Images and recipes from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson.
Olive Oil Rosemary Apricot Cake
“For the non-sweet tooths out there, this one’s for you. This savoury combination of olive oil, rosemary and lemon in a cake is just sensational and so wonderfully Mediterranean. If you are desperate to make this outside of apricot season, apricot halves tinned in syrup make a good substitute.
5 eggs, separated
165 g (53/4 oz/ 3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar + extra 1 tablespoon, to sprinkle
1/4 teaspoon salt
185 ml (6 fl oz/ 3/4 cup) olive oil
Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
150 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
10 apricots, halved & stones removed, or tinned apricot halves, drained
1 quantity Vanilla Sour Cream or Vanilla Crème Fraîche (for both, see page 203) or Yoghurt Mascarpone Cream (see page 206)
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) fan-forced. Grease the ring of a 20–22 cm (8–81/2 inch) springform tin, then turn the base upside down, so it no longer has a lip. Place a piece of baking paper over it, then clamp the ring around it to secure.
To make the cake, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until just foamy. Add only 55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) of the caster sugar in two batches, whisking well between each addition, until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Combine the egg yolks, remaining caster sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk with an electric mixer on high speed until pale and thick. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking on high speed until all of it has been used. Add the lemon zest and juice, rosemary and flour, and stir with a whisk until just combined. Whisk in one-third of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then add the remainder and stir very gently with the whisk until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and arrange the apricot halves in concentric circles on top, working from the outside in. Sprinkle the extra 1 tablespoon caster sugar evenly over the surface, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes
out clean. Rest the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, before releasing
the ring and sliding the cake onto a wire rack to cool. Rest for about
30 minutes, before slicing and serving with your choice of dolloping cream – warm works for this cake!
With all the different styles of dolloping cream, you should know you don’t actually need a recipe. All you want is to remember the ratio. Rule of thumb is icing sugar will always be 10% of the cream amount no matter what. For example, you would mix 30 g (1 oz) icing sugar with 300 ml (101/2 fl oz) of cream, then it’s generally 1–11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or to taste. With the cultured creams, you could probably add a smidgen more icing sugar to balance the sharpness but, as is, they will be especially perfect for those who prefer things not overly sweet.
Makes about 300 ml (101/2 fl oz)
300 ml (101/2 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) pure icing (confectioners’) sugar or icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
Vanilla Sour Cream or Vanilla crème Fraîche
Sour cream and crème fraîche are the next options. Both of these
are cultured creams, so have a desirable sharpness that is great for cutting through sweet things, but they differ in fat content.
Sour cream has a lower fat content, which means it does not whip. It’s structurally more similar to yoghurt, so you get a more runny finish that will separate if left for a while. Sour cream is also easier to find.
Crème fraîche, on the other hand, can be whipped because of its higher fat content, but it will only be to soft to medium peaks.
To make Vanilla Sour Cream, use the crème Chantilly recipe, but swap out the cream for sour cream, and stir with a spoon to combine.
To make Vanilla Crème Fraîche, use the crème Chantilly recipe, but swap out the cream for crème fraîche, and hand-whisk to soft or medium peaks. This will split if you overwhisk it, and the only remedy is to start again with fresh ingredients.
Yoghurt Mascarpone Cream
I love the look of surprise on people’s faces when I give them a spoonful of this. They expect ‘rich’ and they expect ‘cream’, but what’s wonderful is that, instead, they get this light, mildly sharp, vanilla-y, subtly sweet cultured flavour that, to be honest, trumps a conventional crème Chantilly in most cases. It doesn’t always hold well, depending on what brands of yoghurt and mascarpone you use, so it’s not good for engineering anything that needs to be structurally sound such as between layers of cake. It’s best for dolloping generously on things like pavlova or other meringue desserts, slices of tea cake or poached fruit.
Makes about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups)
250 g (9 oz/1 cup) mascarpone cheese
250 g (9 oz/1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
50 g (13/4 oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture
1–2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth. This will keep perfectly for up to 2 weeks, seeing as both the cheese and the yoghurt are cultured forms of dairy.