Steamed cream cheese sponge cakes
This year it felt as if we jumped from winter to summer, and now it's backtracked to spring. I wrote about a Japanese cookbook I bought last year. I have made at least half of all the dishes in the book. The dishes are light and perfect for Spring and Summer, and have been adapted well for home cooking -- quick, easy, and made with fairly common ingredients. Today I craved some sweets but didn't want to make anything heavy with lots of butter. This recipe jumped out and truly, it is one of the easiest cakes I have ever made. Oh did I mention this is made in a microwave oven? The product is a light and fluffy spongy cake -- actually quite similar to the Cantonese dim sum cakes (馬拉糕). The author also suggested serving it with peanut cream -- basically peanut butter with sugar and heavy cream -- a taste of this reminds me of many Asian sweets and pastries that incorporate peanuts. American peanut butter and its derivatives (like Reese's Peanut Butter Cup) are so heavy on the peanuts it's often overwhelming. This peanut cream has enough peanut butter to lend a pronounced peanut taste, but feels light and creamy enough to be a "sauce." It is quite good for this cake or other desserts. The cake itself is also amenable to many changes. I can easily think of using peach or almond flavors to substitute the white wine.
Steamed Cream Cheese Cakes (Adapted from Harumi's Japanese Cooking by Harumi Kurihara)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 Tbsp white wine
1 Tbsp heavy cream
dash of vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1. Prepare 4 ramekins by lining them with parchment paper. It is fine to have wrinkles. The edges of the paper can remain standing upwards.
2. Put cream cheese and wine in a bowl and microwave at medium for 20 seconds. Whisk until smooth and mix in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.
3. Use an electric mixture and whip the egg and sugar in another bowl until thick and forms a ribbon. Sprinkle into this mixture the baking powder and flour. Gently fold them in.
4. Fold in the cream cheese mixture.
5. Divide the mixture into the lined ramekins. Cover each ramekin loosely with cling wrap, which should be propped up by the parchment paper and doesn't touch the batter.
6. Microwave all 4 ramekins together on low for 5 minutes. Then microwave again on medium for 2-3 minutes. The cake should be springy when pressed on top. Or test with a toothpick in the center. Remove cakes from the paper and serve with toppings immediately or cooled.
Peanut cream (Adapted from Harumi's Japanese Cooking by Harumi Kurihara)
2 Tbsp powder sugar
6 Tbsp heavy cream
3 Tbsp peanut butter
1. Whisk sugar and cream until thickened
2. Whisk in the peanut butter until smooth.