|Me, two years old and dying for cake.|
Cake flavours are like fashion, they cycle in and out with new twists when it get rehashed and reborn.
I remember a time when I was young, 4-6years old and the cake flavour was Banana Walnut cake. It wasn't only because my mum, Beatrice, made it for all five of the kids birthdays and my Dad's birthday but it seemed that there were people who were coming around letting my mum taste their banana-walnut cake, like at a state-fair only with my mum as the judge.
She would say it's too sweet, or over-baked or too much walnuts and even go as far as commenting on how ripe the bananas were that were used in the cake. I grew up around my mum in the kitchen.
She also used to keep the liquor in a cabinet below the kitchen counter. It was a dark cabinet almost foreboding but I had my chances of nipping into the cabinet looking at all the different colours of liqueurs there. I'd look at their intense colour and smell their aromatic bouquets. I learned how to stay away from Pimms because it's just too bitter for a kid to actually enjoy. I did however enjoy sipping the peppermint liqueur. I felt so naughty and it tasted of toothpaste which to an 8-year old can taste delicious.
When Mum got a new recipe, it would be used over and over until you couldn't find any other ways to stretch it. I remembered the donut recipe. She got it from a women's magazine and jotted it down in her brown fake-leather bound recipe book which was actually an old converted yearly planner.
And then we were off eating plain donuts, sugared donuts, donut holes, plaited donuts, chocolate covered donuts, donuts topped with cream and sprinkled with chocolate rice and a single slice of sweet candied cherry. We were up to our noses in donuts and the house smelled of fried dough for a while. It was magical for me!
There was also the recipe for pau.... it was stretchy but light and fluffy. Char-siew pau, san-yuk pau, chicken curry pau, kaya pau, whatever-you-could-fill-in-a-pau pau. Yummy to eat and really fun to make, although mine always came out in a less-than-globular state and/or with holes where I didn't pinch the dough tightly shut.
So anyways, I was talking about flavours. These days, when people ask for my best cake, I usually give them the most popular flavour at the moment. These days it's red-velvet with cream cheese frosting, which some people don't get because of the unnecessary addition of alleged copious amounts of red colouring. I like with with less colouring. The addition of the baking soda and white vinegar mixture actually accentuates the earthy red hues in cocoa powder so not too much red is required (nor desired for some).
|My niece with her Rainbow, Mermadia Barbie Cake.|
"Sunshine and Rainbows, darling. Sunshine and Rainbows"
|The rainbow pride flag cake.|
Then there's the lemon-coconut cake which is, if I may say, a flavour marriage baked in pastry heaven.The tartness of the lemon and the richness of the coconut coupled with the creaminess of the cream cheese filling always takes the cake (ok, bad pun).
Then there's my yummlicious chocolate, which is a Flourless chocolate almond cake. Very moreish. best eaten at room temperature with a dollop of cream and a good strong (unsweetened!) cup of coffee.
I've tried to start a fad for what I call new-flavours (read: old rehashed flavours) like Green Tea with Crytalised Ginger or Dark chocolate with black pepper or Chai-Latte cupcakes. Even as far as trying savoury type muffins. But people are sometimes too resistant to change especially when it comes to sweet stuff.
Memories are Sweet and Sweets make memories.
If it wasn't in your memories as a child growing up, chances are you won't enjoy crumbly shortbread because you didn't remember hugging a big pale-blue tin of melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. you'd just think it's a lesser cookie.
As for the cake specialist, I'm still trying to recapture my mum's Banana Walnut cake. My recipes never really get there. There's always something missing and I'll keep on rehashing this recipe until one day I can proudly say that yes this is Beatrice's Banana-Walnut cake.
I miss my Mum's banana-walnut cake. I miss you too Mum.
Eternal Rest Grant unto her O Lord.
And may Your Perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in Peace Forever and Ever.