the cupcake challenge…

It seemed a simple task at the outset, and this in itself proves how little I have learnt from living in Indonesia since last December… Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Cupcakes take around 25 minutes at 160’C for a tray of 12 – 24. Right?

WRONG. Indonesian time: 2 days, 4.5 hours = 18 cupcakes.

All I want to do is make some delicious cupcakes for my friends here – you can’t get western cake or anything that resembles a cupcake anywhere near here, and I thought, ‘What a great things to be able to share with people!’ How silly of me.

So, the first hurdle to climb was the lack of oven. The little house that we are renting in the village has a very basic camp kitchen consisting of a fridge, sink and gas hot plate, now, I’m sure the more clever cooks out there could probably come up with some intellegent way to cook or steam cake on a stove, but not I.

Ovens are rather a rare commodity here in Indonesia, but I have a friend who purchased one a while ago and doesn’t know how to cook so it has been living an unloved life… and this particular friend also has a true fondness for anything of the sweet variety, so was more than happy to bring his oven to my house and help me make cake. All good in theory, yes?

Well, I should take a moment to note that ovens here aren’t the big western kind, because that would be a challenge on a motorbike, instead they are of the toaster oven ala ‘easy bake oven’ variety… Or in other words, they are single portion sized.

So I’ve got the oven, I have all the ingredients and I stir and whisk and I crush and I combine until I have a perfectly sweet and smooth vanilla cake mixture, now with a lack of cupcake pans I managed to acquire some patty pans on my last trip to the big smoke Bandung. So into the paper goes a spoonful of the mixture and then 6 mini cupcakes go into the oven… six at a time… outrageous!

Then it all seems like it is going well, until the power shuts off. There is something wrong with my electricity and for every round of cupcakes (of which I have done three over the past two days) I have to run between the kitchen and the power box every 2 – 4 minutes to turn the mains back on to maintain the heat in the oven. So I’m huffing and puffing and sweating it out with no fan and no music and an oven that is constantly tripping the electricity – all of a sudden simply making some cupcakes has turned into some sort of absurd olympic relay event – which I’m pretty positive that I am losing.

An upside however is that the cupcakes are delicious, I even managed to make a very successful cookies and cream icing to smear the top with – though it hasn’t made it to the cupcakes yet, half went straight into my mouth. 

The real problem however is that because the cupcakes are so small and the physical exertion so great, it’s very easy to eat all six cupcakes while the following six are cooking, which, if you’re any good at maths, equates to no cupcakes to share, a sore stomach and an extraordinarily sweaty being.

Oven 1, Barefoot inked 0.

3 Responses to “the cupcake challenge…”
  1. Amy says:

    This gave me a good laugh. I googled cupcakes in a toaster oven and this post came up. I’m spending 6 weeks in Costa Rica with my kids. I have 2 birthdays in the next 7 days, and 1 sorry a$$ toaster oven. Wish me luck!

    • Oh I do wish you luck! I hope that for you at least your electricity holds out long enough to do each load in the oven. Even if they are small sets of cupcakes, its MUCH easier if your power grid is on your side!

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  1. […] here: the cupcake challenge… « Barefoot Inked Posted by admin on May 1st, 2010 Tags: cupcakes, cupcakes, friends, get-western, great-things, […]

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