Week2 Personal Challenge

This the second week of my personal challenge. Making a “good” cake is a totally new work for me. Before I start my mission, I am inspired by the reading from chapter3. In that chapter, the author mentions that even if people keep updating the way to learn and teach, some basic frames are not changed. People often automatically learn from others the way to learn and teach but they never think if it is the best way for themselves. Beside that, in this article, it introduces “experiential learning” and some of its advantages. So, although it is big challenge for me, I decide to try to a different way to learn how to make a good cake: At the first three times, I will do it by myself without any help from other people, book or internet. As I mentioned in the blog 1, punishment is very important during learning. I decide to eat all my fail cake unless it totally can’t eat like a batch of batter. So, before I start, I need to list several things I should pay attention to. By the way, I just want to make a simple chiffon cake first, maybe six inch big.

  1. The proportion of milk, water and flour.
  2. I know there is kind of flour named “cake flour”, which has correct proportion of flour, sugar and salt. Do I use it?
  3. The right temperature.
  4. How long will the cake be baked?

To be honest, I am not very confident to work well but I think it is still has at least one percent possibility to succeed.

After several hours…….

I feel maybe I give me a next level mission, I really do not know how to start, so I decide to at least search the proportion of those food materials. What I need to test is only the right temperature and how long will it need to be baked. It sounds more realistic now.

By the way, the proportion is egg: 3, sugar: 35g, oil: 30g, milk: 35g, flour: 55g.

I think I totally failed at the first time. The cake I made is very tight and too solid. The small gap inside the cake did not appear. I do not know the right time for baking, so I check oven every 5 minutes. I thought the right time is 5 minutes after the cake expanding. However, my cake even did not expand too much, just a little. So, I baked it 35 minutes. In my opinion, the reason why the cake did not expand maybe is the temperature is too low. Cake needs a higher temperature environment. However, I will not try another test today, because one bad cake is enough for me to eat a day.

I try it twice but I get the same result. The temperature I choose this time is 180C. The cake sill does not expand like a real cake is. What I make is more like a pizza without sauce maybe. It makes me think about that maybe the problem happened in the first step (mix all the food materials) rather than the time and temperature. So, I decide to search some information about how to knead dough well. Now, I have another cake to eat.

I am happy with that this is the last time I bake cake without any help (actually not). I cheat. When I look for some information about how to knead the dough , I accidentally see that “bake 15-20 minutes in the middle of oven at 130C”. So, let me try the last time if I can succeed.

Fail again, same problem. But at least, it looks much better than the first time. Making cake is really hard for me and I finally finish the process of “experiential learning”.

What I have done teaches me that do not learn just by yourself. When you meet problems during study, yes, independent thinking is very important, but it does not mean you should refuse help. When you deal with the area you are not familiar with, “ask” is always a good choice for you. Additionally, looking for a good teacher maybe is the most convenient way to learn. It is more effective than just learn by yourself because you need to look for information and select it. Sometimes, you can’t even make sure if the information you got is right.

Next time, maybe I will invite my mother to give me a lecture to help me to make a good cake. Like what the chapter3 said, lecture is a traditional but very useful way to learn.

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