Learn to Bake - Winter 2018

4 Class Series

Do you have a sweet tooth? Have you been put in charge of your child’s bake sale? Get back to the basics of baking with our Co-Founder Jen Nurse and Chef Sasha Crehan in this four-week Learn to Bake course. Fire up the ovens, roll out your dough, and get ready to bake up a storm.

Buttery: Fats in Baking

Thu | Jan 25, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Sasha Crehan

Teacher Jen Nurse

Understanding the use of butter (and other fats) is one of the keys to good baking. From the nutty flavor and crispness achieved with browned butter, to the flakiest of pie crust made with ice-cold lard, Chefs Jen and Sasha will share recipes and methods to help you build a solid foundation of baking knowledge.

Menu | Recipes

Citrus Almond Thumbprints
with Jam

Ginger Cookies

Brown Butter Almond Tuiles

Pie Dough

Sweet or Savory Tart Dough


Creamy: Custards, Curds, and Ganache

Thu | Feb 01, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Sasha Crehan

Teacher Jen Nurse

Mastering creamy desserts is easier than you may think. Chefs Jen and Sasha will teach you about the right mix of ingredients, how they're incorporated, and the methods by which they're heated and cooled. You'll leave with the knowledge to make fantastic curds, custards and creams at home.

Menu | Recipes

Pastry Cream

Banana Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Lemon Curd

Lemon Cream

Chocolate Ganache
For frosting, glaze, sauce, tart filling or truffles

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce


Airy: Air and Steam in Baked Goods

Thu | Feb 08, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Sasha Crehan

Teacher Jen Nurse

Chefs Jen and Sasha will show you how to use tiny bubbles of air to your baking advantage. Air and steam, usually enhanced by heat, make our meringues feather-light, our crusts flaky, and our cakes and soufflés rise to every occasion. This class will have you walking on air with lots of techniques and fun recipes to use at home.

Menu | Recipes

Soufflé Normande
Apple Soufflé

Meringues Many Ways
with Seasonal Fruit

Pâte à Choux
for Cream Puffs & Eclairs

Pastry Cream

Crème Anglaise

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Ganache
For frosting, glaze, sauce, tart filling or truffles


Cakey: And Now, Celebration Cakes!

Thu | Feb 15, 2018 | 6–10P

Teacher Sasha Crehan

Teacher Jen Nurse

Chefs Jen and Sasha, both former pastry chefs and bakery owners, know the ins and outs of creating spectacular layer cakes. You will learn recipes for tender, delicious cakes, extravagant fillings and a gorgeous buttercream you'll use time and again. We'll share the art of frosting a cake, along with some simple but impressive decorating techniques. Vive la cake!

Menu | Recipes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Classic Buttermilk Cake


* Menus and recipes subject to change
About the teachers

Sasha Crehan

SASHA CREHAN studied the Pastry Arts at Tante Marie’s Cooking School. After years of working as a pastry chef at Bay Area restaurants and bakeries such as Bay Wolf, Garibaldi’s, Café Rouge and Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, she returned to her alma mater to teach the Professional Pastry Course and many recreational classes.
Sasha has has also worked as a freelance baker of specialty cakes and desserts for weddings and other celebrations. She believes that once her students understand the chemistry behind the magic of perfectly whipped egg whites, the multifaceted personality of sugar, and the glory of butter, they can fully immerse themselves in the joy of successful baking.

Other Classes taught by Sasha

Spring Fruit Tart
Sat | May 30, 2020 | 3P


Jen Nurse

As The Civic Kitchen’s co-founder and lead instructor, Chef Jen Nurse's passion is teaching home cooks the skills they need to gain confidence in their own kitchens. She relishes seeing the excitement on students' faces when they realize they’re mastering something they had feared. Her mission is to remind students to take in the world around them, to treat others with civility, to learn about and respect each other’s cultures – all through the medium of shared food experiences.
Before founding The Civic Kitchen, Jen led cooking classes for kids and adults at Tante Marie’s Cooking School, 18 Reasons, and elementary and middle schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
After years as a prolific and curious home cook, Jen studied pastry arts at the Art Institute of Seattle. Eventually, she scuttled her safe, 15-year telecommunications career to open an award-winning boutique bakery in Seattle. After relocating to San Francisco, she worked as a pastry chef and recipe developer before enrolling in Tante Marie’s professional culinary program to learn the savory side of cooking after years as a dessert aficionado. There she found her deepest love of cooking when she began to teach.
Jen credits her mother’s exceptional home cooking (crêpes with Mornay sauce? Go, Mom!), her beloved Aunt Josy’s beef empanadas, and a transformative teenage year in Brescia, Italy with sparking her culinary curiosity.