Growing up, my mum’s kitchen would radiate with the smell of butter cakes. It was her staple. And sometimes she makes it a marble butter cake. Always with red food colouring. I used to watch her with amazement always wondering how she made butter into a cake. And how she managed the swirls in the marble cake.
Me and my sister would always wait for the familiar ‘ting’ of the oven indicating the cake was ready but we’d know way before that the cake was ready cause the smell would perfume the air in our house.
I’m sure this is a memory many of us growing up in Malaysia has. There were no red velvets, there were no hummingbirds. It was either a butter cake or a variation of it. And as the year went by and I grew up, my palate for cakes grew as well. Nowadays you will not see butter cake in any cafes or restaurant. Why? Maybe because the butter cake can’t compete with the cakes of today. Today, we want cakes with texture, cakes with colours and if possible cakes that make us hallucinate.
I’ve made many many types of cakes in my lifetime but I’ve never attempted a butter cake until quite recently. Maybe because I didn’t want to damage the memory of my mum’s cakes. This was a cake order from an uncle and I told myself why not? So I pulled open mum’s recipe books and found the recipe she always used and went to work on it.
When that familiar smell of the baking butter combined with the sugar and eggs and vanilla essence begin enveloping the house, I was immediately transported back to my childhood! Back to my mum’s kitchen, me and my sis sitting in the corner waiting to have a bite.
And I guess that’s the magic of cakes and cookies. It has the magic to invoke memories buried deep in your subconscious. And my love affair with cakes will never end. How did my butter cake turn out? Not as good as my mum’s. But it was still good never the less.