Monday, March 16, 2009

egg custard cake

i wanted to give a thank you present to our friends who came over last weekend for the lechon night and gave us a surprised baby shower. i told kim i'll make cookies but he said to think of something else. okay... i'll make custard cake then... and so i did.

the first batch came out a bit bitter but the second batch came out just right. since i don't want to give them the bitter one, i decided to divide the second batch into six. i just hope they're able to taste it well since it's a bit smaller... and i hope they like it, too.

this was the second batch

here's a slice that i gave to them (the container's too big... hehehe...)

thanks to ms. connie of pinoycook for the recipe. and once again thank you to her for the step-by-step instruction, it's really a great help. you can view the step-by-step recipe here for caramelizing the sugar and here for the custard cake recipe but i'll still post it here for my record.

for the caramel
how to caramelize sugar:
there are only two things you need for caramelizing sugar — water and sugar. the ratio between water and sugar depends on how thin or how thick you want the resulting caramel to be. i know some cooks who simply melt sugar without any water but sugar burns too fast that way. (the caramel we are creating is of the consistency we need for glazing leche flan.)

first, place the sugar and water in a thick bottomed pan. for about half a cup of caramel, use 1 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Just place them in the pan — don’t stir.

turn the heat to high and bring the water and sugar to the boil without stirring. then, lower the heat to medium-high and continue boiling.

after about 8 minutes, the mixture will start to brown. if the mixture along the edges of the pan brown much faster, swirl the pan to even out the coloring.

continue boiling until the liquid is the color of amber.

the caramelized sugar is of perfect pouring consistency at this stage. use it at once. if you’re glazing leche flan with it, pour it into the mold immediately. caramelized sugar hardens fast — within a minute, you will no longer be able to pour it. you can’t keep it on the stove either, even over very low heat, because if you continue to subject it to heat, it will go on cooking and turn dark. and a few seconds after that? that’s called burnt sugar already.

for the custard cake
note: for best results, all the ingredients, the eggs and milk in particular, must be at room temperature.

for the custard :

6 eggs (yolks and whites)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup skim milk (the ready-to-drink kind)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. of finely grated lemon rind

for the cake :
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of white sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 cup skim milk
3 egg whites
1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of white sugar (no, this is not a typo — you need two measures of the same amount of sugar)

place all the ingredients for the custard in a bowl.

mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. do not beat as you do not want air bubbles in the mixture.

place a strainer (you can use a piece of muslin) over the baking pan and pour in the custard mixture.

sift together the cake flour and baking powder.

place the 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of sugar and egg yolks in a bowl.

beat until smooth and lemon colored.

add the flour mixture and milk alternately, mixing after each addition.

after all the flour and milk have been added, mix until the batter is smooth.

in another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. add the second 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of sugar little by little while beating continuously. Continue beating until the egg white mixture is stiff.

now you mix the egg yolk and egg white mixtures together. remember that the reason you beat the egg white to stiff peaks is to create all those tiny air bubbles. it is these bubbles that will give volume and the light texture to your cake. work carefully so as not to break them.

add half of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber scraper and the cut and fold technique, blend the two mixtures together. remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

then, add this blended mixture to the remaining half of the egg white mixture, and continue cutting and folding until the mixture is well blended and the color is even. again, remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. no streaks of white nor yellow should be visible.

pour the cake batter over the custard. unless you overworked the mixtures and the tiny bubble burst, the cake batter should float on the custard.

using a spatula, smoothen the top of the batter carefully. it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. this is an upside-down cake and so the top becomes the bottom, and out of view, when you serve the cake. just make sure that all the sides are sealed with the cake batter so that the custard does not boil over it during baking.

place the cake pan in a larger pan half-filled with hot (not boiling) water. bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 50 minutes to an hour. after 50 minutes, insert a toothpick at the center of the cake. if it comes out clean, the cake is done. if not, bake a few minutes longer, testing every five minutes or so.

after the cakes been cooked, the top should be nicely browned. it’s tempting to invert and serve the cake at this point — but don't! the custard is still soft and you’ll ruin the cake if you try and serve it at this stage. completely cool the cake. place it on the counter with a screen cover. after an hour or two, you can continue cooling it in the fridge if you’re really in a hurry to serve it.

when the cake has cooled, take a plate that can hold the cake and place it upside down on top of the baking pan. with one hand under the baking pan and the other hand on top of the plate, invert the cake onto the plate. i advise you to do this over the sink because there is always a chance that the caramel will spill. i so love this recipe and i'll surely bake this after giving birth (not now since i'm watching my sugar intake... hehehe...). thanks to ms. connie for sharing such wonderful recipes.xoxo