I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.


Gluten and lactose are not my friends.


Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.


I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

August 20, 2013

Summer Dreams... Basil and Peach Chiffon Cake



Once upon a time.... a long, long while ago, there was warmth in the land

It was a time of rejoicing, of long days and weekend barbecues, stone fruit and salads...

It was known as Summer.

Today Summer seems very, very far away still with snow on our local hills and bitter, icy winds whipping around the windows and cutting through you to your very marrow when you're silly enough to go outside. I have been seeing subtle changes though, like shy blossoms starting to colour on the trees, and wattle wattling furiously along the roadsides, but it wasn't until I came across some imported Summer Peaches at the supermarket that I realised how much I was pining for warmer weather.

Now I grow a LOT of our own veggies, and I'm a great believer in eating locally and definitely supporting Australian farmers rather than overseas producers for fresh, tinned or frozen goodies - but I couldn't help it...they sat there glowing with red and gold, just like a sun kissed cheek and somehow a few of them ended up in my shopping trolley.

It would be wrong not to eat them now, wouldn't it?

Another great Summer love of mine is Basil. You can get it year round, but in the middle of Summer it grows prolifically in my herb garden and when I go outside the smell is so strong that it's glorious indeed. How about pairing the two ingredients for a taste of Summer? Something light as a change from heavy Winter comfort foods, something dreamy.... Basil and Peach Chiffon Cake
sounds just right!




Basil Chiffon Cake

180gm gf SR Flour
200gm Castor Sugar
8 Eggs
125ml Basil Juice or Water
125ml Oil - or Basil flavoured oil
1 tsp gf Baking Powder

3 Peaches

Syrup:
1 cup Castor Sugar
1 cup Water
1/2 bunch Basil

Cream
whipped with two tablespoons of basil juice or basil flavoured oil, and two teaspoons of castor sugar


Now my first challenge was to get the true flavour of Basil somehow. Just blitzing it up would work ok, but I wanted something a bit more refined than that so I decided to use my cold press juicer and managed to extract this much juice from a standard bunch of basil. There's also a great Basil oil available from Coles and Woolies that I thought of afterwards that I'll use next time as well. Care is key here, you don't want a cake that tastes like pesto!




Separate your eggs, be really careful to keep them clean and not let any yolk get into the whites or the cake won't work




Beat the egg whites with 100gms of the  sugar until stiff peaks form




In another bowl, whip the egg yolks with the other 100gm of sugar until nice and fluffy and ribbons remain on the surface when you dribble the mixture




Now beat in the water/juice and oil into the yolk mix until well combined




Mix in the sifted flour and baking powder, and stir into a lovely green tinted batter




Beat in a good spoonful of the eggwhites to lighten up the batter and loosen it up a little, then carefully fold through the rest of the whites. You want to keep in as much of the air bubbles as possible for a lovely light-as-a-dream finished cake




I wanted to make two small cakes instead of one regular sized one, so I split my mixture into two 18cm cake tins, but one larger one would be lovely,
DON'T grease the cake pans though. Even a using Non non-stick ones are better as Chiffon cake batter is similar to an Angel cake mix and uses the sides of the pan to cling to as it rises. If you only have coated pans like me, just make sure they are really clean with no greasy residue inside and you should be OK
Bake the cakes at 170*C for about 50-60 minutes until they spring back slightly when touched on top, don't prick these ones with a skewer to check as they can be a bit touchy




Now while your little cakies are in the oven, let's crack on with the Basil Syrup
Mix the sugar and water together in a pan, add in the basil, then simmer until the mix is slightly reduced and syrupy- easy peasy. Let it cool




Peach fuzz isn't the best texture in a cake, so peel them by blanching them in boiling water for a minute than peeling off the skin slowly, or just use a regular veggie peeler. I wanted to keep the blush on the flesh so I used the water method and went nice and slow.




Pop the sliced peaches into the basil syrup and let them mingle their yummy flavours while you bake and cook the cakes. You can do this step a day before if you like for a taste that's a bit more intense




Once the cake is cooked, cool it on a raised rack with the tin upside down. Chiffon cake is really like a cross between an Angel cake and a Sponge, but treat it more like Angel cake for the best results




Once cooled completely, split the cake into layers and give them a brush with some of the basil syrup for a sweet hit




On the bottom layer, plop on some cream, then top with some peach slices. I don't like to take my cream layer to the edge of the cake as it will squish out when cutting and look messy




On the top layer, take a very small amount of cream and spread a thin layer over the entire split surface. This ensures it doesn't dry out, and helps the top layer stick to the peaches underneath without slipping around




Put the layers together then decorate the top of the cake with more cream and those sunny slices of peach


I really was so happy with this cake, and it certainly delivered my Summer Dream. The basil flavour was subtle and spicy, and didn't come across as savoury at all, the peaches were plump and juicy and despite their long journey hadn't forgotten their sweetness, and the cake was soft and fluffy....just like a dream indeed.....



So Dearest Readers, what is your Summer Dream and your favourite taste of Summer?



32 comments:

  1. I think I need to be more adventurous and try sweet baking with herbs!!! For this looks beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa! Herbs are such a lovely suprise ingredient- and yummy too :)

      Delete
  2. I can't wait until spring and summer! I saw jasmine on some bushes the other day and I was so happy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me either Lorraine! I love jasmine, it's the scent of Summer for sure xx

      Delete
  3. You two could always move up here. I've already got tomatoes on the vine (teensy ones).

    When you come, please bring this wonderful cake?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My family live up your way Maureen, and they are always teasing me with their year round veggies, we get such a short season comparatively :( So not fair! If I visit, I certainly will!

      Delete
  4. Love these flavours. I am not surprised you are missing winter it is so cold in Canberra. And thanks for your comment the other day there certainly is nothing wrong with a wobbly tart....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And this one gets even wobblier after a drink or two Tania :P xox

      Delete
  5. Yum! Glorious and summery! I can't believe it's been so cold for you - it's been very mild here! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stop rubbing it in Celia- we had sleet for most of this last week! Bring on Summer xox

      Delete
  6. It was very cold here in Sydney yesterday with an icy wind that whipped right through me but not nearly as bad as it's been in Canberra. At this point in the season we're all so ready for some heat from the sun! I love the look of you chiffon cake. I have never extracted juice from basil or cooked with basil in any other way than savoury style. I'd love to find out how this tastes. Great tips on how to assemble the cake! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could send you a slice sweetie, I owe you a cake or two after the gorgeous birthday cake you made me! Basil juice is nice a spicy but sweet as well xox

      Delete
  7. What a gorgeous cake recipe... we are close to spring here, so this would be such a wonderful treat:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tania! You certainly have had lovely weather up there- almost Summery instead of Spring :)

      Delete
  8. Love the mix of basil with peach here and you've created a really beautiful cake with them. That basil syrup was a great idea. We've still got peaches in our markets though their time is running out. Apples are starting to take over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John! Make the most of the stone fruit while you can, I can hardly wait for ours to come in- and the mangoes too!

      Delete
  9. Rebecca - I sooo want to dive into this cake. I am drooling. What a fabulous combination of peaches and basil...who would have thought? Glad you did - so clever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a nice compliment Ina :) Thanks sweetie!

      Delete
  10. A very pretty looking cake. I love unusual combinations of herbs and fruit like strawberries, basil and balsamic vinegar or orange and chillies or even watermelon, basil and feta cheese. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Corrie! I love weird and wonderful too, great ideas here thanks :)

      Delete
  11. I don't think I've ever tried basil outside of the savoury. I love the idea of teeing it with peaches! Looks most yum :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa! It's lovely with strawberries too :)

      Delete
  12. I have never made a chiffon cake!!! I really do have to fix that, and I love having fruity flavours in cakes.

    Gorgeous cake!!
    I hope it is warming too, I really don't like the cold ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks sweetie! YOu should certainly try it, it's quite easy really. I don't like the cold either, it's certainly easier to live here with central heating :)

      Delete
  13. Basil in a cake...you're the best. Bring on warmer weather!
    Heidi xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heidi! Hear hear, I heartily concur! xo

      Delete
  14. Oh man, I'm finding this winter in Melbourne to be especially cold for some reason. Summer feels as if it was agessss ago and also agessss before I get to experience it again. Having a cake like this would definitely brighten up my day =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just what I was thinking Winston, a taste of Summer is definitely needed for sure!

      Delete
  15. I've been seeing pictures of peach treats on Pinterest while dealing with teeming rains and single-digit temperatures here too. Bring on summer and bring on peach cakes!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you Amanda, preaching to the choir here! :)

      Delete
  16. What an interesting combination! I'm loving it. and it's sooo fluffy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks MsIhua! I love fluffy cakes, I can tell myself the second slice really doesn't count that way :) x

      Delete