The Great Australian Bake Off

https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/27428/japanese-cherry-blossom-chiffon-cake

lifestyle.com.au

Ingredients

  • Chiffon cake (make in 2 batches)

  • 14 large eggs, separated

  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

  • 2 cups caster sugar, plus 1 cup extra

  • 4 cups plain flour

  • 5 tsp baking powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tbs sakura syrup

  • Mousseline

  • 8 large egg yolks

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 40g cornflour

  • 500ml milk

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tbsp matcha powder

  • Swiss meringue buttercream

  • 15 large egg whites

  • 3 cup caster sugar, plus 6 tbs extra

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1kg room temperature butter, diced

  • 4 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • Covering and decoration

  • 250g dark chocolate fondant

  • 500g gum paste

  • 1 medium size beetroot (for colouring the blossoms)

  • 1 cup frozen cherries

  • 1 tbsp espresso powder (for hand painting)

  • 1kg crisco shortening

  • Royal icing

  • 3 cups pure icing sugar

  • 2 egg whites

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • Assembly

  • 20 large, thick drinking straws or plastic dowels

Method

  • 1.

    For the cake Preheat the oven to 150°C.  (Make in 2 batches), beat the egg whites until frothy in the bowl of the stand mixer and then add the cream of tartar. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff.

  • 2.

    In another bowl whisk together the other 1 cup sugar with the flour, baking powder and salt.  In another separate bowl, beat the, milk, oil and egg yolks.  Add the vanilla and beat until pale yellow.  Add the sakura syrup.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until well blended, at medium speed using the stand mixer.

  • 3.

    Gently fold in the whipped egg whites, using a spatula, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Gently pour the batter into the pans and use the cake tester to gently drag across the top to remove bubbles.

  • 4.

    Bake the cakes for 45 minutes for the 23cm pan, 40 minutes for the 20cm and 18cm, 30 mins for 10cm.

  • 5.

    Cool the cake upside down for at least 30 minutes until cool before removing it from the pan, balancing on upturned cups to cool underneath.  Once cooled remove carefully from baking pan and place each cake on their cake boards.

  • 6.

    For the matcha mousseline, in a medium size bowl whisk the egg yolks until pale and yellow, then whisk in the sugar, matcha and cornflour.  Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds.  Put both the seeds and the pod into a saucepan with the milk.  Bring the milk to the boil.  Remove the bean and slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and return to the heat and whisk continuously until thickened.  Remove from the heat.  Pass through a fine sieve onto a tray and then cover with cling film (touching the crème pat) and cool for at least 30 minutes.  Once cool whip to smooth consistency and the slowly add the softened butter. Set aside.

  • 7.

    For the butter cream, combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved, the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips. Attach the whisk attachment to the mixer. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

  • 8.

    With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, add vanilla. Add the paddle attachment to the mixer, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated. Scrape down sides of bowl then continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature until ready to assemble

  • 9.

    For the decorations, boil the beetroot for 5 minutes, wearing gloves cut up and place in a sieve over a bowl to catch juice.  Once drained boil juice to reduce.  For the cherries, boil in small saucepan and strain.  Add espresso powder to cup and add small amount of boiling water to dissolve.  Allow all of the mixtures to cool and set aside.

  • 10.

    For the royal icing, in the bowl of a stand mixer whisk egg whites and lemon juice then gradually add icing sugar.  Make small amounts of pink and brown using beet juice and espresso power and leave another batch white.

  • 11.

    For the branches, roll out the chocolate brown fondant in thin strips using a small amount of shortening to stop it sticking to the bench.  Make random branch shapes for branches, some small, large, thick and thin. 

  • 12.

    For blossoms, colour the gum paste using either a small amount of the beet juice or cherry juice.  Using cutter and mould press make 50 to 60 blossoms, leaning then against kitchen items so they are not flat.

  • 13.

    To Assemble, slice each cake in half and spread with a thin layer of the matcha mousseline.

  • 14.

    Crumb coat each layer with the buttercream and then refrigerate until set, continue with the other layers.  Once crumb coat is set cover with smooth layer of butter cream and return to fridge to set.

  • 15.

    Make supports from drinking straws or dowels making sure these are hidden, but close to the edge of each cake board.  Cut to length.  Place each layer one on top of each other using supports between each layer and a bit of buttercream to stitch the layers together.

  • 16.

    Set cake aside before adding decorations.

  • 17.

    Once the branches and blossoms are on the cake, use a little of the espresso syrup to brush paint some extra branches.  Lastly use some of the beet juice to paint the centre of the blossoms and use some of the Sakura syrup as a wash to make the petals stand out.

Notes

This recipe has not been edited or tested by the Bake Off Food Department

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