I’d like to begin this post by saying that what I’m about to tell you is completely biased. The moment the word durian get uttered out loud, people either start to run the other way or, the more brave ones say, MMM “where is it?” I dated a guy who told me that durian was the blue cheese of fruits. It’s aroma is extremely potent, those who are opposed to the fruit say that it smells like dirty socks or old laundry. I think that’s an exaggeration. I actually love the smell of durian and even though I can’t quite describe the aroma to you, it’s anything but stinky to me. Then again, I grew up in a household where we all enjoyed the fruit and often, when we’d buy the whole fruit, we’d keep the spiky rind around the house (like potpourri) for days because it smelled so good to us. In different parts of Vietnam, we’d incorporate the pulp of the fruit into cakes, cookies, and smoothies. In America it is so hard to find a good durian cake. If you happen to find a bakery that makes durian cake, often the cake is bland and it’s made with artificial durian. YUCK.
About a month ago I started playing around with a durian cake recipe. I like to use standard chiffon cake because it’s light and fluffy. I bought seedless durian at an Asian market and folded it in whipped cream. Sometimes I add chopped up chestnuts for texture. The overall result of this cake is pretty amazing. The cake is fluffy, the whipped topping never too sweet and most importantly you taste the durian.
Recipe for 9 inch cake
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 7 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into sifter. Sift into bowl. Make a well; add oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, and pandan flavoring to the well in the order that is given. Set aside. Don’t beat.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very stiff. Set aside.
- Using same beaters, beat egg yolk batter until smooth and light. Pour gradually over egg whites, folding in with rubber spatula. Do not stir.
- Butter and flour a 9×3 inch cake pan and pour batter.
- Bake for 55 minutes. Increase heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake 10 to 15 minutes until done. Invert pan until cool.
- 1 1/2 cups seedless durian pulp, mashed. If frozen, allow to defrost completely before using
- 4 cups of heavy whipped cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 tsp gelatin + 4 Tablespoons water
- 8 oz can sliced chestnuts, drained, and diced
Making whipped cream
- In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin with the cold water. Stir well and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well so that the gelatin is completely dissolved into the water and should be clear without lumps.
- In your cold mixing bowl, beat the cream on slow speed and gradually increase until it gets thick and starts to form peaks.
- Gradually add in powdered sugar.
- Now add the gelatin mixture and vanilla. The cream should be firm.
- Divide the half of the cream and fold in the mashed durian and chestnuts.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into 3 even layers. On the first layer, spread half of the durian whipped cream. Repeat with another cake layer and the rest of the durian cream.
- Spread the rest of the plain whipped cream all over the cake evenly.
- You can freeze this for up to a week. It’s best eaten cold so if you have time, leave it in the ice box for 3 hours before serving. Enjoy!