Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!

– C. JOYBELL C., POET AND AUTHOR

Have you ever baked a cake at 1.30am? I mean on an ordinary day and not a few days before a festival like the Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

I did so recently. I had been putting off the task for weeks and the latest bunch of bananas I bought was ripening fast. I had bought the bananas for a bargain and when I paid for them, the lady trader had suggested I make a cake with them. “These bananas are good for cakes,” she told me.

I was out shopping with a friend. It was not the first time we had bought bananas together. But unlike me, she had managed to whip up some cupcakes with the bananas we bought previously and had even kindly shared the recipe with me.

While the bananas she bought turned into beautiful cupcakes, mine just rotted away in the fridge where I left them.

I told myself each time I came across the fruits in the fridge, “Tomorrow, I will make the cake.”  The next day when I saw them again, I said the same thing to myself.

But alas, tomorrow never came and the bananas ended up in the dustbin. I felt so guilty, wasting good food.

On our next outing, my friend and I went shopping for bananas again.  I could not resist buying the fruits which were so cheap at the Kota Sentosa Wet Market, compared to the Stutong Wet Market where I usually shopped.

The bananas lay on my kitchen shelf for a few days. Finally, one night, after coming from work, I decided to finally bake my long-awaited banana cake.

That was when I ended up baking a banana cake at 1.30am. 

When I looked at the cake which was being baked through the glass of the oven, I could not believe my eyes. In a very short time, it had risen quite high. “Is the recipe correct? Does it really need one hour to cook?” I asked myself. Later, I discovered the cake was still soft inside even though it looked brown on the outside.

Thank God for the wonder of a Singer oven. It had a bottom element (“bake mode”) and a top element and I experimented with the elements to make sure the cake was evenly baked.

The recipe I used was not my friend’s. I found it on the Internet.

It was a simple recipe which uses cooking oil — now a favourite ingredient among the health conscious — and not margarine or butter.

It also does not use many ingredients, just two eggs, flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder, sugar, vanilla essence and two big bananas.

I have not baked a cake for at least a year. After baking the cake that morning, I felt great. At least, I had fulfilled a goal. 

We in Sarawak are so lucky. We have plenty of cheap bananas. I remember when I was studying for a few months in Cardiff Wales many years ago, bananas were very expensive. It was cheaper to buy fruits like nectarine, cherries and raspberries.

Like the pineapples there, the bananas were imported from the Caribbean.

I guess familiarity breeds contempt. Many of us who live in the tropics do not appreciate tropical fruits. We prefer to buy fruits that grow in temperate countries like apples, oranges, blueberries, cherries, etc.

I was very pleased with the cake I baked at 1.30am. It looked and tasted delicious even though I kept opening the oven door to check it.

The recipe is for keeps. Thank God for the generous netizen who shared her simple banana cake recipe online.

The recipe was accurate. It stated one hour and at the dot of one hour, it was cooked.

My mother ate the cake for breakfast and I shared some with friends in the office. I will try the recipe again in the near future. I love sharing food with friends.