Monday, October 10, 2011

Durian coconut cream cake

My mom had a birthday this weekend so I ended up making her a birthday cake. I thought about what I could give her for awhile but in the end, I just couldn't get anything on time. I was hunting for bubble tea supplies in Vancouver for the longest time but when that failed, I had to come up with a plan B. On the upside I did find a good bubble tea supply store that only ships to the US so I'll think about using them next time for a Point Roberts order.

This is the first time I made a birthday cake for anyone either than myself or Jean-Louis. Normally, for my parents, we just order something nice and professionally done at Maxim's. I know my mom loves durian and we used to buy durian cakes from a lady who ran a home business in Victoria but that business is no longer in operation. I have looked into this before and none of the big Chinese bakeries here sell a durian version of their cream sponge cakes. Since I made durian cake once already and it turned out good, I wanted to try a different method and improve on it. Last time I made it, it tasted good, maybe a bit too creamy and it didn't look very pretty. It had tons of potential though :)

For my mom's durian coconut cake, I used the coconut chiffon cake recipe from Tartine and followed the Pastel de Tres Leches recipe. It's basically a coconut chiffon cake with pastry cream, coconut syrup and lots of cream. I started with this recipe and then added a thin layer of pureed durian fruit on top of each pastry cream layer. Then for the icing, I doubled the whipping cream so I could cover the entire cake. Decorating the cake was tricky but I chose a simple design and topped it with some homemade ruffle flowers. Yes, I make fondant now! It really is just like playdoh but you can eat these :) I read that fondant doesn't work well with cream cakes so I made sure to only put these on at the last minute. I also didn't bind all the flowers together so that I could easily separate and serve them with each slice of cake. The other problem is that cream cakes are not normally as sweet as buttercream cakes so the fondant really tasted super sweet in comparison.

I personally thought the cake turned out well. It was moist, flavorful, and even though the cake was slightly denser than typical Chinese sponge cakes, all the layers and cream made the cake a soft and light dessert. I didn't use all the coconut syrup since it looked like too much when I was assembling the cake but now that I think about it, it wouldn't have hurt to use it all up. I didn't put a lot of durian in the cake but the durian was so strong that you couldn't really taste that much coconut in the cake. I ended up using the leftover coconut syrup for lattes and that was actually really good! I might just have to make myself coconut syrup in the future just for coffees :)


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