Gabrielle Alarcon conducted many experiments to build her baking skills. Measuring, mixing, shaping: anything to make her food a masterpiece.
The sophomore psychology major is still finding ways to make her food unique and delicious for everyone to enjoy, from her custom-made panda cakes for friends to chocolate cakes for the family.
She began to develop interest and skill when she was 3 by asking her mother, Maria, one question: Can I help?
“Mostly I just wanted to help her but then I just ending up loving it,” Alarcon said.
She loves how it uplifts people’s spirits, especially her father’s. Whenever Alarcon baked or cooked with her mother, she would save a piece for him when he returned home.
“He was so grateful when we did that,” Alarcon said. “It would just brighten his day.”
Guadalupe Camberos, senior sociology major, has known Alarcon and her family for five years.
Whenever she goes their family gatherings, they talk about how Alarcon can make incredible desserts.
“She always sets her mind to it,” Camberos said. “It runs in the family.”
When Alarcon started to be more independent, she started to bake and cook on her own. She said it is funny how she went from doing what her mother said to cooking and baking whenever she wants.
Regardless, she will always try something new.
“She loves to experiment,” Maria Alarcon said. “She will try different ingredients and fruit to enhance the flavor.”
Her experiments made her the baker she is now but it did not always go smooth. Once, she tried making blue velvet and there were unexpected results.
“Not only was it a horrible color but it had no taste,” Gabrielle Alarcon said.
All she saw was a grey blob, expressing no signs of life. However this did not stop her from experimenting. While she was making a cake for a friend’s birthday, she decided to make it different, showing that this cake was just for her.
This led to the panda cake, which consists of three cakes with chocolate and vanilla as the main components. One moment it is baking and the next it is a fun arts and crafts project.
She cuts the cakes into three parts: two squares for the body and one circle for the head. After cutting it more to make it look like a panda bear, she adds frosting to connect it all.
“I wanted to do it in way that gives meaning and she can eat it,” Alarcon said.
She wanted to pursue this passion more by becoming a business major and opening her own bakery. However, that changed when she took a psychology course and has a new dream of opening a daycare.
She wants to create a teaching environment that will incorporate baking. Whether it is teaching students ingredients or counting the proper measurements, Alarcon will find ways to make lessons exciting.
“I think it is a good way in which the outcome is something they could enjoy,” Alarcon said.
While she is set on this goal, some still believe that she may also try achieve her first one.
“She would always say ‘I want to open a bakery,’” Maria said. “Who knows? Maybe in the future.”
Alex Forbess can be reached at email@example.com.