It’s a Cake!

As an expatriate wife – the “plus one” or “accompanying spouse”, I have had lots of time to perfect my … um … culinary skills (or develop some because let’s be honest, I don’t have any skills).    For those of you who’ve had my brownies or cookies… I’m really sorry.  I have often said (and it’s true) that I can screw up a bowl of cereal and don’t even get me started on instant oatmeal.  I long ago came to terms with the fact that cooking is not my forte. 

But, as someone who hates to be bored and has a sweet tooth, I’m trying to be better at baking.  It is challenging – unlike in the States, there are no Duncan Hines boxes of cake or brownie mix.  No fun-fetti cake.  No “just add oil, eggs, and water.”  Here you have to make everything from scratch. 


I found a few recipes online and have experimented.  The first few loaves of banana bread were not great, but I have that down now.  Today I might try chocolate banana bread.  I’ve also made peanut butter cookies because the peanut butter here is delicious!  First batch = awful; second batch = ok if you dunk them in coffee.




My Peanut Butter Cookies

 


Monday, though, I decided to really be adventurous and to bake myself a birthday cake.  It was a simple enough recipe – in fact, the author mentioned that it’s so easy, his little six year old bakes this cake.


After sifting and beating and mixing and baking, the cake came out ok – maybe a little dry and boring looking.  Originally, I was just going to bake the cake – the icing recipe looked too complicated – but staring at my sad little rectangular, over-done white cake, I decided to brave it.





Sad Pre-Icing Cake

So, here’s what I learned: Making icing is SO EASY!  It’s a joke!  You add everything together, bring it to a boil, stir and there you go!  Perfect Chocolate Icing!  Who knew?!





Easy Icing

So in the end, I was pretty proud – my cake not the prettiest cake, but it was delicious (thanks to the icing).  Unfortunately, it was so delicious that I ate the whole thing… by Wednesday.  So, I now need to bake another cake for Sunday…   


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7 Comments

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7 responses to “It’s a Cake!

  1. JAN

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    YOU CRACK ME UP. I CANNOT WAIT TO TASTE THE PRODUCTS OF YOUR BAKING SKILLS! FROM THE LAST BLOG, IT SEEMS YOU WILL BE HAVING VISITORS! I KNOW THAT YOU ARE EXCITED AND THAT THEY WILL ENJOY YOUR BAKING AS WELL. HOW IS SANDY? HIS JOG?

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! LOVE YOU

  2. BB

    Jane: We love your epistles from the other side of the hemisphere and equator. My best advice on baking is to cook it a little less than the directions say. Many cookies and cakes I have eaten over the years have been left in the oven 5 – 10 min. too long.

    Good luck. At the end of two years, you should publish an American in Malawi cookbook!

    xoxo. BB and Anna

  3. Liz

    Wow friend, baking from scratch, very impressive. For your birthday cake, I think you should cut the rectangular cake in half and stack the pieces in two layers. I think it will be more festive 🙂 And of course, write happy birthday kate on it!

  4. Ginny

    I do remember hearing about your AWESOME thanksgiving dessert. So you can’t be as bad as you say! Give yourself some credit – you made icing!!!

  5. Aunt Katherine

    Happy Birthday!!! We love you and are thinking about you on your special day!

  6. Ginger

    wish we were all eating this together and celebrating your 27th year. We do love you so very much!

  7. ty dahl

    I love the way you write — and cook! After all, I try to boil water without burning it. I hope you will seriously consider the cookbook suggestion when you return to the U.S. Thank you again for keeping us up so vibrantly. I love you! Daddy

    PS: I loved “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.” Astonishing.

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