Baking Day


Of all the culinary arts which includes food science, cutting, grilling, roasting, stir-frying, cursing at imbeciles and appearing on TV, the least understood art, for me, is baking. It is a very big gap in my knowledge simply because I have no idea what to do with the resulting baked goods. And while I left it well alone, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to bake. Thus I was fortunate to have Cheryl of The Baker Who Cooks come over last Saturday and show me.

This is her account.

A while back, an anonymous reader commented that unless I have baked a million cupcakes, I should not call myself a baker.

It is true. I’m probably the last person in the world you should turn to for baking advice. I am not as experienced as I hope to be. But I think that’s the most glorious thing. As an inexperienced baker, I feel safe knowing that it is okay if my muffins don’t rise or my brownies sink. I was daring enough to try recipes for the first time, not knowing if it would turn out all right. You could say that I baked my heart out. Bake sales were held and I would bake for weeks on end. I would bake through the night without a sense of dread. Baking kept me happy, it put me through my varsity years. It kept me sane.


Then some time back, I stopped baking avidly. I fell out of it. I was too tired, too lazy. Cobwebs were starting to form on my blog. I was going through a baking drought. I blamed my cranky oven and my lack of a KitchenAid. Any excuse you can think of, I used it.

To think I nearly entered culinary school last year. Instead, I ended up with something close – marketing the culinary profession to people like me who seek to reach for the stars. Being here, where I work, somehow re-ignited the spark. And sometimes, all it takes is for a friend to kick you back into the groove you know you belong.

Turns out that this friend was one of the many fast friends I made through the blog. These bunch get why you’re so crazy about achieving that perfect crust on a roast or why you go for dinner sessions ever so often. When Ivan asked me to write this, I didn’t know how to start. But this post wrote it self. Thank you Ivan for encouraging me to keep on baking and writing.

Ivan doles out great advice about work and life that’s just as valuable as his tips on dining and cooking. I’m also very envious of Ivan – he has a KitchenAid and a De Detrich! My jealousy is so apparent that he always offers to open his kitchen to me, so that I could take over and bake a storm.

Chocolate Pecan Coffee Cake

Last weekend, I did that. We made some fantastic goodies and I don’t think I need to say much since he took such fabulous photos.

I am happy to report that I did not blow up his kitchen. We did murder a cheesecake though. And consumed plenty of cheesecake batter. So what if there were raw eggs.

Oh and the cool thing was the improvisation. Limoncello accidentally ended up in the New York Cheesecake.

Plenty more Ghirardelli 60% semi-sweet chocolate chips fell into the moist sour cream coffee cake.

It was the first time I had ever used a mortar and pestle to crush graham crackers for the cheesecake crumb crust. Super satisfying.


Our first baking adventure was plenty of fun. Right down to having watered eyes because his oven wouldn’t stop smoking. I say it added flavour to the over-browned cheesecake. Note that the cake was supposed to chill for 6 hours before consumption. Of course I couldn’t wait. I pestered him to let me kill it. I did, with a very large and sharp knife. I adored how it bled cherry blood. The crumb crust could have done with less sugar (I pointed that out immediately after he added all that sugar when I was pounding it! Ain’t I astute or what? ;p

The coffee cake was so good that the half I brought home disappeared a half when I woke up the next day. This portion disappeared in no time. I had it with coffee that very morning. Addictive. Sorry, it was that good. No, this is not shameful self-flattery. Try the recipe if you don’t believe me.


Seeing the success of the New York Cheesecake and Sour Cream Coffee Cake, we will be organising more bake-offs. Hopefully more will join this baking improv club. It helps to have more mouths finish the delicious goodies.

Thank you once again Ivan, for letting me dirty your kitchen and not forcing me to do the cleaning up. I think I have found yet another baking partner-in-crime. Awesome. Now it’s back to scouring for more recipes to hack!


Posted on 29th Jun 2010 in Baked Goods, Fun


There Are 5 Comments


anna commented on July 2, 2010 at 11:01 am

hi is there anyw tat i can post my food blog link on your blog? please visit our local food blog from Singapore at thank you so much!:)


ivan commented on July 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

@anna: Hi, like this food blog, my blogroll is a personal thing where I use it to keep up with friends, find helpful articles or simply enjoy very good writing and/or uplifting photography. It’s not a propaganda thing and I intend to keep it so. | Making Blueberry Sauce commented on July 14, 2010 at 9:46 am

[…] an organic blueberry jam and layer the thing in. But ever since Cheryl made cherry sauce for our cheesecake, I thought it would be a great idea to do the same thing with […]


dimsumdolly commented on July 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

That cheesecake crust looks amazing! I love browned crusts. I have to say, I actually enjoying cheesecake crusts more than I like the cheese part itself. Haha.

I must wrangle an invitation to your home to cook when I’m back. I’ll cook my Italian-style pork ribs – something I learnt when I was being a farmer girl in an Italian farm in Carmagnola. 🙂

And I want to try using that ice cream maker of yours! And Cheryl can bring more baking delights. Heehee.


ivan commented on July 14, 2010 at 11:24 am

@dimsumdolly: Hurry home very soon! I have a few new recipes to try out.

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