Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Misadventures of Cake Baking in a New Country

I missed a blog in there that talks about all of our house hunting on Saturday.  Suffice it to say, we saw 4 houses in the course of 5 hours, and fell in love with three. Thanks to wonderful friends that drove us to 3 of them, we were able to make as many as we did. We almost didn't go to the last house but I'm glad we did because its the one we fell most in love with.  My kids have been begging us to live in it.  It has HALF AN ACRE!!!

Anyway, Steve asked me to bake us a cake that night. I told him everything we were missing so I couldn't. He then went shopping for milk and bread - and came back with everything to bake a cake. Or so we thought.

First of all, we have no measuring cups here at the hotel so we used a mug for all of our cup measurings and a spoon for the smaller measurements.  Thanks to google we figured out how many grams of butter it takes to get 2/3 cups.  Then I used a wire whisk to mix everything up as we had no hand mixer.  Steve told me I'd get some good arm muscles at least. Yeah, thanks. We then realized we had no vanilla so I poured a very small amount of lime cordial in it instead for flavor.

So finally the cake was mixed and ready to go.  And the batter was yummy!  I googled the conversion for fahrenheit to celsius to get the right temperature to preheat our oven.  Steve then reminded me we have a convection oven here so I got to recalculate everything.

In went the cake, along with scooting Heidi out so she wouldn't play with the oven.  23 minutes went by and I went to check on the cake - it was soup.  I closed the oven door and realized that Heidi had gotten to the oven anyway and turned it from 168 C down to 80 C!!!  So up the oven temp went and we kept right on baking. And baking. And baking. And baking.  FINALLY it finished up and I took it out to cool.

The next morning I realized we had nothing to stick the cake on. Steve wanted me to cut it in half and put mousse in the middle of it.  So I took it out of the pan and set it on the baking pan that comes with all the ovens.  THAT was too deep for me to be able to cut the cake so I then had to slide it onto a cutting board that was not quite wide enough but it worked.  The cutting worked like a charm but then I had to transfer the top half  of it to the other pan. I put the mousse on the bottom half and realized it wasn't sitting where I wanted it.  So with the mousse on it, I got to pick up the whole thing and set it back in the pan - and then piece back together the parts that broke.  I then picked up the top half and set that part on it - and pieced together the parts of THAT half that broke.  It was one giant puzzle. Thanks heavens for frosting!!

And speaking of frosting...  that was also an adventure. Apparently 500 grams only makes about 2.5 cups of powdered sugar (depending what you're measuring 500 grams can mean several different measurements in cups!). Although that doesn't sound quite right. Anyway, I needed 4 cups. So in went all the powdered sugar.  And using a wire whisk with all of the ingredients for frosting was an adventure. Everything would get stuck up in the whisk so I had to use a spoon to get it all out every few seconds.  FUN.

Anyway, I dumped all the frosting in little dollops all over the cake and hid all the puzzle pieces of cake.

So how did this experiment turn out?  Quite delicious!  Despite the little lumps of butter and sugar left in the frosting, it was yummy.  My family all asked for at least a second piece and they would have had more if they could.  The cake was moist, the frosting was lumpy but great - and we survived my first baking in Australia.

And boy, am I glad there was no video camera in that kitchen to watch the process!!


  1. Hehe. I don't think you needed a video camera. Your personal account was pretty good on its own.

    Maybe it's time for some measuring cups and a kitchen scale? But that wouldn't be nearly as fun. Great job making it work in the end!

  2. As the saying goes, "Doing what I can w/ what I got". That was awesome! :)

  3. Haha! I love it! You certainly are having quite an adventure! I'm so glad you are writing about it all! I hope you find a home soon that you love and can get settled into. I'm a little worried about your sanity! :)