The aroma of a “baked” cake wafted through the kitchen. That sweet, savory smell took me back to my mother’s kitchen. It is fascinating that how a particular smell can evoke memories from the past. As a kid, I used to wait eagerly for my birthday, Christmas, and the New Year day to gorge on the cakes baked by my mother. To a five year old me, oblivious to the chemical reactions involved in the process of baking, my mother was a magician who could turn a liquid batter into a round, spongey and delicious chocolatey mass. Well, to a thirty year old me, she is still a magician who can offer the best solutions to my adult life problems.
Anyways, one memory led to another and before I could rewind further, a strange burning smell greeted me. Much to my dismay, another baking attempt had gone awry. I lost the count of the number of times I failed to bake an edible cake. I also lost the number of reasons behind those failed attempts — wrong measurements, wrong baking durations, wrong temperatures, wrong process; it seemed that baking was simply not a piece of cake for me. “Honey, you can’t bake,” I told myself. So did my friends and family. After all, they had to bear the brunt of my failed baking expeditions. Sometimes the cakes were too hard to cut through and on other days, the batter seemed gooey inside the under-baked cakes. Behind my back, my family placed bets on whether the hard over-baked ones could break some tiles on the kitchen floor!
However those bets and laughs motivated me to continue my pursuit of baking the perfect cake. I started keeping a diary to note down every other cake recipe. Sometimes I wondered that rather than going through the disappointment of a failed attempt, I could just buy a cake. Of course, I did treat myself with a large piece of my favorite chocolate cake after every futile effort. But I wanted to bake, to relive those childhood memories of eating fresh and hot homemade cakes. Baking a perfect cake had now become an obsession.
Instead of jotting down cake recipes in that diary, I started writing one line again and again — “I can bake!”. A few more attempts, a few more disappointments, a few more bets and Voila! I baked my first cake — not too hard, not too gooey, not at all blackened but just deliciously, golden brown perfect. Not to mention, my family was skeptical and scared while tasting it but they are not apprehensive anymore about my baking skills.
Here is the first edible cake by me. Please ignore the fork marks I put on its surface to check whether it was baked or not.