We are thrilled to bring you the second of our winners in our ‘Creative Writing Competition’. We loved this entry by Cecille Sia in the ‘Best Cake Recipe’ category. Cecille is one of our international cake friends and customer! She is from Manila in the Philippines, she grew up here and says that her Grandparents were hugely influential in her life. To us this story encapsulates what baking & creating are all about, and the joy and memories a cake can evoke. This is a story of inspiration and dedication…with a difference! Enjoy…
“When we talk about the best cake recipes, it doesn’t require much thinking because more often than not, the first in the list would be chocolate. Well, it doesn’t come as a surprise because chocolate is a universal flavour that everyone loves. Then again, as a baker, exploring new recipes and mix and matching flavours have always been an exciting part of this infinite discoveries of delightful sweet treats that tickle one’s taste buds! My passion for baking sparked when I was in high school when I had my first hand at baking my first cake in our home economics subject. From then on, that tiny spark never ceased, instead, it warmed one corner of my heart and reminded me to re-visit that passion and turned it into a mission that will have to be pursued at the right time.
Just like planting a seed of dream that was showered with the promise of faith…the passion turned mission was realised. The dream came to life. In 2007, I became a baker. Starting with the basic recipes which I got from a one-day basic cakes workshop that I attended way back in 2001, I offered my cakes for free to friends. From butter cakes, to vanilla sponge cakes, to mocha and yes…chocolate cakes, I baked them over and over again until I can almost do them with my eyes closed. I’ve learned to tweak recipes and eventually came up with my own versions. My excitement grew more as I continue to raise the bar and explore more.
In 2009, my grandmother celebrated her 95th birthday and I saw it as an opportunity to dedicate a sweet tribute for a full life that is bestowed upon her gracious beauty. Since it was her special day, I asked her which flavour would she like for her cake, and she said Ube (Purple Yam). Spending most of my childhood with her, I remember Ube being her favourite flavour for her desserts…be it with ice cream or cakes from commercial bakeries and even with several Filipino native desserts.
It was a challenge for me because I haven’t baked this cake before mainly because no one asked for this cake flavour from me and I myself didn’t really paid much attention to this flavour. Then again, the cake was important for me because of my grandmother. I spent several days searching for the perfect Ube Cake flavour from different books and mostly the internet. I only had my instinct to trust and my profound passion for my craft in deciding which recipe measured up to my grandmother’s grace. I did not find the exact Ube Cake recipe but settled for the one that I thought would best compliment the adjustments that I had to make to give my grandmother the best Ube Cake that she could ever have. As such, I studied the recipe with utmost diligence, keeping in mind that I was baking it for the first time, and I can’t go wrong. It was my tribute to the fairest woman I’ve ever known. The woman who gave us comfort when we needed it the most.
It was almost like magical because the Ube Cake recipe that I baked turned out to be truly heavenly! It was so delicious that it became my personal favourite! I did not bother adding any purple food colour in the cake but rather stick to the natural purple yam flavour that was so distinct…I can literally savour its aroma from my taste buds transposed up to the very core of my wisdom! The fusion of ingredients gracefully melted into one delectable indulgence that was deserving to be called Heavenly Ube Cake! I was truly gratified to have been given this momentous opportunity to discover one significant cake flavour that I almost did not give much serious attention to. It was likewise one valuable learning, that delight is found in the most simple ingredients…and in my personal experience, purple yam. The process in baking this special cake is not simple but it’s totally worth every minute of it! It’s an amazing irony how my grandmother have been blessed with the gift of long life. A process by which changes of all sorts had been witnessed by the simplicity of her existence amidst the passing of inevitable modernization as a result of progress in all shapes and forms.
She deserves all the beauty that life has to offer! Just like icing on the cake, I am extremely delighted to have been blessed with a keen eye and talent for cake art. The other passion that I have fallen completely in love with. I can only give back all the blessings of passion for baking and cake art to the people who are dearly cradle in my heart. As such, the sweetest tribute to my grandmother was represented by my Heavenly Ube Cake…the best cake recipe for the most gracious woman — my grandmother. My deepest gratitude to Jackie who submitted the recipe for Ube-Macapuno Cake to www.allrecipes.com from which my version of ‘Heavenly Ube Cake’ came about!
Cecille’s recipe can be found in our ‘Recipes’ section on this blog!