Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Hard Work Pays!

Spending 10 hours on a Saturday, to make a cake, break your back and burn your fingers - Do you think it is worth it??!
My answer is a big YES because it was NOT "just a cake". It was a cake that made me realize that hard work pays!

I prepared this cake, to exhibit it among 20 other prize winning cakes at my baking teacher's 35th anniversary celebrations. I had created a similar cake during her classes last year and she wanted me to replicate the same and present it at the grand venue, as my cake was selected for the first prize, under "crafted cakes category"

There were totally 6 categories, with 3-4 prize winning cakes under each category. These 20 cakes were selected from over a hundred other cakes prepared by her students last year. I was so excited on receiving the first prize for one of the categories. 
I decided to give my best in replicating the cake again. I planned well in advance, purchased the ingredients and geared up for the D-Day.

  • I first baked the base cakes and prepared the icing and edible sugar lace
  • Later, carved the cake and gave it a first coat of icing (This is called crumb coating)
  • Then came the toughest part - To completely hand pipe the cake with a basket weave design, using buttercream (Chennai is facing its hottest July ever and you can imagine my struggle with buttercream!!). It took me 3 hours at a stretch to complete the icing. After the first 2 hours of icing, my fingers got numb, I couldn't bend my fingers any further. Tears were rolling down my cheeks due to the pain that my fingers were experiencing but all that ran in my mind was to complete the cake and do justice to the prize that I would be felicitated with. 
  • Finally the pink beauty was ready for the show! 
  • The D-Day arrived and I was so proud to place my cakes at the venue among many other prize winning cakes! 

Then came the biggest surprise of the day! There was a Mega bumper prize which would be given to the best of the cakes among all categories. The cakes were judged on the spot, by the chief guests. I had no expectations, I was just happy about receiving the first prize under the category that they had already informed me about. It was results time.
This is how the emcee announced the Mega Bumper First Prize winner .. 
Emcee: "So any guesses for the bumper prize winning cake? 
Audience remain silent...
Emcee: Come on, just give me a wild guess! Do you all know what the bumper prize is?? It is India's largest 66 liter oven-toaster-griller!!!
Audience: Jaw dropping reaction.. who is that lucky person??!!! Hmm all cakes are pretty!!
Emcee: OK, so all the lovely ladies out here are trying to be humble.. Fine.. The Mega Bumper First Prize is this young lady who manages both her corporate job and passion for baking very well!
Myself: My hearts starts pounding! Mind voice - "You know two other ladies out here who work and bake.. so don't get excited"
Emcee: She is soon to be married...
I just stare at my mom sitting next to me and she hugs me!
Emcee to my mom: Yes mam, you have all the reasons to be proud of your daughter, hug her more! Anusha Sekar wins the mega bumper prize!
It was such an amazing feeling to receive an award which I didn't expect in my wildest dreams. I prepared the cake with full sincerity, only to do justice to the prize that was already announced but all the efforts put in, were more than worth it and to see my mom face glowing with pride and joy was a bliss!

Later, while I was having lunch with my mom, the chief guest (75 year old Mrs.Chitra Viswanathan - the great mind behind Ask Chitvish App) came to me and said "My dear, I salute your patience, hard work, craftsmanship and perfection in what you have created! You deserve it. Never leave your passion. I could see the amount of effort you put in through every single weave of your cake! God bless, my child :-) "
Tears of pain, now became tears of joy! 
This has raised the expectation level that everyone have on me. Though it gives me jitters, I hope to keep my passion alive and active always and learn from every single experience.

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