Sunday, 20 July 2008

Creamy rice pudding cake

The good news is that there is almost a litre of cream in this recipe. The bad news is that the only butter in this cake is the tiny amount you use to grease the cake tin. If you are health conscious simply switch the words “good” and “bad” in these sentences.

This is one of those recipes where, if you’ve decided to make it, you have to make it full on. I was feeling in a particularly sinful mood this weekend so actually stoked it up a bit; I shall explain: the recipe calls for “half and half”. Already this sounded like a compromise but I didn’t know what it was – the internet (how did we ever find stuff out before the internet?) explained that it’s a light cream, a sort of milk and cream hybrid. I’m filled with horror that such a thing should exist and had to go and sit down in a darkened room with soothing flannels on my forehead to recover...I feel a little better now but trauma like this takes time to get over. To register my disgust at such a product I decided to use double cream. Ooooh, and did it taste good!

The lovely colour of the caramel topping was worth a photo of its own:

I served the cake at tea time but it would also make a lovely dessert. Concerned that the cream in the cake might not be enough (it wasn’t quite a litre remember) I served it with meringue cream and then, to make it healthy, some fresh raspberries. The meringue cream is something I will definitely be serving with other cakes – it’s slightly sticky but light and foamy, like mousse.

This cake must also enter the annals of cake history as “The Cake That Proved Too Much for the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma)”. After a couple of forkfuls she threw in the towel muttering about how it was too rich and I should enjoy mocking her now because when I was older, and suffered like her, I’d understand. But hey, I’m not older and am firmly at the “mocking stage” of the cycle! CCM look at your nemesis, see how it laughs at you:

Perhaps this was gilding the lily slightly....

This could well be the ultimate comfort food cake. The soft texture, the creaminess, the dark caramel glaze on top. I think I’m in love.......

We decided to briefly re-heat the cake before serving and I would advise you to do the same as it brings out the best in the texture of the rice. It also explains why the cake is on a baking tray in this photo:

If the quantities look strangely precise it’s because I converted the recipe from the US cup system. For those cup-lovers out there, I include the cup quantities in brackets.

For those of you wondering what pudding rice looks like, here it is:

For the cake:
946ml (4 cups) single or double cream
140g (2/3 cup) pudding rice – if you can’t get this use Arborio or any other short grain Italian rice
100g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
63g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

For the meringue cream:
2 egg whites
6 tablespoons caster sugar
178ml (3/4 cup) double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For serving:
Fruit – I used raspberries but most fruits would work well.

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Use butter to grease one 20cm round springform cake tin.
- Place the cream, rice, brown sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to the simmer, over a medium heat. Stir very frequently.
- Reduce the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed. This took me about 25 minutes. The rice had absorbed a lot of the cream but was still slightly al dente.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes before whisking in the eggs and vanilla.
- Meanwhile, make the caramel glaze. Heat the caster sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring all the time, until the sugar crystals have dissolved. The best way of knowing when this has happened is to look on the back of your spoon – if the liquid is shiny and smooth, the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn the heat up to high and let the sugar bubble away until it turns a lovely deep amber. Do not stir it but occasionally give the pan a shake to ensure the colour of the caramel is even.
- Straight away, pour the caramel into the cake tin and swirl to ensure even coverage. It will set very quickly so you don’t have long to do this.
- Let the caramel cool and set.
- Pour the rice mixture over the caramel and level.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top has browned but the centre of the cake is still slightly quivering. Mine took 45 minutes
- Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before turning out.
- When you turn the cake out make sure you invert it, as the caramel glaze at the bottom of the tin is actually the top of the cake.
- Now make the meringue cream. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl beat the cream and vanilla until the stiff peak stage.
- Fold the cream into the egg whites and refrigerate until needed.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Dee said...

I'm so with you with the going all the way bit! It's dessert, it's fattening. Live with it! Okay, that was a bit vehement, but I'm tired, cranky and have just run out of ice cream :(

Love the rice pud :) Am a bit afraid of the meringue cream, but will be brave if you send me a slice.

michelle @ TNS said...

i'm still not sure what pudding rice is, but i know i want a piece of that cake. pudding AND cake? in one? kill me now.