Sunday, September 23, 2007

Two Special Cakes

I spied a basket of fresh figs the other day and couldn't resist picking them up. I'd been meaning to try this recipe for a while, and with a half packet of frozen raspberries sitting forlornly in the fridge, there was no better time than now. Jodie's Fresh Fig, Raspberry & Almond Cake from Kylie Kwong's Heart and Soul is the kind of cake I love — dense and slightly wet, a texture you only get from a batter heavy with almond meal. Left overnight, the cake's moisture content improves and you get a fantastic tea cake that makes for a great breakfast slice too.

Red Velvet Cake

I've always been curious about Red Velvet Cake. It's not something you find on the bakery counters here, Singaporeans being partial to more European desserts (except, of course, cheesecake). By all accounts—and by that, I mean from what I've seen on TV (Oprah, The Apprentice—yes, my goggle box diet needs reviewing)—it's a Southern (American) favourite.

Almost luridly red, the cake gets its colour from a good splash (or three) of red food colouring. Although, technically, the reaction between the white vinegar and cocoa powder should be sufficient to render a reddish hue. I can't vouch for the latter since I unloaded quite fair bit of red food colouring into my batter.

The good news is, taste wise, this cake rocks. It is wonderfully moist, tender and light, with the lovely flavour of buttermilk and an almost alkalinic lilt. A swirl of cream cheese frosting is all it needs, making this one of the best cakes I've made in a while.