For as long as I can remember, I’ve found baking to be terrifically relaxing. I focus on the task at hand, get my mind off whatever is bugging me and make something delicious (well, most of the time) as well. I also discovered that I have a knack for it.
Several years ago, something became apparent. I was going through a particularly awful period in my life and found sleep next to impossible. So I’d throw off the covers, head to the kitchen and make something crazy. Flaky croissants. Tall layer cakes. Warm sticky pecan buns. Untold numbers of tarts and pies. Then I’d show up at work a few hours later with my creations, usually still warm, slide them across the conference table with a relaxed smile towards my baffled coworkers. They thought it was fantastic but after bringing in the goods 2-3 times a week for a few months, there were some concerned looks on their frosting smeared faces. They started calling it “stress baking” and the results became known as “stress cakes.” Their content smiles were quiet encouragement to keep the gravy train coming, though I did get blamed for a lot of weight gain during that time.
So here we are. That’s how it all comes together .
A little background … my name is Kathy and I’m a professionally trained pastry chef who came late to this culinary world after many years in the business arena. I live in Chicago and have worked in fancy pants restaurants and specialty food companies; consult, teach and develop recipes for a variety of companies. Host absurd dinner parties and gift friends and neighbors with countless treats. Most of all, I’m a constant student with a rather large cookbook addiction. And I still make stresscakes. They’re quite tasty.