Friday, 29 July 2011

Fresh Fruit Cream Cake

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For the longest time I've wanted to try making one of these magnificent patisserie-style cakes typically found in Chinese bakeries, and earlier this week my friend Yishyene gave me the perfect excuse to experiment as she celebrated her birthday and happened to LOVE fruit, LOVE cream and HATE chocolate.

The result: almost a success! Although everyone else seemed very impressed by it I personally found it lacked sweetness and depth of flavour, so the recipe below includes what I think are suitable modifications which I haven't retested but should work. When I get round to making it again I'll come back and let you know :)

Feel free to use your favourite varieties of fruit for the topping- I chose strawberries, canned peaches, green grapes and canned pears simply because they were red, orange, green and... erm, translucent respectively.

Fresh Fruit Cream Cake
Makes one 8" gateau

Beat together until thick and pale:
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp oil

Sift and fold in:
½ cup flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
A pinch of salt

Beat until a stiff glossy meringue and fold in:
4 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
Few drops lemon juice
Pour into 2 lined 8” sandwich tins and bake 160 C fan-assisted (180 without) for 25-30 mins until skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely and remove from pan.

Using cold equipment and ingredients, whip 2 cups (500ml) double cream with ¼ cup icing sugar until floppy. Set aside half for frosting.

Thoroughly drain 1 tin fruit cocktail (or chopped up strawberries, mango, whatever fruit you want etc). Pat dry further with kitchen towels.

Stir the chopped fruit into the other half of cream and spread over one layer of sponge.

Top with other layer, then coat top and sides with rest of cream. (Tip: spread a very thin layer first all over the cake as a crumb catcher, to make frosting smoother and easier)

If using canned fruit like I did, drain thoroughly using a sieve.

Decorate the top with fruit as desired and the sides with chopped almonds. Dust with icing sugar. Chill for at least a few hours before serving.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Baked Rhubarb Pudding

I must admit this is the first time ever I've used rhubarb- to date I've found this vegetable an alien and intimidatingly English ingredient, with its odd giant celery-like appearance, strange pink/green hue and the fact that it's a vegetable yet used mainly for dessert. Thank goodness my friends Donat and Olivia brought a delicious tray of this to a party one day, for there came my introduction to how utterly tasty and flavoursome it can be.

Rhubarb- not so scary anymore

Based on a recipe from Delicious magazine, this summery dessert balances tartness and sweetness to perfection, combining chunks of rhubarb cooked in sugar until syrupy and soft with a light fluffy sponge and a gooey bit in between where the two meet. English pudding at its best.

Baked Rhubarb Pudding
Serves 6-8

Stir together 400g rhubarb, chopped into chunks, 100g sugar and a
bit of water in a deep casserole dish.

Bake at 170 C fan assisted (or 190C without) for 25 mins until tender.

Drain the liquid (which should be a delicious pink rhubarb syrup) into a separate
bowl and reserve for later. Let the chunks cool, and using your finger spread a
bit of butter around the sides of the casserole dish.

Lower the oven temperature to 160 C fan assisted (or 180C without).

Whisk together on high speed until pale and thick:
3 egg yolks
150g sugar

Whisk in:
Grated zest of 1 lemon
75g self-raising flour, sifted
Pinch of salt

Stir in:
150ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml single cream

In a separate clean and dry bowl, whisk together 3 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until stiff.

Fold into the batter until a well combined foamy mix.

Pour the batter over the rhubarb chunks, place the entire casserole dish into a larger roasting pan and pour boiling water into the roasting pan until halfway up the sides of the dish to form a bain-marie. Bake at 160C fan-assisted for 40 mins until golden and the centre of the sponge is firm to touch.


Serve warm or cold, with a generous drizzle of rhubarb syrup.