Last week I had the amazing experience of assisting the fantastic food stylist Uyen Luu in the background of an episode of a James Martin TV show coming out next year. I have to add (up front) that he wasn’t there at all during the day. It was absolutely incredible watching how the style of program I love to watch was created. What struck me as amusing was how completely unnatural it was! Recipe steps were filmed out of place, actions redone from better angles and filler shots (like lifting bottles or picking up ingredients) were repeatedly asked for.
I think for the most part I managed to stay off camera, favouring working out of shot to making my cooking show debut, wide eyed and over excited. The final shots were of a dinner party, which meant that I not only got to partake in an amazing 4 course Vietnamese feast, I even got to make the dessert!
Playing with the exotic menu, I decided to make a tropical cake. I started with a lime drizzle sponge, topped with a cream cheese frosting and mango and passionfruit curd.
When I made this cake I used a cream cheese frosting as I imagined the savoury cheese flavour balancing well next to the bright tropical fruits. Personally I found it was far too sweet with a frosting and think that just a whipped cream work better. I also completely forgot not to spread the filling to the edge of each layer as you need to allow space for it to move to under the weight of additional layers.
Thank you again Uyen for including me in such an amazing experience!
Lime Drizzle Sponge
180g unsalted butter at room temperature
180g caster sugar
180g self raising flour
Zest of a lime and a half
3 tbsp caster sugar
Juice of a lime and a half
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line 3 cake tins.
Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the lime zest.
In a jug whisk together the eggs and milk.
Alternating between the wet mixture and the flour (beginning and ending with flour) and beating until well combined between additions, gradually add the rest on the ingredients.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.
Just before the cakes are done put the lime juice in a saucepan with 3 tbsp of sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves
Remove the cakes from the oven when they are light and brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Whilst still hot repeatedly skewer the cakes to create little holes then brush with the lime syrup.
Leave to cool in the tins for 20 minutes and then let cool to room temperature on cooling racks.
Mango and Passionfruit Curd
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
175g ripe mango peeled, pitted and cubed
50g caster sugar
1 ½ tbsp lime juice
pinch of salt
2 eggs yolks
60g butter cut into cubes
¾ of the seeds/pulp from a passion fruit (reserve the rest for decoration)
Puree the mango, sugar, lime juice and salt until all lumps are gone, add the egg yolks and blend for a further 15 seconds.
Push through a sieve into a metal bowl to remove any remaining pulp.
Place the metal bowl over a pan of boiling water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and whisk until thickened and the temperature reaches 170F, this takes about 10 minutes.
Remove from the water and whisk the butter in one cube at a time waiting until it has fully melted before adding the next.
Leave to cool to room temperature then stir in the passion fruit pulp.
Cream Cheese Frosting
300g Icing Sugar
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
120g cream cheese
Whisk the sugar and butter together until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
Add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth and fluffy, being careful not to overmix as it will start to melt and go runny.
To assemble the cake split the frosting into thirds and the curd in half.
Spread the frosting over the middle of the cake allowing at least an inch around the sides for it to spread out under the weight of the higher layers, then drizzle with the curd.
Place the next layer of sponge on top and repeat.
Add the final layer and spread the frosting thickly across the top, right to the edges.
Using the back of a spoon, create little peaks and troughs to make an interesting pattern and then sprinkle with with the remaining passion fruit seeds.