that adhere to the rules in general. Cherry kringle is very good; cheese kringle is a trailing second. Sliced almonds on a kringle… have you not been paying attention?