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Shortly after my escapade with making the quesadillas, I was cleaning up the kitchen, nearly done too, when I decided I wanted to bake. 

Those of you who know me, know I have a vehement dislike towards pastry chefs. I cannot stand them. I love what they create, but in all of my experience so far, I’ve found pastry chefs to be… well, not my cup of tea. Who knows, maybe I’ve just met the wrong people. Moving on, I stood there and then went over to my laptop and immediately pulled up Google to look for a cake recipe. Josh’s house doesn’t have your everyday baking needs. I mean, they’ve got flour, sugar, baking powder, but no cake mixes (something I’ve always used when baking cupcakes). I pulled up a simple white cake recipe. It looked easy enough. Eggs, Milk, Sugar, Flour, Baking Powder, etc. I knew for a fact we had almost everything. I wasn’t sure about the baking powder or vanilla though and had to root around for them in the spice cupboard. Sure enough, I found them.

Vanilla, Baking Powder, Sugar, Flour, Milk & 2 eggs

After dashing back and forth across the kitchen a million times to make sure I knew what I was up to, I finally got down to it. I mixed the softened butter (which I didn’t show in the pic, for some reason) with the sugar, and had a blast trying to get butter out of my mixing paddles (I’m new to this baking stuff, remember). I then beat both eggs in (one at a time, just like the recipe said) and was all excited because it was fluffy and the batter wasn’t sticking in the mixing paddles anymore.

Butter, Sugar, and Eggs

After the wet ingredients were mixed together, save for the milk, I put the flour and baking powder in, and had a rather comic time because a cloud of flour, er dust(?) erupted in my face when I mixed them in. Finally, I was able to reach for the milk and mix it in as well.

While mixing the milk in

Once everything was well mixed, I managed to spread it into a 9×9 baking pan, and put it into the oven.

My attempt at smoothing the batter into the pan. I need some more practice with this.

While in the oven, around 10 minutes in. I couldn't help but continually check on it and see how it was coming out. This was my first try making a cake from scratch on my own.

While the cake was in the oven, I found myself taking pause. I have this awesome, aromatic cake in the oven, but what kind of frosting can I make? I recalled that my friend made a frosting using powdered sugar and something before, so maybe it would be simple to whip something up, a glaze, right? That was when I looked in the cupboard, we have Nutella. One of my mates from twitter mentioned making a Nutella frosting for her cupcakes while she was on vacation. So, while the cake baked, I went back over to my laptop and pulled up a Nutella Frosting recipe. It called for mostly everything I had: nutella, butter, milk… oh, and confectioner’s sugar. I started gathering my ingredients…

… and then I realised: Silly me, not everyone keeps confectioner’s sugar in their pantry like we do at home. 

Always clever, I thought surely there’s a substitute one can use for confectioner’s sugar, right? Back over to the laptop I go. Sure enough, to my eternal happiness, there’s a way to make your own confectioner’s sugar.

As if to spite me, I realised Josh’s mum doesn’t keep cornstarch in her kitchen either. Go figure. Not to let that stop me, I did some quick thinking. As a kid, I’d always seen Mum use flour to thicken up the beef stew once it’d finished cooking. Or, there was that one time Gran used flour in place of cornstarch while making gravy from the dripping from a pot roast.  What was so different here? I mean, it didn’t matter too much as it only called for a tablespoon of the stuff, no harm no foul.

Getting the sugar, I couldn’t help but smile. I was using a blender to make powdered sugar. It’s not everyday you come across these things or use a blender for these purposes (at least, I don’t. I only use mine for smoothies and milkshakes. I haven’t tried using it to purée sauces yet)

Blending sugar and four. What an interesting way to use a blender.

Once it was well blended and rather fluffy, I was able to continue on my endeavour with the icing. Butter, Sugar, Nutella, check.

Don't mind the pineapple in the background.

First things first: I had a blast mixing the butter and nutella together.

Pre-mixing (and subsequently, pre-getting nutella everywhere)

Post mixing (and consequently, ending up with nutella flecked hands, shirt, face... it happens)

As soon as it was mixed, I added milk and confectioner’s sugar doing so on a whim. I wasn’t sure what kind of consistency I wanted. I’d never made icing before, I didn’t know what I was doing. I mixed it up and eye balled it. It looked okay to me.

After getting it to the "right" consistency.

It was around this time, my cake had finished and had been cooling. I flipped it (not without minor catastrophe) onto a plate.

After flipping it on the plate.

Unfortunately, while doing so, the bottom bit of the cake got stuck to the pan. It sucked, but at the same time, what can you do? It was my first time making the cake from scratch, on my own, with icing from scratch, on my own, so it wasn’t really a wash. This is the finished product.

Iced.

All in all, my baking skills have room for improvement, but considering everything, I’d say it came out pretty darn amazing. Case in point, Josh’s little brother absolutely LOVED it, apparently.

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