Even though I still sometimes stumble around the process of baking, I am now fairly confident with my skills as I have years of baking failures as well as triumphs under my belt. Whenever I set out to bake something new, I always look back fondly at my first-time nerves when I had just started. During the pandemic-induced lockdown, I decided to rekindle my interest in baking and tried to bake the staple baker’s pick - Chocolate Cake. Much to my dismay, baking the cake turned out to be not as easy as it looked on paper. The overall process had quite a few hiccups. In my enthusiasm to mix the ingredients properly, I over mixed the batter without realizing that could result in a dry texture. So once the batter was ready, I poured it in the tins and put the tins in the oven to bake.
At first the cake in the oven rose and I was very happy to see the success of my experiment. However, my happiness was short-lived as soon the cake began to fall. Surely, the result of overmixing as I later learnt that overmixing traps too much air which causes the cake to rise quickly and then fall.
Moreover, since I didn’t want to serve an undercooked cake, I baked it for some more time than was suggested by the recipe. It so happens that once the cake is out of the oven and kept to cool, it still continues to cook. So, you can really imagine what the end result must have been. It was certainly overbaked and dry, and of course, a stark contrast to the soft, melt in the mouth end result as described in the recipe. As I started to cut the cake, it broke into pieces.
Imagine the look of gloom on my face - my very first cake was a disaster! But there is a silver lining to everything. The broken pieces, although a bit overdone, were quite tasty. The next time I decided to add buttercream frosting to my cake. Buttercream, the most common frosting, is a mixture of butter and sugar, and is generally used for either filling, icing or decorating cakes. To start off I used salted butter instead of unsalted and did not whip it enough. When I applied the frosting on the cake, the frosting got quickly absorbed by the cake and the entire cake tasted salty.
Although my first few baking experiences turned out to be somewhat of a disaster compared to now, I was happy with my accomplishments and my biggest lesson was - learning to always use unsalted butter when it comes to baking!