Baking, Something fruity, Something sweet

Lamyai (longan) and cashew nut cake

IMG_4508This is a cake that I make every year when “lamyai” or longans come into season in Thailand. They are quite sweet and fragrant and although they are using in Thai traditional deserts, cooked with sticky rice, they aren’t usually used in baking, but they give this cake a great flavour. I’ve been making this cake for about 15 years now and it was originally adapted from a pear and pecan cake so feel free to revert to the original if you don’t have lamyais, but they are available canned in syrup, which I imagine would be okay. The cake above was made on special request for a neighbour’s birthday using lamyai that I picked myself! This is also my 100th blog post so I hope that you like it!IMG_4514So what do you need?

  • A cup, or just over, of lamyai flesh (torn into halves)
  • 120g of cashew nuts
  • 150g of softened butter
  • 150g of brown sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 2 tsp of freshly ground spices (I use mainly cinnamon with a 2-3 cloves or a little nutmeg)
  • 200g of plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2tbsp honey

So what do you do?

Start by soaking the cashews in some water for a few hours to soften them. They don’t need to be totally submerged but put them in a  bowl and half cover them in hot water and stir them around occasionally. They will soften and absorb some of the water. Then turn your oven on 175 degrees C / 350 F and grease a 20cm non-stick cake tin (or a slightly larger bunt tin as I used above). In a bowl of a food processor beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. If you are using unsalted butter add a pinch of salt. Next beat in the eggs, and then add the spices, sifted flour and baking powder and mix well. Then add the lamyai pieces, along with any juice that has come out of them, and most of the cashews (reserve some cashew halves to decorate the top of the cake) and mix these in by hand. Then spoon this into your cake tin and decorate the top of your cake with the remaining cashew nuts. Bake the cake for an hour, checking after 45 mins,  if it’s browning too quickly cover it with foil. Bake until a skewer comes out clean then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 mins before removing from the tin. Then when the cake has cooled heat the honey until it becomes runny and glaze the top of the cake with honey using a (pastry) brush. As the cake is make with fresh fruit it’s best eaten the day it’s made or the following day. Enjoy!

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