I DON’T care what anyone says about the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. I thought it was amazing. Okay, the segment where the baseball-capped performers formed a flapping dove was a little too camembert for me. But that phenomenal opening act with the drummers – how can anyone not get goosebumps?
So I set out to make a cake to celebrate the Olympics. For even to a non-sports fan like me, the Olympics is a very special time. I’d watch pretty much any event on TV. During these two weeks, I am not a cynic. I totally buy the whole notion that sports promotes world peace, harmony and all that Hallmark stuff. And I’d tear every time they play the national anthem of whichever country just won gold. My mum is the same. The only sports she’s ever interested in is the obsessive cleaning of my kitchen countertop. But come Olympics season, she’s all spread out across my sofa and watching equestrian.
I was thinking about what to make for my Olympic cake and, no, I’m not making five cupcakes with the five Olympic rings on top. I am a woman of subtlety, folks. I decided on Tish Boyle’s Orange And Cream Cake because it required several back-breaking steps – making the genoise cake layers, the orange sugar syrup, the orange mousse, and lots of grating of orange zest. Since it calls for so much time and hard work, I’d qualify it as my “marathon cake”.
But to cut a long story short, the cake was a disaster that scaled to, well, Olympic heights. It started with me, with one eye fixated on women’s synchronised diving on TV, adding twice the amount of sugar to the mousse. Then, I forgot that my 9-inch loose-bottom cake tin was not water-tight, so when the cake and mousse were placed in it before chilling, the mousse leaked.
I don’t even wanna talk about how I tried to rescue it. (Well, okay. I tried taking out the cake layers – all mushy and soaked in mousse – with my bare hands, hoping to move them to another tin. Needless to say, they broke. What was I thinking.)
I was cranky for the rest of the day (“Hi, I’m Pau Lin, and I’m a cakeholic…”). To make myself feel better, I made another cake the following day. This time, a simpler-to-achieve marble cake, also from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book. This one turned out beautifully – so tender and with a fabulous crumb. It’s perfect as it is, but I drizzled over some chocolate glaze to satisfy my chocoholic readers out there (Hello, Zann and Daphnee!). The things a blogger has to do to get hits.
Still, I was a bit miffed that this cake didn’t look or feel very Olympian. But that’s until
I sliced it up for the photoshoot and saw the cross-section. Doesn’t it look like a very lyrical tree in a very Chinese painting? (Shut up, those of you who say “Looks like a kidney, what.”) It’s poetry in confection, I tell you.