Sorry for the dearth of updates recently; been baking extra hard and extra creatively for an event that took place last night that I will update about in the near future.
So… another recipe with a title the length of a novella.
The fluid gel filling is one of those molecular gastronomy things I’ve been meaning to try for ages. Essentially it’s supposed to have some of the properties of a fluid and some of the properties of a solid, which sounds fancy until I say that the best example of this is tomato sauce/ketchup, which tends to stay in the upturned bottle like a solid until you shake it and it flows out like a liquid. Yay physics.
The cupcakes were made using this amazing recipe which entails using cream cheese to give an interesting texture to a basic sponge (watch out, the blog has an auto-playing music player). I think this Japanese soufflé cheesecake is destined to become one of my favourites just because it’s a good basic cake that can be added to and adjusted and lends itself well to showcasing other flavours (particularly summery, fruity, floral, light kind of flavours… which I have a marvellous ability to end up pursuing in the depth of winter, just to show those damned seasons that they can’t hold me back when I’m on another of my deranged culinary missions).
Just some notes about making the cake: I made them as cupcakes, so they only require about 15-20 minutes of baking. Also, the recipe recommends melting the cream cheese (along with the butter and milk) in a bain marie, but if you don’t have infinite patience or 5 hours to spare, just chuck it in a saucepan directly over low heat, stir often, and it’ll be melted in no time with no harm done.
Further adornment of the blank canvas cupcakes is as follows…
Guava-strawberry-saffron fluid gel
Half a punnet of strawberries (7-8 large berries)
1 generous pinch of saffron threads
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Remove the flesh from the guavas and discard the skins. De-stalk the strawberries. Steep the saffron threads in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Blend the guavas, strawberries and saffron water together to make a liquid (at this point, if you don’t want the guava seeds to make an appearance in the final cakes, strain the mixture to remove them now). Add 1 tsp agar and 1/4 tsp xanthan and blend to combine. Place in an airtight container and leave to cool and set completely. Once solid, remove it and blend it again to form the fluid gel.
To fill the cakes (once they’re completely cooled), use a paring knife to cut a circle in the top of the cake about 1.5cm in diameter, going down into the cake by about half the depth of the cake. Then carefully use a teaspoon to remove this cylindrical bit of cake. Almost fill the hole with a teaspoon or so of the filling then put the cylinder of cake back in (doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sit flush with the top of the cake now since icing will be going over the top anyway).
White chocolate and cream cheese icing
200g white chocolate
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
60g butter, softened
Melt the white chocolate in a bain marie (microwaving chocolate is fine to melt it if you’re careful, but I find that this doesn’t work very well for white chocolate so I tend to stick to a bain marie for white chocolate). Beat the melted white chocolate and cream cheese together in the bowl of an electric beater using a paddle attachment. Add in the butter and beat until smooth. Pipe icing onto the cakes using whatever decorating nozzle you like, or just smooth it on by the spoonful.