My baking journey so far, has not been the best if I may say so. There were soooooo many hiccups and disasters along the way. I’m still learning and adjusting many things here and there. To be honest, sometimes I really am frustrated and feel that my cakes were horrible and getting worse and worse! No joke! Compared to the baking back in Melbourne, this is DIFFICULT!!! But then again, my God is faithful! In my weaknesses, He showcases His Grace and Power. Really, He never puts to shame those who trust in Him. That is one promise that I will never let go. Without Him, this all would reach nowhere, and I, I would have been one depressed girl.
Let me share a few things that make baking a frustrating activity here back in Indo.
1. The Inconsistency of the Ingredients.
a. White Sugar: You will find varieties of white sugar here! HAH! From the brownish to the white coloured. From the coarsely ground to the more finely ground. I prefer the finely-ground white sugar because it resembles Caster Sugar closely (as most of my recipes use caster sugar). Caster Sugar is definitely unaffordable as its price is 4x the price of normal sugar. To make matter worse, the finely ground white sugar is not always available. So i’ve learnt to stock up a bit more when they are available!
b. Icing Sugar: Always choose icing sugar that clumps together! I know the clumps can be a big pain when you need to sieve it. But trust me, the clumps indicate that your icing sugar is PURE, not contaminated with STARCH! The shop assistant of my baking supplier alreadytold me that, but I learnt it the hard way today! The green tea frosting that I made became gooey instead of a bit firmer. The lemon frosting is DISASTROUS!! (More on that on the Cream Cheese section.)
c. Eggs: It’s SOOOO HARD to find good quality eggs! Compared to the eggs in Melbourne, Indonesian eggs are soooooo runny, both the white and the yolk. I never use out-of-the-fridge eggs as they are even more runny . When it comes to baking, you really need fresh and firm eggs. The firmer, the fresher, the better your baked goods will turn out. I have yet to try “kampong” (free-range eggs), I’m sure they are better, but that will make my cakes more expensive too. We’ll see later.. J If the result is more consistent, I might switch to it permanently and get my best friend to supply me eggs from her farm (at the moment, they are for whole-sale only)
d. Cream Cheese: NEVER EVER USE clumpy/ crumbly cream cheese! No matter how much you try to squeeze them out, chances are you’ll still end up with slightly clumpy frosting. No good. No one likes eating clumpy frosting! Enough said!
e. Colourings: The available colourings can’t give me colours I wanted! This is frustrating! You can see the slightly odd pinkish red below. It’s meant to be Christmas Red! R E D!! Not PINKish Red!! ARGHHHH.... need to try different brands, or even better, buying the dark colours (red, black, chocolate) from Melbourne. *evil laugh!*
Considering so many inconsistencies with the basic ingredients, I now understand why a lot of bakeries use cake emulsifier, such as TBM, VX, Ovalet, etc, to minimise the risk of their cakes going astray. Regardless, I still say NO to those cake emulsifier! HAH! Will march on to select the best possible ingredients and formulate the best recipes out of them!
2. The Very High Level of Humidity
It is your biggest enemy when you work with fondant/ sugar paste. You need a lot of icing sugar to make it drier and easier to roll out. That’s the key! No need oil, no need vegetable shortening, just icing sugar! Maybe icing sugar is really that good after all *nudge nudge Juls... ;)* Thank you for the tips, Sis!
3. The Unavailability of Some Stuff
To name a few:
Perfectly sized Cupcake wrappers! I can’t find the perfect size! Either they’re too big, or too small, too shallow or just simply not proportional! OMG!!! Thank God I’ve stocked up a lot of those that are quite good.
Brown sugar. Simply said, i’m craving for STICKY DATE PUDDING!
Fresh berries. I miss fresh blueberry muffins! No blueberry sold in this town! Arghhhh...
and the list goes on... X(
Anyway, enough of the complaining. I am still very very thankful. I’ve learnt a lot, and i’ve grown a lot too. It is not the best yet, but I get to witness this over and over again.
And He said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in your weaknesses.” 2Corinthians 12: 9
Soli Deo Gloria!
PS. Here are a few things to be thankful for