Why I want to be mentor in this category: I could troubleshoot people's baking problems all day long--it's one of my favorite things about my blog, when people get into a discussion about baking problem-solving. And when people find out about my blog and start peppering me with questions about recipes they love and ones that didn't work for them and everyone starts sharing great tips or commiserating about kitchen failures, there's no party conversation I like better. Maybe this is a little embarrassing to admit and I should keep this to myself?
What inspires me in this category: Baking is therapy. It's creative, it's detailed, it's challenging. It's suspenseful--even if you follow a new recipe to the letter, you really won't know for certain what you're going to get when it emerges from the oven, especially when you first start baking. But with practice and as the understanding of how ingredients work and what happens when heat is applied to them, the suspense sort of lessens, and for me, that's a great feeling of accomplishment and a feeling I like to help other home bakers achieve through my blog. I like to think that when I adapt recipes for my blog and create my own original recipes, I've weeded out a lot of the doubt for people who try them.
Experience: Hi BakeSpacers! I'm Shauna. I'm a self-taught baker with home baking experience galore. I write for my own baking blog called "Piece of Cake", and I've also worked professionally as a recipe writer for a Michelin-starred restaurant for both their savory and pastry menus.
Biggest Lesson Learned: The science of baking can be really daunting to a lot of people, as it certainly was for me in the beginning. But a few things can really get you on the right track: Read your recipe completely before you begin. Get all your ingredients to room temperature (unless the recipe calls for cold ingredients). Get yourself an oven thermometer. Use dry measuring cups for dry ingredients and liquid measures for liquids and measure precisely. Make sure your baking powder and soda are fresh if you haven't used them in a while. And unless the recipe tells you otherwise, don't overwork the batter or dough once the flour is added.
Books, classes, teachers that have helped me: I have a bookshelf with bowing shelves filled with cookbooks that I read like novels in bed. With baking or cooking, there's always something new to learn and a new way to look at things. Some people I always look to for inspiration include Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Ina Garten, the chefs at America's Test Kitchen, Nick Malgieri and Dorie Greenspan.
Education, Awards, Pro Experience: Recipe writer for the Michelin-starred Joe's Restaurant in Venice, California. Writer of "Piece of Cake" for the past 2 1/2 years.
See "Lessons Learned". Every good tip I share with my readers comes from my own "a-ha!" moments in the kitchen.