Campus Recreation and Wellness (CReW) here at NTU regularly organizes events and activities for staff members and their families, in the new Club House. Unfortunately several of the courses had already started when I arrived and it was thus not possible to join these. But I found one, a two-hour course on Hokkaido Cup Cake Making, which sounded exotic enough, and which still had space.
Having never ever attended a cooking or baking class, this was an absolute premier for me. About 30 people (mainly women) were at the short two-hour workshop. The teacher had already prepared everything, and on each table were the instructions, bowls and spoons, a balance, the exact amount of sugar and flour in small plastic bags, and plastic aprons. She then started to go through the process of cup cake making in very great detail, from how to whip egg white and cream, to how to mix the dough and how to place the dough into small cup cakes. I don’t think she forgot the slightest detail. Although I felt a bit impatient by her 30 min lecture and wanted to get started, I actually did learn quite a bit!
My fellow cup cake bakers, three women, thought that I was pretty clumsy and were watching me carefully when I tried to separate the egg white from the egg yolk. This made me pretty nervous and of course I dropped some of the yolk into the egg white! Not good at all! “You messed it up”! Although I managed to get the yolk out again, my clumsiness showed them that I really was a beginner here. From now on they watched every step I made, and told me what and how I should do. Being a fairly independent person, this was tough!
But in the very end the cup cake dough ended up in the cup cake forms, was placed on a tray in line with a certain number (under the eyes of my fellow cup cake makers to make sure that I don’t mess up the numbers), and was baked in the oven. The result was fine for me and I was happy to see that the dough had lifted at all, but “not good” said the teacher, when she saw my cup cakes, “you were not gentle enough and not quick enough when you stirred the dough”. Chinese are right to the point and absolutely not afraid of criticizing!
Cup cake making was not only a lesson in cup cake making (without baking powder, only super fresh eggs!), but also an interesting cultural meeting!