I love food. I love people who love food. I love eating it, smelling it, cooking it. Most of all, I love sharing it. It is in that spirit that I share with you my favorite recipes. This page showcases monthly, revolving recipes from the EcoRico cooking show and a few others for your eating pleasure. Eco-licious, home-made yumminess that nurtures the Spirit, brings friends and family together and feeds the soul.
Puerto Rican cake has a texture, crumb and moistness that I’ve never had with another cake. This recipe is for that cake. On La Isla, we don’t use no frosting, we cover our cake with a light, fluffy merengue that is a dessert in itself. So consider this TWO recipes!
In the video above, you get to watch me make this eco-liciousness. Watch for tips on technique and ingredients. When you make it, please write me and let me know how it turns out!¡Buen provecho!
1 ½ cups unbleached CAKE FLOUR*
1 ½ tsps baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
6 eggs separated (6 egg whites; 5 egg yolks)
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
2/3 cup of milk
6 oz. melted and cooled butter
4 egg whites
¼ tsp crème of tartar
pinch of sea salt
6 tblsps Sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
*It is imperative that you use unbleached cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Why? Because cake flour is made from soft wheat, contains 8-10 % protein and less gluten than all-purpose flour, which is made from hard wheat and contains 10-12 % protein. Soft wheat and less gluten make a fluffier, less dense cake!
NOTE: All ingredients MUST be at room temperature. Cold butter, eggs, milk and sugar do not emulsify well and lead to a very dense cake.
Use the dip and sweep method to measure out 1 ½ cups of unbleached cake flour. Add 1 ½ tsps of baking powder and ¼ tsp of sea salt. Sift dry ingredients together THREE times. I repeat 3 times. Sifting aerates the flour, making it lighter, allowing it to combine more easily with other ingredients and producing a fluffier cake.
Pre-heat your oven to 325.
Butter and flour a Bundt pan. I use organic, whipped Earth Balance. Look for it in your grocery store.
Separate 6 eggs. This is fun. Now wash your hands.
Let’s get mixin’! Gently beat FIVE yolks. Add 1 ¼ cups sugar slowly. Beat at a low level. I keep my mixer at 2-3. Never over-beat. You want this mixture to get creamy and pale. Add 1 tsp Vanilla and ¼ tsp of Almond extract. You can use any flavoring you’d like. This combo just reminds me of cakes on La Isla. Lemon works also. Get creative!
I use two mixing bowls, though I have been known to use one and take the egg/sugar mixture out, put it aside, wash the bowl then use it for the egg whites, take them out, wash the bowl again and put the batter back in… Pain in my Boricua booty, baby!
Once you’ve got this egg/sugar mixture creamy and pale, set it aside and use the second mixing bowl for your egg whites.
As with all things cake, there is a science to beating egg whites. The secret to beating egg whites is… Drum roll please. Smaller bubbles! Small bubbles create a more stable foam. To get smaller bubbles, beat slowly at first to aerate the whites. I start at 2 until I get a foam, then I increase to 6 on a scale of 10.
Beat until the whites become the consistency of snow. That’s it. DO NOT let them get stiff. DO NOT let them get peaks.
Immediately and gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Just enough so that everything’s mixed.
ALTERNATE sifting the dry ingredients with the room temp milk into the batter. A little flour, a little milk. You start and end with the dry ingredients. Don’t ask, just do.
Next, add your six ounces of melted and cooled butter. Slowly. These cakes are d e l i c a t e.
Once you have folded all ingredients together, pour this eco-licious batter into the Bundt pan. The cake goes in the oven. Set the timer for 35 minutes exactly. Your oven may be different. Err on the side of less time. I’ve learned the hard way not to over-bake my cakes.
Check the cake at 35 minutes. Dip a toothpick or dull knife in. You DO NOT want the toothpick or knife to come out clean. If it does, you’ve over-baked you cake! The toothpick or knife should come out a little wet with cake on it.
Get the cake out of the pan as quickly as possible. I let mine cool maybe 5 minutes, before flipping it onto a cooling rack.
To get it out of the Bundt, move a dull-edged knife around the edges and center hole to loosen it up. It may take a couple of tries. Don’t worry. It’s super important to get the cake out of the pan! Flip it onto the rack and let it cool.
For the merengue, beat four egg whites. I start at 2 on my mixer.
Aerate the whites til you see foam. Add ½ tsp of crème of tartar and a pinch of sea salt. Then increase mixer speed to 6 on a scale of 10.
Beat the egg whites until they look like snow.
Once you have snow, add 6 tbsps of sugar – little by little. Beat until you see stiff peaks. Here you need those peaks! Add 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice makes the merengue more smooth and white. It also cuts the sweetness. Beat a smidge more so everything’s well mixed.
Cover the bowl of merengue and put it in the fridge.
THE BIG FINISH!
Put your cooled cake wherever you plan to cut it. Take the merengue out of the fridge.
It is now time to decorate. I keep it super simple. I scoop merengue onto the top of the cake first and smear across the top. I repeat the scooping and smearing around the sides and the center. It seems like a lot, but you will use all the merengue.
One your cake is covered and smoothed, stand back and admire your creation! Snap pictures. Send to your friends and family. Now cut and eat that deliciousness. ¡Buen provecho!
© 2011, Giselle Achecar(/center)