Baking is a true science and for me baking is my passion, I put love into the things that I make. This makes a difference in the product, both in appearance and the way it tastes. My friends tend to say to me, ‘boy this is so good and tastes better than when I make it, what is your trick?” and my answer to them every time is one word…. Love. If you love what you do it will shine through your product and people can literally taste the difference.
My all time favourite Dutch dessert is Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake). This traditional Dutch dessert is somewhere between a tart and a shortbread. It has lots of butter, an almond flavour, a reminiscent of frangipane and makes a great afternoon treat at coffee/tea time. Oh my goodness my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
As for my Oma’s recipe, now that is a secret but I will share another recipe with you all that I found to produce a delicious product.
To make boterkoek:
- 150g butter
• 200g caster sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
• 1 egg, beaten
• 200g flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 20g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin with greaseproof paper.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy.
Remove one teaspoon of the beaten egg and set aside. Pour the rest of the egg into the mixture, and stir well. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix until you have a smooth dough.
Transfer the mixture to a baking tin, and pat down with the back of a spoon until smooth (you might find it easier to use clean hands to smooth the mixture). Mix the teaspoon of egg with a teaspoon of water, and brush on top of the boterkoek. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds, and bake for 25-30 minutes until just golden and firm to the touch.
One of my favorite cakes that I decorated, was a poker themed one I did for a relative’s friend. This is the first cake that I did for someone that I did not personally know, so it had to be better than anything that I’ve ever done before. I had a lot of fun with this cake, since I was able to take a general idea from the client and design it to be my own. I knew I would hit this cake out of the park.
All the baking and the detail on this cake took me over 12 hours to complete, but it was totally worth it in the end. The poker chips and suits are what took the most time to complete since I did not have any cutters for the suits on the cards so I had to cut them by hand, which was quite a bit of work. I thought that it would be a cool idea to incorporate his name and his age in the cards, so it was specialized just for him. That’s the great thing about custom cakes, each one is different.
My relative later contacted me and told me that this cake was a major hit at the surprise party. It tasted great, plus they were blown away by the overall appearance of the cake. You could say I beat the odds, and won the chips with a royal flush. I hope to see them come to me for more cakes in the future. I’m always up for a new challenge!
Ever since I was a little girl, my Mom and I would bake together. We would always bake banana bread, different types of cookies, and all kinds of bars. I always enjoyed baking with my Mother and to this day whenever someone asks me why I started baking, I always say that it was my Mom that taught me everything I know in the kitchen. For that I am forever grateful for her. She is there when I need ideas for a cake that I’m doing, or if I need an opinion if something looks good on the cake or not.
After some time, I felt like I needed to be challenged more, so I tried making a fondant covered cake. Let me tell you, the first one did not turn out so great. But, after more practice I started getting better and people started noticing that the love and dedication I have for decorating cakes is astounding.
What makes me keep wanting to get better at what I do in the kitchen, is all the people that stand beside me and are with me through the ups and downs of my baking experiences. I have so many friends and family that support and encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing. They are as excited as I am to see what I make next.
These are just some of the cakes that I have done throughout the years:
Ever since I was a little kid, I always enjoyed baking with my Mom. We would watch Anna Olsen’s, “Sugar” on the Food Network and would get so inspired to bake. I was the kind of girl that when my mom and I would bake a cake from the box, I always thought it would come out looking like the picture. Needless to say, even though it tasted really good, I was never satisfied by the appearance of it. It became a goal to bake and present well. I have a love for cakes and never really realized how challenging it was bake, fill and assemble one until it came to making my cousins sweet 16 cake a few years ago.
After watching countless episodes of Cake Boss, I felt like perhaps I was ready for this challenge. Nope.
Not being as prepared as I thought, I was stuck with a bunch of cake slabs on the floor, dried out fondant on the counter and me sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor crying and not knowing what to do. Thank goodness for mom’s right? Always there to save the day. She helped me clean up and we started all over again, step by step. It wasn’t the greatest cake in the world, but it was one of my firsts and I’m very grateful for the opportunity because after that cake, I had friends, family, and friends of friends messaging me and asking me to make cakes for them.
My hobby became a passion and it all started from my mom and me baking to having the one chance to show what I can do. Ever since then, I can see the progress from all my cakes and I’m learning more and more every time.
I have so many people supporting me and encouraging me every day about my passion for baking and I feel very blessed to have such a good support team behind me. I was encouraged to start my own Facebook page for my creations and I’m so proud with the amount of responses and support from everyone!
Because of them, I was able to push myself and create a few of these for them:
By: SHIENAL PRASAD