June 05, 2010

Chinese Birthday Cake for My Dad!

I'm definitely not a baker and far from a good one but with the help of my sister, we made a pretty darn delicious birthday cake for my dad. For every birthday growing up, my parents would bring home a chinese birthday cake from Chinatown.  Simply delicious.  They are so much lighter, filled with fresh fruit and more importantly, not too sweet. 

For normal birthday cakes, I barely touch the icing and frosting because it's so sweet.  Not on the frosting on Chinese cake, I devour it completely. However, finding the recipe for chinese cake is hard!  Do a search and you will mainly see questions asking for the recipe.

So for my dad's birthday, my sister found a recipe online and the pictures looked pretty darn good.  This was definitely a time consuming process, but I think well worth it for those special occasions.  Beware, you end up going through a ton of utensils, pots, pans and mixers.  Also, I must say that we did a good job decorating the cake too!  Now, I really want a pastry bag so I can pipe.

The cake was such a success that I decided to make them into cupcake versions.  They were just as good but took a little longer because of the added steps of cutting each individually.  I'll post those pictures in another post with an update on how to assemble.

Also, note that the recipe has some very odd portions.  The recipe online was translated from different metrics but I simply estimated and it worked out fine. 

Chinese Birthday Cake
Serves 8-10

Step 1: Making the Custard
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk (broken in 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

1. In a small pot, mix the flour, sugar, salt and 3/4 cup of the milk together until smooth.  Put on the heat and mix constanty.  Bring to a boil.
2. It will get thick really quick (roughly 1-2 minutes) and make sure to constantly stir. Once thick, take off the stove.  Take the remaining 1/4 cup milk and add in the egg.  Mix together and then add to the custard, add back to the stove and mix quickly so the eggs do not cook.  There should be no lumps but if there are, you're not whisking hard enough!  Remove from heat and add in the vanilla.  Let it cool in the fridge for at least two hours.  You can actually make this a day in advance and leave it in the fridge until you need to use it.
Step 2: Making the Cake
6 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup cake flour
0.8 cups sugar split into 2 even portions (odd measurement, i know, but eyeball it and it's just under 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest from one orange

1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees.  You will need two springform pans and butter/flour each.  Line with parchment at the bottom. 
2. Separate the egg yolks and whites.  Put the egg whites into your mixer and the yolks into another mixing bowl.  You will need a hand mixer as well.  For the yolks, add 0.4 cups of the sugar and with your hand mixer, give it a good mix until light yellow and fluffy.
3. Next, mix the egg whites until it starts to get foamy and form drippy peaks. Slowly add the rest of the 0.4 cups of sugar while it's mixing.  Continue to let it mix until you have firm white peaks.
4. Take half of the egg white meringue and add to the egg yolk mixture. FOLD to incorporate.  Slowly add in the flour and continue folding. Next, fold in the milk, oil, vanilla and orange zest.  Last, incorporate the remaining egg white meringue until well incorporated. This should only take a few more folds.   
5. Divide mixture evenly between the two pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  I like to set my timer for 15 minutes and look at it through the window to check to make sure it's cooking well.  This was done in 18 minutes so it really depends on your oven.  Color should be a light brown and spongy to the touch. 
Step 3: Simple Syrup
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water

1. Add together in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Once done, let it cool.

Step 4: Cutting all the Yummy Fruit
4 kiwi peeled and sliced
1 pint blackberries
2 pints strawberries

You can actually use whatever fruit you like and even canned peaches.  Simply up to your taste or whatever fruit is in season.

1. Wash and start slicing the fruit while the cake is cooking.

Step 5: Whipping Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4-5 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Put your mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Cream beats best with cool tools. 

2. Beat the cream on high until it starts firming up.  Add in the vanilla during the mixing process.  Slowly add in a tbsp of the powdered sugar at a time until it's sweet enough to your taste.  I actually ended up putting 5 tbsp.

Step 6: Finally, Assembly!
1. Once the cake is done, let it cool and sit on the counter.  Spread/pour the simply syrup on one side of each of the cakes to keep it moist. Don't worry, it doesn't make your cake sweet.  I put one of the cake flat side down.  Spread a layer of 1/3 to 1/2 of the custard on the first cake.  Then add a slew of sliced fruit on top. Add another layer of custard on top of the fruit.  This will be hard and I simply put blobs and then tried to spread around as best as I could with a knife.  I didn't use all my custard but you can. 
2. Take the second cake and with the flat side facing up, put it on top.  Then start cover with the whipped cream all on the sides and on the top.  
3.  Now add additional sliced fruit on top for decoration and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This looks divine! I will definitely have to try this one! Great summer cake.