December Baker of the Month

Meet Carol Murdock – master of the Gingerbread House game, and owner of Classic Cakes by Carol Murdock, West Hartford, Connecticut. 

Carol grew up watching the women in her family hard at work in the kitchen. Her grandmother regularly made from-scratch meatballs, and her mother often traded recipes with their neighbors. Growing up in an orthodox neighborhood, Carol remembers treats like sour cream coffee cake. Those early lessons in the kitchen were great preparation for a life dedicated to making people smile through baking.chef bio picture copy

In college, Carol Murdock majored in piano, working in various restaurants as she attended classes. A natural entrepreneur, Carol decided to open her own birthday party business. One of her greatest challenges was finding themed cakes for her customers. Like any ambitious and creative businessperson, Carol decided to learn how to do it herself.

Smurf Village
Inside the Smurf Village

With a thirst for travel, learning, and culinary arts, Carol went to Switzerland, where she learned how to work with chocolate. She went on to teach at Manchester Community College, and in 2006, she took the gold at the Culinary Olympics. She also spent time in Germany learning gingerbread technique.

Gingerbread Houses Plain
Just a few gingerbread houses waiting to be brought to life.

Summer seems like ages ago, but Carol and her team at Classic Cakes begin thinking about gingerbread houses in August. Orders are taken from August until the end of September. As you can see, these aren’t your average gingerbread houses. Furniture, fireplaces, and working lights are just a few noteworthy elements of these first-rate houses. Looking for a piece of gingerbread art that looks just like your own home? Classic Cakes can handle that! They will come to your home, take pictures and create a royal icing, spice filled replica.

The most heartwarming highlight of gingerbread season is the display created for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. A combination of private donation, and Carol’s skill and generosity, the displays span 6 feet and take over 100 hours and tons of royal icing to create. The stunning, massive displays are enjoyed by patients, families, and staff. Carol’s grandson helps to decide the theme of the display, often choosing a popular movie.

Children's Hospital Display
Children’s Hospital display

National Gingerbread House Day is December 12th. If you missed ordering one of Carol’s houses, there is always next year. Or, break out the royal icing and try making one of your own. Don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments!

 

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