I’ve been avoiding it for years now. And with the few failed attempts I’ve made to overcome my fear – it hovers over and around me like an annoying mosquito. It ain’t going anywhere. There is no escape. I must confess: I suck at baking.
I would’ve happily continued to dodge the bullet but the subtle warnings were starting to tell me that my time of denial is up. I foolishly thought that I still had ample opportunity to start building that all-important mummy criteria of getting creative with batter, flour, eggs and electric mixers. But in a blink of an eye-lid, the twins’ first birthday is drawing nigh. In fact, it’s happening in less than 7 weeks (eeks !).
Thanks to a conversation with a mum at my local play group (Lucky for her, she shall remain nameless), I was “kindly” reminded that, “I better get cracking.” Hence, I have hit the panic button.
It all started quite innocently. It was only my second attendance at play group so I was still working my way around – keen to make mummy friends. As I happened to be chatting with the mother who baked the lemon sponge cake that had been provided for morning tea, I thought I would be polite and complimented how tasty it was. Then, (stupidly) I mentioned my own lack of skill in the baking department.
“Really ? But aren’t the boys turning one soon ?” she asked. “What are you going to do ? Are you going to have one cake or two ? Are you just going to have a numbers cake ? Or are you going to do a themed one ? How about a Thomas the Tank Engine cake ? Did you think about using M&M’s as cake decoration ?”
As she bombarded me with question after question, I felt I was sinking further and further into my inadequate replies of: “Uh, I dunno…” and “Um, I hadn’t thought about it…”
It didn’t take long for the pressure, kinda like a grand piano, to lie heavily on my shoulders.
Yes, yes, I can just imagine some readers rolling their eyes right now. You all think I’m being a drama queen. But seriously. Have you heard of anyone messing up a White Wings Baking Packet Mix…continuously ? And I don’t mean a chocolate cake being “a little uncooked in the centre ” or a tray of brownies being “a little too dry around the edges”. I’m talking about a brown, chunky, misshapen cube that was seriously singed and burnt on one side and completely goopy and sloppy on the other.
With one charred tin of chocolate cake, I was so appalled with the result that I was ready to throw it out. Instead, my husband actually ate it. The whole thing. I kid you not. He even had some for breakfast. For a fleeting moment, I actually thought that the oven and I had finally become firm friends. Then, I smartened up quickly and realised that with his undying passion for cakes, desserts and all things sweet (including me…haha), he was just surrendering to his sugar addiction. I was back to square one.
I have even taken the mentality that with every problem, there is bound to be a solution. Yesterday, I trudged over to the local library and picked up some Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cakes recipe books. But as I flicked through the pages, the more daunting it became; ice cream cake echidnas, jam roll choo-choo trains, vanilla sponge cake pirate ships. I plan to return the books tomorrow.
I can hear you all shouting the alternatives: “Buy the god damn cake !” “Get Nulla Nanna to bake one !” “Have an Indonesian curry themed birthday party !” And I have seriously thought about all these options.
But here’s the thing: Even if I exempt myself from the tedious task this time; I will eventually have to learn how to bake…and master at least one type of cake or cookie.
To all my mummy friends that not only bake with confidence, but are also loved by their munchkins for the scrumptious sweet treats that they provide…I truly envy you.