Sunday, October 23, 2011

"King of Fruits" - Durian Cake

Durian - the king of fruits in tropical Asia. Most people will either love it or stay miles away away from it. It has a very strong, fragrant (to durian lovers) or pungent (anti-durianers) smell that seems to linger on forever. It's bizzare food for those who hate it. Lucky for me that my family are durian lovers. There's no "No durian in the house" rules.
There are many species of Malaysian durians readily available during durian season. I think the most popular and expensive durian is the "Cat Mountain" (猫山王) durian. It's fruit is thick and fleshy with a bittersweet taste. Heavenly. This is my favourite. You do not have to eat a lot to be satisfied. The other popular ones are D24 XO, D24 Sultan, Golden Phoenix and Red Prawn. These are the only ones that I'm familiar with.
Besides eating durians straight on it's own, we can also use the durian flesh to make desserts like icecream, mousse, pudding and cake. Has anyone tried cooking durian in porridge?

I have a request from Queenie, my friend from my cell group, to bake a durian cake for 30 people. Wow! It's gonna be a huge cake and it's the biggest one I've ever baked - 12" x 10". My Kenwood mixer is not huge enough to handle 3 layers of vanilla sponge cake at one go. I have to mix it in 2 separate sessions. Same goes to my Rowenta oven too.
For the durian flesh, I used up 1.2kg of durian flesh. That's a huge amount of durian! The final cake is composed of two thick layers of durian filling sandwiched between three layers of vanilla chiffon sponge cake and covered with creamy fresh cream.
The cake is finally dressed. The most challenging part for me is to pipe the words onto the cake as I do not do this often. But I think it turned out not too bad. Of course, it cannot compare with those beautiful lettering from the professionals.


Vanilla Chiffon Sponge Cake
(A) Yolk mixture
9 egg yolks
67g castor sugar
1¾ tsp vanilla essence
½tsp salt
135g corn oil
180ml fresh milk

(B) Flour mixture
200g cake flour
68g corn flour
1¾ tsp baking powder

(C) Egg white mixture
9 egg white
180g castor sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar

Durian Filling
1.2kg durian pulp
240g heavy cream

1. Mesh the durian pulp until almost well blended.
2. Whip the heavy cream until it reaches stiff peak stage.
3. Fold the whipped cream into the durian pulp and blend well.

Fresh cream frosting
464g heavy cream
4 tbsp (28g) icing sugar
2 tsp powdered gelatin
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine gelatin powder and icing sugar in a small saucepan.
2. Gradually stir in ¼ cup of heavy cream.
3. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly. It will thicken slightly.
4. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl or glass measuring cup and allow it to cool to room temperature.
5. In a chilled mixing bowl and beater, whip the remaining heavy cream just until traces of the beater marks begin to show.
6. Add in the cooled gelatin mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly. Whip just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

Line the base of three 10” x 12” x 1” baking tray with parchment paper.
Pre-heat the oven at 200°C.

1. Sift the cake flour, corn flour and baking powder into a bowl. Mix gently to blend.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar until well blended.
3. Add in the vanilla essence, salt, corn oil and fresh milk into the yolk mixture above. Whisk well.
4. Add the flour mixture onto the yolk mixture and blend well using a whisk or spatula.
5. In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg white on low speed until slightly foamy. Add in the cream of tartar.
6. Increase the speed to high until the egg white is in the soft peak stage. Add in the castor sugar in a steady stream and continue whisking until stiff peak stage.
7. Fold a third of the egg white into the yolk mixture and blend well to lighten the yolk mixture.
8. Fold in the rest of the egg white until just well blended. Do not overfold or the egg white will deflate.
9. Pour the mixture into the 3 baking trays and smoothen with a spatula.
10. Bake at 190°C for about 15 minutes until done.
11. When done, remove from oven. Cool for about 5 minutes before unmoulding them onto cooling racks.

1. Stack the three layers of sponge together and trim the edges.
2. Put the first layer on a cake board. Spread half of the durian filling onto the sponge cake.
3. Put the second layer on top and spread the remaining half of durian filling evenly on the sponge cake.
4. Put the third layer of sponge cake on top. Leave it the fridge for about 30 minutes to set.
5. Frost the cake with the prepared fresh cream.
6. Decorate as desired and leave it in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve.

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