In the beginning...
I was born a professional pastry idolater, a bouncing baby Bodhisattva of sugar consumption, a master of eating. But it took years of training to become a baker.
My culinary journey from end user to confection creator and bakery owner brings to mind my favorite duelist and autodidact, Mr. Alexander Hamilton.
He remarked, "Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it...the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought."
Just substitute "Vermonters" for "Men", "pretty damn good baker" for "genius" and "baking" with "it." And there you have it: the road map to becoming a master baker. I also bear in mind a few more choice words from Secretary Hamilton, " A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous." WIse words to a baker. Words I heed daily. In fact, I've become so well adjusted that I can make the same ten mistakes and not get nervous. Screwing up, especially the royal screw ups, are the best fodder for learning to bake like a pro.
But I figure, I've made so many mistakes of my own, unlocked pastry secrets and noddled with recipes enough for thousands of would be master bakers. So I open my "pretty damn good" baking mind to you. Send baking quandaries my way. Request recipes (unless I hold them near and dear, i.e. they pay my bills). In return, I'll make mistakes for you. I'll offer you confectionary counsel straight from disastrous personal experience.
Go bake it like you mean it and make someone happy, one cake at a time.