Saturday, April 18, 2015

Having our cake and eating it too!

We finally made a cake! Although we enjoy experimenting with all kinds of savory dishes, our explorations into the world of cakes and desserts have been a bit limited. Strawberry shortcake is a perennial favorite (at least when strawberries are in season), and panna cotta is another reliable go-to dish – but honest-to-goodness cakes are a rare sight indeed in the Monkeyshines household.
That changed recently when Mrs Monkeyshines’ sister came to visit and brought with her a big bag of kumquats from the family homestead down south – what better way to use them than in Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Honeyed Kumquats? Before going any further, we should acknowledge that this isn’t an original recipe but hails from the esteemed (web) pages of You can find the recipe – which we followed fairly faithfully for once – here.
This was quite a performance – it took two of us most of the afternoon – but was worth the effort and we’d definitely make it again for a special occasion. Here’ then, is a brief outline of what we did:

(1) First, here are the beautiful kumquats and the hazelnuts. We took the husks off the latter using the metal sieve technique as shown. (The recipe calls for unhusked hazelnuts; we weren’t sure if this meant to take the husks off or not?)

(2) Candying the kumquats – we added less star anise than the recipe called for since it seemed a bit too much of a good thing

(3) Here is the crunch – Hazelnut brittle. I’ve never made a brittle before and thought it came out pretty well!

(4) The cake worked! A bit rough around the edges, but we trimmed that off and cut it into 3 equal pieces, ready to assemble.

(5) Layer 1, topped with cream, kumquats and chopped hazelnut brittle

(6) Et voila! Thanks Epicurious!