Sunday, January 7, 2018

Mother's cake making

Cake making in Mother's house was a big business. Mum learned cake making. Then she would make the cakes for the family and aunties during new year. She used the golden butter churn and her cakes smelled heavenly.
We kids would come back from school, have a quick lunch, and start breaking one hundred eggs, and use the hand held whisk, and beat the eggs. When one of us get tired, we transfer the beater to another.
When mum deemed the eggs had been aerated enough, she measures the flour, sugar vanilla essence,and  baking power.
As mum added spoon by spoon amount of floor, We transfer the whisk to a wooden spoon and stir the mixture in one direction. Soon the batter thicken to a staggering lump. Our hands stiffen from the stirring and recruit the next sibling to take over.
Regarding the stirring at one direction, we often wonder what would happen to the cakes if we stirred the other direction. Would the cakes collapse? The one direction stirring became a habit in our later life and it was always clockwise when we stirred our cakes.
By five pm, the cake mixture is ready. Mum bought a very big flat top pot She fashioned the pot into an oven and baked her cakes at the void deck. , she already had made a fire from charcoal .It's a pity, mum didn't let us watch over the baking. She said, one had to be very careful to watch over the fire. She continued to bake way till the wee hours of the morning.

The next few days, she suffered from a headache. When my girl Kong Hie Ding said it was too hot making kueh Lapis, I remember my mum. I also remember making Kuih kapit which is a crispy and delicious wafer, which is also called love letters.

Grace Chan I remember the whisk as the one in the photo, it was almost as tall as the bucket and the handle was the thickness of the broomstick. Everyone had to take turns whisking the batter. I was so keen but too little to help. When given a chance, I couldn't even move the batter due to the sheer volume of eggs and chunks of butter. Now, everytime I mix my cake batter with the electric mixer, as I watch the butter being blended together, I remember myself hovering over the huge bucket to watch the curdled egg mixture while my siblings tell me to move out of their way. Each sibling always had to ask another person to take over the relay because of their tired arms.

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