Life in Gangneung 강릉 Life in Korea 한국

A Fork in the Cake

For the past few months a few of my third grade middle school girls have been asking me to cook for them. I normally go away on the weekends and they study for exams so it has been hard to organize a get together. Well, at the beginning of September we decided on September 28th, to cook. The girls requests included baked spaghetti and coconut cake.


The baked spaghetti cost more to make than the cake just because of the cheese alone. Luckily, the local Homeplus happens to sell ricotta cheese. Two of the girls came shopping with me and were surprised how quickly I go through the store and that I know where everything is, haha. I was surprised by the request for baked spaghetti because baked pasta is actually pretty popular in Korea. Although there is a cheap version which in my opinion tastes like shit or you can go to an italian restaurant and get some baked pasta. They don’t sell anything like lasagna here though.

I’ve never made baked spaghetti, but I figured it was similar to lasagna just different noodles. I found a recipe online but only used it for some ideas and a baking temperature. However, I did notice that the author of the recipe said they use cinnamon as their secret ingredient. I have never had cinnamon in pasta before and I added some and you don’t notice it at all. It might just enhance the sauce. So we put ground beef and sausage in the suace as well as I thought it should be a more authentic baked spaghetti.


I even made them poor man’s garlic bread. You know, a regular piece of toast with butter and garlic powder on it and you throw it in the oven. They thought it was fantastic.


The girls were eager to help, but I told them they were in charge of the cake. Making pasta alone is much easier. I have to commend them as they did a fantastic job following the instructions in English and trying to use a measuring cup they have never seen. Granted they waited until the end to mix all of the ingredients instead of intermittently, but that is okay.  The funniest part was hearing them exclaim in Korean, “How many calories are in this?”


I forget that they have never baked and don’t own ovens, so they have no idea how much butter and sugar goes into most baked goods. Making the frosting was the funniest part as frosting is mostly powdered sugar and butter which scared them but it was yummy. They tried coconut milk for the first time too, the girls didn’t even know Homeplus sold it.

While the cake was baking they somehow managed to lure their homeroom teacher’s 5 year old daughter upstairs with her lego kit. (He is my neighbor that lives downstairs.)While the cake baked they were playing and drawing.


When it was finally done and I was trying to pop it out, it started to break a little which was irritating me. No one wants to look like a bad chef when guests are over. I finally managed to flip the cake out and realized part of the bottom was stuck to the pan. I looked down and saw a baby dessert fork. “Why is there a fork here?” The girls started laughing about the fork. I asked who used it, no one knows how it ended up inside



The cake went down well and everyone took leftovers home, after I had been serenaded for 2 hours with kpop songs.  Thanks for an entertaining day girls.


I learned two lessons:

1. Always watch for forks.

2. Never put a butter based frosting on a hot cake…it melts. (Butter is always fantastic anyways.)


Drawings that they left for me.


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