Last night, I grabbed a quick dinner and got down to work. Shredding the carrots were the most tiring on the arms (good workout for toning arms though!) and chopping up the pecans were also pretty tiring (hard to prevent the pecans from flying all over the kitchen top) but other than that, it was manageable. I’m not a very confident baker so I follow recipes to a T, unlike Domestic Goddess Miss Eun and Domestic Pixie the Pleasure Monger who can bake by tweaking recipes, etc. I am no where close – I joke that I’m the Domestic Gnome.
Tee hee hee.
Even though I’ve baked carrot cakes before, this time was different. It was going to be ‘sold’ via an auction so it had to look presentable and most importantly, taste decent! I was constantly gripped by a fear that the cake will not rise, or it will be half-cooked. The horrors!
This meant that I checked the cake no less than 5 times (!), taking it in and out of the oven, sticking a stick into it to check for doneness, then get confused because there are crumbs on it but it still seemed a little wet. Then putting it back again and baking for another X number of minutes. Thankfully, the final product is smeared with cream cheese frosting which means you don’t see the (many) holes that I made at the top of the cake! *blush*
The boy also kindly helped with the final but crucial step of decorating it. My previous attempts at carrot cake was easy – I simply slapped on the cream cheese frosting and that was it. I was cracking my head on how to decorate it attractively, checking out various sites on the internet, but many of them decorated it with ‘carrots’ made of marzipan. Gulp. Some used raw carrot strips but I don’t think anyone will be keen on eating raw carrots off a cake so I scraped that idea. In the end, we decided to cover the sides with chopped pecan and use chocolate to write a short message on the cake.
It was easy melting the chocolate (I used Hershey’s chocolate buttons) and the boy had a wonderful idea of freezing the letters. It was also the first time I shaped baking paper into a make-shift piping bag. Amazingly, it worked! No thanks to the humidity levels in Singapore, we were both standing at our open fridge – the boy was watching the chocolate take shape in the freezer while I was in charge of taking the chocolate pieces and placing them onto the cake itself. This sounded easier than it sounds because the chocolate started to melt the moment it came into contact with my hands! I even resorted to rubbing my fingers with an ice-cube before handling the chocolate to slow down the melting process. Phew.
Finally, after 6 hours of work and a very messy kitchen, the cake was finally done.
Every year, the school sets aside one Friday afternoon to raise funds for the less fortunate students in the school. The money raised goes to helping these students with their daily expenses, school-related costs, etc. Students will set up stall selling a whole range of goods and services, ranging from henna painting to hamsters. Yes, there was a stall selling hamsters. Live ones, that is.
This year, the anchor event for our school is called ‘Caring Is A Piece of Cake!’. 6 cakes contributed by staff goes on auction and staff are invited to place a bid for it. Bidding started at 10am and ended at 3pm.
There are only 5 cakes in the picture above because my camera phone wasn’t able to fit ’em all in! Anyway, the last cake on the extreme right (not in picture) is the one I baked.
And here they are, up close:
Whisk-and-Fold Sinful Chocolate Fudge Cake
Baked Cheesecake with Chunks of Whole Berries
Moist Chocolate Cake Nestling Layers of Rich Dark Chocolate Frosting
Layered Orange Madeira Cake with Strawberry Jam
My jaws fell open when I saw the cakes. How professional do they look?! Check out the last ‘flower pot’ cake. Like, OH. MY. GOODNESS. If this is not professional standards, I don’t know what is.
And then there’s my cake, loosely covered with clingwrap for hygiene purpose:
Each cake also had a sheet of paper with the bids written on it:
My colleagues were very sweet and they pooled their money together (contributing between $10-$50 per person) to bid for my cake. Awww. Th boy also offered to place a bid for $88 and the BGF offered $20. Double awwww.
In the end, here’s the final tally:
– Prune-Layered Cake – $200
– Whisk-and-Fold Sinful Chocolate Fudge Cake – $200
– Baked Cheesecake – $100
– Moist Chocolate Cake – $152.50
– Layered Orange Cake – $1,360
– Carrot Cake – $200
And yes, you read it right – the ‘flower pot’ cake went for a whopping one thousand, three hundred and sixty dollars.
The event raised a total of $2,212.50 which is a lovely amount. *clap clap*
We carried the cake back to the office and I had the honour of slicing it up. To be honest, I was a tad nervous at this point because WHAT IF THE CAKE IS HALF-COOKED??!?!? Or it TASTES REALLY GROSS?!?
After gingerly cutting through the heavy cake, I sighed with relief when I saw that the cake was 100% fully cooked and edible. PHEW.
In fact, it was more than just edible. It tasted pretty good, if I may say so myself! I was just soooo relieved that it all turned out well.
It was an interesting experience but I don’t think I’d be baking any carrot cakes very soon! Nonetheless, knowing that my humble lil’ cake raised $200 makes me happy 🙂