all grown up

When I was much younger, I noticed that people had a tendency to exclaim how fortunate I was, and how pampered I must be to be the youngest child of six. The equivalence between the nerve-wrecking experience of having seven worn out pairs of eyes (inclusive of the parents’) watching my every action, and yet, being automatically bestowed the guaranteed title of Pampered Child of The Family clearly escapes me.

Sure, I was always given the last piece of candy or chocolate in the box. Sure, I was given presents on every one else’s birthday celebrations. Sure, I only entered the kitchen, and held a knife at a much much much later age as compared to my sisters [and I won’t even mention when I started learning to cook rice, fry eggs, or cut onions, for that matter].

As pampered and spoilt as it may all sound, I realised that as I grew older, I constantly struggled with my identity.

The turning point in my life, as I remembered it, was when I insisted that every one stop calling me ‘Baby’; a term of endearment that transcended the boundaries of my immediate family, with all the older grandmamas and aunts recognising me as ‘Baby’, and even when my cousins had their own children, I was ‘Aunty Baby’ to them. Soon after that, I insisted that my family and relatives stop giving me soft toys on my birthday, as I was ‘too big for kiddy things’ .

I wanted to grow up. Badly.

Now that I’m almost twenty-five years of age, when I look back at those times, I find myself laughing at the silliness of all the ‘stop-treating-me-like-a-kid’ episodes I’ve had. And even though times have changed, and I, for one, have most definitely grown as a person (I love soft toys, and I’m proud of it!), the one thing that I must accede to is that despite the constant yearning to be treated like an adult, there are many times in life when you find that the only comfort and assurance you can ever need is from the very arms of the person(s) whom you shrugged off in the name of ‘growing up’.

For all the times that I grumbled, failing to understand why my classmates could walk home by themselves, while I had my mother waiting for me at the school porch. And yet, for all the times I whined about school and work, and she assures me that things will look up for me once the hurdles have passed. For all the times that I complained about the lack of trust, when my mother calls to check where I am, or to remind me of the time and rush me home. And yet, for all the times that she stays up, waiting for me to reach home, and set aside food every night, even though she is fully aware that I’ve already had my dinner outside.

For all those times, I know that even when you become someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife, or someone’s mother, it is a true blessing that no matter what happens, you will always be someone’s little girl.

To all the lovely mothers out there, I wish you a…

Zebra Cake
(adapted from

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups self-raising flour
4-5 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar until creamy and light in colour.

2. Add milk and oil, and continue beating until well blended.

3. Add vanilla extractto the mixture. Gradually add flour and then beat until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

4. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder into another and mix well. The color of the cocoa batter should be quite dark, so add more if needed.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C.

7. The most important part is assembling the cake batter in a baking pan. This is what you do. Scoop 3 heaped tablespoons of plain batter (you can also use a ladle that would hold 3 tablespoons) into the middle of the baking pan. Then scoop 3 tablespoons of cocoa batter and pour it in the center on top of the plain batter.
NOTE: Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them.

8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

23 thoughts on “all grown up

  1. the mister

    *ehem* *ehem*

    Happy Mummys’ Day to all the lovely mummy’s out there!!! πŸ˜€

    I think that’s a nice, sweet looking cake, dear.


    P.S. No matter how old or mamersh you get, you’ll always be my baby… πŸ™‚

  2. grace

    do i have goosebumps? yes.
    do i want some cake? yes.

    lovely post! even though i just spoke with my mammy yesterday, i feel the urge to call her again! πŸ™‚

  3. ovenhaven Post author

    Indigo: Thanks! And yes, I had a lot of people reacting the same way you do when I started school. Haha. πŸ˜€

    didally: Thanks! If you click on the recipe source, you’ll realise how much mine pales in comparison πŸ˜›

    grace: Awww, that’s so sweet! Sorry about the goosebumps though πŸ˜›

  4. linda

    I love the zebra cake, what a fun idea! I think I’ll make it one day for my son.
    What was the size of the baking pan you used?

  5. ovenhaven Post author

    Ashley: Thanks, sweetie πŸ™‚

    linda: You should try it out! I love how every slice has a different pattern, much like every zebra has different stripes. Hehe πŸ˜› I used a 9-inch round pan.

  6. jean-marie

    Oof! I noticed there’s some red stains on the plate. You had them with ice-cream isit? Oh yah btw will you be baking for yourself on your birthday??? Hah! Just came to mind =P

  7. happygrub

    hi baby,

    I agree with everyone who said this cake looks so moist!

    I am celebrating mother’s day one weekend late, haha. Ur cake looks fabulous.

  8. ovenhaven Post author

    Yupperz, I served the ones for my mother with her fave strawberry ice-cream. And baking for my birthday? Haha. Trust you to think of something like that. Honestly, I don’t think I will, but then again, you may never know… πŸ˜›

  9. Deeba

    One look at the picture & I guessed it was a cake after my heart…theZebra Cake!! Absolutely wonderful…& what a captivating ‘growing up’ tale!! Youngest of 6…ha ha! I was squashed in the middle of 2 but learnt to squeeze out & make space for myself…Happy belated MD to you. BTW, can picturize you resisting the urge to lick the cocoa butter off…thanks for making my day SMILE!!! LOL

  10. ovenhaven Post author

    Deeba: Ah, no middle child syndrome for you, I reckon. Good on ya! πŸ˜€ And I kid you not, I saw cocoa butter the other day, and I immediately had a picture of your brownie in my head! *droooools*

    Mandy: Thanks! For the lack of creativity, I just did that on construction paper, pasted it to the back of a toothpick, and poked it through the ice-cream. Haha.

  11. ovenhaven Post author

    happygrub: Sorry sweetie, I just recovered your comment from my spam queue. And no okay, I’m not Baby!!! πŸ˜› And hey, about the celebration, better late than never, right? πŸ˜€

  12. arundathi

    hi – just tried out the cake – it looked fabulous but wasn’t very sweet – more like a muffin than a cake? is that how it’s supposed to be? not sure what i did wrong, but there were air pockets too…

  13. ovenhaven Post author

    Hi arundathi, sorry to hear how it turned out for you! Farida’s recipe turned out great for me.

    I think perhaps highly likely you might have had overmixed it. Usually to prevent air pockets in cakes, I would run a knife through the batter, or bang the pan against the table top to remove air bubbles. In this case, since the former would disrupt the stripes, perhaps you could bang it slightly to prevent any air pockets.

    Hope that helps, dearie πŸ™‚

  14. evelyn

    hi girl! please help me out here! ur baked goodies jus looked so good! ah!

    im a beginner in this world of baking so far, im able to produce some yummy muffins and cupcakes and thats abt all i cld do with my oven!

    i tried to do cakes, first attempt beiong a sponge cake bt it collapsed right in frnt of me, the height looked so sad and it tasted so gross and i had to throw it away!

    yday i went on to try this recipee! the efect is so pretty, but when i took it out of the oven to cool, it collapse again! the shape is there bt it jus slowly sinks evenly.=(

    help me out here! i didnt know whether i was to whisk or fold the flour in so i whisk it into the batter gradually, the abtter looksed so smooth, i thot nothng will go wrong! am i suppose to fold it? when the recipe says fold, acutally hw am i suppose to do it! help me out please! thank you! oopsy! this is such a lengthy post! =P

  15. ovenhaven Post author

    Hey sweetie, I’m no expert, but I hope I’ll be able to help you out here…

    (1) There are several reasons why a cake sinks; sudden change in temperature, air pockets, etc.

    Be sure not to prematurely open your oven door while the cake is baking. The sudden change in temperature may cause the cake to sink later. A general rule of thumb I adopt: Trust the nose. When you can smell it, it’s probably done[-ish].

    Also, the cake could sink because of air pockets in the batter, so when the cake comes out of the oven, the air pockets burst like bubbles, causing the cake to fall. Like I told arundathi, this could be due to overmixing, and the best way to avoid air pockets (besides not to overmix) is to bang the pan slightly before placing into the oven.

    (2) I wanted to explain to you how to fold a batter, but I realise it’s difficult to explain! Haha πŸ˜› So, I found this video link:,5043,,00.html
    Just click on the video player of your choice.

    Hope that helps, sweetie. Let me know how your next cake turns out. If you have any clarifications, or anything I can help you with, drop me a mail at πŸ™‚ Take care, evelyn!

  16. Pingback: More Zebra Cake Nonsense |

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