Monday, January 16, 2017

A Childhood Chocolate Favorite - An Editorial Photo Shoot and Foodstyling Project

When it comes to your own personal history with food, how far back can you remember? Most chefs and passionate home cooks that I know can easily recollect the first dishes they made or the person that taught or inspired them to cook.

I started cooking and baking as soon as I could stand on a chair and reach the stove. One of my very first cakes was an easy recipe that was on the back of a Hershey's Cocoa can. There's a reason why this recipe is 40-plus years old and garners so many five-star ratings on their website's comments section. Using this as inspiration, I recently collaborated with photographer Rachelle Bendixen on an editorial photo project that tells a story about making this simple and delicious rustic cake. As a commercial food stylist, I don't always get the opportunity to share my work here on my blog – it usually goes straight to my business site's portfolio section. With this project, however, the personal connection that I have with this cake lends itself perfectly to my blog as well. I'm excited to share the results of our work here...
I wanted to style this shoot with the simplest props to help tell a story about the history of this cake from my perspective. She gave me full creative reign and captured beautiful images (as well as a soon-to-be-released podcast that she has been laboring over).
My prop choices were rustic old baking tools with a lovely patina and dark, distressed wood. Some of the utensils have actually been in the family for several generations. For the backdrop, Rachelle chose a beautiful piece of steel that she buffed to bring out the swirls of patina. Her lighting was perfect and the mood was dark and rustic.
I brought my son in to be our hand model for this shoot and to me, it just adds to the story telling by adding another generation.

Keeping with the simplistic theme, I went with an easy ganache for both the filling (chilled and whipped) and the topping (warm).

If you are looking for an absolutely easy and decadent cake, I highly recommend this recipe.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it. Do you have a favorite recipe, cake of otherwise, that has stayed in your repertoire since your childhood?

A huge thank you to Rachelle for her open heart on this project. I am so grateful that she was able to capture my vision and the rustic charm and love I have for this cake, not to mention her countless hours in creating and editing the podcast. I would also be remiss if I did not thank my son and occasional assistant for generously stepping in as our model - I adore you and I love that you have the same passion for food as your Mama - may you continue to pursue food with passion and creativity. And also to my husband and partner in life for all of the graphic design and text editing.