Upon the encouragement and urging from friends, I joined the SCS Butter Baker Challenge 2014. It was a humbling experience and an eye-opener for me to see the many great bakes from other contestants. The last stage for the semi-finalists before going to the final was quite an experience too. Shall talk about that when I post that entry ^^ For this post, I am posting the entry I did for 3-Star Challenge, whereby the theme “Cakes” was given, and contestants were to come up with a creative idea for the cake. I was lucky that my entry was among the 25 selected to proceed on to 4-Star Challenge, the semi-final.
It was not a surprise that I would want to do something durian. I have baked quite a few durian stuff, such as durian chiffon, durian muffins, durian egg tarts, durian mousse cake and durian kueh bengka ^^ I love this King of the Fruits. With a playful mindset, I wanted to do something not the usual shape, and so I thought of a “durian-look-a-like” durian cake! And I knew I would load it with loads and loads of pure durian puree!
Next was the step to conceptualise how to do the shape. I used 3 heart-shaped tins to bake the sponge cakes. so as to achieve a taller layered cake. I got ready the ingredients I needed to do the piping and of course the durian flesh for the puree. I didn’t know what to use as the branch stick and was thinking perhaps a pocky waffle stick? Just then I saw the cinnamon sticks in my cabinet! This would be a better choice, as it would be more realistic looking ^^
I have a few people asking if they can order this cake from me. I wasn’t ready to sell my bakes as I couldn’t commit the time. Instead, I shared with them the recipe and encouraged them to try baking it themselves. Really, it’s not that difficult and can be quite fun! It’s a real treat too, with the rich durian puree and the delish swiss meringue buttercream.
Durian Layered Cake with Durian Puree Filling and Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(Make 3 six-inch cakes or 2 7-inch)
*I use the 6-inch heart-shaped baking tins and made into 3 cakes. 2 cakes would actually be sufficient, depending on the height you would like to achieve.
4 large eggs, white and yolks separated
120 grams caster sugar
3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon durian extract (you can use vanilla extract instead)
120 grams cake flour, sifted 3 times
22 grams melted butter
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
100g egg white (3 large eggs)
135g caster sugar
227g unsalted butter, soft but still cold, cut into small equal size of cubes
250 grams durian flesh, deseeded and mashed using fork (if you prefer smoother texture, you can blend the flesh in a blender to make it finer)
One cinnamon stick
For the sponge cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius). Line the cake pans with parchment paper.
2. Add the sugar to the egg whites, and beat the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.
3. Add the egg yolks to the egg white mixture, and gently whisk until the yolks are incorporated.
4. Add the milk, durian extract, and flour (in that order) to the batter and gently fold them into the batter with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter until it is well combined.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and get rid of any air bubbles in the batter by dropping the pan on a counter once or twice. Bake the cake for 25 minutes. Remove the cakes immediately and peel off the parchment paper. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
For the swiss meringue buttercream:
- Remove butter from fridge and cut into small cubes, set aside. Lightly whisk egg whites in a mixing bowl, place over a pot of simmering water.
- Add in sugar in 3 batches, whisk sugar and egg whites till sugar is fully dissolved. The egg whites will look foamy at this stage.
- Remove from heat and whisk till peak is stiff, thick and glossy. I used a hand mixer at medium high speed for about 6-7 minutes.
- Then get ready a basin or large bowl with some water and ice cubes. Place the bowl of meringue in this basin.
- Using a hand mixer at low speed, start adding the butter one cube at a time to the meringue. Make sure the butter is well incorporated before adding the next cube. However, the action has to be speedy as soon the batter will start to curdle.
- Beat till mixture become curdles, stop the mixer, take a spatula, continue to fold and stir till the mixture become creamy and satiny. You may add a few drops of durian extract at this point and give the batter a few more folds. I did not add in any extract.
Assembling the cake:
- Depending on the height you want. You can use 3 cakes or just 2. One piece to be sliced diagonally so that the pointed end of the heart-shape is shorter.
- Mix around 50g of durian puree and 30g of buttercream together. Scoop some on top of one cake. Layer another cake on top. And do the same till you place the topmost cake which you have sliced diagonally. Put the remaining puree & buttercream mixture aside.
- Go back to the original buttercream and use a bit to crumb coat your cake. Chill the cake in the fridge for around 20-30min.
- Take out the cake and prepare the piping. Cut the cinnamon stick to a suitable length and stick it into the top of the cake as the branch of the durian.
- Pipe the original buttercream along the top border of the heart-shape and a line down the centre. This is for the “white” skin part of the “durian”
- Keep a bit of the buttercream aside and for the rest, in case you might want to touch up the “skin” part again later. Add in green colouring to the remaining buttercream to desired shade.
- Start piping the “thorns” with a closed star nozzle. As my cake is small, I used Wilton 16 for the tip.
- Return back to the puree and buttercream mixture. . Depending on your preference and the durian you have used, you may want to add in some yellow colouring to the mixture so that the colour will be stronger. I did not add any colouring. You can start piping the “flesh” part of the durian. I used a spoon to scoop and and tried to smoothen and shape the mixture so that they look like the flesh/seeds of a durian
Bring out the cake from the fridge to “thaw” for a while before slicing and serving.