hawaiian paradise cake, version 2.0

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For my birthday I’ve made a pavlova the last three years. This year I decided to revisit the Hawaiian Paradise Cake, a three-layer flavored cake that’s pink, green, and yellow or orange.  This time I made each layer without using any food coloring at all. I think I like the all-natural cake better, even though the colors aren’t as vibrant. To achieve the flavors for each layer, I used a farang or Thai green guava for the top layer, strawberry preserves for the middle pink layer, and an extra egg yolk for the orange layer. The cake was frosted with a whipped cream icing; slightly tangy and not too sweet. I served the cake with my own fresh passion fruit syrup, chilled fresh mango, and a scoop of white chocolate and almond ice cream.

Hawaiian Paradise Cake, Version 2.0

Have at room temperature:
Ingredients
2 1/4 (281g) cups flour
2/3 cups (150g) white superfine sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1/4 cup strawberry preserves, thinned with 2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup (2 oz) fresh guava pulp and skin
1/4 cup (2 oz) fresh orange juice, plus zest (juice and zest of 1 medium orange)
5 egg yolks plus one more
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon each flavoring, optional
2 teaspoons grated lime zest (lemon in original)
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup white superfine sugar

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Get 6 mixing bowls together and 3 eight- inch spring form cake pans, preferably non-stick. Do not grease and flour the sides or the bottom. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift flour with 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl, beat together oil, water, 5 egg yolks, vanilla, 2 tablespoons lime juice and lime zest until just combined. Mix yolk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. The consistency will be thick. Divide the batter into thirds and place in separate bowls.

3. Make the following additions but do not mix until after the juice and flavoring are in: In one bowl of batter, add the strawberry jam. In another, add the guava pulp and zest. In the third, add the orange juice and zest, plus the egg yolk. Add flavoring, if using.

4. Using a clean bowl and beaters free of grease, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide the whipped egg whites by thirds and add each third to the batters. Fold in gently. Pour each batter into a prepared cake pan.

Cake Baker’s Note: Wipe down the bowl and beaters with vinegar to be sure, or your whites won’t whip.

5. Put each pan in the oven. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove pans from the oven and place on wire racks to cool completely. Run a thin sharp blade around the edges to loosen the cake. Remove the sides. Invert the cake and remove the bottom using a sharp thin blade. Insert the blade between the cake and the pan bottom and press away from the pan. Once the cake is released from the pan bottom, re-invert the cake for filling and frosting.

6. Fill and frost with whipped cream icing and glaze with passion fruit syrup (recipes to follow).

Whipped Cream Icing

Ingredients
1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup white superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy cream

Preparation
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and extracts in a mixing bowl. While the mixer is running on medium speed, add the cream. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill and frost the cake then refrigerate it until ready to slice and serve.

Passion Fruit Syrup (optional, for serving)

Ingredients
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup white superfine sugar
2 tablespoons water or orange juice
1/2 cup fresh passion fruit pulp

Preparation
Mix the corn syrup, sugar, and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the passion fruit pulp. Let cool. You can also put this in the fridge for 45 minutes to speed up the process.

An alternative to the corn syrup is to make a simple syrup. To the pan add 1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 cup water to the saucepan and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and, if desired, add a thickener. To 2 tablespoons corn starch add 1 1/2 tablespoons water. Mix well and stir into the syrup. Cool slightly. Add the passion fruit pulp. Stir to combine.

Chill the syrup until ready to serve.

To  serve, cut a slice of cake , spoon some fruit on the side, and pour some of the passion fruit syrup on top of the fruit, and if you like, on top of the cake too.  Delicious!

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clementine sauce

clementine sauce

Sunny and bright like a bowl of lemons, clementine sauce is so easy to make and so delicious. It is light and tart, best served slightly warm.  It is just perfect as a topping for berries or ice cream or even pancakes for breakfast!

Clementine Sauce (from epicurious.com)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Juice of 8 clementines (about 1 cup), minus the seeds but the pulp is okay
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter.

Juice the oranges and discard the seeds. It’s not necessary to strain the juice. Put juice, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the sugar and cornstarch are blended into the juice. The mixture will thicken slightly. Add the butter and stir until dissolved. Cool until it is just warm. Refrigerate leftovers. When refrigerated or cooled, the sauce thickens, so warm the sauce before serving, stirring until the sauce is liquid.

avocado-polenta pound cake

avocado-polenta pound cake
I had such misadventures with this cake. Never bake when you are tired and distracted! But I pushed myself to bake because I was filled with nervous energy and needed to do something positive. And because I was fading, I forgot to add the baking soda and skipped the almonds. I merely sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar.  The cake came out more dense than it should be, the palest of greens, but it is still edible. I actually like it toasted, with berries on the side, for breakfast. With clementine sauce, it is heavenly.

AVOCADO-POLENTA POUND CAKE (adapted from Joy the Baker)
Makes 2 9x4x3-inch loaves or 1 10 inch tube cake.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tablespoon vinegar with milk added to 1 cup line)
flesh of 1 1/2 ripe avocados, just over a cup to a cup and a half of avocado, mashed

Cake Topping (optional)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour pan(s) and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Set the four eggs out on the counter to come to room temperature while you beat the butter and sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the avocado and beat another minute to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed.

On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after the addition of each egg. Don’t turn off the machine between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Beat just until combined. Give the batter a few turns by hand with a spatula to make sure it is completely mixed.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans or scrape it into the tube cake pan. Smooth the tops. Tap pan(s) gently on the counter to eliminate air bubbles and place in the oven. Sprinkle the top of the cake(s) with topping mixture, if desired. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.

Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes or until the pan is cool enough to handle. Invert onto a cooling rack and turn right side up to cool completely.