A very short cake (Berry Shortcake)

I love to cook, but I'll be the first to admit that food presentation is definitely not my forté. I think this is mostly due to my upbringing on Chinese/Malaysian cuisine where, unlike the French or Japanese who pride in meticulous presentation, messy reigns (think: stir-fries and curries) because the food is so damn good that no one really cares how it looks (or perhaps it's because the cook just can't be bothered). I appreciate beautiful presentation and thoughtful plating, and I occasionally wish I had the skills, but for the most part I'm happy to just cook messily and enjoy beautiful food prepared by someone else. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to do a free cooking lesson at the ABC Cooking Studio at Midtown, and this Berry Shortcake is one of the prettiest things I've ever made. There's shortcake, and then there's the Japanese-style shortcake (I blogged a bit about it before).

We came across the cooking studio after our lunch last week, and both my sister Honey and my friend C expressed an interest in taking lessons on how to bake cakes and desserts, so we signed up for a free trial lesson. I think it's great that Honey wants to get formal cooking instructions, but I feel that a cooking lesson would be too rigid for me personally. Part of the joy I get from cooking is doing the research, formulating my own recipe, and then shopping for the ingredients; cooking lessons would be an expensive way to remove those pleasures. Nevertheless, the lesson was fun, and I learnt a couple of new tricks. It ran for more than 2 hours and it is a great way to socialise with friends and meet new people. At the end of the day, though, I can't justify paying the steep fee to join any of the cooking courses offered by the cooking studio, and neither could Honey as she decided to save her money instead. Although we decided not to join, we did get to bring home a beautiful delicious cake that only cost us a few hours.

We made one cake each, and pictured is Honey's cake because we decided to give mine to our lovely instructor since, as a studio instructor, she wasn't allowed to join us in eating the leftovers:

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