all done, now what?

last wednesday, the first day of the photo shoot, i honestly thought it would never end. we needed to get about 70 different shots. this was just of the desserts mind you. after working two 14 hour days followed by a 17 hour day, i was convinced that i would meet my end. move forward to this week and things changed. we hit a groove, so to speak, and things progressed quickly and before i knew it, i was hugging karen and wishing her well-we were done!
since things went so quickly, i didn’t take many photos. these are the black bottom cupcakes that didn’t get made yesterday (day 5) . these things are addictive; i have family members who do not ask me how i am when we speak and instead ask me when i am sending them black bottoms. they consist of a black-deep, dark chocolate cake topped with chocolate chip cheesecake.
for the cupcake shot, we also needed some strawberry cupcakes. if you have read my last book, you may recall that i have a strawberry cake in that book too. after moving to the south i encountered this popular cake and this is my spin on it. karen and i put our thoughts together and decided to build a tower out of cake stands and cover it with the two batches of cupcakes.
here we are once again, outside baking in the heat-literally. the cupcakes lasted long enough to be photographed and then they were done too.
after this we took a lunch break and then we set up the final shot, cleaned up the mess and headed out in different directions. karen to new york, dave to east nashville and myself, back in the cafe to get ready for the next day-my first day back after the book was completed.
so, what’s next for me you ask. how about i clean the house, pay some bills and tackle the repairs of our flood damaged home. and in there somewhere, there will be bread-crusty, chewy sourdough bread. i can hear the starter calling my name…

five down, one to go

today was one of the shorter days for me-only 11 hours. things went kinda sorta smoother. well, maybe they did. i had a hiccup in the baking and did not get the two different cupcakes baked but we went ahead and shot the chocolate bread pudding which wasn’t on the shot list for today.

these are the lady lemon bars. it was decided to have round tartlettes rather than ordinary squares so we could have more variety in the photos. each one is topped with a fresh blackberry.

the lady lemon bars were shot with the strawberry jam bars outside (in the walk-in oven) in front of curious heart. there is a nice white bench in front of the shop and karen used it in several shots.
back inside the barn, we moved on to the tipsy cakes. remember that hiccup i mentioned? well, somebody left the chocolate tipsy cakes at home in her fridge and had to bake another batch…wonder who that could have been?
karen staged this and shot it over head. the results were fabulous!
so, how does one get such perfect slices? cut up previously baked and cold cake, that’s how!
here are the trimmings from strawberry jam bars and tipsy cakes. they almost look good enough to photograph. don’t you just love the crumpled paper towels and parchment-they truly make the shot…

day four and counting

it was monday and day four of the shoot and there is not a word in the english language that can describe how hot it was. do you remember the scene from the end of the wizard of oz when the wicked witch gets wet? she slowly shrinks down while saying “i’m melting”. we dripped, we drooped and we swatted flies and gnats. well that along with a few sound effects should just about cover it. even so, the day was rather eventful and we accomplished a lot.
one of the shots was of mini strawberry rhubarb pies. the gang trudged on over to the cabin, swatting gnats (and swallowing a few too) and braving the heat to take photos of the pies. they included the airstream trailer in the photo and i must admit, it’s one of my favorites!
back over at the barn on the large porch, karen and dave took photos of the lemon tunnel of love cake. it didn’t like the heat either and as the cake sat out in the intense heat, it got shorter and wider.
still trying to capture that perfect shot of the tunnel of love cake. (and they did!)
so, after a 14 hour day, i headed home to bake a few things in order to get ahead for tuesday. and since i am no different than anyone else, my “best laid plans” fell by the wayside… in other words, i am pretty good at messing up in the kitchen, just like anyone else!
blueberry peach cornmeal buckle, also known as the volcano cake.
this cat will do anything to get darry’s attention. here she is laying on the table with her head resting on the keyboard as darry surfed the internet.
two more days to go-keep watching!

days two & three

the saying goes like this: if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen… well, i was in the kitchen cooling off, yes cooling off because it was hotter than hell outside and for some strange reason, actually cooler in the kitchen-go figure. karen likes to shoot with natural light and that had us working outside a bit. we were up in the barn using the porch to stage the shots. we also spent a fair amount of time chasing a pesky grackle (black bird) from the area. he (or she) was determined to have dessert. a few times, he succeeded so it was a good thing that everything hit the bin after we were done with it. even if he didn’t get it it was destined for the trash because the heat just killed everything after a while.
very berry naked pies-that’s southern speak for galettes. sorry about the color, gotta love fluorescent lights!
blackberry cobbler with cinnamon swirl biscuits. another one shot under the lovely lights in the kitchen.
so just what does it take to produce photos for a cookbook? besides the food, lots of stuff. plates, cups, bowls, glasses, linens and so much more. kitchen equipment, fixtures and other things to make it look authentic. let’s not forget surfaces and backgrounds too.
just some of the props; plates, cups & glasses, bowls and more.
and more of the same
cake stands and pans and stuff galore
lots of silver ware and serving utensils too
but when it is all put together, you can take something as ordinary as an apple crisp and make it look like the best thing ever.
karen staged and shot this and when she was finished, i took a shot with my camera. trust me on this, her shot was a thousand times better than mine. i really did not make an effort to get the same shot as she did-i want her to get all the credit she deserves and i just wanted a shot for the blog.
so after working more than 45 hours in three days, i still have 3 days to go. first, i will spend my only day off baking stuff in the hope of getting ahead for monday-wish me luck!

photo shoot, day one

what the inside of my extra fridge looked like the first morning of the photo shoot
picture perfect buttermilk biscuit for shortcakes
cherry cheese coffee cake-it broke coming out of the pan and still looked beautiful in the photo!
decorated cakes lined up on the rack in my space waiting to be photographed
photographer karen mordachai and assistant dave taking the photo of the very berry grunt. it was a long day-14 hours for me and very hot and humid!
i love to look at clouds and this was the view on the drive home
stay tuned for more from the photo shoot…