Monday, November 8, 2010

Haupia Cake: Hawaiian Coconut Pudding Cake

Ever since Richard told me that this is a cake, I've wanted to try it. Basically, it is a coconut pudding on top and between two layers of sponge cake. I frosted the sides with crème fraîche. Hmm-m! I made four tries at it yesterday and today. This time I got it right. It still needs some adjustment but I'm working on that too!
Haupia Cake frosted with Crème Fraîche

Three egg yolks in a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Whipped egg whites form soft peaks

Just out of the oven

The sponge cake base is 2 inches high

Haupia on top and between sponge cake layers

Haupia Cake
Sponge Cake
This recipe is adapted from the South Beach Diet Cookbook.
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar 
1 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  It was hard to remove the cake from the spring form pan bottom so I suggest greasing and lining the bottom only. Unless the sides are loosened, the cake  shouldn't fall out of the pan when you invert it.

Make the batter. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and vanilla. In another large bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. On highest speed, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. By hand, combine one-third of the egg white mixture with the egg yolk mixture. 

The tricky part. You don't want to over mix this. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Sift the flour on top of the egg whites. Pour in the cooled butter. Gently fold in the flour and butter into the egg mixtures, until just combined. If the batter is still showing white streaks, then it's perfectly mixed.

Bake. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Using a thin knife blade or spatula,  cut the batter to release any air pockets. Put the pan into the middle of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. I reduced the original baking time by 10 minutes because I have a fast oven.

Cool. Invert the pan on a cooling rack.  Do not loosen the sides. Re-invert the pan and run a knife with a thin blade around the edges. Release the pan sides. Turn the cake upside down on a greased wire rack and release the bottom. Remove the paper liner. Put the cake in the freezer for about one hour. I read that in a haupia cake recipe. I think this step is to ensure the cake is firm enough for cutting horizontally. While the cake is in the freezer, make the haupia and the crème fraîche.

Make the haupia or coconut pudding.
This recipe comes from
1 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
4-6 tablespoons sugar
4-6 tablespoons cornstarch (maybe just 5 tablespoons)
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or rum (I recommend also jasmine or coconut extracts)
toasted coconut for topping, optional

Pour the contents of the can into a large sauce pan. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add water and stir to dissolve. Pour the sugar mixture into the coconut milk and heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir vigorously with a wire whisk. Add the vanilla or rum. I used the maximum tablespoons of cornstarch and it thickened quite rapidly during heating. I think I should cut back to 5 tablespoons to get a less gummy texture.

Make the crème fraîche.
This quick crème fraîche recipe is from The Cake Bible.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Whip until soft peaks form.

Assemble the cake. Remove the cake from the freezer and split it in half with a serrated knife. Spread half the coconut pudding mixture on the bottom layer to within 1/2 inch from the edge. Put the top layer on and press down lightly. Spread the remaining coconut pudding on top. If desired, sprinkle toasted coconut on top. Refrigerate to set the pudding layers. Then, spread the crème fraîche on the sides of the cake. If desired, sprinkle more coconut on the sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the cake with the remaining crème fraîche or with ice cream. If we were in Thailand, I would suggest kati or coconut ice cream or perhaps ice cream ruam mit, a coconut ice cream that has tiny bits of rice flour noodles (lop chong) and corn kernels mixed in.

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