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The Baking Mishap That Helped Me Find Humor in My Dyspraxia

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It was supposed to be a nice mother-daughter bonding experience. We were going to make a cake. I’d picked up one of those boxes you can get in the shops where you add eggs and butter and water to some cake mix and pop it straight in the oven.

Sounds simple, right?

That’s what I thought.

I went home and got out a bowl and some cups and all the ingredients and quickly went to work.

The first mistake I made was trying to crack an egg straight into the bowl. I broke half of it onto the countertop. Oh well. No bother. I got most of it in the bowl. That should be fine, right?

The next mistake I made was misreading the instructions on the back of the box and putting in twice the amount of water and oil needed for the cake. I thought something was amiss when the cake mix was incredibly sloppy and spilled over into two pans.

When I took the cake out of the oven an hour and a half later it looked all right, but when I tried to get it out of the pan it slipped off the edge of the plate and hit the bench in a splatter of cake guts. I tried to clean it up, but it was so wet and chunky it fell off the counter and onto the floor in a shower of cake chunks.

And what did I do then? How did I react?

I laughed.

I didn’t get mad or shed a tear. I saw the humor in it. My little girl was not impressed and was terribly disappointed in our failed cake. But I got down on my hands and knees and said to her, “At least we tried, OK? It’s OK to fail sometimes. The important thing is that we learn what we did wrong and try to get it right next time.”

I have dyspraxia, dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia.

As you might have guessed, cooking is not my strong suit. I am terrible at understanding fractions and measurements and doing anything that involves fine-motor skills like icing or decorating.

The day of the dreaded cake disaster will probably be something my little girl will never forget. Afterwards she put her arm around my shoulders and said to me, “You’re a bad cooker, Mum. But I still love you.”

A week later we went back into the kitchen and made another cake but this time with some help from dad who helped me get the fractions and the measurements right.

A couple of weeks after the cake incident I tried my hand again at baking, but this time we did a no-bake cheesecake which turns out to be the perfect thing for someone like me to cook. All you need is a blender and a cake pan and a fridge.

You crush some biscuits for the base and then blend cream cheese and milk and lemon zest together and pour into a cake pan and let it sit in the fridge overnight. It was the most delicious thing we’ve ever made, and I’m totally excited about trying my hand at doing it again.

Do I get embarrassed when I fail? Oh yeah. Sure. But I am always determined to have another go because I know with enough practice and determination I will get it right eventually.

Getty image by Dankingphotography

Originally published: May 10, 2018
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