Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Kumquat chiffon cake

Recently a few bloggers enthusiastically exploring kumquat makes me realize that this fruit is so much underprivileged in my home town (Hongkong, China). The trees are cultivated in many farms, some of them are just meant to be for Chinese New Year's home deco. After the festival ended, we usually throw the whole tree (yes, the fruit too) out, and even laugh at our mothers how frugal they are when they picking off the fruits to make preserves. Kumquat's whole rinds are editable as the white part isn't bitter like that of lemon or orange. So I sliced the whole fruit and created these caramelized kumquat, topped on kumquat-scented chiffon cake.

Since I feel the oil in kumquat's skin is fairy high, I only intent to lend its aura in the cake, the cake will be finalized by marmalade filling and garnished by caramelized kumquat. If you rather enjoy eating the cake on its own without filling or anything else, you may add kumquat zest into the cake batter.

Ingredients (yield a cake with 10-inch dia.)

  • To caramelize kumquat: 2/5 cup white sugar, 2/5 cup damerara sugar, 12 oz kumquat, 1/2 cup water
  • For the cake (for 10-inch tube pan):
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup kumquat syrup (left from caramelizing procedure), add orange juice if you don't get enough
  • 6 yolks
  • 1/3 cup corn/ veg oil
  • a couple dashes of vanilla extract
  • 7 egg whites
  • 5 Tbps sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • a few pinches of salt
  • for filling/garnish: marmalade and caramelized kumquat


  1. To caramelize kumquat: Wash and slice kumquat, about 1/4-cm thick, seed out. In a small pot, bring the water and sugars to boil, and simmer over medium - medium/low heat for 10 minutes. Add kumquat, continue to boil for another 15 minutes. Drain, and save the syrup.
  2. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Get the baking pan ready. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the yolk with a pinch of salt until slightly pale, add oil and kumquat and beat until they corporate. Add two dashes of vanilla extract. Combine the yolk mixture and the flour mixture. Set aside.
  4. In another big mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt into the egg whites, beat until frothy, add cream of tartar, beat until soft-peaked, add sugar, little by little, and beat until hard-peaked.
  5. Use a big spatula, scoop 1/3 of the white egg foam into the flour/yolk mixture, gentle mix until combine. Then add another 1/3, fold, and the last 1/3, fold the batter very carefully. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in the 350F oven for 5 minutes, then lower to 330F and bake until done, test with inserting toothpick into cake and it should come out (almost) clean. Total baking time is about 40 minutes.
  6. With some supports, turn the pan upside-down to cool for 2 hours, unmold. Slice the cake horizontally, spread with marmalade, topped with caramelized kumquat as garnish



Saffron said...

Unfortunately I've never tasted kumquat! I think is really good...especially in this cake!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, Gattina!

These photos are amazing! I need to buy a chiffon cake pan, right now!

The idea of using kumquat is lovely, so is the cake presentation. I love the colors, the cake really looks light and refreshing, perfect!

Unknown said...

A perfect chiffon, so beautiful with the glazed kumquat topping, lovely!

Kalyn Denny said...

I agree, the photos are beautiful and I haven't tasted kumquat either. In fact, I'm not sure if I've even seen them. Thanks for introducing me to something new.

Krithika said...

I really like kumquat. I usually buy it from our neighborhood chinese store. Cake looks fabulous.

Freya said...

This Chiffon Cake looks unbelievably beautiful! Like a fairy tale cake! What a shame to cut it, but I'm certain it tastes far better than it looks even!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, something about the color and the clearness of it does give this a fairy tale like appearance! It's really beautiful!
It is strange to eat the entire fruit, skin and all but I do love these.

FH said...

I have never tasted them,but looks delicious almost like orangy lemon!Photos are fab as usual and cake sounds great.Great colors,good for winter gloom!:))

Rachel said...

Beautiful! I love the kumquat topping!

Gattina Cheung said...

Simona, your country has all kinds of interesting fruits, I think it takes my whole life time to sample them all too!

Patricia, thank you so much sweetie! Sometimes later I'll make pasta, will try to snap more shots about the procedure and my machine... hope you'll find them useful :)

Angie, when I made this cake I thought of you... another chiffon cake big fan :)

Kalyn, kumquat has a lot of resembles of orange/tangerine. My husband hasn't tasted kumquat either.

Krithika, really? My mom used to make jars and jars of its preserve (with salty brine), sometimes I just pluked one or two into my mouth... soooooo salty, but I like it.

Freya, thanks for your sweet words :) Cut it... so we can share :D

Tanna, I understand... many guys in Hk don't buy the whole idea either. Seems to me ladies born to love sour food.

Asha, thank you sweetheart! I don't have kumquat tree to decorate my house (Chinese New Year is around the corner), this cake kind of fills up the space :)

Rachel, thanks! They're very easy to do too.

Mishmash ! said...

Oh myyyyyyyyy! What a great pic !btw, I have never tasted them...resembles orange.


Brilynn said...

I've never made anything with kumquats, they're not very common here. Your cake looks lovely!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely cake! I am a big fan of kumquats, and you are making them stand out beautifully!

Anh said...

This looks amazing! Totally agree with you about the decorating purposes of kumquat in our countries! :D We have one every year. I love them, can just eaten raw - skin and all (Except for the seeds of course!).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the idea...I never know what to do with kumquats.

Callipygia said...

Gattina this color is s(t)unning and the cake beautiful! You know I also made some kumquat preserved the way you suggested. I thought the rind was wonderful but found the goop part to taste a bit funny. Did you notice the same with yours?

Glenna said...

This is wonderful! I can't wait to make your recipe. My aunt just got me started with kumquats and I love them. I made some quick bread the other day and it was very good so now I want to explore more. Beautiful pics!

Bong Mom said...

You are an artist in the kitchen, your end products are soo perfect I am left speechless most of the time.
have never tasted kumquat, didn't even know about it a minute earlier

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of my favorite photo sets of yours so far. So bright and cheerful, clean and crisp. Very nicely done.

Helene said...

That first picture took my breath away! I love kumquats, they are easy to snack on and stisfly my love for anything tart.
Great recipe, but you have to stop! Everytime I stop by there it is something new I want to try! Not enough days in one year!

Pooja said...

Hi Gattina,
this is simply superb. I just love your pictures, Cakes are my all time fevorite. I just love yours too . Seems like the the valentine's week - cake is in the air, just saw some on Vini's and nidhi's blogs too . :) . youa ll are killing me together. may be someday i will start baking good cake. :))

Anh said...

Gattina, it is me again! Just come over to give you a big hug and a big thank you for your perfect pizza base recipe. :D I made it today and man, it is truly the best pizza base I have ever eaten! Thanks so much! (No pic as yet since I am too busy eating hehehe!)

Gattina Cheung said...

Shn, thanks! Taste-wise, for me it more on 50%tagerine+40%orange+10%%lemon, hehee.

Brilynn, then I can tell there's no Chinese in your town (or within 10 miles) :D

Sher, it's so sweet of you to share that sweet memory! Your mom's such a great baker! My mom can't bake, but she is a good shopper :D She often buys dried kumqat (preserved with salt and sugar) and eats them as candy.

Bea, right, I still remember your fantastic tart!!! Thanks for your compliment!

Anh, we only bought kumquat tree once of twice in New Year, our apartment in Hongkong was tiny... 6 people, 4 cats, some birds, turtle... Thanks for your sweet comment pal!

Peabody, thank you! You leg got better now?

Callipgyia, I found the taste nothing particularly, unless you meant the texture ... gooey and slimy *evil smile* But that doesn't bother, I think I've used to it since young... our mothers liked to buy dried kumquat or made their own preserves (the latter would be in salt instead of sugar), the goop part was always slimy. I guess it's what you meant buddy :D

Glenna, how's your quick bread? Now I still save that caramelized kumquat for snacking, but it's be great if using in baked goods too!

Sandeepa, if you have a chance walking by any store owned by Chinese, by their windows or door they ususally place a pot of fruit-bearing plant, which more likely is kumqaut :D Take a look next time :D

Kristen, I think we all bored by the lifeless winter... this set of colors reminds me of sun :D Thanks for your sweet words.

Helene, oh you'r so sweet!!! XOXO

Pooja, thanks for your encouragement my friend! I just come up an idea for love in the air... will experiement it, wish me success :D

Anh my friend, glad you like it, I'm so happy!!! I know, when I make pizza, I hate taking pic... I don't want my pizza got cold, not a single bit!

Anonymous said...

Hu Gattina! This kumquat cake is perfect. It's like to a special gift. Bravissima! Kisses and have a good weekend. Ciao:-)

Pooja said...

Hey Gattina,
A bunch of best luck wishes to you dear ... success is all yours. nothing to afraid, whrn you think something about cooking , I am sure its going to ger succeed.

Sri said...

Gattina, Awesome!!! Beautiful snap. Never tasted kumquat but looks like mini oranges from outside...Loved the cake kind of like burst of sunshine :)

Anonymous said...

The word chiffon alone makes me want to bake this cake! Glorious colour! And being Dutch I love al things orange...


Sandra said...

Gattina this recipe sound very very good!!! I love kumquat... and photos are very beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I bought a bag full of kumquats at the market last week. Tart!

archana said...

You are just too good Gattina, i sometime wonder how you come up with all these fabulous ideas. Lovely pictures.

Revathi said...

wow u r such an artist !!

Anonymous said...

I admit that I didnt know about Kumquat unless I saw it here on your blog. With such a beautiful picture of tempting dessert you have encouraged me to find and try this recipe. Thanxs so much for sharing such a lovely recipe

Helene said...

Hi Gattina,
beautiful as ever. I have a little kumquat tree and next time it bears fruit I´ll try your delicious recipe. :)

Lia said...

hmmmmm really great! i owe to have one sliced ;)

Coffee and Vanilla said...


I'm hosting AFAM - kumquats this month, today is the last day and I would love to have this recipe as your entry.

Thank you, Margot