Dreams of Plum Ice Cream

Apologies up front – I don’t have a picture of the final ice cream.

Sorry. I took it to a friend’s house, and was late and too busy eating, and even managed to get a nice warmed spoon out to scoop it on to a plate in that nice egg-like shape. And then I forgot to take the picture. I also forgot to scoop it nicely but that’s another story.

So all you have is this measly process photo.

Plum + Cream

What to do, right? Make it yourself. Pretend it looks as good as that indulgent picture of cream and plum puree looks. Dream about if for a couple of days (yes I did that)

I have tried many times to make ice cream, and even took an ice cream course at Tom’s Palette in Singapore. My one and only cooking class, yays.

I have never been able to reproduce the results at home. Even though ice cream is one of my favourite things. I probably like a good ice cream better than cake (gasp). It is a gift that keeps giving, patiently waiting for you in the freezer until you need it most. Cake is fickle, it goes dry and weird after a few days. But, alas. No ice cream-making luck so far.

Until this day!

A whole new world of ice cream has opened up. Beware friends, fatness beckons.

Also – I don’t have an ice cream maker, only a food processor with a strong engine (hello, Rambo ;)). Hooray for multi-purpose appliances! If you saw the size of my kitchen, you’d understand.

Plum Ice Cream

Basic recipe adapted from A Canadian Foodie‘s rhubarb ice cream, various proportions edited. 

Plum puree

Will give you excess puree – eat it with yoghurt for breakfast 🙂

6~8 plums
4 tablesp sugar – or to taste

  1. Whizz the plums in a food processor to break them down.
  2. Add the sugar, and cook at around medium-high heat in a pan for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more sugar to taste. 
  3. When the consistency and sweetness is as you like, return to the food processor and blitz until the puree isn’t lumpy anymore. Cool and set aside. 

Ice cream

6 large egg yolks
1 cup of milk – I used skinny, that’s all I had that day
115g sugar
1/4 teasp salt
1.5 cups plum puree
1.25 cups heavy cream

  1. Heat the milk, sugar, and salt in a pot, until it warms up to around 50 degrees (a bit too hot to touch, but not very hot). Stir regularly. 
  2. Add the egg yolks, one by one. Turn up the heat a bit to medium, and keep stirring for about 15 minutes. You want to get the custard to set a bit – if you dip in a wooden spoon, it will coat the back of it. And if you swipe your finger across the coated spoon, the streak where you swiped your finger will stay clear of custard (I’ll take pictures next time, promise)
  3. Mix the plum into the cream.
  4. Strain the custard into the plum-cream, and whisk until it cools down. Or stick it in the fridge. Mix it again by hand when it’s cool.
  5. Put it in the freezer in a metal container for around 45 minutes. After that, remove and blitz in the food processor on a high speed, until creamy-looking.
  6. Freeze again, 6 hours up until over night. Then cut it into pieces and process again until creamy.
  7. Freeze again for a couple of hours before eating.

 

 

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Gong Xi Fatt Cake

Among other things, Chinese New Year means that people come over and there needs to be food around. Lots of food. 

*takes a bow*

At some point, you or whoever else is ordering the the food will forget exactly how much food they ordered – this happens, it’s normal, and you shouldn’t panic. You definitely ordered enough food.

Despite this, you will still end up making an extra dessert. Extra dessert is always welcome. Especially when it’s the first year you have to give out angpau, and you need a little consolation in the form of cream cheese.

Cream cheese heals all wounds

Yes, that’s two pictures of the orange flower. I’m just a little bit proud of myself 🙂 (context: I’m the least artistic person on the planet)

I have omitted the process pictures, in which I dropped the baking tin on the cake. My baking tin is metal = heavy. This resulted in a really really big dent in the middle of the cake. Like I said, there is nothing that cream cheese icing can’t solve.

Vanilla Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Orange “Flower”

Vanilla Cake

Adapted from Hummingbird Cupcakes’ vanilla cupcake recipe, and quadrupled. 

I like this particular vanilla cake recipe a lot, because it’s one bowl with very few steps, and results in a really light and springy cake (and I don’t even like vanilla cake much, it’s boring!)

480g all purpose flour – I have used gluten free with this recipe before
400g caster sugar
160g butter, softened
480ml milk
4 eggs
3 teasp vanilla essence
6 teasp baking powder
1 teasp of salt

Oven temperature: 170 degrees C
Yield: a two layer square monster, 9″

  1. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until the mixture looks sandy. Or, you can use the rub-in method.
  2. Pour in half the milk, and beat until just combined.
  3. Drop in the milk, egg, and vanilla essence. Mix until just smooth, try not to overmix or it’ll be chewy.
  4. Split into two square tins. Fill only 1/2 to 1/3 full, this cake rises a lot!
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until light golden brown, and sponge bounces back when touched. I’d start checking at 35 minutes for done-ness.

Cream Cheese Orange Icing

Adapted from BraveTart’s SMB though it isn’t really SMB anymore given that I used whole eggs. The yolk / white wastage makes me sad, so I only do SMB or Faux French if I have leftover egg parts.

I know it’s a pain, but weigh everything really well okay? Even the egg. I ended up creating an excel sheet to calculate weights based on the weight of the egg parts…super nerd with bad mental maths. Let me know if you want it.

300g whole eggs – this was 3 eggs for me
300g castor sugar
490g butter, softened + cubed
490g cream cheese, softened + cubed
1/2 teasp salt
Zest of 4 oranges – the ones used below for decor

  1. Beat eggs into sugar and salt, until the egg whips up.
  2. Heat over a water bath until it steams, approx 150 degrees C. I just look for steam, I don’t have a thermometer. Whisk continuously!
  3. Once it steams quite regularly, remove and beat until the mixture doubles in volume. Another test for this is to put some between your fingers, and see whether you can feel sugar crystals.
  4. Keep beating until it gets cool, otherwise stick it in the fridge for some time until it gets back to room temperature.
  5.  Once it hits room temperature, dump in the butter and whisk until smooth.
  6. Now you can add your flavourings – namely cream cheese and orange zest. Beat all of them in until smooth, but don’t over mix or the cream cheese will go runny.

Note: my icing didn’t hold well up in the heat after a while, so I might try adding some white chocolate next time to attempt to stabilise it a bit. Suggestions welcome.

Build the beast

About 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented. Be careful not to break the sacs!

  1. Peel and set aside mandarin oranges, after breaking into segments. Leave them on a sheet of kitchen paper, so that all the juices get soaked up and the segments don’t drip all over your icing.
  2. Slather icing between, and on top of all sides of the two stacked cakes. Cool in the fridge in between coats if like me, your icing is a bit drippy.
  3. Arrange the oranges in a pretty flower pattern, and place this (piece by piece, unfortunately) on top of the cake.

Protected: Snowdrop Bakery Mega Vanilla Butter Icing

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Sunny Orange Cake

As you may have gathered from my last post, I’m not exactly right on top of the world right now. Flu-ey, and just a bit overworked, and just a bit jetlagged, so overall I’ve been pretty grouchy for the past few days. Also whiny, evidently. But after writing yesterday’s Raita post, I decided I wanted cake.

I’m pretty stubborn, when I decide to do something I generally steamroll right ahead, knocking any other plans (or people, or ideas) to the wayside.  Kinder people call it determined, but let’s be honest here, I’m just plain stubborn. Like a small, female, bull.

I haven’t made cake for what feels like ages.

Also, what could be a more cheerful cake than Sicilian orange cake with vanilla icing? It was one of those spontaneous things I just decided that I wanted when I typed the words “A slice of cake and a cup of tea”.

I made a plan: go into work, work like a crazy hamster on a spinning wheel, finish a whole day’s work by 3pm, and then leave to bake my cake. Yay for plans!

It almost worked, I got out by 4, and managed to bake the cakes but not ice them by dinnertime. I left them sitting in the fridge until the next day. It’s ok, apparently that makes them easier to ice, I read somewhere. And I got to eat orange cake crumbs. And the house smelled pretty strongly of orange (so I’m told, I can’t smell anything at the moment. Don’t worry I washed my hands before baking).

On an unrelated note, I had a very nice conversation with a shorthaired jack russel terrier outside the local corner shop after buying oranges and eggs. She was walking around in circles outside the shop by herself, so I leant over to talk to her. “Hello doggy, what’re you doing here by yourself?” I said. “You shouldn’t be out here by yourself. How did you manage to get here? What are you doing?” Quite loudly and in a normal speaking voice, I should add.

I was about to ask her whether she came to buy groceries, and how she was going to carry the bags home, when I realised the owner was right behind me. He probably thought I was a nutter. I kinda am. I scuttled away after that to make cake.

This is the most orangey and moist orange cake I’ve found so far. It’s perfectly nice without the icing, I just happened to want icing too. But, I can’t give you the icing recipe because it was given to me by the very nice person who runs Snowdrop Cupcakes in Manchester – sorry!*

Caking notes: I did a gluten free version, the normal version is more spongey and lighter in texture. It’s the same recipe, I just swapped out the flour for GF flour.

More caking notes: this time I thought it was a bit sweet, and I’ll be reducing the sugar to 200g next time. Also, make sure to use sunkist oranges, the cake tastes better with a sour orange. I might also try making an orange syrup next time to add before icing, to try and sour it up even more. I’ll let you know how that goes 🙂

Sicilian Orange Cake with Vanilla Icing

Taken from Gourmand, a site which sadly doesn’t seem to be on the internet anymore. I traced the recipe back from there to Almost Bourdain, which has also stopped publishing. Luckily Google had a cached copy, I thought I’d lost a yummy recipe. You can live here now Mr Cake! All credits to the Almost Bourdain blogger, but I can’t seem to link them because the website is offline. Though I did change up the recipe a bit.

250g salted butter – bring it to room temperature so you can cream easily
220g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1.5 tablesp finely grated orange zest – I measure the juice first, then take the entire orange’s worth of zest that produced that juice. So, if I used half an orange for the juice, I take the whole orange’s worth of zest. Not very scientific clearly.
250g self raising flour- I used gluten free all purpose flour and 1 teasp of baking soda, sifted
85ml freshly squeezed orange juice

Oven temperature: 170 degrees C
Makes an 8 inch cake. I made 1.5x, so had 2 smaller bar cakes. Line your tin with baking paper if using a round tin.

  1. Cream butter and sugar until very pale (4 to 5 minutes).
  2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent curdling.
  3. Mix in the orange zest.
  4. Throw in the rest of the flour at once, and mix well.
  5. Slowly mix in the orange juice.
  6. Bake 45-55 minutes in the oven, or until a skewer comes out clean. If it browns too fast, cover it with a bit of foil.

Edit: tried this with 200g raw sugar, still too sweet! I’ll reduce further and let you know how it goes. 

* If I know you, ask me.