“Make sure the butter is room temperature. Not too soft, but not too firm. You want to be able to press a good dent into it with your finger. Sift the flour. You want the cake to be airy, don’t you? Beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. No, beat a little longer. Incorporate air now and your cake will be deliciously light and fluffy. Yes, of course you can lick the bowl.”
These are all things my gran would say to me when we used to bake together. We used to bake together often and how I loved those days. I’ve told this story many times but I’ll tell it again. I used to beg my gran to bake cookies. Not one batch, no, multiple batches. We would mix away, press out the cookies and get the first few trays into the oven. The moment that oven bell pinged, I would run and grab the first tray. I’d sit on the couch, waiting for them to be cool enough and scoff the lot, leaving my darling Ouma to bake the rest. She never got upset and she let me do this many, many times.
Through her I learnt that the kitchen is a place many things can be forgiven and for that I will always be grateful. She loved cooking and she loved her family and she combined these loves and fed us in every way possible. She nourished our souls as well as our tummies and every time I bake, I think of her. This post, the one containing all my favourite baking recipes is dedicated to my Ouma Alida. I am so honoured that I have your name and I thank you for showing me that cooking for someone is one of the most sincere ways of showing you love them.