Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kumquat & Tangerine Chiffon Cake

Today is the Eve of the Chinese New Year and as with all Chinese families, we will be having our Reunion Dinner tonight. I grew up loving and longing for Chinese New Year celebrations despite being a very westernized kid but there seems to be an underlying understanding in me that I am pure Chinese, only that I am illiterate in its language but everything else, I am almost perfect. I speak 3 Chinese dialects, have rice and soup everyday, watched Chinese dramas and movies since young, love Chinese pottery, porcelain and art, memorized Chinese songs to sing in Karaoke and now still trying to figure out how to learn the Chinese written language, which I doubt I ever can get it right!

At the time of this post, my family back in Malaysia and Hong Kong have eaten and enjoyed their Reunion dinners and possibly extending the hours into the early morning with the must do auspicious activities of all.... adults might be on the table rubbing the Mahjong tiles or blowing luck on Playing cards trying to win some while kids are all staying up digging out money from their little red money packet Ang Pow received from their parents, grandparents and immediate Uncles and Aunties. My kids have missed out on all these fun and no matter how we try to get together with friends here to celebrate the occasion, somehow the atmosphere back in Asia is exclusive and can never be replicated here. 

I didn't continue to bake anything after the last batch of Pineapple Tart cookies 2 weeks ago. And forseeing also that I don't have much time in the coming 2 weeks due to other commitments, I just baked this cake to enjoy on this Eve of the New Year. And with the ever auspicious mind of a Chinese, I planned and incorporated the colors and ingredients to reflect the hopes and thinking of the Chinese people, especially at this very revered new Dragon year, which is wishing for more fortune and good luck! In Chinese, the Tangerine sounds like the word Gold, and Kumquat is literally translated to mean Gold Luck. It is fun to attach  literary metaphorics this way, and trust me, the Chinese has a dictionary dedicated to all these manners of relating words to objects and vice versa. 

For this recipe I used 10 kumquats, patiently cutting and slicing the rind of these little morsels and removing the flesh inside. It is the rind that gives out the sweetness and the oil that exudes the crisp clean citrus taste. And for the decoration, I peeled and used fresh tangerine pulp and red and white non pareils. Red and Yellow are definitely the favorite colors of the Chinese and with this cake , I think I have incorporated all the good meanings!  Gong Xi Fa Cai and Kong Hei Fatt Choi........ well, one day I will be able to type that in Chinese! Gather your Drive and Passion this Dragon year and all the best to everyone!! :)

200g Cake flour; 75g sugar; 6 large eggs, yolk and white all separated; 1 tsp Baking Powder; 1/2 tsp cream of Tartar; 1/2 tsp Salt ; 2 tsp Orange Emulsion/Oil (use vanilla if not available); 80ml fresh Orange Juice; 80ml water; 110 ml Vegetable Oil; extra 50g sugar; rind of 10 kumquats , sliced thinly & flesh removed

Garnish: pulp of 1 tangerine; powdered sugar; Non pareils

  •  Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9 inch tube pan.
  • Sieve the flour together with 75g sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat the egg yolks with the vegetable oil and add in the orange juice and water. Beat to mix.
  • Pour the egg & liquid mixture into the flour mixture and with electric beater, beat to mix in.
  • Mix in the orange oil/emulsion and Kumquat rind. Leave aside.
  • In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar till foamy. Add in the 50g sugar and continue to beat the egg whites till soft peaks (holding onto the beater).
  • Scoop 1 spoonful of the egg white and fold into the flour & egg yolk mixture. Fold in with quick strokes. The mixture will lighten, continue to add in the remaining egg white and fold in with quick strokes till no more white streaks.
  • Pour the mixture into the tube pan, place pan onto another large baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 mins till cake is cooked, when gently pressed with finger, the top of the cake will bounce back.
  • Remove from the oven , turn the tube pan upside down and let the cake cool completely inside before removing from the pan.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and decorate with tangerine pulp and non pareils.
Serves 6 to 8

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