Sunday, 2 November 2014

'Cookie Jar' Honey Earl Grey Chiffon Cake (with biscuits inside!)

My friend requested for an earl grey chiffon cake and some earl grey iced gems, so I made an earl grey chiffon "cookie jar" with some earl grey gems inside :).

You may wonder, wouldn't the biscuits turn soft in no time since they are surrounded by a wall of cake? I came up with a fairly airtight homemade "container" that fits in the hole so now you can put other things in the hole, not just marshmellows :). The seal is so good that the biscuits were still crunchy after 4 days!

I adapted the recipe from Susanne's honey earl grey chiffon cake.

White and black layer cakes
1 egg yolk
5g caster sugar
13g canola/ vegetable oil
14g boiled water
20g cake flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp charcoal powder

1.5 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
15g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line two 6" square trays with baking sheet.

2. Make the egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolk and sugar until pale and thick. Take a few minutes to do this. Add oil and whisk until the consistency is like mayonnaise. Add water and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.  Gradually sift in flour and salt and whisk until no flour is seen. Separate the batter into two and add cocoa powder and charcoal to one. Add 1/4 tsp of water to thin out the black batter a bit.

3. Make the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Note that the meringue should still be smooth and not grainy but you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the meringue falling out.

4. Fold the meringue into the two egg yolk batters in three additions. Do this quickly but gently. Pour into the trays and tap the trays a few times on the table to release air bubbles.

5. Bake at 160°C for 12 minutes. Immediately remove from tray and gently peel the baking sheet off. Cool with another sheet over the cakes. Store in airtight container until ready to assemble.

Earl grey chiffon "cookie jar lid"
1 egg yolk
5g sugar
13g canola oil
15g honey milk infused with tea*
20g cake flour
A pinch of salt
Tea leaves from 1 tea bag
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 egg whites
A pinch of cream of tartar
15g caster sugar

* Heat 55g of milk with 32g (1.5 tbs) of honey with low heat in a small saucepan. I used lavendar honey as lavendar goes well with bergamot. Stir until honey is dissolved and milk is hot. Pour hot honey milk into a bowl/ cup to steep 3 earl grey tea bags (or 4 if you prefer stronger earl grey flavour) for 5 minutes. Squeeze out as much milk as you can from the tea bags and set aside.

1. Prepare a round silicone ice cube tray (for knob) , a metal or glass bowl (for lid) with flat bottom and a 6" square tray (I used a round pan. This is for the hearts decoration). Line the tray with baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Set the rack to second lowest position.

2. Follow steps 2-4 in the above section, omitting the cocoa and charcoal but adding in tea leaves from a tea bag.

3. Place all three in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, but continue baking the metal bowl for another 8-10 minutes at 150°C. Invert ice cube tray and metal bowl after removing from oven to cool. Carefully unmould by hand when cooled. Remove and cool the flat layer cake in a similar way as the above section.

Earl grey chiffon cake (15cm chiffon tin)
2 egg yolks
8g caster sugar
27g canola oil
29g honey milk tea
40g cake flour
A pinch of salt
Tea leaves from 2 teabags (or 3 bags if you prefer more intense earl grey flavour)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (less is used here because of the acidic nature of tea and honey)
28g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare cake strips to wrap around the wall of the chiffon tin. I made mine from wet newspaper wrapped in aluminum foil. Oven rack should be at second lowest position.

2. Prepare the batter in a similar way as above.  Bake at 160°C for 15 minutes followed by 150°C for 30-35 minutes. Reduce baking time by 5-10 minutes if you are not using cake strips.

3. Immediately invert to cool. Carefully unmould by hand when cooled.

Nice and tall!

Make the airtight chamber using clingwrap (not shown), stiff plastic sheet for wrapping around cakes (I bought from Phoon Huat) and a plastic screw cap of bottle (I have some lying around from health supplement bottles). Roll the plastic sheet into a cylinder that fits nicely in the hole of the cake and the screw cap. Use some tape to secure the cylinder. Cover the base of the cylinder with cling wrap and insert into the cake.

Place the biscuits in and cover with screw cap. Place the lid and knob on. You don't have to stick the lid on but use melted marshmellow to stick the knob on.

Use cookie cutters to cut out designs from the flat layer cakes and stick them on with melted marshmellows. I must confess that I was lazy and used marshmellow creme again. While it worked for smaller and thinner pieces of cake, it didn't work for the larger pieces and I used (gasp!) peanut butter! Lesson learnt. I will be hardworking and use melted marshmellows next time for really strong "glue". But hey, peanut butter works pretty well! And it was within reach.

My friend loved the look of the cake and couldn't bear to eat it :p. But when she finally did, she found the cake light and moist even after 4 days! I was a bit apprehensive that the bulk of the cake would be consumed after 4 days of storage in the fridge as chiffon cakes tend to dry out in the fridge. Keeping it cling wrapped and stored in a ziplock bag before refrigerating the cake seemed to help. I think the honey also helped to keep the cake moist.

With love,
Phay Shing

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