June 3, 2008

One more Diplomat Cake

This is a staple in Romanian desserts, I would say, and almost all housemothers make it, but they might have slightly different recipes and different plating ideas. My mom's was good, and I don't know how come, but she made it most of the times for New Year's Eve parties, or at winter time. My grandma's was always good, and she would make it quickly for Saturday or Sunday lunches, when the whole family would go over to her house for lunch after calling at the last minute the day before. Mom almost always placed fruits on the outside, while grandma would have either fruits or whipped cream all over.
But this was never a favorite of mine. I am not saying that I didn't eat it, but if I had to chose what I wanted for dessert, I would have never picked this one. That's why I said their cakes were just good. Not that I had somewhere else better, just did not think this is an amazing dessert. I did not like the orange zest taste coming thru the cream, and the gelatin in it. And I didn't like to eat a slice of cake which is more than half whipped cream, that's how it was in the bakeries. Or at least that's how I remember it. It was a roulade with whipped cream and had a grape or a glace cherry on top of each slice.
But because the girls on the forum Retete Culinare where I started to explore my passion for cooking have always made me crave looking at their pictures, and because I didn't have this in years, I thought to give it a try. I twicked the recipe a lot, and made it to my liking. Maybe I should name this "almost Diplomat cake".

4 eggs
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

about 25 lady fingers ( I needed 23 for a 9" pan)

pastry cream
one small can mandarin slices, drained
half of a can pineapple chunks, drained
2 cups whipped cream (you could take a shortcut as I did and by the one whipped already, or you could make it yourself)
1 ½ teaspoons gelatin

Pastry cream
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
one tablespoon lemon or orange zest, if you like it

Chocolate sauce
Bring the milk to a boil in as saucepan. If you are using a vanilla bean, cut it in half lengthwise, scrape the beans with a knife and add both the seeds and the bean to the milk. When the milk starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow, fluffy and the sugar was dissolved, then add the flour, making sure there are no lumps in the mix. If using vanilla extract, you can add it now, as well as the lemon or orange zest.
Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture, then put the cream back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream is very thick, about 5 minutes.
In a small glass bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons water or pineapple juice and let stand until softened. Microwave the gelatin for 5 seconds, or until melted. Whisk the gelatin into the warm pastry cream. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until it is thoroughly chilled.
If you are using whipped cream, fold it in the pastry cream, adding it gradually.
It you are using heavy cream, beat the cream in a bowl until stiff, then add it to the pastry cream.

In a bowl beat the egg yolks and the sugar until light yellow and fluffy, then add slowly the oil and continue mixing. Incorporate the flour without over-beating the batter.

In a separate bowl mix the egg whites until firm, then add 1/2 of them to the batter and fold them in with a spatula, upside-down technique so we don’t take out all the air from the egg whites, then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Pour the batter in a 9" pan and bake for about 25 minutes at 350F, until golden yellow and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, after that take teh cake out and let it sit on a cooling rack.
When cooled completely, slice the cake in two.

Place the first half of the cake on the bottom of a 9" spring form pan, then arrange the lady fingers around the pan.

Pour one third of the pastry cream over the cake, then arrange half of the mandarin sections and the pineapple on top of the cream.

Cover the fruits with another third of the pastry cream, followed by the rest of the fruits and finish with the last third of the cream on top of the fruits.
Place the second half of the cake on top of the cream.
I decorated this one with whipped cream, which was runny by the time I used it, because I forgot to put it back in the fridge. I tried to do a spider web using chocolate sauce and had some currants that went on the cake, since I had no other inspiration.

The cake has to stay for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight, then the cream will be very well set.

The Diplomat can be covered either with whipped cream, or instead of having lady fingers and cake on the bottom and sides, you could use fruits - oranges, kiwi, mandarins, and so on, like Vero did here.


Anonymous said...

Roxana, you really show that food is so much more than just food! It is an art-form, an object of dialogue and great personal and cultural significance - and of course delicious, and your presentations are beautiful. You semlessly blend the richness of cooking with the richness of living, family and romania.

Nicoleta said...

O idee minunata sa-ti faci si tu un blog. Super! Sa-l stapanesti sanatoasa si sa ne delectezi cu cat mai multe retete gustoase ,asa cum ne-ai obisnuit pe RC.
Acum raman si cu pofta de ceva dulce...vazand iar diplomatul tau.
Te pup,

Irina said...

Bravo pentru blog !
Diplomatul arata excelent !!!

Mada said...

Arata superb!Felicitari

roxana said...

Multumesc mult, Mada, si la fel de mult meriti si tu felicitari pentru ce iese din mainile tale si pentru blog.

Elena said...

am facut varianta ta si mi-a iesit f bun. Mi-a placut ca nu e f gelatinos, ci mai mult cremos.

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious, I bet it taste excelent, I will have to make it. Thanks for the receipe. God bless you.