Tuesday, January 18, 2011




Today's post is a very special post because it is on Chef Baini's collaboration with Sis Lea on her (Sis Lea's) most important cake commission to date. You see, Sis Lea was commissioned by the Royal Malay Regiment of the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces (in other words, the Malaysian Army) to do a special birthday cake for His Royal Highness The Sultan of Kedah whom in addition to being the sovereign of the northern state of Kedah, is also a Colonel in the Malaysian Army.

So when Chef Baini received Sis Lea's invitation to collaborate on this project, Chef Baini felt very honoured and thus couldn't do anything else but to accept the offer! Chef Baini was very touched because Sis Lea was willing to share this very important assignment for a VVIP, even though it meant Chef Baini had to travel to Ipoh and stay for 3 days and 2 nights and bunk with Sis Lea in her lovely home!

Luckily for Chef Baini, her husband The Babams had to travel to Penang on an assignment on the same day. Penang is an island four hours north of Kuala Lumpur while Ipoh is right in-between them. So it was a rather fortuitous timing for both; The Babams dropped of Chef Baini at 11am and promised to return the next day to pick her up on the journey home. Typical of Chef Baini, she rolled up her sleeves upon arrival and went straight to work.

Now some of you may know that Sis Lea has been in the cake business for some time, so you would expect her to have a bakery studio in her home, complete with an Internet corner and satellite TV! Chef Baini and the Babams were suitably impressed with the entire set-up; not to mention all the baking and decoration tools, accessories and multiple gadgets that Sis Lea had accumulated over the years. The Babams mentioned to Chef Baini that she should aim to be like Sis Lea in a few years....Insya'allah.

Just have a look at Sis Lea's marvelous set-up! She has every imaginable decoration tool there is!

Probably Sis's Lea's most valuable tool is her beloved husband Abang Wan who is very skillful with the airbrush. Turns out not only has he fully supported Sis Lea from the moment that she began the business, he has a hand in a lot of Sis Lea's creations also. Ladies, what more can a woman want in a man for a husband! Or as Sis Lea calls him...(drum roll please....) My Lalink! He is THE MAN!

The tagline for today's blog is Teamwork! because when we work as a team, we always can achieve greater things than we can as an individual. remember, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts! So lets meet the members of the team, shall we? First up we have THE MAN, Abang Wan....

Then, of course, there's THE LADY of the blog, Chef Baini......

Where Chef Baini goes, THE BABAMS is usually not far behind...here he is, looking more handsome than usual....

Uh, last but not least THE BOSS herself, Sis Lea!

Below is a picture of the three of them working together putting the finishing touches on the cake....

This was truly a whopper of an assignment....Chef Baini & Sis Lea went to bed at four in the morning, only to wake up three hours later! Argh! You see, Chef Baini and Sis Lea spent a good six hours googling (is there such a word ?!?) the Internet, looking for information on the Kedah 'Tanjak' or headdress, and the Keris (Malay Dagger) as well. The two of team felt that since this cake was meant for HRH The Sultan of Kedah, its only fitting that the correct Tanjak be replicated... The information provided by the clients were inadequate at best...the Tanjak identified by them was the one worn by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, or His Majesty the King of Malaysia.

The Tanjak is more than just a ceremonial headdress; its the equivalent of a sovereign's crown, in fact. So you can understand why its crucial to get this detail correct. There are nine states with Rulers in Malaysia. Add the King, and thus there are TEN different types of Tanjaks, each distinctly different from another; each also with a colourful name of their own. As it turns out, the Kedah Tanjak is called the 'Dendam Tak Sudah', or The Unending Vengence, in English. What a fearsome name! This was made known to the team by The Babams when he returned from Penang at about 5pm to see the collective efforts of the team.

The clients were very clear on what they wanted: A cake with a pillow for the headdress and the dagger resting on the right of the headdress, 2 sets of flowers comprising of 83 roses apiece, since HRH The Sultan is a Colonel not only in the Army, but the Army Services Corps too. So Chef Baini and Sis Lea split the booty equally between them. One chose pink roses while the other preferred red instead. Have a look:

For that extra special touch, the paddy flower was added to decorate the cushion. The paddy flower is the official flower of the state of Kedah (Kedah is known as the rice bowl of the country).

The team finished the cake in its entirety at 5pm and they were not only tired but relieved. Half-an-hour later, the clients arrived who promptly made comments and wanted a few changes here, there and just about everywhere! Uh-oh! So the team adjusted here and there but not everywhere because the cake was finished!

By 9pm the team was thoroughly exhausted. Then, the unthinkable happened: Due to the tinkering, the handle of the Keris broke! Oh no! No no! Whatever shall we do? Chef Baini & Sis Lea were worn out from all the work that they had done. Luckily, The Babams came to the rescue by fashioning a new handle according to the clients' comments. When he was done, Abang Wan laid the coup-de-grace by spray painting the new Keris! Hooray!

Who would have ever guessed that The Babams, in spite of his canto-pop rock  superstar looks, would prove to be very useful at such a moment! Andy Lau would have been very proud!

So at 10pm, the cake was well and truly finished! Have a look:

And here is the cake in its entirety, a cake fit for a king:

After that, the menfolk carried the cake gingerly to the van parked outside for immediate transport to Base Camp before it is sent to the palace. Before they left, they reminded us that we can publish our blogs and post the pictures on Facebook only after the presentation ceremony, which was on the morning of Saturday, the 16th of January 2011. These army guys are very, very serious people! So that ends Chef Baini's big adventure in Ipoh town, dear friends! It was one project Chef Baini, Sis Lea, Abang Wan & The Babams will remember for a long, long time, most assuredly! Before retiring for the night, we all went for dinner at a nearby rustic lakeside restaurant. Too bad we forgot to take pictures of our dinner, for that would have been the perfect ending for today's blog post!

In closing, Chef Baini would like to thank Sis Lea once again for inviting her to share in this unforgettable experience. SHARING IS CARING, AFTER ALL, YEAH! Thank you to all of you too, dear friends, for taking the time to visit today's blog. Until next time,

Love always,

Chef Baini.

Chef Baini, Sis Lea, Abang Wan & The Babams
HRH The Sultan of Kedah
on the occasion of His Royal Highness'
83rd bithday.

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