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Let’s learn to bake!

05 Mar 2020 / 14:43 H.

IF YOU want to try something different over the weekend, why not learn a new skill, like baking a cake. This is exactly what I did last weekend when I joined a baking class at MyWeekendPlan in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya.

I like to eat cake, but I have never baked one before. So, I searched the internet for a baking class and found MyWeekendPlan, which offers promo classes for pastries like macarons, Unicorn Doughnuts and Mermaid Cake.

I decided to give the Mermaid Cake a try. The class is conducted by instructor Azlina Tan, a local graduate with working experience in the food industry.

According to Tan, baking is hugely popular, both as a career and as a hobby. She said that what matters isn’t just the taste, but also how the cake looks.

Nowadays, people want a cake with unique decorations or made in a unique way. “For example, if it is a cupcake, they want buttercream, fondant and gum paste decorations,” she said.

“The trend is to bake a cake that looks good and is Instagrammable.”

According to Tan, unicorn and mermaid decorations are currently in trend, which is why she chose to lead a Mermaid Cake course.

“Most of the students are new beginners, I want them to gain knowledge and come back to learn further,” she said.

About 14 students (including myself) registered for the class and were divided into small groups of two or three in each group, before we started to whisk the batter for the sponge cake.

As the ingredients were already prepared by the instructor, all we had to do was mix the cake flour, caster sugar, five eggs, baking powder, vanilla essence and other ingredients into a bowl using a hand mixer.

Some already knew how to use the hand mixer, and they went way ahead of others who were using it for the first time.

Once the cake batter was in the oven, we started to mix the vanilla buttercream in a separate bowl.

My favourite part was making sea creatures like seahorses, fish, crabs and a variety of shells using gum paste.

It brought back memories of my childhood, when I played with playdough and made colourful animals out of it.

I took a piece of gum paste and rolled it into a tiny ball before pressing it into a seahorse mould and then, slowly easing it out.

It wasn’t as easy as it looked, as the creatures have to be small enough to fit onto the small cake, but soon everyone got into a creative mood, and started to mix two or three different colours.

Meanwhile, Tan also taught us how to make mermaid tails with chocolate. Both she and another instructor, Nur Syafiqah Umar Ludin, were very helpful and friendly.

At last, the moment I was waiting for finally arrived. It was time to decorate the cake based on two patterns, waves or colours. I chose the pink wave pattern.

Using a cake spatula, everyone got creative in designing their cake. I created the waves using buttercream, and added the sea creatures, gold powder and chocolate mermaid tail, and created waves with buttercream before sprinkling edible sand.

It took three hours to make and decorate the cake, but it was all worth it! The cake looked pretty and I felt satisfied with the result.

I also learned baking tips such as using oil-based colours for chocolate, and discovered new baking ingredients such as ovalette, a cake stabiliser.

At the end of the day, it was fun to learn baking tips and techniques, and it was certainly worth the time.

Perhaps, you too can discover your hidden talent or meet new friends at a weekend cooking or baking class!

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