Friday, March 18, 2011

Chiffon Cake, Finally!

Most of my friends and relatives know that I like to bake but I don't really like to eat cakes, or pies, or biscuits. I like to try out new recipes, test out my skills, and happy to see people around me enjoying the output. But there is one cake I do like and I will eat a couple pieces every time I buy them. It's the Chiffon Cake. It is very soft and light, not oily and I don't really feel stuffed after I ate it. I love them and I found out that Charlotte also likes Chiffon Cake. That makes me an excuse to try making it. Actually, I tried baking a Chiffon Cake many years back, when I was in my teen. But it was a total failure and I never touch on that recipe ever since.

I have been trying baking Chiffon Cake for the past few weeks and I had disasters that no one could imagine. I didn't come across any of the challenges mentioned in every recipe such as difficulty in removing the cake from the cake pan, egg whites not beaten to the right stage, cake did not rise properly and etc. What I had was my cake raised perfectly and I didn't have any trouble removing it from the pan because it fell off from the pan the moment I inverted it! So what I had from the last few attempts were all collapsed Chiffon Cakes that looked like this...although it all tasted great.

I asked the experts, I checked the recipe, I bought fresh ingredients, but nothing helps. Finally I was looking into my oven last night and I realized something. I realized that my baking tray was closer to the upper heat element of the oven than the lower ones. I recalled all my Chiffon Cakes had nice golden brown top but the bottom and sides looked "naked" when removed from the cake pan. Maybe the bottom wasn't completely baked and that's why it fell off the moment it was inverted. So I moved the baking tray to a level lower and tried baking another one. This time I tried the Orange Chiffon Cake recipe as I ran out of coconut milk (santan) for Pandan Chiffon Cake and I had no more bananas for Banana Chiffon Cake. I separate the egg yolks and eggs whites carefully and followed the recipe steps as much as possible. I want to rule out all the possibility of "is it something wrong with the ingredients I put, or is it my skill in making it".

And finally there is a decent looking Chiffon Cake from my oven...

And a happy customer...she's my biggest supporter afterall and she said "mommy, 你成功了!"

Next, I need to work on the skill removing the cake from the pan so that the side doesn't look so "cacat", haha!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Pregnancy Memory

I didn't write down any pregnancy memory when I was carrying Charlotte. Back then, I didn't even have a blog. I only started blogging 2 years after having Charlotte. And this is it, a blog all about her.

Now that I am expecting my second baby very soon, and I think I have a perfect place to keep not just about my kids' growing up memory, but also start all the way back from my pregnancy memory.

I remember clearly the night before I found out that I was pregnant with Charlotte we invited a few friends to our house for dinner. We cooked steak and had a very nice wine and we stayed all night chit chatting. The next morning, I decided to take a home pregnancy test since my period was late. When the test result came out positive, the first thing I recalled was "damn! I was drinking last night!" wasn't a planned pregnancy but Pat and I did talk about it as we thought we'll just take it easy and if it happens, it happens...and it happened!!!

I swear and was 101% sure that I will not have a second child. I guessed I was not prepared to welcome another baby experience along with the responsibilities and commitments associate with it. I was overwhelmed, my tried to do the best (I think I did) for the Charlotte, I was committed to breastfeeding, I sacrificed my career commitment to allow bandwidth to take care of the Charlotte, I gave up many opportunities on both personal and professional growth. Naturally, I was in phobia to commit another one. Pat on the other hand, always wanted a second child. But he couldn't push to hard for it to happen because half the time he is not home and he knows that the responsibility is all mine. His brilliant idea is to have maid to help out, but I am someone that cannot rely on maid entirely, not on baby, not even on house chores. Baby is too fragile and I can never imagine to have something happen to a baby because I "outsource" the responsibility to a maid and accident happened. So second baby was out of the equation for quite some time. Charlotte is turning 6 this year and maybe I'm kinda forgotten about all the sweat and tears, and I also missed the feeling of having a baby kicking inside your tummy when you are carrying him/her, but I also realized that now I am 6 years older, my stamina and health may not be in the same condition as 6 years ago. Can I still cope with the night feeding marathon? The miserable colic cry every night? The washing and just like the 1st pregnancy we were not to serious about it but we are blessed!

I found out that I was pregnant at around the 5th week the first time, and this second time was maybe just around the 3rd week. We couldn't see any sign of embryo formation when we went to see the Gynae, just a sign of positive pregnancy with thick wall on the uterus. I was in a little denial for a couple of weeks until the presence of an embryo showed on the ultrasound scan later on. So the pregnancy journey started...

I had a very easy pregnancy the first time. Everything was normal, I ate as usual (maybe was eating a lot more than usual), sat, walked, slept as usual. No morning sickness, no backache, the whole 40 weeks passed by very quickly and Charlotte born just 2 days earlier than the EDD. The 2nd pregnancy is a whole new experience, and I never thought it could be that challenging although I had heard many difficult pregnancy experiences before. It started with a very bad morning sickness, or maybe I should say all-day sickness because that's really what it was. I felt so sick all day long, nothing (food/drinks) seemed to be able to comfort my tummy. I was hungry but everything that went in came out pretty soon. What makes it worse is the washroom in the office, the look, the smell, even just the thought of using it made me sick already. So I was really dragging myself to work everyday in the first trimester. Not only that, I started to have backache even at 8 weeks along. I couldn't bear the pain even just walking a short distant, imagine back then my tummy had not really show and I was worried sick about the remaining 30+ weeks journey. In between 1st and 2nd trimester, I had numerous occasions of spotting and visited A&E very frequently. I spotted when I was slightly overworked, slightly over stressed, did a little bit more house chores than usual, baked a cake or two over the weekend...I was on bed rest many times so far. I felt so fragile and weak with this 2nd pregnancy, but I was all energetic and active during the 1st. No wonder the old wive tales called it unique pregnancy...but I call it "age does matter pregnancy"...

With Charlotte, I had a very clear sign of labor - my water bag burst at 40 weeks, at 4+am. I knew for sure I had to check myself in to hospital by then. I am now 38+ weeks and for the last one whole week I kept having false signs of labor. I felt the contraction last Thursday late afternoon, Pat was away from home and so I drove to the hospital myself and had a CTG check. The nurse asked me to pack my bag and check-in that night because the contraction was strong and consistent. On my way back, I called Pat and asked him to come home immediately. Pat came back late night, but we didn't check ourselves in because the contraction had went away, and it was nothing for the next few days. I woke up on Saturday morning and found out that I had "show" and this time we packed and put all the necessary things into the car and went straight to the hospital. Strangely, the contraction that morning was very mild than usual and my Gynae said there was no dilation yet. He sent me to CTG monitoring again and when the result also showed mild and inconsistent contraction I was sent home. I had my follow up today and my Gynae said my baby likes it in my womb and decided to stay a little longer...(sigh!). I'm home once again.

Will the bell rings next week?