collage of different desserts

a designer in the baking

March 7, 2022

written by
Bri Martinez

As one of the many people learning how to cope during the pandemic, I tried my fair share of hobbies. As a result, I’ve done the sourdough phase (using your own homemade starter can be scary), the at-home gyms (my dumbbells are now holding our couch together), and I’ve adopted a fair share of plants that are somehow staying alive (thanks for the tips Chantel!).

However, one hobby I’ve taken to has been baking. Not only has it been therapeutic for me and helped me de-stress during the long workdays, but it’s also allowed me to peruse amazing cookbooks that have beautiful recipes of amazing desserts in them. But, of course, there’s a certain sense of chemistry and procedure to follow to help make sure your end product not only looks good but tastes good too. 

So here goes my baking appreciation post.


Following the recipe is crucial for baking.

There is a science to making sure that baking follows the process well. When you’re making frosting, and it says that your butter needs to be room temperature before you add it to your eggs, that means don’t melt it because you’ll curdle your eggs or don’t pull it right out of the fridge. After all, it can cause the other ingredients to separate. It doesn’t mean that you won’t make something that tastes good, but it will affect how it’s applied to your cake. Similar to design, skipping a step or trying to create a shortcut for your process might cause you to take a significant part out accidentally. Treat your recipe like a task flow for your cake.


Trust the process

Don’t judge your baked goodies halfway through mixing things. A few times, I made some buttercream frosting (Swiss, French, and Italian, mind you! French is probably my favorite). I had melted down halfway through mixing the butter with sugar; I had melted down; I was worried I ruined it by overheating and separating the ingredients. However, instead of throwing it out and starting over, I just kept mixing for a few more minutes, chilled the bowl, and mixed some more. Eventually, my frosting turned out delicious, and now I have too much of it in my freezer. So stick with it and don’t judge your work prematurely.


Fail fast and learn from your mistakes

The first time I made focaccia, I didn’t realize that you could overmix or undermix your dough. When I pulled it out of the oven and saw how flat it was, I realized that I overmixed it and caused it to become tough and chewy. Did I give up on making bread entirely after that? No, because I love gluten. I tried again, experimented with timing, got accustomed to what the consistency should be and what to expect. It’s important to remember that your failings don’t mean that it’s the end of the road for you, and it’s more of a learning experience than anything else. Trust me when I say that I’m glad I stuck with making my focaccia because now I’m obsessed with making kalamata olive bread.


my favorite bread pudding recipe

As is custom for recipe sites, I’m providing a recipe of one of my more recent favorite desserts at the very bottom of the post. I used to work at a french bakery that had this, and I was obsessed with bread pudding.

This recipe calls for short dough, custard, and the assembly. I baked this in a 9×13 dish, so I recommend doubling the custard or putting it in a smaller sized dish if you want a taller/more dense bread pudding.

Serves 6 (12 if you double)

Short Dough

  • 2 ¼ ounces (¼ stick plus ½ tablespoon) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (5.8 oz) flour
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt over low speed until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  2. With the mixer running, add the egg, beating until fully incorporated. Gradually add the flour and continue to mix until it forms a sandy texture. 
  3. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.



  • 6oz sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, heavy cream, milk and vanilla.



  • Short dough
  • Custard base
  • About 3 cups (4 ounces) chopped (½-inch dice) croissants, 3 to 4 croissants depending on size
  1. Butter baking dish. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the disc in half. Roll out the short dough to a thickness of a scant one-fourth inch. Line the bottom of the baking dish with one of the dough pieces.
  3. Lay a single layer of croissants across the dish. Ladle the custard evenly over the croissants. Lay the second rolled out short dough on top of the baking dish.
  4. Place the pudding on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the custard is puffed and set, and the crust is firm and faintly colored, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly before unmolding. Powder with sugar as garnish and serve.