|Filipino Custard Cake|
(aka Leche Flan Cake)
As I have learned in the past years about baking more complicated types of cakes that involve whipping eggwhites, I finally had the gumption to bake custard cake, when one of my readers, jun m., commented on that post about it and offered his tip:
The cake used in custard cakes found here in the Philippines is simply Chiffon Cake with some minor changes in the original chiffon cake recipe you would usually find in recipe books/the internet. Instead of the usual 2 1/4 cups of sifted cake flour, use 2 1/2 cups. Omit the salt as well. You can also add a tablespoon of grated calamansi rind for flavor. Pour the custard mixture (over the cooled caramel) in the pan then pour the chiffon cake batter. The batter will float on top of the custard mixture! Bake it in a baine marie. jun m.True, my Nanay told me that what she remembers from her long-ago baking lesson about making this custard cake was that the cake batter floats on the leche flan. She taught the recipe to our bakers back when we had a bakery in the Philippines, then forgot about it. As such, it used to be one of my favorite merienda item which was quite expensive than the usual ensaymada or pianono.
So with that comment left by jun m., once again the craving kicked in, and I searched for a basic lemon chiffon cake recipe without hard-to-find special ingredients, and used that recipe as a basis, with some changes in the ingredients. I had to say the the outcome after the first try was enough to make me stick to the recipe.
Of course for the leche flan part, I used my never-fail leche flan recipe (at least for me and my friends and relatives), which can be found here.
Right after baking, my sons and I tried the individual servings baked in ramekins. It was good.
I chilled the one baked in 13x9 inch pan before inverting, which to me was even better than the warm and freshly baked! Best on the third day even! So this is definitely one Pinoy cake favorite that we can prepare up to 3 days ahead of time. And I have to add that my American in-laws loved this Pinoy-style cake (they even preferred it over the usual cake with frosting).
Ingredients for chiffon cake:
5 eggs, separated while cold
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon oil
6 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (You may prepare your own, although I used a KAF brand here)
Instructions for the whole custard cake:
1. Caramelize white sugar in the pans (the amount of sugar is approximately about 1 cup to 1&1/2 cup for the 13x9.) UPDATE as of 11/6/11: I have found an easier, quicker and more convenient way of caramelizing sugar in the microwave. It takes less than 5 minutes. Place 1 cup sugar in pyrex glass, add enough water to wet all (about 2-3 tbsp maybe), then microwave for 5 minutes on high. As soon as you reach 3 minutes, keep your eyes on it, as it boils and turns to light amber to golden amber to dark amber. Stop at your desired color. Watch the video below to see how I do it. WARNING: Caramelizing sugar is VERY VERY HOT and might make your glass bowl EXPLODE. Make sure you are using microwavable bowls or cups that have no nicks.
Let cool and harden. Place the pan/s in bigger pan/s with cold water, such that water will reach about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan/s. (This is bain marie method, or steam bath.)
Tip: It is better to use more than required than discover you used very little. Why? If you use very little, that caramelized sugar dissolves somewhat after baking, which gives the syrup that drips when you invert. If you use too little, you create some sort of a vacuum that somehow sucks the leche flan as you invert the cake, then creates some wrinkle, or a rough appearance of the leche flan in case this actually reaches the pan at some spots where the caramel dissolves completely. If you use more than enough, those spots will not be there, there will still be caramel that is not dissolved and you will have enough syrup so that the cake will slide off smoothly upon inverting, leaving you with a smooth top, not wrinkly. And if you do have a good layer of hard caramel remaining, you can still use this pan for leche flan.
Tip:Aluminum pans are perfect for this purpose because you can cook the sugar directly in it.
2. Prepare the leche flan mixture in the blender and set aside.
The recipe/method for the flan can be found here. Basically, the ingredients are
4 whole eggs
1 can condensed milk (14-oz)
1 can evaporated milk (15-oz)
1 tsp vanilla plus few drops of McCormick lemon extract essence)
Tip: Do not pour this mixture right away into the caramelized pan. Prepare the chiffon cake batter first before you pour the leche flan mixture into the caramelized pan. Why? If you pour early, then proceed to prepare the cake batter, then that leche flan will start dissolving the caramel (remember that this caramel is still sugar). So do it when you are really ready to bake.)
3. Prepare the cake batter.
Separate the eggs while still cold (they separate easier when cold). Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and let sit at room temperature (the eggwhites whip more beautifully when at room temp.)
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Make a well at the center and add the liquid ingredients and lemon rind. Add 1/4 cup sugar at the sides with the flour. Start beating with a hand mixer from the center going outward so that the dry ingredients are slowly incorporated. Beat until well blended.
Beat the egg whites using a clean and dry beater until it foams, then gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until it forms soft peaks (I read somewhere that overbeating might cause the cake to be brittle. I want my cake to be more satiny soft and not have the dry feel. The main reason for this beating of egg white is to enable incorporation of air into the cake to make it light and airy, of course, which is a characteristic of any chiffon or sponge cakes.
Gently fold the egg whites to the batter using a spatula, make sure that you mix very gently. I found a special kind of whisk to do this in less time, distributing the bubbles evenly.
Pour the leche flan into the prepared pans. (In subsequent batches I made, I used the exact 1 recipe of leche flan with 1 recipe of the chiffon cake in a 13x9 pan, which gave me the ratio of leche flan to cake that I like...just the right amount.) Pour cake batter on top of the leche flan mixture. Because the cake batter has a lot of air incorporated in it due to the whipped egg whites, it floats. Bake these at 325 °F for 20 to 25 minutes for the individual ramekins, and about 45-50 minutes for the 13x9 (ovens have varying heat, so if it is your first time to bake a certain recipe, keep watching during the last few minutes of baking.
Checking for doneness can be done with toothpick (If toothpick comes out clean, it is done.). My preferred method is tapping with finger (I use the spring-back action and the hollow sound as my gauge.) This is because I usually do not remember to get more toothpicks once we use them up. :)
My American family loves anything custardy when freshly baked. I prefer them chilled because somehow, it smells more eggy when still warm.
I have been working on the video above for the past month...dumudugo ilong ko trying hard to prepare video, but here I am plugging away because there are those requesting videos instead of just slideshow of photos. I hope my efforts are appreciated. Nakakasama ng loob pag me nag-iiwan ng comment sa videos ko that are not only unappreciative, but very demeaning. If you don't like my videos, which are mainly prepared to clarify my instructions in this foodblog, and not to entertain or to stand alone, just do not make any comments on them, lalo na kung ikaw mismo ay walang kontribusyon na maitutulong sa madlang Pilipino. Hindi naman po ako professional videographer nor a chef nor a culinary expert. Just sharing what I am learning as I adapt in my American kitchen and try to keep the Filipino traditions alive and to provide solutions to my cravings. Such comments are so discouraging to bloggers like me whose main reason to blog is to share FREE KNOWLEDGE gathered from our own efforts of research to spare others from going through the hardships of what we went through. I (and other food bloggers) could have chosen to keep my recipes within my family to be passed on from generation to generation, but I am not that selfish.
Pasensya na po at naghinga pa ako ng sama ng loob dito...