Friday, June 9, 2017

Wasabi Cake with Pickled Ginger Icing

The half kilo of wasabi powder came with a pint of pickled ginger.  While I can eat that stuff straight out of the jar as a snack, I did save some for creative uses.

Looking for recipes, I found something called a Black Pearl cake.  It's chocolate with a wasabi kick and black sesame seeds on top of the icing.  Maybe I'll do that one day.  This time, I wanted something lighter.

In the end, I settled on a tried-and-true white cake recipe with wasabi powder instead of extract.  The filling of a white chocolate ganache is intended to mellow out the assault of both the wasabi and ginger.

And really, you don't want either flavor to hit you too hard.  This isn't spicy candy, it's a flavored cake. The point is to get an unexpected zing from the frosting that complements the sweet heat of the cake, with a soothing bit of filling.  I mean, really, a horseradish cake?  No one would eat that.

3/4 C sugar
3/4 C margarine
3 eggs
2/3 C milk
1-1/2 C cake flour
2 Tb baking powder
*2 Tb wasabi powder (don't freak out)
1/4 tsp salt

1.  Cream together sugar and margarine until fluffy.  Grease two 8" cake pans, line bottoms with wax paper, and grease the paper.  Start preheating the oven to 350º.

2.  Sift together cake flour, baking powder, wasabi powder, and salt.

3.  Add eggs one by one to mixer and beat until incorporated into the margarine.  Add milk and gently beat into a sloshy mess.

4.  Add flour mixture and stir until just moist.  Scrape down sides, then beat until no longer lumpy, about 1 minute.  Don't whip, or the final cake will have large holes.

5.  Distribute batter between cake pans.  Weighing the pans gets you the most accurate distribution.  Bake until springy, about 25 minutes, rotating pans after 15.  Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and slowly remove the wax paper.  Cool completely before filling and icing.  You can even  freeze the layers and do it another day.

*1/4 C heavy cream
3/4 C white chocolate bits or finely chopped block white chocolate

1.  Boil cream.  Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and pour cream over it.  Stir to melt chocolate.  If all of the chocolate doesn't melt, microwave it in 10 second increments and stir between.  It's going to be very thin, so let it set up while you make the icing.

1/4 C butter
1/4 C shortening
2 Tb pickled ginger, minced
about 1/2 lb powdered sugar

1.  Cream together butter and shortening until smooth.  Beat in ginger.

2.  Slowly incorporate powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.  Remember that it will thicken as it dries.

To assemble cake

1.  Make sure cake halves are relatively level.  Trim if uneven or have risen too much.  Snack on the trimmings to find out if the cake is too spicy.  That will determine how much filling you need to even out the flavors.

2.  Place bottom tier on a cake circle or serving plate.  Top with filling to desired thickness.  Anything left over, beat into the icing.  Place top cake on top of filling and center.
3.  Mound the icing on top of the cake, then coax down the sides to cover.  The point of icing is to keep the cake from drying out.  You don't need a half-inch thick layer, just enough to enhance the flavor of what's inside.

4.  Garnish cake with additional ginger slices and/or a light dusting of wasabi powder.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, especially on a hot day.

Makes one 2-layer cake, about 8-10 servings

Difficulty rating  :)

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