I love browsing food blogs with beautifully styled photos. There is something magical that styling brings ... it gives the food soul, I think. I love being able to feel the character of the dish, or the mood of the people at the table, and for that brief moment, be transported to another time and place.
Unfortunately, styling can take up a lot of time and creative effort, which is why I can't do it as much as I would like to - yes, I can't afford the time, but mostly because I am always stumped for new ideas!
Take these Passion Fruit Mini Cakes, for instance. I had them on the cooling rack and must have stared at them for a good 5 mins without knowing how to proceed. I think my helper secretly laughs at me whenever I quizzically stare back and forth between my food and tableware. Which plate to use? Need cups? Got any decor? Show 1 cupcake or show all?
Honestly, I tend to get a tad flustered when it's time for photography, because it's always a mad scramble ... so, I keep going back to the same styling "template" that I have grown accustomed to (can you tell how bored I am with my shots already?). And of course, when utterly uninspired, I take the lazy way out and do food close ups. ;) Needless to say, I am in awe of bloggers who constantly apply different looks for each shoot (and dish). Power to them!
Anywaaaay, I bought some passion fruit recently, but they tasted so tart it was impossible to eat them. Also, the sight of the black seeds kinda freaked my kids out, so I knew baking was in order. ;) I did a few checks here and there, and stumbled on this recipe. I noticed almost all recipes for Passion Fruit Cakes use the pulp and not the juice. If I had it my way, I would have used the pulp too ... the small, crunchy black seeds are the distinctive feature of anything passion fruit. But then, my 3 bosses would never touch the cake with a 10-foot pole! Would I bake this again? Hmmm ... not really. I think I prefer passion fruit in a sauce or curd, more than in a cake. ;)
(largely adapted from Best Recipes)
- 125g butter
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Pulp or juice of 4 passion fruits (to get the juice, simply strain the pulp of 2 passion fruit through a wire mesh sieve and discard the seeds)
- 1 tbsp soft butter
- 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Pulp (or juice) of 2 passion fruits
* Note: I chose to make a syrup instead of an icing. Read on for the recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Add eggs and continue to whisk.
4. Add sifted flour, alternating with milk, and fold well.
5. Add passion fruit pulp (or juice) and fold well. The batter is very soft and creamy, almost like half-melting ice-cream.
6. Pour into paper-lined or greased cake tin (recipe does not state size of tin). I poured into large muffin tins that were greased ... and the batter yielded 12 mini cakes altogether. This batter rises quite well, so make sure you only fill up to about 3/4 full.
7. While the cake cooks, make the icing or syrup.
- For icing: Mix butter with icing sugar until well combined. Add passion fruit pulp and mix well.
- For syrup: Strain the pulp of 2 passion fruit through a wire mesh sieve. In a saucepan, heat the passion fruit juice, add 2 tbsp sugar, and simmer it over very low heat. The mixture will thicken into a syrup, but do stir constantly and make sure it doesn't burn. Leave to cool.
8. After the cake is cooked, leave it to cool briefly before removing it from the tin. It should feel nicely warm to your touch. Prick holes all over the top. Then pour icing/syrup over. Allow the cake to soak up the icing/syrup before serving. This cake is best served slightly warm. :)