Thursday, 6 May 2021

100% Naturally Coloured, Refined Sugar-Free 'Roses in a basket' Hojicha Cake

This was a bake that I had to make earlier because my mum decided to celebrate her birthday earlier to coincide with Mother's Day. Presenting my diabetic-friendly, 100% naturally coloured and flavoured basket of roses in the form of Hojicha chiffon cake! 

I made 4 different types of chiffon sponges :  hojicha for brown, black sesame and a little charcoal for grey, pink dragonfruit for pink and matcha for green. The hojicha sponges were alternated with hojicha diplomat cream and crunchy chocolate balls. Only monkfruit sugar was used as a sweetner in this whole bake so it is relatively diabetic friendly. 

This isn't tbe first time I am making a "basket of flowers" chiffon cake. I made my first one in 2015 and it appears in a similar form in our first chiffon cake book. Subsequently I made such cakes over the years with different flavours and fillings. 

As I had to reshuffle my schedule for this bake, I decided to prebake the flowers and leaves, and freeze them. So it was quite an experiment for me. I was fully prepared that fresh pink dragonfruit colour would fade from baking and freezing but it didn't do so noticeably! Just look at that lovely natural pink colours of the egg yolk batters! 

Baked and assembled roses that I froze in airtight condition. 

I made some vines as well but decided not to use them. 

Matcha and pink dragonfruit chiffon sheet cakes
Ingredients (makes 3 very thin 10 x 12" cakes):

Do note that the batter for this portion doesn't cover the entire surface of the lined baking tray. We just want to get as thin a layer as possible so you may use any tray size that is approximately what I used. 

Egg yolk batter
1 egg yolk
5g monkfruit sugar (or caster sugar) 
30g vegetable oil / canola oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
40g cake flour, sifted

10g pink dragonfruit puree, sieved
10g diluted pink dragonfruit puree, sieved ( I used 4g dragonfruit and 6g water) 
10g matcha paste (dissolve 1 tsp Matcha powder in 13g  boiling water, cool and sieve) 

Meringue (ingredients to be divided if oven cannot fit all 3 trays in at once) 
3 egg whites 
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (added to help stabilize meringue) 
36g monkfruit sugar (or caster sugar) 
1/2 tsp cornflour (added to help stabilize meringue) 

1. Preheat oven to 175C, top and bottom heat only. Set oven rack to middle or second lower position. Line baking trays with teflon sheet or parchment paper. 

2. Prepare egg yolk batter for dark pink, light pink and green batters. Whisk egg yolk and sugar together until pale. Add oil and whisk until combined. Add salt and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add sifted cake flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. 

3. Divide into 3 equal portions. Add pink dragonfruit puree for dark pink, diluted dragonfruit puree for light pink, and matcha paste for green. Whisk until well combined. 

4. Prepare meringue. I made 1 egg white portion worth each colour to bake separately. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and cornflour and beat until firm peaks or just reach stiff peaks. Fold meringue into egg yolk batters quickly but gently in 2 additions. 

5. Spread the batter in a thin layer on limed baking tray. Bake until done. This may take around 7-9 minutes depending on your oven so keep a close watch or it will brown fast. 

6. Immediately flip it onto a fresh parchment paper and cool completely before cutting out the cake with cookie/fondant cutters and assembling

Method of assembly for the roses can be found in our very first book, Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes. The leaves were made by using a fondant rose leaf cutter to cut out the shapes, as well as make the imprint of the veins. I used 3cm and 4cm diameter round cutters for the roses. 

I was in a hurry making and cutting out the hojicha and black sesame cakes so I didn't get to take photos of those. I bought the hojicha powder from Redman. 

Recipe for Hojicha chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes one 6" cake) :
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks
5g monkfruit sugar (or caster sugar) 
28g canola or vegetable oil
27g Hojicha paste (Dissolve 2-3 tsp of hojicha powder in 26g boiling hot water. Sieve when cooled. I used about 5g powder) 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
A pinch of salt
40g cake flour

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
45g monkfruit sugar (or caster sugar) 
1/2 tsp cornflour 

Same as above except I alternated adding sifted flour and hojicha paste to the egg yolk batter. Preheat oven to 160C and reduce to 140C to bake for 50 min, reduce to 130C and bake for another 20 min. I placed a tray of water at the base of the oven and used the second lower rack for baking. I used a 6" round tin with removeable base but you may use a regular chiffon tin if you don't have one. 

Note that baking temperature and time is oven dependent and you may use your own temperature baking conditions that works for you. The temperatures I specify is as read by oven thermometer, not the temperature set on the oven. I use top and bottom heat only, no fan. 

Black sesame chiffon sheet cake (adapted from Nasilemak Lover
Ingredients (makes about two 10x12", or one 10x12" and two 7x7" sheet cakes) :

Do note that number or trays or tray sizes is dependent on what you have and how many rounds of baking you are willing to do. Like the flowers and leaves, you want to aim for really thin sheets if possible. 

Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
5g monkfruit sugar (or castor sugar) 
35g oil
35g milk or water (or mix of both) 
52g cake flour
20g black sesame powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp charcoal powder (optional, for colouring) 

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar 
45g monkfruit sugar (or castor sugar) 
1/2 tsp cornflour 

Same as pink and green sheet cakes. You may need to bake longer if the sheets here are slightly thicker, like what happened for mine. 

Cut into strips just before assembling the basket weave. Method of assembling the basket weave is similar to what you would do using fondant or buttercream for basket weave cakes. 

Hojicha diplomat cream 
I filled the hojicha cake with this in the hidden portions as this is a much darker brown colour and less firm. I wanted a lighter brown on the outside that is firmer. 

2 egg yolks
200g milk (I used 150g full fat milk and 50g water for a less rich cream) 
5g hojicha powder 
40g monkfruit sugar (or castor sugar) 
20g cornflour 
Pinches of salt
15g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120-140g stabilized whipped cream*

* Bloom a sheet of gelatin (or 2g powder gelatin) in ice water, add it to hot but not boiling heavy cream ( at least 35% fat) and whisk till dissolved. Press cling wrap onto surface of cream and refrigerate overnight or until firm. Whip until firm peaks when ready to add to pastry cream. 

1. In a heavy glass measuring jug or bowl, whisk together cornflour, egg yolks, salt, sugar, hojicha powder. In the meantime, heat milk and vanilla in a saucepan until milk starts to steam (not boiling). 

2. Pour hot milk in a thin stream into egg yolk mixture while whisking the yolk mixture continuously. Pour everything back into saucepan. 

3. Heat egg yolk mixture over low heat while whisking continuously until it thickens. Remove from heat and continue whisking until smooth. Return to heat and switch to spatula and stir continuously, cooking until it thickens further to be able to hold a firm peak. Remove from heat. 

4. Add butter and mix until well combined. Transfer into a bowl and press cling wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 1h or overnight until firm. 

5. When ready to assemble, loosen the pastry cream by whipping it briefly with a spatula. Add stabilized whipped cream by folding it in. Transfer to piping bag with a hole cut. 

Light hojicha diplomat cream
This cream is firmer and lighter in colour, but less flavourful. 

Ingredients :
30g hojicha diplomat cream
70g whip topping (non-dairy whipping cream) 
1 tsp hojicha powder

Steps :
1. Whip non-dairy whipping cream until stiff. You may use stabilized double cream but I chose something that is weather friendly for tropical Singapore. I envy those of you who don't have to work in 30C hot kitchens! 

2. Add hojicha powder into whipped cream and beat it briefly to mix well. 

3. Fold in diplomat cream into whipped cream. Transfer into piping bag with a hole cut.
Items :
6"  hojicha chiffon cake
Hojicha diplomat creams (both light and dark) 
Crunchy chocolate toppings 
Acetate sheet
8" round cakeboard
Black sesame sheet chiffon cake
Pink dragonfruit roses
Matcha leaves
Cake glue or melted marshmellows
Long metal ruler 
Small fruit knife (for cutting out basket weave pieces) 
Cutting board
Long serrated knife / cake leveller

1. Cut the hojicha cake horizontally into 3 slices using a long serrated knife or cake leveller. I used a ruler, toothpicks (to mark the height) and serrated knife to cut into 3 slices of equal thickness. 

2. Place a slice of hojicha cake on cakeboard, using a little diplomat cream to stick it down. Wrap it with acetate sheet and secure the acetate sheet with tape. 

3. Pipe a ring against acetate sheet using the light diplomat cream. Fill the middle with the dark diplomat cream and crunchy chocolate toppings like picture below. 

4. Carefully layer on another hojicha chiffon sponge. Repeat adding cream, crunchy chocolate toppings and the last hojicha sponge. 

5. Cover the top with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2h or overnight. In the mean time you can make the roses and leaves if you haven't done so, or the black sesame basket weave pieces.

6. Carefully remove acetate sheet. Glue on the basket weave using cake glue or melted marshmellows. Glue on the roses and leaves. Store cake in fridge in airtight condition until ready to serve. 

Here is a top view of the cake! 

You may wish to make some of these components if you find the whole bake overwhelming. E. G. Just make the diplomat cream and bake the hojicha/ black sesame cake in the form of sheet cake and make a swiss roll. Just as delicious!! 

Here's a peek at a slice of the cake! 

Everyone took a bite of the cake and exclaimed that it is really good! My parents said I have to make this for subsequent family birthdays this year. My brother said the balance of flavours and textures is just right!  I have to thank hubby for suggesting adding the crunchy chocolate balls because it really made a difference. No one could tell that this whole cake (other than the crunchy chocolate balls) were made without using refined white sugar but so packed full of flavour that is well balanced. They couldn't tell that this was an experimental cake that I have never made before too so really thank God that it was very well received! 

With lots of love,

Phay Shing

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