Arts and Crafts Saved my DIY Cake
I’m now a mommy to a 1 month old baby!
My work-from-home all day everyday set-up allows me to step up in the kitchen. I mostly use Tasty app for my meals, and every now and then would bake simple desserts (cookies, crinkles).
During the last few weeks before giving birth, I’ve been thinking of making cakes for our baby Savannah’s monthly milestone. Cakes here in Singapore are pricier than what I’m used to. The basic cakes would be about 25sgd (about P1000), whereas you could get simple cakes in Manila for just P350. So I have decided to turn this into a project, something new for me to discover!
I originally wanted a basic chocolate cake (recipe from Tasty), but since we had a lot of almost rotten bananas, banana cake it is! My mom sent me a recipe for the banana cake and a link for cream cheese frosting. Then seeing that I had old but still fresh blueberries in the fridge, I decided to make a blueberry compote filling to add a bit of complexity.
For this project, I purchased a 6″ loose bottom cake pan and a small plastic cake container for storing my creations. Luckily, the previous tenant of our condo left an electric mixer! That makes my life much easier Other than Daiso measuring cups, I’m afraid that’s the extent of my baking collection.
I used half portion of a standard cake batter recipe, yielding two 6″ layers. I baked the cakes one at a time because I only had 1 pan.
For the homemade blueberry compote, I made half portion of the recipe. I ended up using only actually used half of what I made (just 1/4 portion). I stored the leftover in the freezer, as the internet says it can last up to 3 months. Maybe a cheesecake next?
Oh, most of the recipes called for lemon juice. Since I didn’t have any on hand, I added rice vinegar instead. This substitution works if you just need a little bit of juice.
As this was my first time to bake a cake, I did a lot of research! Here’s a useful link full of cake-making tips. I forgot to do a few things though — such as creaming the sugar and butter first (I mixed the sugar together with all the dry ingredients), and greasing the pan and wax paper. Luckily, the cake came off without trouble.
Baked the cake for about 40 minutes. Waited for 10+ minutes before transferring the cakes onto a makeshift drying rack to cool. I don’t mind all the waiting time since I could do a lot of things in between, such as nurse the baby and make dinner. After cooling off at room temperature, I popped both layers into the freezer over dinner.
To prep myself for assembly, I watched this video on how to frost a cake without tools. I didn’t have a spatula (used a knife) or a cake board (used a plate), and instead of a piping bag, I used a ziplock as the video suggested.
My key takeaway from watching Sugar Rush on Netflix is that texture is just as important as flavor. So I added candied banana chips to give my cake some crunch.
For the cake decor, I bought a tiny box of Fruit Loops for about 1.2sgd. I originally wanted strawberries as decor but found the pack too expensive at 9.90sgd.
It was definitely an Expectation vs. Reality when it came to decorating
That was it for the night. The next morning I set out to save my cake with arts and crafts. I whipped out my iPad, 2 cardboards (about 200+gsm), toothpicks and tape.
Then assembled it all together in the most artsy way I can. Quick and easy!
I chose 4 photos with different expressions, and doodled party hats for good fun! Taped together toothpicks to allow for different heights, and taped them on the back of the boards.
The blueberry compote adds theatre to my cross section photo. Otherwise it’d just be cream colored all inside.
The cake was moist and dense, the bananas is the star of the show. Next time I could try to make it fluffier. The blueberry compote adds some complexity to an otherwise straightforward cake. My husband enjoyed his first bite of just the banana cake. Then he discovered the blueberry filling, and then the cake with cream cheese frosting. He said each bite was different, and he liked the one with frosting most of all. Yep, who doesn’t like cream cheese?
However, the fruit loops and banana chips became soggy. The fruit loops were purely decorative so I don’t mind that. But since the banana chips were added mainly for the crunch, it didn’t serve its purpose. I’d go for almonds or walnuts next time.
I enjoyed the entire process of learning something new, and am already thinking of what to try next for her 2nd month!
Another photo attempt with her lying on the dining table. The cake is in the background. ‘Parents, why must you do this to me?’
Happy 1 month my baby! Don’t grow up too fast!
Thank you Lord for the gift of family!