Have you noticed that I seem to be a part of some online cooking group or another lately? I honestly can't help it... I enjoy being in the company of people who love food, who cook/bake together either weekly or monthly (or both) from the same recipe or out of the same theme. The variations to one recipe are often mind-boggling, and the warm camaraderie within each group is something I wouldn't trade for the world.
There is also the matter of discipline. Being in a group forces me to work within timelines and strange as it seems for someone who lives a leisurely-paced life on a tropical island, I sure do like a follow a pretty tight schedule when it comes to this blog. Maybe I'm borderline OCD, who knows :-).
So, to cut a long story short, I came across this #baketogether group quite by chance on Twitter. #Baketogether is initiated by the lovely cookbook author and baking expert, Abby Dodge, and the members of this ultra-casual group would put their own spin on Abby's monthly-themed recipes. Well, I asked if I could join and Abby kindly answered, 'Yes', so this month we are baking Summer Fruit Cake using the season's freshest bounty.
As you know, here it's summer all year round. Yes, I'm sorry to rub it in like that, but it really is. I'm so lucky except that it gets too hot sometimes, although never hot enough to put me off from switching my oven on! Anyway for this cake, I decided to use the fruits available to me and when I saw some juicy longans at the market, I immediately knew they were going into this cake. Papaya is an all-season fruit here, so I used that too.
We happened to have a bowl of the most vibrant looking limes sitting on the kitchen counter, and I decided to switch up the orange zest in the original recipe to lime zest. If you haven't tried it, fresh sweet papaya tastes wonderful eaten with a spritz of sour lime so this was a perfect combination. And as if this cake wasn't tropical enough, I substituted coconut milk for the sour cream and made a thick lime syrup which I drizzled all over the cake as soon as it came out of the oven.
Since I used a shallow tart pan to bake this cake, I halved Abby's recipe and the batter fitted the pan perfectly. Besides, if you bake as much as I do, it's always a good idea to make the portions smaller, you know what I'm saying? My hips always do a good job of reminding me of this every time they refuse to fit into my favorite pair of pants. Should you want to go the whole way though, you can view the original recipe here.
So there you have it, enjoy my tropical Papaya, Longan and Lime Cake. Abby, it's been a pleasure to bake this and thanks for allowing me to participate!
Papaya and Longan Cake with Lime Syrup
Makes: One 8 x 1-inch round cake
3/4 cups (85g/3oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons (40g) unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar - lessened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut milk
3 round slices papaya, 1/2cm-thick and cut into large chunks
1/3 cup fresh longans, peeled and pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lime juice
1. Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 8x1-inch round tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended. In a large bowl, beat the butter, and sugar with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, beating on medium speed until just blended. Add the lime zest and vanilla.
3. Using a wide rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients and the coconut milk into the butter mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Arrange or scatter fruits on top of batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
4. To make the lime syrup, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Boil on medium heat for about 5 minutes without stirring. Reduce heat, add the lime juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. Cool completely before using.
5. Once cake is cooked, poke it all over with a toothpick and drizzle the lime syrup all over the hot cake. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool 15 minutes.
6. Carefully turn out the cake by lifting the base out of the pan, then run a wide spatula under the cake to release it from the base. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Storage: Cover the baked and cooled cake in plastic wrap and stow at room temperature for up to 5 days.