The month of April has come & gone… I spent my April back at home in New Zealand!
Spring was starting here in the US, and I jetted off to Windy Wellington, where it was getting colder! Now it’s been about 3 years since I’ve been in New Zealand… but 10 whole years since I’ve been back to Wellington!! It was amazing to be back in the city I grew up in my earlier years, and see “the bucket fountain”, Te papa, Mt Victoria and all these places I’ve been to 10 years ago! Shockingly my parents lived about 10 minutes away from my former Primary school (I went there only for about 2 years? maybe even less) and I remembered where the docs office was, the school hall and even my classroom! I have to say that I met my handsome nephew and beautiful niece, and just fell in love with them too!! My cousin and I shared our enthusiasm over baking and cooking and I loved that I was able to catch up with her too! She gave me a BEAUTIFUL Rachel Carley plate which was just the sweetest most darling plate I’ve seen and I’ve already used it to take pictures of my food, which you will see in future posts! So it was a great trip, filled with nostalgic memories and new memories too!!
My father’s birthday is in April too… so it was great that I was able to be there for his birthday!! I know that he prefers fruity flavours over chocolate cake (Pfft… boys!!), so I thought I would try out a cake that I have tried (& failed) to make previously…. a swirly layered cake!! More specifically a Passionfruit & Raspberry swirl layered cake or a spiral, vertical layered cake.
This cake was so much fun to make, but very time consuming! The first time I made this cake, I made a whole cake in a 9 inch pan and then cut the cake to vertical circles… Does that make sense? Here’s a picture from the internet to show you what I tried to do…
Anyway, this didn’t work for me… When I tried to sandwhich the layers the frosting was super thin, and oozed out… Didn’t give me the satisfaction I was looking for…
So I went back to the more difficult (But oh so much more satisfying!!) option!
I made 4 batches of sponge cake, (Yes that many!!) and baked them in a swiss roll tin. I only used three in the end though… the fourth one didn’t come out that well. It was ok though! The three sheets gave me 9 cake strips ( for a 3 inch tall cake).
I made a Passionfruit curd with Passionfruit and Lemon. I had to convert the recipe to a dairy free version which makes the curd runnier than their buttery counterpart! So I added some thickener in the form of extra egg yolks and gelatine. Here’s another secret! To make it even MORE fruitier I added Freeze dried Passion fruit Powder! Do you know what magical properties that has in this? It actually takes away some of the moisture! So it thickens the curd just that little bit more! Magic Stuff 🙂 Plus I absolutely love Freeze dried Fruit powder!
I didn’t have to make a raspberry sauce either. Why? I WAS IN NEW ZEALAND!!! New Zealand has an AMAZING jam line called Anathoth which makes AMAZING fruit spreads! No preservatives, or artificial additives and just tastes home made! So I used their Raspberry Jam .
I spread the Passionfruit curd and Raspberry Jam onto the cake and star rolling it up… like a fruit roll up! The first one is easy… the second one however, you have to make sure that it starts exactly where the 1st one ends… and it continues until you get the cake size you want!! The more cake… the larger the cake!
Once I was done with the rolling up process, I had to tie the cake up and let the filling and cake firm up a bit… or semi frozen is fine too! I used a ribbon instead of thread because I didn’t want the thread to cut into it, plus a thick ribbon will offer more stability than a thin thread.
The cake looked great after it had time to firm up a little. I used the bottom of the cake as the top because it was far more smoother to frost.
The base of the cake was a thin puff pastry (Baked and glazed with raspberry). This is so that the cake can be held together… & as an added bonus adds some crunch to the cake slice too!
As the cake was very fruity with citrus flavours… I frosted the cake with dairy free- vanilla bean frosting!
I had to keep the cake hidden until after I frosted it to keep the surprise from my father! However, my mother, sister and my husband (who was in the US) were in on it! After I frosted the cake, he was allowed to look at it 🙂
The dinner party was great!! My uncle, aunt, cousins and their children came over! The two kids made my sister and I some of the best pretend tea that I have ever tasted and we had so much fun!!
I was anxious about cutting the cake because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out… but thankfully it went really well!!! My Father and everyone else was surprised by the vertical layers in the cake… and it tasted pretty good too!! I am glad about the puff pastry layer at the bottom because it did add a great crunch!!
My husband was pretty jealous when I came back home, and showed him pictures of the cake 🙂 So I surprised him with a sponge cake with traditional horizontal layers!! I’ll write about this next week!!
Which brings me to my rant… WHY IS THERE NO PASSIONFRUIT??? NZ and Australia have passionfruit pulp in the supermarkets all year round… but I just couldn’t find any here!! I felt a sadness that surprised myself!!! But I will keep an eye out for passionfruit season here in the US (hopefully!!!)
All in all, my father’s cake was a great success and the thin vertical layers were FAR better than my first version of the vertical layered cake! The frosting, while still thin, was perfect because the cake was thin too! With sponge cakes, since it really soaks up the flavours so readily it stayed beautifully moist, and sturdy too!
It was alot of work to make the vertical layer swirl cake, but it was definitely worth all the work!! I loved the element of surprise that it lends to any occasion too!!!