Ever since I tried making cakes with minimal butter and low sugar, my parents have started trying my bakes. It's been years of baking and finally they are accepting my cakes. Hah! I hope to think that it's due to my improvement in baking; though it's probably just expansion of my repertoire into chiffon, sponge and fresh cream. My first birthday cakes for the family was a banana chiffon cake for my dad, then a hummingbird cake for my bro and a taro sponge cake for my mum. All were surprisingly finished by the family!
My dad's birthday rolled around this year amidst a durian frenzy. Stalls were hawking durians at $1, $2, $5, $10 everywhere. As we were growing up, my dad has always been bringing home treats of durians every season. He knows that we all love durians, and he will buy many durians each time despite his days of slogging in the sun day in day out, working hard for every dollar that help raised us 3 kids. We relish each bite of durian every time, waiting eagerly after dinner, where my dad will whip out the long sharp knife to pry each durian apart for us.
Without hesitation, I decided to try making a durian cake for my dad. Off to the durian stores I went 1 night before his bday, and bought 9 durians, which yielded 450gm of pulp and some leftovers for hub and me to enjoy. Do you know that drinking water straight from the durian shell and washing your hands from water flowing through the shells remove the smell totally? Even as the durian seller packed the seeds for me, I asked to bring 1 shell home for washing. It works every time!
To prepare the durian filling for the cake, it's very simple. It's just a matter of whipping cream into a thickened state and mixing the pulp in. I used 450gm of pulp, 150gm of whipped cream.
The ratio of cream can be adjusted to preference. My ratio of cream to durian is pretty low as compared to many recipes found online but I like it this way as every bite yields a decadent mouthful of durian pulp. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
Layered Sponge Cake:
I'm constantly in search of a soft sponge cake or chiffon cake for layered cake recipes. There are so many that looks great in food blogs, but my baking skills probably has not reached nirvana when its come to sponge cakes. Yet to be able to bake 1 that is soft as cotton, this bake has however seen much improvement. It's soft and not as eggy as usual sponge cakes, slightly sweet (some will probably prefer it sweeter) but still a tad heavy for a cream cake. It's a pretty tasty cake, would probably go well as a vanilla sponge cake with just a simple jam or fruit puree, more like a European style cake. It could also be due to my stirring the flour a little too much which cause the gluten to develop and ended slightly hefty as the original recipe looks really good and airy. Check the original one out! I will probably try this again and do as little stirring as possible.
210g Top Flour
30g Corn Flour
2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
6 egg yolks
130ml full cream milk (I used Meiji)
90ml sunflower oil (or any other mild vegetable oil)
6 large egg whites
Oven 160C, Top-Bottom heat
2 8-in round baking pans (No need for greasing or lining)
1. Sift both flours and baking powder into a big bowl
2. Add the yolks, sugar, milk and oil and mix until incorporated but do not over-mix
3. In a clean grease-free mixing bowl, whip egg white until slightly frothy, add sugar and whip at high speed until stiff peaks. Test it by flipping the bowl upside-down and the whipped egg white should not fall out.
4. Fold Mixture 1 into whipped egg white over 3 times. It should still be a light and airy batter.
5. Pour into the 2 pans in equal amount, bake for 40minutes.
6. Once baked, remove from oven and tilt over immediately, to let it hang and cool. Do it 1 pan at a time, keeping the 2nd pan in the oven when tilting the first one. (I removed both at the same time, the 2nd one collapsed slightly as I took some time to position the first one)
Whipped Cream Frosting:
Keep mixing bowl and beater in the fridge to cool them.
Whip 300ml of whipped cream with 1/4 cup sifted icing sugar (more if you like it sweet) and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
1. Using a slim knife, cut carefully around the pan and below the pan to remove the cake.
2. Ensure that they are fully cooled. Cut them into 2 layers each. You can also use satay sticks to stick at the same height around the cake. Place a long serrated knife on 2 sticks at 1 time for balance and accurate height, then slice around the cake and through it.
4. Seal in the cake with a crumb coat of whipped cream only. Leave it to set in fridge for at least 30min.
5. Last step is to frost it as desired.
My frosting skills is really amateurish. I could never get a clean and smooth sheen on the final layer despite watching many youtube tutorials. I guess it's about practice practice and practice! One lesson I learn from this session is that mixing colours into the whipped cream after it's been whipped is really risky. My first batch curdled badly as I tried to get my gel colours to spread evenly into the frosting by stirring it vigorously. The cream just suddenly separated. Realising my awful mistake and fact that I've already whipped all my cream, I changed from blue gel to blue liquid colour and carefully and slowly stir in the colours. The darker blue still curdled a little, as can be seen above, whereas I didn't dare to stir anything more into the light blue thus it was a little more light green than blue. So note to self is that I should drop the colours into the cream while it's whipping and just whip different coloured batches one at a time.
So.. after working at it from 9am to 3pm (with waiting time in between), I'm finally done with a 4-layered durian cream cake for my dad!
Happy Birthday PA PA!
The final verdict was that the cake was not bad, but the sponge is a little heavy. Since I baked it and I'm the baby sister of the house, guess no one would say much otherwise. Ha Ha! Mum did say that this is nicer than the orh nee cake for her. I would probably have to further improve the softness of the cake and add more durian cream next time.