Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paradise Cake-Part one

It has been so hot and dry here, I have been thinking of vacation spots where beaches have balmy breezes and fruit grows wild.  I was very much in the mood for something tropical and different.

I saw the picture of this three layer cake and it looked so good (photos link below), I knew I had to try and re-create it. Each layer is a different color and represents a different flavor (guava, passion fruit and lime).I ran to several grocery stores to find the guava as well as the passion fruit nectar. I found both in a Latin-American grocery store. As far as the recipe,  I searched and found a guava cake recipe on allrecipes website and did some modifications.  It took some time but the chiffon cake part turned out wonderful.  I am still working on the icing and syrup (reason this post is part one),which should be in my next post. You see, I made the mistake of cutting a corner and using Redi Whip for the icing, which rolled right of the cake. Lesson learned, do not cheat on ingredients. This recipe does take some time, but the taste and texture is worth it.
The recipe for the cake part is below:

Hawaiian Paradise Cake
Adapted from original recipe here
and you can see photos here 

2 1/4 cups of flour
2/3 cups of white sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 oz key lime juice (I used Nellie and Joes )
2 oz guava nectar
2 oz passion fruit nectar
5 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated lemon zest
liquid food coloring : yellow, red and green
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup white sugar

The first thing that needs to be done is to get organized and prepare.  You will need a total of 6 bowls: 1 for each color layer,one bowl for sifted ingredients, one bowl for batter mixing and one bowl for the egg whites.
Also, 3 nine inch cake pans are needed.  All pans can bake at once, I do not recommend letting the batches sit while each layer bakes.

Regarding your eggs, it is a good idea to let sit outside the fridge for 20 minutes to get to room temperature.
To prepare your cake pans, butter the inside.  I used about 2 tbs of melted butter with a paper towel.  Line each with parchment paper and also butter it.  Then dust with flour, shaking out excess.
Lastly, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. You are now prepared to start the cake-making process.

Sift together flour with 2/3 cup of sugar, baking powder, salt-set aside.  In another bowl, beat together oil, water, yolks, vanilla and lemon zest until well combined.  Mix yolk mixture into flour mixture until smooth.  At this point, the consistency should almost be like cookie dough.  Divide the batter into thirds and put each into a separate bowl.  In each separate bowl of batter, add one kind of nectar/juice.  Once mixed in, you will need to add the food coloring- green for the lime layer, yellow and red (to make orange)for the passion fruit layer and red for the guava layer. Use your own judgment on how many food coloring drops to use and bear in mind that you will be adding eggs whites later which will lighten the batter.

In another bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks are formed.  Then slowly add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff.  Then you will need to take 1/3 of the egg white mixture and fold it into each bowl of batter.  Then pour each into a separate pan.

As far as the separation of batter as well as whipped cream, I divided mine by sight.  However, if you want to be more exact, you can weigh the batter and divide by weight and measure the whipped cream by cups and divide that way.

Put each pan into the oven.  I pushed two of the pans to the back right and left corners of one rack and then one pan in the center of a lower rack.  Bake about 25 min or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  For my oven-25 min was perfect.  Take pans out of the oven and run a knife around the edges of cake to loosen.  Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. You now have 3 colorful cake layers.  You can assemble with your own version of frosting or just fill the layers with whipped cream and fruit. The frosting and filling will be posted tomorrow.