The 3rd Generation Baker

Those who know me, will know that my life basically revolves around food. Food Technologist by day, and self-proclaimed master-chef at night. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, but the scientist in me took it a little further hence, I studied Food Technology.

For those wondering – No, Food Technology doesn’t mean I am a chef. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a chef, I sometimes dream about what my life would have been like if I had chosen that path. Food Technology is basically the science and technology behind producing, packaging and distributing foods that are wholesome and safe for consumers. It also includes the physical, microbiological and chemical analysis of food, as well as development of food products and the safety of food products. It sounds like a lot, because it is. Food Technologists carry very heavy duties to ensure consumers are getting good quality food products. I have always wanted to do something food related, and I think that my upbringing and my parent’s allowed me to continue in life with something I am passionate about.

My first experiences with food was with my mother in the kitchen. My mother was always cooking and baking something. I can remember sitting on the kitchen counter top of my childhood home, watching my mother bake a chocolate cake and waiting eagerly to help her mix and then diving into the bowl once she had placed the batter into the oven. My mother has always been super creative and not just in the kitchen. My mother taught me how to sew and knit, we even did a couple of fabric paints together and the odd arts and crafts. I am also lucky, that I get to work in an industry that supplies most of it’s products to large and small-scale bakeries. I get to see and learn so much about how people are making fats and oils work for them in their products and different ways to apply ingredients to create all sorts of wonderful baked goods.

My mothers skills were also taught to her, by her mother. I do not remember much of my grandmother, as she passed away when I was about 6 years old (almost 20 years now). There are so many people who all have the similar amazing stories to tell about her, her big heart and love for baking. I can only imagine the fun the three of us (me, my mom and grandmother) would have had in the kitchen. If only I could have found the pictures of the amazing cakes my mother and grandmother would bake for me as a child.

Recently, my grandmother has been on my mind plenty, almost every day since I found out that I was expecting. I can’t explain how it felt when the doctor told me that I am due on the 1st of April – my grandmothers birthday. What are the chances? What are the odd’s? It was definitely a sign from the heavens, or a very early April Fools prank. As a tribute to my mother and my grandmother, I thought it fit to share something that has been shared with me.

Since I can remember my mother has had this Cape Malay cook book that has been used in her home for the longest time. It was first my grandmothers book, who then gave it to my mother, and now that I am starting my own family, my mother has passed it down to me. The cookbook is called the Cape Malay Cookbook by Faldela Williams. In this book, there is a very easy sponge cake recipe called “Klop en Gebak”. My mother and I have been making this recipe for years, it is easy, versatile and always a crowd-pleaser.

It is very easy to see that this book has been through the generations, it is very well used. There are so many traditional recipes of Cape Malay style in this book. I do hope that I will be able to promote a love of cooking and baking in my little one to carry on the tradition. I am truly blessed to have been taught such wonderful skills that have travelled down the generations. It would have been nice to of shared my skills with my grandmother to show her that her teachings have indeed has shaped more lives than the daughters she has brought into the world, but also her daughter’s daughter.

Probably in one of my future post’s I will discuss some of my own heritage and why this book is such a good book to describe culture.

As an avid baker, nothing breaks your heart quicker than dropping your trusty hand mixer from the top shelf in the kitchen, thus I haven’t been doing much baking recently. Luckily for me, my husband surprised me with a new counter-top mixer for Christmas. I had to take the new toy for a test run, and no other recipe would suffice but the tried and tested Klop en Gebak recipe. I was honestly just so excited to set everything up and get busy baking, but really I was just interested in tasting some of the batter when I was done.

I always had this bad habit of not preparing all my ingredients before hand, and just doing it as I go, but I’ve learnt that you don’t want to be surprised half way through that you thought you had flour or eggs and then you actually don’t. I like this recipe as it doesn’t have any complicated ingredients for when you’re just craving a quick cake. For this bake, I did not have any castor sugar, and because it is #januworry, I improvised by food processing my sugar in the Nutribullet – yes, it is not just for health shakes.

img_20190113_182652_resized_20190114_091350565
Nutri Bullets should be used as baking aids

My favourite part of baking is mostly watching how the whole batter part just comes together, thinking about how each ingredient full-fills it’s purpose to create something and then watching the product in the oven undergo so many more changes. It is really the most interesting part. Something cool I didn’t know about my mixer, is that the bowl doesn’t just rotate but so does the beaters which ensures you’re getting a more even mix of the ingredients.

 

It is hard baking while pregnant, by the time this cake cooled down, I was too lazy to do something cool for the topping, so instead, I pulled out my favourite icing sugar product – the Ina Paarman all-in-one icing kit, which was vanilla flavoured, this can be quickly changed to a chocolate flavoured icing with the help of some cocoa powder. and then some sprinkles to top it off with. This is honestly such an easy recipe, that produces lovely cakes. I don’t really care that the end result has come out as one of my least creative moments, but when your 29 weeks pregnant and have been in a warm kitchen in the summer you will understand that your creativity is not at its peak. Maybe one day when my tummy isn’t pressing up against the counter, I will be more inspired, but for now, tasty cake is better than no cake.

For more information on Food Technology, here is the link to the Food Technology Department at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where my tertiary educational journey began. CPUT Food Technology Dept.

And if you’re interested in the Cape Malay Cookbook: The Cape Malay Cookbook – Faldela Williams

– R

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