Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Chef Wan's Walnut Prune Cake


I simply had to attempt this recipe again. Why? Because the last couple of times, I made a mistake in both attempts.

First mistake - I did not whip the whipping cream, duh!

Second mistake - Instead of folding the whipped cream into the stiff egg/sugar mixture, I added it while beating the batter, which made the stiff mixture become liquid again :(


It was only later that I had a revelation. The whipped cream should be folded and not beaten into the sugar and egg mixture. Alamak (slap forehead)! How I wish that the instruction in the recipe had been more explicit. 

As a result of my mistakes, the cake did not have a good texture and it did not wow me at all. I simply had to give it another go before I can express a true and fair view on this recipe. Geez, I sound like an auditor! 


The egg and sugar mixture took forever to become stiff.

If I remember correctly, in my maiden attempt, the egg and sugar mixture became stiff after being beaten for about 10 minutes. But went limp after I beat in the whipping cream :( 

In the next attempt it refused to become stiff. I gave up and added the whipped cream and of course the cake was a disaster.


I mixed the prunes, jam, cocoa powder and walnuts first before adding the batter.

And in this attempt, it also took forever and halfway through, I ran upstairs to google LOL! One recipe said, if your eggs refuse to stiffen, make a sweet omelette and start over. Not funny! There wasn't anything wrong with what I was doing and I let my beater go on and on and on.


BEFORE

Finally, I got it and luckily my cake mixer did not burn out. I folded the whipped cream into the stiff mixture using a spatula and everything seemed to go well.


AFTER

Another reason why I attempted this cake again was to taste and then decide if whipping cream is just as good or is butter still better. ***Research and Development Mode On***


The top is dryish. I should have tented the cake but that erection was in the way.

When the cake was cool enough, I tasted a slice. The texture was light and slightly dry. I may have over baked it. And it was clearly missing the fragrance and richness of butter. With due respect to Chef Wan, I am sorry to say that tastewise, I did not like this cake at all :(

The melted chocolate topping in the original recipe may have made this cake more palatable but since I did not make any, there was no salvation. And I don't even have the heart to give the cake away. What does not taste good to me, I cannot give to other people.



I am not saying that this is a bad cake.  As a matter of fact it is excellent if you used butter. In my opinion, butter is always better. No more whipping cream for me, except as filling or frosting. If you are interested in the butter cake version, I have done it here and I promise you that the cake is awesome.

Here's the original recipe if you are interested to give this cake a go.










Walnut Prune Cake
Recipe source : Adapted from Chef Wan Cakes page 26
(My notes and adaptations in red)

Ingredients :
- 250g pitted prunes
- Juice of 1/2 orange (I used juice from 1 orange)
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds (I omitted)
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup castor sugar (I used 160g)
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest (I used zest of 1 orange)
- 300ml whipped cream (I whipped to stiff peaks)
- 2 cups self-raising flour (I used 250g self-raising flour)
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 cup walnuts (I broke into smaller pieces)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- melted chocolate to decorate (I omitted)

Method :
1. Steep prunes in orange juice for 3 hours.
2. Grease a medium chiffon cake tin and sprinkle sliced almonds (if using) on the base.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and lemon zest until stiff. (I did not add the zest at this point)
4. Gradually add (by folding using spatula) whipped cream (and orange zest).
5. Fold in flour.
6. Divide batter into 2 portions, one with one-third and the other with two-thirds of batter.
7. Pour the larger portion of batter into prepared cake tin.
8. Mix together jam, walnuts, marinated prunes and cocoa powder with the remaining one-third of batter. (I mixed the jam, walnuts, prunes and cocoa powder first to make it easier to fold into the batter)
9. Pour into cake tin over the first layer.
10. Create a marbled effect in cake using the tip of a knife to swirl batter.
11. Bake in an oven preheated to 170C for 1-1.5 hours. (I baked for 1 hour  at 160C)
12. Cool the cake in the tin and then remove.
13. Drizzle melted chocolate over the cake to decorate (I skipped this).

46 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever tried making a cake with no oil or butter and uses whipping cream instead. Intrigues me for sure.

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    1. Yen, I don't recommend it hah..hah... Always go with butter :)

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  2. aiyoyo the recipe from the famous and popular Chef Wan!! it's walnut and prunes, and that sounds nice, I like it..

    look at the color and the texture of the cake, surely tempting and it's yelling "come and eat me!!", haha!! and of course, with home made ones you have a generous amount of fruits and nuts given to make the cake richer.. I LIKE!!! :)

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    1. SK, the one I baked using butter is a lot better. Somehow, whipping cream doesn't work for me. I still stick to butter :)

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  3. Good morning Phong Hong.. Oh yes, I've read somewhere, about whipping cream and all.. That you should not over-beat it, or something like that, else, it would turn into liquid again and you would cry.. Well, practice makes perfect and everyone can eat more of your cakes.. Before my sister got married and still staying with my parents, she used to experiment with her bakes and cooks (to show off to her bf, now husband) almost everyday, so we got to eat her food everyday, teehee.. Your cake looks so rich and delicious, I love that middle part.. I want half of that cake, please !!

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    1. Hi Louiz! Butter is still the best and now that I know, I won't use whipping cream ever again. Yeah, the middle part is nice - lots of prunes and walnuts and chocolaty flavour.

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  4. errr....still can eat okay mah. hentam aje la...

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  5. Haha..I just patronised chef wan restaurant in SG last week but didn't find any walnut cakes. Looks good !

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    1. Hi Chris! It looks good but it would have been better baked using butter.

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  6. I didn't bake for a long time, find it easlier to buy from outside...

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    1. Sharon, you are right. Baking also involves a lot of washing up and I am not so happy about that part hah..hah...

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  7. No butter or oil? I'll try with yogurt... hahaa hope the cake will turns out well. :D

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    1. Hi Ann! Previously, I added butter and yogurt (no whipped cream) and the cake turned out well.

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  8. I guess you need to make a big cup of coffee or tea to gulp down the dry cake? Im sure you can try this cake again but make some changes of using butter or yogurt like what Ann suggested.

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    1. Hi Mel! Yes, I have baked with butter and yogurt and the cake was very good :)

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  9. Wahhhh!!!! Chef Wan! Don't play-play!!! Hehehehehe!!!! You sure do make a lot of cakes. You have a big family?

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    Replies
    1. Arthur, I have lots of volunteers to eat my cake hee..hee...

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  10. I can imagine the richness of this cake, sound very good!

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    1. Sonia, this one is not rich like the butter cake version. Wasted my whipping cream :(

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  11. When I buy cake, I will steer clear of the word BUTTERLESS. If some cake shop salesman or salesgirl were to approach me and say: "Come try our healthy butterless cake!", I will tell them: "F off.. go home and drink oats and leave the baking industry alone!"
    Like I said before, why settle for half-experiences? If you want cake, get a proper buttered cake ;)

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    Replies
    1. hah..hah...RG, spot on! Any healthy cakes = tasteless and yucky, might as well don't eat!

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  12. Alamak... technical nya...

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  13. You sure can eat a lot of cake....or is it your neighbours who are the lucky ones?

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    1. Oh yes, I can! I can easily finish 1/2 a butter cake in one sitting :) I do have volunteers who are happy to eat my cakes hah..hah...

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  14. PH, salute to your experimental spirit!

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    1. Thanks, Jess! I must experiment before I say it is good or not :)

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  15. You keep going on to make your cakes excellent! Who knows, maybe I will follow your path and re-make the cake from last weekend?:)

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    1. Ola, why not? I would love to see that cake :)

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  16. Hee hee.. Phong Hong, think the 250g butter is your 'destined' cake partner. I used whipped cream as frosting but haven't tried fold into batter. The texture is slightly dry but overall still ok, right?

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    1. hah..hah... You are right, Karen! Butter is my best friend :D The cake was not OK, sad to say :(

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  17. Opps Phong Hong, third time still not lucky? As Paula Deen says, Butter, butter, butter!! Oh well, I am really sorry the cake did not come out right, but kudos to you for trying it 3 times!

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    1. Hi Diana! That's my mantra now - butter, butter, butter LOL!

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  18. HI PH, I think it's such a waste the taste is not as good as it looks, but I agreed, butter is always best for cakes:D

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    1. Hi Jeannie! Yes, at least now I am satisfied that whipping cream does not work for me :)

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  19. Never give UP, Phong Hong! But I definitely will... hahahaa.. the recipe sounds complicated to me... if you take 3 attempts, I might end up doubling or tripling the tries... :)

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    1. Claire, now that I have confirmed it is not as good as butter cake, you no need to try lah hee..hee...

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  20. Just by looking at the photos of your cake, it looks very delicious. Oh dear, I think I will have to go and buy some cakes after reading your blog. Sometimes I find butter cakes too oily, using whipping cream only would be a nice change I would imagine.

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    1. Mun, looks can be deceiving. I am certain that butter is better in cakes :)

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  21. Hi Phong Hong,
    I'm sorry the cake does not taste as it looks. But anyway good try:)
    I know whip cream work well on baking bread. Like the Hokkaido loaf bread, it is soft even after the second day. Hehe
    Have a great weekend!
    mui

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    1. Hi mui mui! For cakes not so good but I believe that it works for bread even though I have not tried yet. But one day I will!

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  22. I happen to love prunes, and to think to pair it with walnuts, will make a wonderful and delicious cake! I love your modification of the recipe, and of course the photos, not to mention the beautiful and moist cake!

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    1. Hi Elisabeth! I came to love prunes after eating this cake hah..hah... It is a good cake but only if made with butter :)

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  23. Pagi pagi this PH sudah make me laugh. The part yang you google about if your eggs refuse to stiffen, make a sweet omelette and start over. Memang NOT FUNNY! Kita dahlah panic eggs tak stiffen, lagi wanna make jokes! Sabar aje la...

    Saw some nice prunes at Hero Supermarket that day, but reluctant to buy because I was not sure what I'm gonna do with it. Nanti kalau I tengah mode malas, it will all ended up in the bin. What a waste.

    But once again, I have to tabik spring to you. Sangat gigih mencuba till you get it right for a fair review. Me... I don't think I will do that... I will just put aside the recipe and the product and forget about it. :D

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    1. hah..hah... Since this is Chef Wan's recipe, kenalah buat betul-betul. Betul tak, Mama? hee..hee.. I am a fan of Chef Wan's and I like watching his cooking shows. Anyway speaking of prunes, I also came across a recipe called Ayam Prun. Wanted to try but quite a lot of ingredients involved. So takder semangat...

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