Thursday 17 April 2014

"Empty Tomb" Earl Grey Cake

".. on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen." Luke 24:1-6a

This is such good news! We celebrate Easter because Jesus was raised from the dead and had conquered death. I made a simple earl grey ogura cake in the shape of the empty tomb to share with the kids this good news :).

You may scratch your head and say "Is this really ogura cake? It does not look like one!". I agree! It was an experiment I had with baking ogura cake in a chiffon tin (people don't usually do that and I wanted to find out why). And through some unintended "mistakes" and "divine intervention", the cake ended up looking more tomb-like than I envisioned... LOL! I placed the tin on a rack that was probably too high and I whipped the meringue to stiff peaks this time (but not very ramrod stiff). The cake ended up looking like a very "huat" chiffon cake but the texture and softness is unmistakably ogura. It's so soft that the cake can't hold its own weight well!

I adapted the recipe from Ann Low's orange ogura cake. I used a 17cm chiffon tin and a small round bottomed glass bowl to bake the cakes.

70g fresh milk
2 bags of earl grey tea
45g Canola oil
55g cake flour, sifted
4 egg yolks + 1 whole egg

155g egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g caster sugar

1. Heat the milk and tea leaves until warm (not boiling) and let the tea leaves steep in the milk. Set aside and cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius with a tray of hot water at the bottom rack. Set the rack for the cakes at the second lowest position. I placed mine at the middle. That was probably too high.
3. Whisk egg yolks, egg and oil until frothy. Whisk in tea with milk. Gradually add in sifted flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.
4. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar and beat until firm peaks form. I beat until stiff peaks form, which explains why the cake did not collapse even though it has very low flour content but cracked like nobody's business at the top.
5. Add one third of the meringue into the egg yolk batter and mix well. Fold in the rest of the meringue in two separate batches quickly but gently. You may find the hand folding method more helpful when folding in the meringue for ogura cakes as the egg yolk batter is more runny than chiffon batter.
6. Spoon 3-4 tbs of batter into the small glass bowl and slowly pour the rest of the batter into the chiffon tin. Bang the chiffon tin on the table a few times to release any trapped air. Put them in the oven and reduce the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Invert to cool.
7. Carefully unmould the cake from chiffon tin using a combination of hand and spatula. Unmould the small cupcake using a metal teaspoon.

8. Cut the big cake into half. You can see it buckling a bit under its own weight because it's really soft.

9. Arrange one half of the big cake and the small cupcake as shown in the photo to form the empty tomb. You may have to cut the cupcake a bit if it is too big to fit the tomb opening. I also had to stuff a bit of cake into the hole of the "tomb" to support its weight as the arch was threatening to collapse.

10. I attached some candied lime peel to form the vine on the tomb using royal icing sugar. The candied peel was left over from my previous bake for my friend's party, which I will blog about soon.

We enjoyed the lovely aroma and softness of this cake very much! The kids also recognize at once what I was trying to depict using the cakes because the assembly really looks like an empty tomb!

May we find joy that we can be sure of our salvation because Jesus did rise from the dead, not only during this Easter season, but everyday of our lives :).

With love,
 Phay Shing


  1. Bless u! This is so lovely I couldn't take my eyes off it....

  2. Thank you Victoria for your encouragement :). God bless you!

  3. I love this, Phay Shing! So inspired that you use your baking as "object lessons" to share Bible stories with your children :)


  4. Thanks Florence :). I have been playing with my kids' food to teach them or for fun since they were toddlers. Ever since I started baking seriously I channeled this energy to my bakes :). Thank God for providing the inspiration! Glad you loved it :)