Women find comfort in just about the menial things in life. As long as it brings comfort we're sold. My blogs are taking a turn of content. Well more so, addition to its content. Aside from my see through soul, and the guest bloggers that I showcase, I'm going to post interviews with other mom's who are shining THEIR see through soul as well. These interviews are true to life, showcasing the journeys they each go through to accomplish their dreams. My mission: to uplift, empower and encourage ... our dreams need not be deferred; but nurtured as intended:
When I met Latoya, it was in the kitchen at my dear friend Vivian's home(how ironic is that?). She had just come in from DC and made it in time to help us all send Vivian's son off to the army. A somber moment, but Latoya was instantly infectious. Hilarious, smart mouthed, and most of all...a poet. She writes. Like I.
Latoya Snell aka Alter Ego, was actually the person who introduced me into the open mic arena. And from that moment on, my poetic journey is history in the making...or baking :)
I decided to interview Latoya because I'm taking my blog on a new journey. As with my guest blogs, I want to take the time to shine light on the mothers, singled or, coupled, who are holding their own into make a dream realized.
Aside from whipping words into a literary masterpiece for your reading pleasure, this wife and mother of one has a whole new face. She bakes. More than words this time, her cake monologues caught my eye... and my appetite... and I just had to share her with you.
I introduce Latoya S. Snell, Pastry Chef and owner of The Cake Monologues, located in the Heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY. PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE ...www.thecakemonologues.com FOR MORE IN HER GALLERY AND TO PLACE ORDERS IF NEED BE
Tell my readers a little about yourself: background / education in baking (or just a hobby that you've perfected)
My name is Latoya Snell and currently 24 years old. I’ve been happily married for 2 ½ years and counting to a wonderful husband, W. Eric Snell, Sr. and we have a namesake whose 2 years old going on 26 who we affectionately call E.J.
I’ve struggled since leaving high school on what I wanted to do, which led me into a whopping six different majors at two different colleges and unfortunately no degree to show for it. Perhaps, some would call me indecisive for that but it was a hard lesson learned on not knowing the definition of advice. I followed the advice of some who advised to me to work in a “secure position” and in turn, I went into majors such as Business, Accounting & Physical Therapy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these careers but it wasn’t for me.
I went into Social Work after understanding this concept and did it for 3+ years in Non-for-Profit environments, along with 2+ years of Administrative duties but I’ve always been passionate about cooking and baking but as a hobby. A very close friend of mine went into a culinary school and shared her experience with me. Through her, I gained a deeper appreciation for it and slowly put my feet in.
Unfortunately, culinary schools, especially in New York City, can run as much as 30 to 40K for a six month program. I will not fake the funk with anyone during this recession and I sincerely cannot afford it. I learned the basics when I was younger though wonderful mentors, mostly from the older generation, trial and error techniques and definitely from my father. Between hearing my father’s lectures in my head about the proper way to do things, tricks picked up through the beautiful technology of YouTube, Internet pages and now Wilton Courses and such, I’m still learning new things daily.
To others, I may have or have not perfected it yet; to me, I don’t think the learning process ever ends. There’s always something out there we haven’t learned yet or given a second thought.
As a child, did you always like baking?
I loved baking when I was growing up! Some of my best memories are in the kitchen, mostly with my father, throwing out orders and driving everyone nuts with his favorite saying: “I’m tryna teach you sumthin…” He would follow up with “…just don’t listen!”
My mother, sister and I would sit in annoyance all for two minutes and everyone would laugh about it at the end of the day.
Baking is an art form of its own but the outcome is like poetry all on its own.
A baking poet; the irony behind this is jovial; what is it about the two forms of art that moves you?
Poetry and baking have a few things in common that I value dearly. Both can trigger some type of emotional response. Both can make you say, “…Oooh baby!” and then there’s moments when it could make you say, “Now, that’s just not right.”
Poetry and baking are its own unique art form and to see the smiles and conversations that spark from them are inspirational. It can make the most uptight or timid person break out of their own skin and that’s beautiful.
People inspire me, whether positively or negatively but that’s what gives me a mental high.
What are your favorite types of cake to bake; if you have a favorite?
Favorite cakes… ((smiling))
I’m trying to say this without sounding like I’m in dire need of an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting.
Well, there are several cakes that I love to make. There are two alcohol infused cakes in particular that I truly adore and is posted on my website, www.thecakemonologues.com ; one in particular, I named it Blood on the Baker’s Floor, where it’s a ménage a trios of Coffee Liqueur, Dark Rum & a strawberry/raspberry filling in a yellow sponge cake. The third liquor, Chambord in particular, is sprinkled on the cake and I make an outer butter cream pureed with fresh strawberries or a simple French vanilla butter cream. It’s decorated with other strawberries that are soaked or injected with Chambord or chocolate. It’s simply divine.
My second favorite is a tossup between The Twisted M&M & the Yani-Pooh Cake. The Twisted M&M is a chocolate cake made with Kahlua, Vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream & Godiva Liqueur with flaked chocolate and M&M pieces.
The Yani-Pooh is a simple Bailey Irish Cream Chocolate Cake.
As far as non-alcohol infused cakes would have to be the Banana Puddin’ Cake or the Carrot Cake.
What mood are you in when you bake? Write? What inspires you to create?
I put myself in a relaxed state because baking can be very tedious. Being precise with your measurements, making sure your oven is calibrated correctly, clearing the adequate space and all that jazz can get a person’s nerves rattled if you are not up for the challenge.
My routine is to put on my IPod, something soothing like Maxwell, Luther Vandross or Prince, clear my space and start pulling out everything that I need. My son is usually here and I either keep him in the kitchen with me, which is a task all on its own or keep my mood mellow for the both of us. I entertain new challenges. Something about not knowing the outcome for the first time is great to me.
Writing is a tool that I use to empty out my thoughts. My woes, my joys and all of the in between are dedicated to that time. Sometimes, I will write, read it once and never touch it again and there’s times where I say to myself that I have to go back.
Creating new things, whether it’s writing, baking or simply embracing life is a necessary for me. If nobody thought outside of the box, then we would never evolve. Sometimes, we need that spark of creativity to keep life interesting. If my hands were taken away from me tomorrow, as disgusting as this sounds, I would be finding out new ways to use my feet to make things…but only for myself at this point!
Though you take your work seriously, what we love to do can also be fun. And I must ask, what is the funniest thing you've ever done while baking?
I had a couple of people over my house a month after I had surgery this year. Out of complete boredom, I wanted to create a cake. Two of my friends were perusing through my liquor collection and bartender’s guide book. One of them suggested that they would pull out three random bottles and I have to use it in the cake with no measuring cups and make it taste interesting. I baked the cake and saw a perfectly constructed hole in the center of my cake. It’s something that happens when cake is over mixed or too much liquid. The shape literally looked like a broken penis. (Yes, I have adolescent like humor) and we decided to color it in.
The recipe surprisingly is one of my favorite cakes, Blood on the Baker’s Floor. One of the best boredom cakes I’ve ever made…well, in my opinion.
I personally am not a cooker...I will if I HAVE to but I'm not going to go in willingly lol. Are you an all around cook or simply a baking perfectionist?
I’m an all around cook with a big heart for baking. It’s nothing like taking an original recipe and making it your own. I LOVE to
Like I said, I'm no true to form cook, I make pancakes and every time read the directions from the back of the box. So, for your babies, your cakes, which do you prefer, from the box or from scratch?
Definitely from scratch!
There are some people who can work magic out of a box cake. If I took the time, maybe I’d be one of those people but I sincerely appreciate the taste in a scratch cake.
Both sides of my family are hearty Southern folks who love their scratch recipes. When I first started baking cakes as a teenager, I didn’t mind the taste of a box cake but when I was pregnant with my son, Eric, I could taste EVERYTHING. It changed my perception on food as a whole.
As a child, I couldn't wait to lick the bowl at the end; do you give your son that pleasure?
My child robs that opportunity every moment that he gets a chance and I’m not looking. He’s so stealthy with his tactics, especially for a two year old. There are times where I’ll watch in amazement of what he will climb on to get to a mixing bowl. If he sees a bowl that I’m mixing anything in, his favorite phrase is “Cake…Pleeeese!” I don’t deny him unless I feel like he’s going overboard. Considering that I’m using raw eggs, I can’t take too many chances on him being that a child’s digestive system is so fragile.
My readers are of a diverse group. Eating styles vary. So I ask, do you bake vegan / organic?
I have done both. Personally, I don’t discriminate on whether it’s vegan friendly, organic or factory created products. I don’t particularly like all of the hormones that companies use to create their products but try my hardest to stick with the same brands. Counting my blessings, I love the turn out on the ingredients that I use but I respect my customer’s requests and beliefs.
And there you have it. The truth behind The Cake Monologues. I don't know about you guys, but I'm craving a slice of the Yani-Pooh Cake
Latoya, here's to wishing you tons of success on your journey, let your "sweet" dream take you far and beyond.
Thank you for sharing your "See Through Soul" with my readers.