One thing that struck me this past week was while chatting with Dad and reminiscing about Grandpa P. I had such a busy week last week that I struggled to find time to attend service for his wake and as a result, I felt somewhat guilty about not making time. In the end, I was able to clear off my orders long enough to go for his closing service Saturday morning before they closed his coffin.
The entire service felt surreal and Grandpa P’s death didn’t really sink in all the more because I didn’t want to see him at rest. This is something I’ve consciously chosen not to do at any wake because I prefer to remember the person as he/she was, no matter how peaceful people say they look. At the end of the day, their spirit is no longer within that hollow shell and really, at the end of the day, that is all our bodies are – a way to get us around this earth.
It was only as they wheeled the coffin out of the sanctuary that I felt tears welling up in my eyes and an overwhelming sadness of the passing of a great man. A man who believed and trusted in God fervently; a man who would wake up every morning at 4.30am to pray for every single person/family that he has ever met; a man who shared his knowledge of the Bible so generously while opening up the hearts of men whom the world had already condemned.
There are few people able to command Dad’s utmost respect. Grandpa P was one of them. Because he preached what he believed, and acted as he preached. He talked the talk; but he walked the walk too. Every Tuesday without fail for the last many years, Dad (initially with me and later, with Mum) would attend Grandpa P’s Tuesday Bible Classes faithfully for his supplementary dose of weekly spiritual food.
After the closing service, I mentioned to Dad that I was glad I went to bid my last goodbye. To which Dad answered that it wasn’t as important that I went now that Grandpa P is gone; what was important was what I did when he was still with us. So true.
As much as I now wish that I had listened more to Grandpa P’s pearls of wisdom, I am glad for all the times I baked for both him and Grandma P. They would eat anything I baked and Grandma P, an avid baker in her younger days, would often gush over my cakes, delighting in them. It warms my heart that I was able to give both of them a little rush of sweetness after Sunday service and some Tuesdays, Mum would bring over a cake I baked to enjoy after class.
Which is why…
In recent months, I have been delving more into healthier alternative ingredients in my baking especially when it is for family and close friends to indulge in. They are often made to be my guinea pigs and as a result, I decided that as much as I love how much they support my experimental creations, I should at least make them a touch more nutritious so that they can reap some benefits from my bakes.
And so, with a whole lot of fresh green grapes and blueberries, I made this Rye Loaf Cake. Rye tends to make cakes a little more dense and heavy which is why I mixed it with plain flour. Alternatively, use whole wheat if you like – I didn’t have any at hand otherwise I’d definitely have gone for it.
I know that grapes aren’t generally used in cakes but I had some left before Flo went away and he’s really the only one who loves them grapes in this home. There wasn’t a lot left so into the loaf cake they went.
Grape and Blueberry Rye Loaf (Makes one 9×3″ loaf)
175g Dark Rye Flour
120g Plain Flour
7.5g Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
80g Grapes, halved if they’re big
- Preheat oven to 175 deg C and line a 9×3″ loaf tin.
- Using a paddle whisk on slow, gently combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and butter until they form a breadcrumb-like texture. Alternatively, you may use your fingers to rub in the butter.
- Mix egg and milk together and add into the dry mixture until just combined.
- Gently fold in grapes and blueberries before pouring batter into prepared loaf tin.
- Bake for 50-60 min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
This cake uses a different technique i.e. rubbing in before the addition of the wet ingredients and the batter is a little on the thicker side. Trust me though, the rubbing in creates a lovely lift and crumb making for delicious bite after delicious bite. The rye imparts a light, nutty flavour and the warmth of cinnamon rounds everything up beautifully.
So many times, we lose loved ones and feel regret that we didn’t do enough, spend enough time with them while they were around or learn more about their lives before we were born. Appreciate them while you still can and show them love in whatever way you’re able to.
For me, baking is an extension of my love, and by baking more wholesome cakes for them to enjoy, I also feel more comforted that what they are consuming are good stuff – definitely better than what may be sold outside what with their bags of sugar, use of margarine instead of butter, and ‘fake’ creams in place of fresh whipping cream. Of course, as with all sweet treats, I make sure my family don’t gorge on them on a daily basis but at least when they do, I know that they only get the ‘real‘ stuff.
I believe there are bakeries in Europe, the US and Australia that cater to healthier lifestyles. Less so in Singapore though and when you do find one, if you find it, their slices of cakes often cost a pretty penny.
What are your thoughts on home baked goods vs commercial bakes?