Somebody please tell me what on Earth could make a man whose cooking skills are limited to tossing a steak on a braai suddenly decide to bake a cake in the middle of a relaxing Sunday afternoon? I don’t know, but that is exactly what Japheth decided to do, on a lazy Sunday afternoon he randomly decided he wanted to try out his hand at baking a cake. Yes, people, Japheth baked a cake. For those who know Japheth well, will know what a huge accomplishment this was!
Now let me get this out there, I’m not a fan of baking and I am not any good at it. On the odd occasion I do bake, I stick to my mum’s tried and trusted recipes or I use pre-mixes which are easy and very difficult to flop (Unless you add dessert cream instead of normal cream to a malva pudding sauce, which by the way, ends up as a thick layer of cream on the top and does not absorb into the pudding at all – I’m just saying – I’m not admitting to anything… maybe it happened maybe it didn’t – Ok fine, it happened, I flopped a Malva Pudding Pre-mix 🤦) That’s the reason why I find it easier to pop into the bakery and pick up a beautifully baked cake rather than going through the whole effort of making a not so perfect, slightly lopsided, ok-ish tasting one.
So, Japheth had this great idea to bake a cake and he even found his own recipe. Except, he found the recipe off the internet. Now, that’s the last place I would look for a recipe. It is so confusing looking for the perfect recipe on the internet. Every recipe out there claims to be the best one and there are so many to choose from. All Japheth did was searched ‘Homemade Sponge Cake’ and clicked on the first recipe he saw, (Japheth, if you are wondering how I know this, I’m good like that!) why didn’t I ever think of doing that – eh maybe because people do not give out their secret family recipes on the internet?
Anyways, another reason I do not like internet recipes is because the measurements are sometimes tricky, especially if you are looking at international sites. I feel correct measurements are always ‘lost in conversion’. Japheth could not get his mind around why a recipe would call for 300g of sugar and all I could give him was a 250ml cup, neither could he understand that 8 eggs is generally too many for one cake.
Now, this recipe that he found is what is known as a Genoise Sponge Cake, a vintage cake. (How posh of my husband!) It’s a very temperamental and fussy cake to make, that egg and sugar foamy mixture is crazy difficult to get right and it can all go flat as soon as you add the melted butter into the mixture. Although a true Genoise sponge does not have any raising agents, Japheth’s recipe did have it. (Oooh, don’t I sound so knowledgeable. The only reason I know this is because I watch a lot of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off) I was guessing that this was the reason this recipe called for baking powder cos it can all easily go flat. So, as you can see baking is serious business, and I’m no talented baker, so I didn’t want to question anything on Japheth’s recipe.
So, this recipe called for 8 separated eggs, now I had a funny feeling Japheth’s inspiration for baking this cake came from the last episode of BBC’s Come Dine with Me South Africa which we watched. (No, the BBC is not paying me for this… we just big fans of these shows…) But I’m pretty sure all Japheth really wanted to do was to see if he could successfully separate an egg. The contestant on Come Dine with Me couldn’t do it and sadly, for me, neither could Japheth. Before he started, I gave him step by step instructions on how to separate an egg, but he still ended up wasting a dozen eggs. (I kid you not!) I shudder to think how many more eggs he would have wasted, considering that his initial plan was to crack all the eggs into a sieve. (I kid you not, again!)
Long story short and 12 eggs (literally) down the drain later Japheth made the cake batter. He then asked me for a cake pan, which is what I provided him with, after I greased it for him. Batter in the pan and pan in the oven, 5 minutes later the kitchen is filled with the smell of burning cake! The batter ran straight out of the springform pan onto the oven tray. The sponge cake batter was too weak for a springform pan and half his cake was now burning to a crisp at the bottom of the oven. How disappointing. (Yikes! That was totally my fault… Eeekk!😳 Poor guy, he did all this work, only for his wife to mess up by passing him the wrong pan, sounds like a very entertaining episode of Come Dine with Me!)
I could see how upset Japheth was, and I felt even worse for him when the cake eventually came out of the oven. It looked like it would have been a great cake, if only I gave him the correct pan to use. To make it up to him I decided I would whip up another layer of the cake. This was not an easy task; but I eventually got my batter looking as close as possible to his and baked it in the correct cake pan. Later I whipped up some fresh cream and Japheth decorated the two layers with fresh strawberries and passion fruit. It was a great first attempt and it tasted like a pretty decent cake. It certainly looked the part.
I have to say, his random idea to bake a cake was a good one as much as I wasn’t so keen on the idea. It gave him the chance to try something new and show a side of him we never saw before. I hope he keeps at it and tries his hand at some other interesting recipes, who knows, he might become great at it. At least one day when we are enjoying his legendary bakes over Sunday Tea, he can brag to his grandkids about how I was the one who burnt his first cake….
PS. I just realised the recipe Japheth found came from the BBC Good Food website… 😊 We really are BBC fans… Anyways I’ve attached the link should you wanna try this recipe out. Just a side note, do not use a springform pan, grease and line a proper cake pan…the last thing you want is burnt cake on your oven floor… also note the first recipe which shows up on Google isn’t that bad, just in case you are like me and never google recipes. Maybe, I should start a new challenge; try out the first recipe you find on Google. Here’s to living on the wild side and trying something new! #TheJaphethChallenge Let me know how your version turns out…