Friday 14 September 2018

Lychee Caramel Cream Cake.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Lychees always remind me of primary school.

Because when I was in primary school, we went as a class to the local cash and carry to buy and taste lychees.
I can still remember that first feeling of the prickly skin being peeled back to reveal the soft, sweet fruit within. Even though lychees are available pretty much all year round, I do not eat them often enough.

So when I was baking my way through Chetna Makan's The Cardamom Trail and came across this recipe for a lychee caramel cake, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go. The recipe uses tinned lychees which definitely makes life a little easier. Nothing is wasted as even the sweet syrup from the tin is reduced down with sugar and brushed over the cakes to keep them soft.
Speaking of the cakes, they are very simple to make. A traditional sponge mixture is stirred together and given a slight twist with the addition of the chopped lychees along with ground almonds to soak up any extra moisture from the fruit.

Once baked and cooled, the cakes are sandwiched together with a caramel whipped cream. You may use shop-bought caramel but I made my own to show you guys how easy it is to make at home. Lychees are notorious for having a gentle flavour and that is the case in this cake too. The main flavour comes from the chopped lychees in the sponge and the caramel in the cream. Serve the cake with a pot of hot tea this Sunday after lunch.

Cream Cakes, previously: tres leches cake // summer berries and ricotta cake // strawberry jelly poke cake // polish apple cake // strawberries and cream cake

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Lychee Cake:

1. Tinned Lychees
2. Butter
3. Sugar
4. Eggs
5. Self-Raising Flour
6. Ground Almonds
7. Baking Powder

For the Caramel Sauce:

1. Sugar
2. Water
3. Butter
4. Double Cream

To Decorate:
1. Double Cream
2. Tinned or Fresh Lychees

Bismillah, let's begin!

As with most cakes, we begin by turning the oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4 and preparing our tins. In this case, we will need two 8-inch (20cm) tins. Grease them well and line with baking paper to prevent anything sticking.

The main job for the cake batter is to prep the tinned lychees. You can use fresh too but since we need both the fruit and syrup for this recipe, tinned is the way to go! Take 1 tin Lychees, in syrup. A 400g tin will work but could only get hold of ...

... a larger tin at 567g. No problem - I'll just use some of those extra lychees to decorate my cake when we are done.

Drain the lychees well and save their syrup. We will need it later!

Set a few lychees aside to decorate the cake later.

And, chop the rest up into small pieces. I like to drain them again once chopped to get rid of any extra syrup.

Now, let's start mixing up the actual cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, measure out 200g Butter, at room temperature. If your butter is cold, just heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Add in 150g Caster Sugar.

Beat the two until creamy and well combined. I used an electric hand whisk to do this - it takes about 3 minutes to get to this stage.

The mixture is pale and really smooth. Always the best start to a cake!

Next, crack in 4 large Eggs. Add them in one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

You may notice at this point that your cake batter has curdled. No problem! It's only happened because the eggs and butter were not at the same temperature to mix together properly. Once we add the flours and bake, all will be well. To remedy the problem, make sure that your eggs are at room temperature before starting.

Time for the dry ingredients! Add:
150g Self-Raising Flour
50g Ground Almonds
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Mix well until you can no longer see the flour. See? The batter is no longer curdled!

Finally, add in the chopped lychees from earlier.

Mix in the lychees and we are ready to bake!

Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake in the oven at 180C or Gas Mark 4 for 25-30 minutes.

The cakes are baked when they're golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean with no wet batter on it.

Cool the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes.

Then, take the cakes out of the tins and cool completely on wire racks before using.

Next, we're going to make a lychee syrup to brush our cakes with. Into a pan, place the reserved lychee syrup from the tin (about 200ml) and 50g Sugar.

Stir and bring to the boil before simmering the syrup until it has reduced by half.

Cool the lychee syrup until you're ready for it.

Now, it's time to make the caramel sauce. Put 100g Caster Sugar and 3 tablespoons Water.

Put the pan onto a medium-low heat and DO NOT STIR FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.

Sorry to be dramatic but trust me on this one. Don't stir but just swirl the pan from time to time until ...

... you have a golden brown caramel. Using a light-coloured pan will make this much easier to see.

When the mixture is at this stage, add in 40g diced Butter.

And now, I give you permission to stir! Let it bubble for a minute or two.

Finish by pouring in 40ml Double Cream.

Stir for another minute until a caramel sauce has formed.

The caramel sauce is ready. Set it aside to cool until needed.

Once cool, if the caramel is too set - simply heat in the microwave for a few seconds or add a drop of double cream to loosen.

Now, let's make a caramel whipped cream. Measure 300ml Double Cream in a jug or bowl.

Whisk until you have soft peaks.

Before drizzling in about 3 tablespoons Caramel Sauce.

Whisk again until well combined.

It's time to assemble. Take the cooled cakes, caramel whipped cream, lychee syrup, caramel sauce, and lychees.

Put one of the cakes onto a stand.

Brush the cake with the lychee syrup.

Spread over half the caramel whipped cream.

Place the second cake on top.

Brush the top of the cake with more lychee syrup.

Spread over the rest of the caramel whipped cream.

Finish the cake with fresh or tinned lychees and plenty of caramel sauce.

Time to serve up the cake! It's best served at room temperature but is best stored in the fridge because of the cream.

Gather together your favourite people, make a hot pot of tea, and enjoy!

Lychee Caramel Cream Cake.

lychee cakes brushed with lychee syrup, sandwiched with caramel whipped cream, and decorated with fresh lychees and caramel sauce.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes + extra time to cool.
Bake Time: About 30 minutes.
Serves: About 10-12 people.


For the Lychee Cake
400g Lychees Tin, in syrup
200g Butter, at room temperature
150g Caster Sugar
4 large Eggs
150g Self-Raising Flour
50g Ground Almonds
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

For the Lychee Syrup
200ml Lychee Syrup (from tin)
50g Caster Sugar

For the Caramel Sauce
100g Caster Sugar
3 tablespoons Water
40g Butter, diced
40ml Double Cream

To Decorate
300ml Double Cream
Fresh or Tinned Lychees, as needed

Bake the cakes:
Pre-heat the oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 8-inch (20cm) cake tins.
Drain the tinned lychees making sure to reserve the syrup. Chop up the lychees into small pieces.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy and well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture may curdle but don't panic. Stir in the self-raising flour, ground almonds and baking powder until you can no longer see them. Finish by stirring in the chopped lychees.
Divide the cakes between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean with no wet batter on it.

Cool the cakes:
Let the cakes sit in the hot tins for 10 minutes. Then, remove to wire racks and let the cakes cool completely.

Make the lychee syrup:
Put the lychee syrup and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to the boil then let the mixture simmer until it has reduced by half. Cool until needed.

Make the caramel sauce:
Put the sugar and water in a light-coloured saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture is a golden brown caramel. DO NOT STIR - just swirl the pan from time to time. Add in the butter and stir for a few minutes. Gradually, pour in the cream and stir for another minute or until a caramel sauce has formed. Set aside to cool. If it thickens up too much, loosen with more cream or heat in the microwave for a few seconds.

Make the caramel whipped cream to decorate:
Whisk the 300ml double cream until you have soft peaks. Stir in 3 tablespoons caramel sauce.

Assemble the cake:
Put one of the cakes onto a cake stand. Brush with the lychee syrup. Spread over half the whipped cream and place the second cake on top. Brush it too with lychee syrup. Spread the remaining cream on top, decorate with fresh lychees, and drizzle with the leftover caramel sauce.

This cake is best served at room temperature. But it is best to store it in the fridge because of the cream.

{recipe from the cardamom trail}

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your lychee cake!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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