dreaming of cake.

cherry on top

i had an itch to do a little baking, but ended up doing a lot. i originally started with a few cookies from "baking: from my home to yours" by dorie greenspan; although her cookie recipes are very good, and they turned out well, i don't think i'm a cookie kind of gal. i asked you what i should bake, and boy, y'all responded.

dream cake

acornbud turned me onto hawaii's version of a dream cake, which is layers of chocolate chiffon cake with a whipped cream frosting and decorated with chocolate curls. i had never heard of it, or most likely, mistook it for a black forest cake (it looks remarkably like the popular devil's food white out layer cake from that dorie greenspan book i previously mentioned). as i normally do when it comes to hawaiian-style recipes, i turned to betty shimabukuro's "by request" column, which produced this gorgeous not-so-little cake. having never had a dream cake before, i don't know how it compares to others, but i found it to be moist, light in texture, but rich in flavour and therefore ono all the way.

bunch of buns

another thing i hadn't heard of previously was chelsea buns, as requested by miss saffron. chelsea buns, i've read, are similar to cinnamon rolls only made spicier with with the addition of a little bit of lemon zest in the dough and cardamon. i went ahead with a mod of my favourite cinnamon roll recipe, with the addition of the zest in the dough, currants, golden raisins, cardamon, two kinds of cinnamon and muscovado sugar in the filling.

chelsea bun

fluffy, golden, tender, fragrant, and yet not too sweet. perfect, really, for any time of day, and not so heavy that you'd want to take a nap after consumption of one. after two or three, however....

mango victoria sponge

no one suggested it, but i swear somehow akatsukira's, saffron's, or bowb's culinary adventures influenced my decision to make a victoria sponge. depending on what you read, the victoria sponge grew from either queen victoria's hunger for a little somethingsomething in the afternoon because apparently luncheon menus had become quite meager, or because she was encouraged to host tea parties as civic duty. whether borne from low blood sugar or civic pride, a traditional victoria sponge is not actually made from a true sponge cake which does not incorporate any fats within the cake; it is made by sandwiching two butter sponge cakes (obvs sponge cakes with butter in the recipe) with layers of jam and heavy cream (clotted or double cream, i imagine). for my victoria sponge, i decided to use a traditional sponge recipe, as most recipes i found for butter sponge involve self-raising flour which i didn't have, and because my family prefers an eggier, dryer cake (is that a somewhat specific asian upbringing thing? umami and i seem to think so). the recipe i used is tricky as the only leavening is the whipped egg whites, and darned if folding in the yolks and the flour isn't the biggest baking b***h i know, but it's worth the effort if you like a bit of a freak out and a fluffy, eggy cake.

sponge slice

i sandwiched the cakes with a layer of mango jam, far too many sliced, superripe philippine mangoes, and an extra-generous slather of whipped cream to make up for the lack of fat in the cakes. too much fruit and cream=somewhat unattractive presentation, but also =incredibly tasty cake.

j said that this is exactly the cake he wants at his wedding so yay! that covered zarah maria's suggestion of a wedding cake. next on the list: anne's suggestion of an ube cake or sans rival, anthony's somewhat perplexing request for a shaped german cake without a hole, robin's lemon or orange cake (might have to actually request a recipe for the orange crunch cake from betty), and maybe throw in a tall cake for saffy as well.


chelsea buns

the dough:
1/2 c. water
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. sugar
5 1/2 c. white flour (plus extra)
2 packets/14 g SAF instant rise yeast (not sure how other brands will perform)

add water, milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla together. in another large bowl, mix the lemon zest and dry ingredients. make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in. using a wooden spoon, stir everything until it forms a wet, sticky dough. keep stirring until the mixture has pulled away from the side of the bowl. tip the dough out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, knead the dough (adding flour if necessary) to shape it into a manageable ball that is still flooby and a bit sticky. place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to double in size in a warm place. punch down, divide the dough in two.

the filling:

2 tsp ground cardamom
5 tsp ground cinnamon (whatever kind you want to use is fine--i use vietnamese cassia and ceylon "true" cinnamon)
1 c. firmly packed muscovado or brown sugar
1 c. softened unsalted butter

mix all ingredients together.

1 c. (each) golden raisins, currants, or any dried fruit of choice


using a lined half-sheet jelly roll pan as your guide, roll and shaped a ball of dough to fit the size of the pan (i think it's 18"x 13"). spread half the filling mix (although i tend to use less--YMMV) onto the dough, leaving about an inch on one "long" side clean. sprinkle dried fruit over the filling. tightly roll the dough up lengthwise to the clean side, then use your fingers to pinch the dough seam closed. cut the dough into 12 equal portions (or whatever you can get out of it), arrange the pieces in a greased rectagular 9"x13" pan. repeat with the second ball of dough. cover pans and let rise until doubled.

bake in a 335°F oven for 20-25 minutes.


wow you've been busy! that bakers' thought resonance hit you too then? maybe the flour mills have been sending subliminal messages to counteract the atkins trend.

gorgeous cakes, btw. care to bring some with you on your next visit? i'll stand the tix to a concert in exchange for some Santos baking...

once the la kitchen is done, you and p should come over with doggy to visit crazy neighbours' crazy dog. actually, have you heard of "treat street"? it's a neighbourhood bake sale in silverlake. i'd love to do something similar on the westside, but i'm afraid of being sued by someone for daring to put nuts in my chocolate chip cookies or something.

*sigh* I should know by now not to check your page while hungry...


Chelsea buns sound fabulous!

Ooh, your cakes are so beautiful! I like the cherry. The one from Alexander Young had curls all over the top, too. The Chelsea Buns look terrific. I love cinnamon rolls and will have to try these out. What a good idea using the mangos in the cake.

Boy, when you decide to do something you do it with a vengeance! Everything looks fantasic, but those Chelsea buns (which I'd never heard of before either) really look great.

mmm...i just want to eat your blog! your photos look delicious.

oh! i am so pleased i somehow influenced your very elegant victoria sponge. i almost bought a painting of a victoria sponge today (the thick oil paint made the cream and jam filling *very* lush)... but in the end i chose a painting of a "packet butter cake". my first piece of Art. i'm so excited.

nice cinnamons. send cinnamons to my hunny and let her love you more.

Oh this is so much better than what I requested...I can forget the ube cake but the dream cake is something I won't easily forget, the chelsea buns which reminds me of my ever favorite cinnamon rolls and gosh! mangoes! I LOVE this post :) If this is a dream i wouldn't want to wake up!

alicia, they were pretty darned good, i have to say. the lemon zest really scented the dough beautifully, and enhanced the whole dried fruit thing going on.

acornbud, i couldn't find a photo of the alexander young cake, but ooh, i like the idea of chocolate all around. if you have a bread machine, you might want to use that for the chelsea buns--i had a bit of a problem stirring that dough around! it was really wet for awhile, but eventually gave way to mere stickiness ;)

hi cathy (laughing) i'm not quite done. soon!

buenas, jessica, thanks for taking the time to comment. hope you return!

bowb, art! yay! will you take a photo? the most 'spensive piece o' art i ever bought (back when i was making big moolah, alas) depicted a giant concrete doughnut. it's sooo faboo.

tommy, HATER. HATEY HATE HATE. mean mean cousin.

hi anne! i still want to try an ube cake or a sans rival. just trying to figure out the twist!

hi santos,
those baked goods? they're fantastic! did you whip them out in a week? round of applause to you..

Beautiful photos and those Chelsea buns look amazing!

YUMMY. That dream cake looks like red velvet cakes found at Chamoru fiestas, weddings or rosaries. I would like to try baking one. What brands do you recommend, for the chocolate, cake flour, whipping cream, etc.? And do you use a hand mixer or stand mixer? Was the meringue difficult to fold in? Thanks for the insider scoop! and the beautiful pics.

I had to really, really, REALLY keep myself from licking my screen! I look forward to your sansrival project.

Oh my that chocolate dream cake is making my mouth water! Gorgeous photos! You must have made those around you very happy last week with such nice treats!

Everything looks wonderful - although I have been hypnotized by the cinnamon rolls. :)

hello! i somehow missed all the comments! SORRYYYYYYY

but specifically to wifezilla, nothing special, all grocery store ingredients. i have a handmixer from 1976 that i cherish. i sometimes use it, sometimes i hand whisk things. no stand mixer. can't deal with the cleaning up!