Friday, August 5, 2011

The Saga of the Busy Day Cake and All Plugs Electrical

...also known as 'BOOM thar it is.'

So I was going to try and remedy the utter shame of not having updated this blog since April (April! Dear lord where did the time go?). I've got photos galore, all nicely categorised away, it was just a matter of writing a post and selecting pictures, and then life happened, and Austria (I went to the World Youth Choir Championships with the quartet I sing with, Caipifruta - more on that in another post some day!), and...and...well. You get the picture.

Today was my first day off in a while, so I decided to bake a cake. This cake, as a matter of fact - Shauna's wonderful adaptation of Edna Lewis's Busy Day Cake. In fact, I was even planning on making a pie of some sort to use up the rough puff pastry I had in the freezer. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Everything, it seems.

The universe had other plans, starting with the power tripping off when I woke up in the morning. This got remedied, with nothing untoward - no smoking electrical items or whatnot. So I made miso soup with thick rice noodles for lunch and started putting together the ingredients for the cake - weighed out the flour, beat the eggs, grated orange peel, measured poppy seeds and cocoa, etc.

Then I went to cream the butter and sugar in the stand mixer. And realised that it wasn't working. Now, my stand mixer is an antique - a functioning one, but an antique nonetheless. It had started making some odd noises my last batch of bread a few months back, and my first thought was, Crap it's given up the ghost. I tried another plug point - still not working.

So I transferred all the butter and sugar to my food processor, having remembered you could actually cream butter and sugar and make cake batter in it. Plugged it in, switched it on.

The expression of WTH-ness when it didn't work was probably a camera-worthy moment. My food processor is -new-. I'd not even broken in the food processing attachment yet!

I tried another plug. Still no luck. It was only after I'd tried on every single plug point in the kitchen that it hit me - the power outage in the morning was probably caused by one of those points blowing a fuse, and now NONE of them were working.

Which left me with the problem of a lot of butter and sugar still needing to be creamed. My stand mixer was also probably working just fine, all I had to do was find a working plug point.

Enter the little grey cells.

The cake right out of the oven...

Right now the cake is cooling in the kitchen, I've had two pieces already and it's absolutely HEAVENLY. Wow. I can't say enough good things about it - it isn't dense or heavy, it's...well, cake! Real cake, not the sticky, gummy slabs that often make up most gluten-free cakes. The crumb is light and airy, not heavy and over-moist. And it tastes delicious. I'll likely cut down on the sugar the next time around because even this is very, very sweet to me - but I don't often eat sweet stuff so it may be fine for other people.

I am in awe of this cake. I think I might even cry. Shauna, you are -wonderful-. Have I said that enough times yet? Cake! Real cake! It was worth all the crazy kitchen hassle, that's for sure.

...And served, with a apricot for colour! Look at that wonderful crumb!

You must make this! It's easy, it's adaptable, and it's absolutely delicious. I won't post the recipe, it's here already (and Shauna is always, always worth reading anyway.)

My only modifications were:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 tbls poppy seeds

These were all mixed in with the dry ingredients (ie: the flour, baking powder, cardamom) and set aside till needed.

I didn't use cardamom powder either, because I accidentally put coriander in. Yes, coriander! Thank heavens I can't really taste it in about stupid at work!

PS: I also hope no one out there has ever needed to go through the nightmare of mixing up and baking a cake while squatting on the living room floor by the front door in a decidedly fetal position, next to one's housemate's hair salon equipment. Thank God for a small oven, or I'd never have gotten it out the kitchen let alone to the plug point outside.


  1. The cake looks wonderful. Why doesn't mine come out that crumbly? Could I hv over-beaten some ingredients :(. Also I kinda sorta hurt myself grating an orange for an Orange butter cake once. So hubs has the duty of doing tht now. *diabolical laughter* ;D

  2. Oh gosh the horrors of electrical appliances gone wild, er, wrong!

    Glad the cake turned out well in the end. Sounds divine! :)

  3. Jo: Never mind, one day I come over to your place, we bake bersama-sama and troubleshoot your butter cake. Red Velvet Cake? :)

    Kenny: Electrical appliances have a way of doing that don't they. Welcome back from travelling! I must make this cake for you some day - it really IS divine. :) Much, much better than my birthday cake.

  4. Hehe, you know we are always ready for cake, no need to ask! LOL

    I've one more trip to Penang this Mon-Wed, then I oughta be staying put in KL till mid-Sept. :P

  5. Excellent, Kenny! When the plugs get fixed, I'll make another round of cake. Will tweak so it's less sweet and add cardamom instead of coriander, but otherwise - cake! And we will get together and eat it with ice-cream. :)

  6. Less sweet is always fine with CK and me. We like our desserts not aligned to the typical Malaysian tastebuds of SUPER-MANIS! :P