How To: Strawberry and Lychee Cake

Hey Nibblers!

It’s been a while. And by a while, I mean it’s been three years. Three years!
It’s crazy to think how all that time has passed and the world that we find ourselves in today. I’m grateful for all the changes I have had in my life in the past three years. I have left my parent’s nest, gotten engaged, moved to a different role at work, had a destination wedding in Nha Trang, Vietnam just before COVID 19 hit the world, navigating the nuances of a long distance relationship as husband and wife and now find myself finally feeling refreshed to get back into what I used to do – baking, cooking and basically creating my own recipe book through Nibble Nation.

This recipe was a request from my friend Tree. It has been a little tradition of ours that I bake a cake for my favourite furry friend, Nemo (i.e Tree’s cat). I’m not much of an animal person and I’m allergic to cats but Nemo, steals my heart. This year was the fourth year that we’ve kept up with this tradition. Tree’s cake inspiration this year came from Poh Ling Yeow’s ‘Strawberry and Lychee Cake’ she made in one of the challenges on this year’s Masterchef competition on Channel 10. Poh’s recipe can be found here.
I gave her recipe a go and it was delicious, light chiffon sponge and fragrant however, I wanted to put my spin on it. I decided on a more denser sponge which I personally prefer as it adds more bite to the cake. But the winner in all this is the lychee cream. This no doubt is a crowd pleaser and if you’re ever short on time, pick up your favourite naked sponge from the supermarket or local bakery, whip up a batch of lychee cream, fill and decorate with strawberries/ lychee and Bob’s your uncle. Winning dish to any pot luck.

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How To: Strawberry and Lychee Cake
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Makes 1 x 20cm round cake (Serves 8)

What you’ll need:
For lychee / coconut sponge
– 125g unsalted butter (softened to room temp)
– 2 eggs
– 1 Tbs. Lychee Liqueur (I used Litchao Lychee Liqueur – use whatever you like)
– 150g sugar
– 225g self-raising flour
– 125mL coconut cream (*See notes)
– 500g strawberries (washed, dried and hulled – I usually do this the night before)
– 1 can of whole pitted lychees – drained of syrup (I usually can only grab 560g can so plenty leftover for baking snacks)
For Lychee cream
– 600mL thickened cream (Must be Full fat so it can be whipped to the right consistency)
– 6 Tbs. granulated sugar
– 1 Tbs. lychee liqueur

Note: With any leftover coconut cream, I love to pop it in the freezer in an airtight container and whip it out when I want to pop it in a curry, laksa, sweet soup or to cook rice in. If you don’t have the space, I also love to quickly whip up the coconut cream until stiff, add a few Tbs. of cocoa and some honey and you have a bit of a cheeky second dessert to enjoy.

How to:
Lychee / coconut sponge:
1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit (fan-forced preferable)
2. Line cake tin with baking paper OR spray all edges with canola spray or smear with thin layer of butter to prevent cake sticking to tin
3. Whisk butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes)
4. Add in lychee liqueur and eggs and mix until well incorporated
5. Add in half of the flour and half of the coconut cream and mix until even throughout
6. Add the rest of the flour and coconut cream until smooth
7. Pour cake mix into cake tin and spread evenly around the edges of the tin
8. Pop into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and allow cake to cool in tin for at least an hour (to ensure cake doesn’t split if removed from tin when hot) before placing on a cooling rack to cool down completely (Place cake in fridge or freezer to allow for faster cooling own process) before decorating
Lychee Cream:
1. Whisk thickened cream , icing sugar and lychee liqueur until stiff peaks then set aside in fridge until needed for assembly of cake
Assembling of cake:
1. Once cake is cooled, slice sponge in half to form two even layers then place on cake board or stand to decorate
2. For the most even cream distribution, place lychee cream in piping bag and even pipe enough cream to cover the surface of the first layer (thickness is up to your liking – I usually do about 5-10mm)
3. Roughly dice about 1/2 a punnet of strawberries and 1/2 lychees then sprinkle onto layer of cream
4. Carefully place top layer of cake then with lychee cream in a piping bag, pipe cream onto the cake starting from the base and going around the cake until you reach the centre of the top layer
5. With a clean off set spatula, smooth out edges on the outside of the cake and remove excess with a paper towel before going back in too fix any areas what may have been missed
6. Repeat step five for the top of the cake by pulling all the raised excess cream into the centre of the cake
7. For any uneven spots or areas, pipe cream onto the area then smooth out with off set spatula until desired effect
8. Wipe any excess cream from cake board or stand for a cleaner look
9. Add sliced strawberries and lychees to cake as desired and enjoy!

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I love the versatility of this cake and hope you enjoyed this recipe. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Nibble Away,
Jo

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