Category Archives: baking

Beginnings Of Cake Expectations

Before the early 1970s, making a cake was somewhat of a hit-and-miss affair, having to deal with the unpredictable mood swings of a highly-battered dough taken to task in a charcoal-fired makeshift oven. 

All that changed, when we bought a circular flat contraption called an “Ovenette”.   After the dough was put in, and the cover closed, and the switch was flicked on, all that we had to do was to wait, see and smell. 

The cover had a circular window on top through which we could see our rising expectations.

Though there was no temperature control for user manipulation, the results were usually very pleasing and palatable.   At last we could have our cake and eat it as well.

These days, we have upgraded to built-in ovens in the kitchen, thanks to a wifey with very cakey tendencies.

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Baking Was A Tin Of The Past

Prior to 1965 or so, no one in our neighbourhood had a proper oven of any kind.  But plebeian resourcefulness kicked readily.

An empty kerosene tin was all we needed.  One face was cut away to form a nice rectangular tank.  Fine sand (from the beach nearby) was used to fill about one-third of the tin to form an even heating bed.

For the topside heating , a piece of old sheet metal with plenty of glowing charcoal was placed over the kerosene tin.  And Voila, our Oven !

Admittedly, this contraption was quite susceptible to mood swings.  Often,  the cakes turned out looking like Mt Fujiyama, some others resembled the Table Mountain of South Africa, or worse, macam Lake Toba.  Bad recipes, perhaps.

No problem lah, we just opened our mouths big big — eat lah !