So I still have a lot of catching up to do from all of my summer travels, but in the meantime, I figured I’d do a little post about cake because it’s pretty fantastic. But anyways, have you ever spent hours doing virtually nothing? I have! Whilst waiting in the mornings or afternoons or evenings at my grandparents’ home in Taiwan, my young(er) cousin passed time by playing fruit ninja on her super fancy iPad 2 (and no, sorry. that’s not the giveaway hahaha). Before I left, she asked me, “Do you think about fruit ninja randomly sometimes?” And I said that yes, I did occasionally. To which she responded, “Okay good. Because I do. I think about it a lot. Especially passionfruit. It’s so yummy!”
Now a few days earlier, I had gone with my grandpa to the street market and bought a bag of passionfruit. Upon bringing it home, we scooped out the flesh and my grandpa suggested that we eat it straight up. But what with my grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, cousin, and I all in the house, I knew that we’d want to stretch it as far as we could. So my cousin and I ran down to the FamilyMart (think 7/11) and bought a bottle of Taiwanese Sprite. We mixed it up with the passionfruit and everyone loved it.
I wish it was possible to bring back passionfruit, but alas, Customs and Border Security would throw it into their bin of “international waste” (sniffle, sniffle). But! I’ve got the next best thing:
So. Secret’s out! If I’ve recently made you a passionfruit cake, I did not in fact pluck passionfruit off of my nonexistent lilikoi tree in the back yard. Disappointed? Don’t be! Just leave a comment, any comment below and you will be eligible to win a bottle of passionfruit extract(!), thereby enabling you to also flavor your cakes and cookies with the addicting flavor that is passionfruit.
Limit one entry per person and U.S. residents only. We’ll see how many nibbles there are, but for now, I’ma leave this giveaway open until 12:00 AM EST on Friday, August 26 2011.
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Angel Food Cake
(very lightly adapted from here)
1 tsp passionfruit extract
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9-inch diameter 16-cup capacity), preferably with removable bottom. If the pan bottom is not removable, line it with parchment or wax paper.
9.Place the cake, bottom-side up, on a platter. Cut slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife.
Happy Strawberry Month/Season/whatever this is! In honor of the seasonal strawberry boom, I chose to make this Japanese cheesecake. Having not actually baked much of anything (especially involving whipping egg whites), I am happy to say that this was a success! Lately, I’ve seen Japanese cheesecakes all around the blogosphere. There are yummy loaves (look at the crumb! so perfect), cute green tea versions, and swirly patriotic/psychedelic ones. In the end though, I decided to go with the one I first found here a couple years ago. Since I first saw that post, I’ve been meaning to make one, but I’ve just never gotten around to it.
In case you aren’t familiar with this style of cheesecake, it’s lighter than your traditional NY cheesecake and fluffier too, thanks to the whipped egg whites. The way I see it, you get all the fat without the feeling of guilt! 😉
As you can tell from the top left square, I was having some issues with my melted cream cheese. It was kinda clumpy and frustrating to deal with. Same with the addition of the flour mixture (even though it was sifted). It all worked out though with the addition of the egg yolks.
Makes a 9×13″
12 egg whites
12 egg yolks
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
100g butter (approx. 1 stick)
500g cream cheese (approx 2 1/8 bars)
200 ml milk (I used 2%)
120g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1. Cube the butter and cream cheese. Add to a saucepan with the milk and place over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter and cream cheese are melted. Allow this to cool before adding in the egg yolks, one at a time. At this point, preheat the oven to 375F or 160C.
2. Sift the cake flour and cornstarch together over the cream cheese mixture in 3 additions, stirring well after each.
3. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whip on medium speed, gradually pouring in the sugar. When the sugar has been added, turn the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form.
4. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated. (Check for streaks!)
5. Line a 9×13″ springform (or regular) pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture in.
6. Place your water bath* on the bottom rack of the oven and slide your cheesecake on the top rack.
7. Bake for about 1 hour (you may need more or less time depending on your oven) or until golden and set.
Note: Do not immediately remove the cheesecake. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the door ajar for about an hour. This will help prevent cracks and such. Also, I made this the night before, and after letting it sit covered and refrigerated overnight, it was easier to handle.
*I boil water for the water bath as the batter is being made so that there is a sufficient amount of steam circulating throughout the oven.
*disclaimer to those who know me in real life: no, I did not eat this cheesecake as it is comprised pretty much solely of dairy products. But everyone who did eat this enjoyed it immensely, and there were no leftovers.
…or CakeJars. Also known as my new favorite gift to give! To get everyone’s favorite flavors, I had them initial this sheet:
Needless to say, this sheet became my life. I thought I’d lost it on several different occasions, and panic attacks were my constant companion.
In the end, all went well, and the jars were made without a single problem (which was also a relief considering the fact that things are never as simple as they seem). To begin, I washed the (48) jars in the dishwasher.
Then, I baked various flavors of cake (vanilla, chocolate, vanilla-lemon, cinnamon, butter) in a 14″ cake pan, let it cool and then cut out circles:
There were lemons for lemon curd and raspberries for the Lemon Raspberry variety:
Coffee cream for the Tiramisu and Toffee Mocha variety:
Coffee for Tiramisu:
Assembly looked something like this:
From left to right:
Tiramisu: coffee-soaked vanilla cake, coffee cream, whipped cream, cocoa
Toffee Mocha: chocolate cake, coffee cream, toffee pieces
Lemon Raspberry: lemon-vanilla cake, fresh raspberries, lemon curd, raspberry preserves
Apple Spice: cinnamon cake, cinnamon spiced apples, vanilla bean cream cheese frosting
Birthday: butter cake, buttercream, chocolate frosting, sprinkles
This ended up being a really successful idea, I think. While traditionalists are still giving cookie mixes in jars, you could be giving portable cakes- which is totally amazing because, let’s face it: at the end of the day during the holiday season, the last thing you want to do is dirty up another bowl for baking cookies. So many of the recipients mentioned curling up on the couch by the fire. How nice is that? (The other half of the recipients consumed them moments within receiving the cakejars.) Give them to teachers, give them to friends- give them to all as the year slowly ends.
Everyone expects it of someone.
And yet, the few who are so seemingly perfect radiate fatal waves of unapproachability, never showing their past or present turmoils.
All anyone ever sees is a façade.
But underneath it…
…lies a human as flawed and imperfect as we are.
Secretly, they fill themselves with all kinds of material things.
They are broken.
When I sat down in Spanish 2 for the first time 2 years ago, I had no idea that I was signing myself up for a week of utter chaos responsibility. Yes, my Spanish teacher went from a Miss to a Mrs. and asked me to make her wedding cake! Through careful planning and consultation (plus the moral support of my parents <3), I was able to pull it off. Forget the skeptics and the doubters; anyone can do anything they set their mind to. Here’s proof.