For the whole of the past week, I was so occupied with the kids and the snow clearing outside that I barely had energy to last past 8pm everyday. As the kids grow, their level of energy spikes when school is out due to snow and thinking up of activities to occupy them doesn't sound so simple anymore. When one activity is suitable for one, the older one thinks it is a waste of time and when the older one can do her own stuffs, the little one will bother and holler around. Being a parent these days means being versatile and articulate in all aspects and one day of rest from all things concerning kids is really priceless. To me, I was looking forward to today when all things let loose and I adopt the 'I Don't Care' attitude to stretch my weekend Sunday. And my plan today was to make a lovely cake for tea.
Citron belongs to the citrus fruit family and yields a very fragrant smelling skin and rind. Very little seen in usual groceries, I came to learn about this fruit when I first bought a jar of 'yujacha', which is a syrupy concoction of honey and the citron peel and rind from the Asian store. I first tasted this honey drink in Hong Kong two years ago and started to like it and went about looking for it here. It is basically a Korean drink, which is nicely sweet but not chokingly sugary, fragrant with a slight bitterness from the rind soaked in the honey and when diluted in water, it makes a refreshing drink, hot or cold. Instead of lemon and honey to sooth itchy throats on dry cold days, I like to take citron honey as it is very convenient to mix and drink in an instant.
Kumquat is another citrusy fruit, mostly found in Asia and plentiful during this season, when the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Their miniature tree form with bright yellowish orange colored and dainty olive or small round shaped fruits makes them very pretty as ornamental and decorative plants. In the Chinese language, the citrus fruit which sounds "Kum" is synonymous with the Chinese word "Gold", and this Kumquat plant is usually placed or presented to a host at the Chinese New Year celebrations which resonates with the idea of bringing gold and luck to the receiver or owner. I think this is the only citrus that you can eat as a whole from its peel, rind to its flesh. Slightly sweet and bitter at the same time, you can pop one into your mouth and chew away. The rind is not thick and the flavor of the fruit concentrates on the peel itself rather than its flesh. The Chinese also preserves Kumquat in salt to produce the enzyme and uses the contents to mix into tea or water to provide a soothing drink. As with the citron, they are also used in making marmalades and as garnishes.
For this cake, I added the Kumquat peel and citron honey to the genoise cake base and also to the cream mousse part. Each part was made up separately and arranged together with raspberry jam. I usually make a genoise base cake and cut it into small pieces and shapes with individual molds to shape them with the cream mousse part. I have been using the same Genoise recipe in Flo Braker's book where I can tweak easily to suit my ingredients. I got this book back in 2003 when it was still in its first publication and swear that it is the only cake making book I seriously love to refer to. The mousse part was made up from whipped heavy cream, gelatin, citron honey and kumquat peel. As the honey was sweet enough and sugar is present in the Genoise itself with the additional sweetness in the raspberry jam, I omitted the addition of any sugar in the cream. Overall the flavor of citrus premeates all parts of these cakes but not overbearing nor too sweet like a lemon tart. There is no presence of tartness in these citrus fruits but only a slight bitter bite. The sweet raspberry jam lends a beautiful accent color and cuts through the citrus flavors.