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Happy Birthday to my dear little niece!!  Today, she turned 3.

How quickly time flies by!  It only felt like last month that she turned 2.  For her 2nd birthday, we sang Happy Birthday to her and watched her open gifts.  The best part was watching her put on all her gifts.  Already wearing a pair of thick jeans, she would open one gift that had a pair of stretchy pants.  Before we could stop her, she already had one pant leg on and was pulling the other side up.  The next gift had another pair of stretchy pants.  Once again, before we could react, she was already putting on her second pair of stretchy pants!  I cannot imagine it being comfortable to wear two pairs of stretchy pants over a pair of thick jeans.

Unfortunately, this year, she is not in town for her birthday so I am not able to celebrate with her.  In fact, I was thinking about my cute little niece as I was attending my first cake-baking class.  Maybe one day, if I ever improve the skills, I can bake her a cake for her birthday.  😉  Maybe.

Now I should probably say that I did take Home Economics class in Grade 8 and therefore do know some basics of cooking and baking. Then you might think…where’s the challenge of this course?  Oh, trust me, there are challenges!  I signed up for the version that is taught in Chinese.  Yes, recipes in 98% Chinese can make the activity much more challenging. The instructor made a basic white cake with some honey in it.  Not sure of the translation as it is written in Chinese.  Obviously when he is explaining and mixing ingredients together, it all seems pretty simple.

The instructor made a basic cake for us to try... very light and fluffy. So basic, so yummy!

The other thing I noted is that working on something food-related with people you don’t know is difficult.  We have a class of about ten people and we were split into two groups of five.  S and I are taking the class together so we stayed in the same group.  I am pretty sure S and I work well together as a team.  It’s when you add in a few other people who do not know each other that mixes up the balance a bit.  Lesson number one that I learned in Home Ec 8 class is “wash your hands”… I don’t think everyone in the group learned that lesson.  As for the mixing and preparing, that was a bit chaotic.  Perhaps that is why the instructor took over some of the steps for our group (yes, we were too slow and maybe he was worried we would take too long to complete one cake), and so our little individual-sized lotus paste filling cakes came out relatively presentable.

cake with lotus paste filling

We did not want to waste the extra cake batter, so we baked it.

The second cake (pecan white cake) was not so lucky.  The amount of oil that oozed out of it was quite impressive.  Imagine removing, from your oven, some cupcakes baked in heavy parchment paper.  Now obviously there is nothing too special about that.  However, imagine these cupcakes just oozing with oil out the bottom and the top of the cupcake is coated with sizzling oil.  AND, after a full 30 seconds of being out of the oven, that layer of oil is still sizzling.  Yes, I think something may have went wrong somewhere.  Now, forget about the “imagining” as that was the reality of our second batch of pecan and cranberry cupcakes.  Mmm… oil… deep-fried cake….. lol….

Ready for baking... but eeewww... it looks pretty gross! The photo already makes it look better than the real thing. lol

After being in the oven for 40 minutes, this batch was renamed "octopus cake" -- look at all the leaking and spreading. Can you tell from the picture that the oil is still sizzling?

It's all a matter of angles. This makes it look tastier than it probably is. 😉

Well, dear niece, I think you might have to wait a long time before YiYi can make you that birthday cake….