Freshly Baked

My love for cakes and baked goods surpasses my love for many other culinary delights. For a long time, this love manifested itself as a quest for the “best cake”, which involved sampling and indulging in many of these yummy treats. However, through this quest for the best cake, I found the joy of baking…the joy that envelops you as you watch the  melting and mixing of chocolate and butter, as you taste the creamy goodness when you lick the batter,  and as you smell the cake rising in the oven.

This joy and passion for baking started in 2010 when I was invited to a luncheon at my friend’s house. My friend had prepared a three course meal with the final course being dessert, for which she served warm chocolate brownies and light vanilla cupcakes. The brownies and cupcakes were so good that I nearly believed that my quest for the best cake had come to an end.  No sooner did I leave her house than I craved those delicious goodies again.  She lived too far away for me to make the trip back to her house,  so I figured that the only way for me to satisfy my craving (or so it seemed to me at that time) was to make them myself.  And so I started baking…

My first batch of brownies turned out just fine, but I soon realized that I might have had beginner’s luck. As I started to experiment, there were many days when my cake refused to overturn, my brownies were burnt, and my cookies were nothing more than little puddles of batter.  But, I never stopped trying; I tried and tested many recipes from friends, family, cook books and the internet.  When the rest of the house went to sleep, I slaved over double boilers and aluminum pans trying to make soft, fluffy cakes, light as air frosting, and crunchy, crumbly cookies. My efforts paid off: I am slowly mastering the art of baking.

Until a month ago, I had never baked more than a small batch of anything. Last month, I got an offer to participate in a bake sale for an art expo, and I decided to try my hand at large-scale baking. After  spending hours in the kitchen, I baked a year’s worth of goodies in one night and sold them within minutes of opening my stall. I view this as a testament to my skills as a baker.

But mastering the skills isn’t all it takes to be a good baker. The nights of small-scale and heavy-duty baking have taught me that the art of baking isn’t just about the perfect recipe or a favorite process. It is about passion, love, creativity and maybe even obsession.  Ask any good baker and they will tell you the same. When I bake, especially for the people I love, I put my heart and soul into it. I obsess over every detail and fuss over every compnent until it is close to perfect, until it is almost the best cake I have ever had. I say almost the best cake because the quest for THE best cake conitnues, and this time it continues in my kitchen.

But, lets get back to what started me on this baking journey? Don’t you want to know who this friend is who inspired me to bake, provided me with recipes and gave me the confidence to continue when my cakes fell flat? Stay tuned and we will talk to her soon!Image