The first Birthday cake I baked for an old pal... me the gan cheong baker

Don't you find that the strawberry shortcake look like Snow White? :)
"Gan cheong" is a Cantonese term and it means anxious/nervous. I won't deny that I am a gan cheong baker, often clumsy in the kitchen, spilling ingredients on the table top, fumbling through the ingredients, running back to my laptop to double check the ingredients, measurements and steps :p But I enjoy baking nevertheless :)

Yesterday, 2 of my ex-colleagues visited me. They have seen some of the photos on the cakes I baked on my Facebook, and requested me to bake. I gladly agreed as that means another chance to practice my baking skills :D

It was one of my friend's birthday, so I took the opportunity to bake a birthday cake for her. I hardly frost my cakes so this is a good chance to practice :)

I saw the beautiful Chocolate Gateau posted by Nami on her JustOneCookbook blog, and decided to bake that :) I followed every step and was confident that the cake will turn out great. I tested my newly acquired oven thermometer and had the oven ready at 190 Degree Celcius. But, what I missed out was that the cake should take 30-35 mins to bake. I set my timer at 35 mins and when the alarm went off, I found that the top of the cake was slightly burnt :( I was at a lost at what to do - should I slice off the top and go ahead and frost it? But what if it's too crumbly/dry? Should I bake another one following the same recipe? I even searched through the internet to find out if there is any way to remedy this.

To play safe, I decided to bake another cake. I went back to the strawberry shortcake recipe from HHB. I baked this for my eldest sis last year. The sponge cake turned out quite nicely baked. As I baked a day in advanced, so I wrapped the cake in cling wrap and kept in the fridge. The next morning, I began to work on the frosting.

I was glad that my friends and their kids like the cake. The strawberry shortcake I baked may not taste as soft as the one at Four Leaves, but I guess it's the thought that counts? :p I feel happy that I was able to bake for my friend. Sometimes the best gift is not something you buy with money, but one that is handmade with effort (& sweat)? hehe.

Happy Birthday, my dear friend! :)

Happy with how smooth the top of my sponge cake looked.

 Temperature is critical in baking a sponge cake. I always anticipate nervously when the cake is baking in the oven, wondering if it will rise :p