Thank you for your feedback as to which topics you’d like to see on MicaPie. Several of you expressed your satisfaction with the blog the way it is–thanks! No worries. My intention isn’t to change things drastically; I have integrity after all. However, I would like to find a recurring theme or niche for my blog. I’m thinking something like a link up at the top that people can use to find all posts pertaining to _____.
[The most preferred topic, by the way, was Rants, cynicism, and other snarky observations.]
But let’s talk about Seoul today, okay?
Seoul has a lot to offer, and today, I think I found my personal sweetspot. I went with Homestay sister and her cousin to Bangsan market, which is part of the greater Dongdaemun market complex. In Bangsan, you can find every baking supply imaginable.
First, some background. Many kitchens in Seoul don’t have ovens, and from what I can tell, Seoul-ites tend to rely on “French” bakeries for their sweets. That is, when they’re not being satisfied with fruit for dessert. [No. I refuse.] Thus, the grocery stores don’t really have baking sections or the necessary ingredients for cake or cookies.
I had heard great things about Bangsan Baking market from a few Seoul expat blogs, but I was really unprepared for how fun and cool it is!
About half of the stores sell baking ingredients: sugars, flours, candies, fillings, toppings, colored powders, mixes, chocolate chips–everything you could imagine!
Other stores stock supplies for presentation: adorable decorated boxes and cellophane bags, bows, ribbons, twist-ties, stickers and labels, etc. The main alley was tiny and dark, but each store was an explosion of color.
Okay, this container didn’t really belong:
With all of the selection, my mind was racing, trying to figure out how I could open a bakery while living in Seoul.
I was really tempted by the selection of cookie cutters, but my minimalist tendencies fortunately kicked in. I cannot even imagine the rage I would experience trying to extract dough from these ridonculously tiny cookie cutters:
I left with only the necessary ingredients…
for yellow cake…
…with chocolate frosting! [How did my layers turn out that flat?? That never happens!]
Since I already have 9″ cake pans at home, I bought one 6″ pan and used it to bake two layers separately, following this recipe. I think I’m in love with the 6″ cake. It’s adorable and just the right size. I see a lot of 6″ cakes in my future.
Homestay sister helped me bake and frost the cake. This doubled as English practice for her because I made her read the recipe for ingredient amounts. [Does this count as task-based language teaching?!?] I also taught her some crucial techniques, especially this one:
Baking in Korea is really an experience. For example, I’m used to sticks of butter, but I could only find it in a huge block. Thus, I had to get out a scale and find conversion rates for tablespoons to grams. And metric system? You’re confusing!
Guess what I ate for dinner?
When we cut the cake into fourths, the top layer actually slid off. Oh well.
Homestay family was very impressed with the cake, and it was great to contribute something finally. They don’t usually let me help with cooking or cleaning, which makes me feel out of place.
Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is not only my favorite dessert, but also my pre-race ritual! Let’s hope it serves me well tomorrow when I run my first 5K in Korea. Apparently, the course, which is a converted landfill, is one hilly mo-fo.
C’mon, cake, take me to victoryyyyyyyy!