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.
Want another entry? Like us on Facebook and comment back here saying you did!
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.
…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.
Ambition. Dreams. Aspirations. We’re all full of them whether or not we are aware. They subconsciously burrow into our most sentient beings, waiting for someone to unlock the iron-wrought gates behind which they hide.
Talent. Expertise. Prowess. We all have at least one thing that we do well, even (and especially) in relaxation. Mine… is baking.
Fear. This is the cancer that kills all that we strive to be. Through it, we murder our aspirations, dreams, and ambition. As it grows within us, our impulse dies.
We have no life.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson
And thus, we claim our ambitions. We claim our areas of expertise. They are ours to seek, to behold, to finesse.
Almond Raspberry Tarts
adapted from Baking from the Heart
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
6 T powdered sugar
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
7~8 oz. almond paste
1/4 c sugar
2 T plus 2 t unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, beaten
1 t almond extract
1 t lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/8 t baking powder
1/2 c raspberry preserves
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly mist 6 mini tart pans* with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the ingredients for the crust and pule the machine for 30 seconds, or until the dough comes together.Remove the dough and press it into the prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for ~20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
3. In the food processor, place the almond paste and sugar and blend for 25 seconds, or until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Stop the processor and add the butter, eggs, almond extract, zest, salt, and baking powder and process for 20 seconds, or until the mixture looks smooth.
5. Transfer the filling to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on med-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow and very thick.
6. Spread a little bit more than 1 T of raspberry preserves onto each cooled crust, leaving a 1/2 border around the edges. Carefully pour the almond filling over the jam, taking care not to combine the two. Top with slivered almonds.
7. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the almond filling is set and light golden brown. Cool completely before carefully removing from tart pan.
*Can also be made in an 8×8″ baking dish.
I met M two weeks ago at HOBY WLC. M is from the UK and has an adorable accent. When asked to give an idea for something to make, he suggested lemon curd tarts with condensed milk ice cream. I couldn’t help but think to myself how undeniably British this dessert sounded. Lemon and other fruit curds find their origin in 19th-20th century England after all. To be quite honest, I’d never really had a fondness for curds. They’re just not my thing usually. When paired with an almond graham cracker crust, vanilla bean condensed milk ice cream, and raspberries however, the flavor becomes impeccably irresistable. You try- you’ll see.
taken from Baking With Julia, by Dorie Greenspan
4 large eggs
1 C sugar
2/3 C fresh lemon juice (I used 4 large lemons)
grated zest of one lemon, done on a microplane
1/2 stick butter (2 oz), cut into 8 pieces, room temperature
Graham Cracker Crust (or your favorite tart shell)
Set up a double boiler with a pot and the bowl from your mixer: The pot should be just the right size for your mixing bowl to fit inside without the bottom of it touching the pot. The water in the pot should be low enough not to touch the bottom of the mixing bowl when it simmers (the idea is to prevent direct heat with the curd, all heat transferred should be carried by steam).
Place the pot of water on the stove and bring to a light simmer.
In the mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. While whisking, add in the lemon juice and zest.
Set the bowl into the pot over the stove and cook the mixture, constantly whisking, making sure to lightly whisk against the bottom and all sides of the bowl to avoid scrambling the eggs. Cook and whisk until the mixture thickens, like a loose pudding or custard. It should be smooth. This will take several minutes.
Remove the bowl from the pot to the counter, turn off the heat and whisk the butter into the curd, piece by piece. Pour the curd into the tart shell, spreading it evenly. Allow the tart to set at room temperature. Once the curd is stable enough to safely transport the tart, place it in the fridge to completely settle it before slicing.
Beat heavy cream with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add in vanilla and continue beating until a light whipped cream forms. Gradually pour in condensed milk and vanilla paste and keep beating until mixture thickens to a nice cream. Put in the freezer for at least four hours; overnight is best.
For clarification, it’s pronounced lee-moh-nah-duh. Like lemonade and limeade mixed together. With raspberries, the lemon-lime is even better, if that’s possible.
(In case you were wondering… it totally is.)
Raspberry Limonade Sorbet
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1 1/8 cups sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 lime, zested
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon-lime juice (about 4 lemons+2 limes)
1/2 c raspberries
1. Begin by combining 1/2 c of the water along with the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon and lime zest and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add the remaining two cups of water. Allow the mixture to chill completely in the refrigerator.
2. When the mixture has cooled, add the lemon-lime juice. Begin to freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
3. While the sorbet is freezing, puree the raspberries until smooth. Pour the puree through the sieve to eliminate seeds.
4. When the sorbet is mostly solid, pour in the strained puree. Allow the sorbet to complete freezing before enjoying.
Dark chocolate mousse
Vibrant, sun ripened berries:
Sunshine in a crust.
Clever, right? Haha.
But really, it is this good. Creamy custard, crisp crust, fresh fruit- what’s not to love?
2 cups whole milk
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla bean paste*
4 large egg yolks
1/4 c cornstarch, sifted
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate,chopped**
1. Combine the milk, 1/4 c sugar, and the vanilla bean seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. While the milk is coming to a boil, vigorously whisk together the yolks and remaining 1/4 c sugar in a medium bowl. Once the mixture turns pale, whisk in the cornstarch. While whisking continuously, very gradually add half of the hot milk mixture to sugar-egg mixture, and then pour the contents of the mixing bowl into the saucepan. Still whisking, cook this over medium heat until the pastry cream thickens and begins to boil. Once the pastry cream has boiled for 30 seconds, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Add the chocolate and stir until it has melted.
3. Scrape the pastry cream into a non-reactive bowl and cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the film directly on the surface of the cream. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until well chilled (can be made up to 2 days in advance).
*If using vanilla extract, add after step 2 and before step 3.
**I like to use semisweet chocolate chips. It tastes good and it saves time.
adapted from Baking from the Heart.