Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake

This is actually a fun post to write.  I've made this cake before and just recently, one of my far away friends asked if I still had the recipe.  I didn't think of making one before she asked but the opportunity came to make a cake, and I thought why not this cake.  About a week and half ago my parents had their 50th wedding anniversary. I'm so proud of them for still be together for these many years because as you all know, being married to one person hasn't always an easy feat to do in life.  They never want to make a big celebration for the golden anniversary so we went to a neighborhood restaurant and had a great dinner.  This was the cake that I made for them.

Limes are supposedly very expensive to buy in the market nowadays because of the weather, diseases, and cartels involvement in Mexico, where most limes in the US are imported from.  I've put off making this cake because of the outrageous prices, but the week closer to my parents anniversary's date I found better price in one of the Asian grocery stores in Portland.  They're bit smaller than usual but I took my chance and bought enough quantity needed.  In the end, I had enough and more for the cake.  The cake did look smaller in the photo because I used 6-inch cake pans but I will keep the instruction as using 8-inch pans.

If you love citrus fruits, you'll love this cake.  It's refreshing, not overly puckery but each bite will leave a bright note in your mouth.  The filling is quite easy and you won't believe it first but when you mix lime juice with sweetened condensed milk, the texture became tight, custardy-like.  The only thing I regretted was the frosting.  It was store-bought whipped topping which when slather on the cake didn't come out as smooth as I liked.  Never again, next time I'll make my own whipped cream frosting though to prevent weeping a bit gelatin needs to be added to it.

Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake

Yield 16 servings


1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind

1/4-1/3 cup lime juice (about 2-3 limes)--if you like it more sour, use more lime juice

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


Cooking spray

1 tablespoon cake flour

2 cups sifted cake flour (7 1/2 ounces)

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons canola oil

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind

1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

3 egg yolks

8 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar


3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)

2 1/2 cups whipped topping, thawed

Fresh mint sprigs

Fresh blueberries

Lime wedges

Make lime filling:  Combine 1 teaspoon lime rind, 1/4-1/3 cup lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk in a small bowl, stirring until blended.  cover and chill 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Make the cake:  Coat bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans); line bottoms with wax paper.  Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour.

Lightly spoon 2 cups cake flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined.

Combine oil, 1/3 cup juice, 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon rind, lemon extract, and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add oil mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peak form.  Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into flour mixture, gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

Divide cake batter equally among prepared pans, spreading evenly.  Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife.  Bake at 325F for 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans.  Remove wax paper from cake layers.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Prepare frosting:   Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons lime juice in a small glass bowl.  Microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until sugar dissolves.  Cool completely.  Fold into whipped topping.

Assemble the cake:  Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of filling over cake layer.  Top with second layer, remaining half of filling, and third layer.  Spread frosting over top and sides of cake.  Garnish with mint, blueberries, and lime wedges.  Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Slice cake into wedges.

Source:  Cooking Light

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cocomama Quinoa Cereal

Quinoa is still in one of the food trends for 2014, and I'm glad that it won't go away so soon.  Why?  Because I just had an opportunity to sample ready-to-eat quinoa cereal from Cocomama.  I've cooked with quinoa before and I almost always incorporate it into my homemade bread.  It's quite versatile, easy to digest protein-packed grain with slightly crunchy texture.  My bread comes out with fluffy and soft texture which everyone likes and it stays like that for days.

There are several flavors to choose from, Banana Cinnamon, Honey Almond, Orange Cranberry, and Wild Blueberry, and all are equally good. My favorite is Honey Almond flavor, while my son's favorite is the Banana Cinnamon.  What I like about this cereal is that it's precooked, you can eat it either cold or warm--very convenient, and the quantity is just right for breakfast meal.  The crunchy texture is what makes quinoa cereal fun to eat for my son, his only complain is that the banana needs to shine more in the Banana Cinnamon flavor.  I don't have any quips with Honey Almond flavor though; there's coconut cream in the product which I detect but it's not bothersome, in fact I like it.  I think this cereal is much better than those instant flavored oatmeals, this is barely sweet not too mention healthier because of all the natural flavors it uses.

Cocomama also has another product which is called Crunched Out.  This comes in clusters--like pieces of breakfast bars--intended to eat as snacks, in yogurt, milk, or for ice cream topping (delicious!).  I haven't tried this before but I think I will!

Here's the video about their Kickstarter campaign--with link for you to click--and help spread out the revolution of quinoa cereal!

Disclaimer:  I was sent samples of Cocomama Quinoa Cereal.  All opinions are solely my own.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rhubarb Orange Tart

Rhubarb has come into season.  Despite its bad rap as being stringy and fibrous, when cooked, rhubarb will become a perfect consistency for pie/tart filling.  I've cooked with rhubarb before and I adore it for its brightness in flavor.  Of course, it needs to be combined with lots of sugar to achieve the desired sweetness but it's forgiven because the end result is most often delicious.

Here, it's boosted with the presence of orange peels in a tart filling.  Rhubarb, sugar, and orange peels were cooked together in a saucepan to a thick-syrupy melange, its aroma permeates my kitchen like being in orange groves.  My son commented as to what I was cooking for he's eager to know what made the house smelled so good.

Since there're eggs in the filling, it tastes custardy, quite soft, but actually provides contrast to the flaky crust.  The rhubarb and orange go together happily by giving out tang and citrusy note.  Top the tart with Chantilly cream or vanilla ice cream and it will perhaps be a dessert to enjoy for Mother's Day.  I, myself, will go to a neighborhood restaurant with my family and parents to enjoy a night out.  Happy Mother's Day to you!

Rhubarb Orange Tart

Makes 8 servings

14 ounces rhubarb

Grated peel of 2 oranges

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 prebaked 9-inch tart crust

Vanilla ice cream or Chantilly cream

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces, discarding the leafy end.  Cook the rhubarb, orange peel, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

Stir in the butter and the flour.  Stir in the beaten eggs.  Spread the rhubarb filling into the prebaked tart shell.  Bake the tart until set, about 25 minutes.

Let cool completely before slicing and serving.  Serve with ice cream or Chantilly cream.  Tart is best made and served the same day.

Tart Dough

Makes 1 9-inch tart

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

5 ounces (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter

2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream

1 large egg

Put the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and the egg.  Pulse the flour mixture until the butter is pea sized.  This will happen very quickly--be careful not to overprocess.  With the machine running, pour the cream mixture into the food processor.  Process just until the dough comes together.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Have ready a sheet of aluminum foil large enough that it comes up several inches above the shell.

Line the tart shell with aluminum foil, press lightly along the sides and let it stand up on the edges of the tart (don't bend the extra foil to the sides).  Fill with dried rice or dried beans.  Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and rice, lower the oven temperature to 375F, and continue to bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is golden brown.

Source:  adapted from A Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti