Harmony Cake

Harmony Cake 

Harmony Cake 

For Australian Harmony Day

I have made this cake to represent the many wonderful cultures that influence our food and festivities.  There is pandan, saffron, honeyed chocolate, vanilla and mascarpone....  so this is quite a flavour experience as well as being a visual feast!  Feel free to amend the flavour combinations to suit your particular favourites - a strawberry and cream layer was on the cards for a while, as was a Ube-Macapuno Cake layer (it is vivid purple and gorgeous!)  but the more subtle vanilla-scented flavours won out in the end!

Pandan cake can be made in advance, it lasts well and the flavour develops over a day or so.  The Orange-Saffron cake also benefits from a day in the fridge, then doused with a trickle of vanilla liqueur.  The chocolate layers are best made on the day the cake is to be eaten.

Once you have made your four cakes, it is just a matter of layering them up with a mascarpone-saffron cream, whipped cream and chocolate ganache... then topping the whole thing off with buttercream or creamcheese icing.

 

Pandan Cake

Harmony Cake6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons Pandan extract
½ cup caster sugar
6 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 190° C. 

Whisk the egg yolks together with the half the sugar until the mixture is very pale and doubled in size.  Add the melted butter and stir well, then add the flour.  Once well combined add the Pandan extract – don't be alarmed it is very, very green.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with remaining sugar, cream of tartar and salt until very stiff.
Combine with the flour and yolk mixture and mix till smooth.
Pour the mixture into a little cake pans (or a baking tin if a single large cake is preferred). 
Bake at 190° C, for about 30 minutes or until a skewer can be removed cleanly.
If baking a single large cake - when cake is cooked through, remove from the oven and turn it over. If the cake is turned when it is removed from the oven it can expand rather than collapse while cooling.
Once the cake is cooled, carefully run a knife or spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen it before inverting onto a wire rack.

The colour of the cake will be slightly graduated inside the cake – the edges sometimes go slightly brown, don't panic!

 

Chocolate Honey Sponge

4 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons honey
⅓  cup plain flour
½  cup self-raising flour
⅓  cup corn flour
5 tablespoons cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180°C

Butter one deep 22cm round pan or two deep 20cm cake pans and line with baking paper.

Use an electric stand mixer to beat the egg yolks on high speed until thick and creamy.
With the mixer still going, add the honey and caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating until dissolved after each addition until the batter is smooth.
Sift flours and cocoa powder three times to aerate and combine. Sift onto egg yolk mixture.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then gently fold flour mixtures into egg whites. Try not to  over-mix – keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
Pour into prepared pan and spread mixture evenly.
If using one cake pan, cook for 20-25 minutes and if using two pans, cook for about 15-20 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it has slightly come away from the sides and the top springs back when lightly touched.
Turn out onto wire racks to cool. 

For the chocolate ganache, warm a cup of double cream and pour over a cup of chocolate pieces.  Mix together well and use to coat the Chocolate Honey Cake. 

 

Harmony CakeOrange Saffron Honey Cake

Juice and zest of 2 oranges
Pinch of saffron threads soaked in 2 tbsp of milk
2 cups self raising flour
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
3 Eggs
1 ½ cups caster sugar
200 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Cointreau or orange blossom water

Preheat oven to 180°C

In a small saucepan on low heat, combine the orange juice with the orange zest. Next, add in the saffron (along with the soaking milk), vanilla extract, Cointreau or orange blossom water and the freshly grated nutmeg. Bring to a gentle boil & let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the heat, set aside and allow to cool until needed.

Cream together the butter, sugar until it is light and fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time until they have been incorporated. Add in the orange juice mixture. Mix well, then add the dry ingredients mixing until well combined.

Pour the batter into a baking pan.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes.

 

White Chocolate Sponge Cake

150 grams fine quality white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
½ a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
½  cup self raising
¼  teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
⅓  cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C

Line the bottom of a pan with baking paper, grease the paper and dust the with flour, knocking out the excess.

In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the white chocolate with the butter, the vanilla and 3 tablespoons water, stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Remove the bowl from the heat and let the mixture cool.

Sift together the flour and the salt.
In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is triple in volume and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the batter is just combined and fold in the white chocolate mixture gently but thoroughly.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25  - 30 minutes, this cake is very moist and soft, do not overbake.   

 

Mascarpone Saffron Cream
300 grams mascarpone
4 tablespoons icing sugar
Juice of an orange and a little zest
Generous pinch of saffron dissolved in a little warm water
1 tablespoon vanilla or orange liqueur

Mix all ingredient together well, allowing the saffron to bleed into the mascarpone.  Adding a tiny pinch of salt also enhances the saffron flavour – it's not essential though.  Allow the cream to sit in the fridge for at least an hour or so before using to allow the flavour to develop – even better, make it the day before using! 

 

Vanilla Rum Buttercream Frosting
300 grams softened butter
400 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or Pandan extract
½ tablespoon of Rum or other flavour of choice

Combine all ingredients into a thick paste and pipe onto cooled cakes. Decorate your cake as desired. 

 Harmony Cake