"Oh my gawd! It DOES smell like clementines!" I exclaimed as I chowed down on my third piece of cake in the morning the other day.
"Er.. Its a Clementine Cake!", said the amused colleague of mine.
I wonder if it is time to confess my not so secret crush on people who can bake.
Seriously. I adore and worship them. Preferably behind a table while licking my fork.
Baking is a mystery to me. I'll never understand how one can throw some eggs , butter, sugar and some innocent looking flour (which, I must stress, bear no resemblance to the final product), mix it all smooth, put it in the oven and after some mysterious amount of time, get scrumptious cakes, pastries, pies, cookies etc. And don't even get me started on the science behind why the cake doesn't taste like pie or vice versa ! What goes on behind the closed oven door none shall tell me. They don't teach it in schools. Atleast not at schools that I've attended.
"Well give it a try. Look up some recipes and make a cake. They give you all the instructions. Just follow it", they say.
So I decided to make my favourite cake, 'Double Chocolate Fudge Cake', from scratch a few years back. It didn't actually turn out bad...because I did'nt make it alone. My very competent friend was making one with me using a similar recipe. Since I'm liable to forget all about the mechanisms behind the operation of a oven other than the fact it it'll 'TRING' me when its done playing with the heat wants me to take it out; she did most of the checking up on the cake-baking process. So I was encouraged with the result and not entirely disheartened that my friend's cake tasted so much better.
Then I decided to make one for my mother's birthday. By myself. And due to time shortage it was to be an 'out-of-the-box' cake. Chocolate ofcourse. I mixed all the right ingredients and pour it into a nice pan and waited while licking up some store bought icing. I'm positive that my oven played some trick on me because when I pulled it out of the oven and served to my tired-just-returned-from-work-mom, I believe her exact words were "What is it?". It was surely not a cake or a pie. Since then, I've made several other attempts at baking much more simpler things such as cutting up the frozen Pillsbury cookie dough, place on baking tray and bake into burned crisp chocolate chip cookies or whip up some egg white+sugar combo into slightly orange looking meringue cookies and finally gave up.
It has to be the 'not knowing what the oven is doing' part of baking as opposed to cooking that's blocking my path to turning into 'Best Cake Maker In the World'. Cooking on the stove I can manage- I know what's going in, what colour its turning, what the knobs are doing and if I hvn't wandered off to look at the TV, know when its burning- basically I can trace the steps.
Not the case while baking desserts.
I'll have you know, in my young years I was good cake maker- made all kinds of cakes infact - damp mud cakes with pink Hibiscus, dry mud cupcakes with orange peel, sand cakes that just melted in water....ah good old days when you had a birthday for yourself everyday!
Anyway, its the oven business that's messing me up now. Meanwhile all my other 20 something friends are baking up a storm while knitting pink baby booties, I'm left trying to convince everyone that-
a) who the hell wants to knit when there are people out there doing it for a living. Infact, I rather slowlyl poke my own eyes with a needle than ever touch a piece of wool....etc
b) I make the best Shrimp-Coconut Curry in the world and that has GOT to count for more than making strawberry short cake !!
Ooo.... there's talk of sugar pie arriving at the office in the next couple of days.
mmmmm sugar pie.....
Yes I love people who bake.
Esp when they bake for me :D