Ever had lychees? Curious to know what they taste like or where to find them?
By mere coincidence my friend, Nina Ly RN and professional photographer, recently posted a photo shoot of her stay in Hanoi, Vietnam and her featured photo is lychees! Click here to see more of her beautiful photos including a photo shoot she did for me from the beginning of my baking journey.
Lychees are a native fruit of Southeast Asia, predominantly of southern China, and is commonly consumed in a variety of dessert dishes and alcoholic or fruit beverages. Now cultivated in many areas of the world, it has become easily accessible to many urban areas of the US. However, you may not always find this subtropical fruit in your local grocery store but if you happen to walk through an Asian market, it’s almost hard to miss.
Lychee’s inedible exterior has a reddish-brown studded rind can be easily peeled much like an orange. Inside resembles the pulp of a grape with a delicate white translucent flesh and has a distinctive fragrance of a flower with a lightly sweetened flavor.
I’m fortunate to live in one of the most diversely cultured cities of New York where I’m able to purchase lychees at about $4 per pound near surrounding markets in my neighborhood.
Over the past 4 years I have become very fond of the Chinese culture through their food, holidays, and many traditions. One area that striked me most was their preference of desserts. Speaking strictly of their style of cakes, I have noticed those who are native of China would rather have a light cake that is not too sweet and topped with a variety of fruits such as mangos, strawberries and melons, much like a fruit cake.
As my friend’s mother’s birthday was approaching over the weekend, I was inspired to make her a cake that combined an American style with a touch of lychee. Since most women I know are concerned about how sweet or fattening some American desserts may be, I chose to make the main portion of the cake fat free. I achieved this by baking a 6-inch angel food cake with a thin layer of buttercream drizzled with a lychee glaze and topped with lychee fruits in the center and surrounding edges. And it was a hit! Satisfied the similarity of a fruit cake with an American familiarity, it was the perfect combination. Can’t go wrong with a low fat dessert topped with one of your favorite fruits!
Classic Angel Food Cake
Prep time: 20 min. | Cook time: 45 min. | Total time: 1hr 20 min | Servings: 6 -8
- 1 C cake flour
- 1 1/4 C sugar
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 C egg whites
- 1 t cream of tartar
- 1 t clear vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt; set aside.
- In large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
- Gently combine the egg whites with the dry ingredients. Pour into an ungreased 6 x 3 inch round spring-form pan.
- Bake for 35 – 45 min or until a toothpick insert in center comes out clean.
- Invert cake pan and allow to cool. Once sides of pan feel cool to the touch, release the spring and remove the bottom of the cake pan that rests on top of the cake.
Classic Angel Food Cake recipe created by URBAN BAKES.
- 10 lychees, pealed
- 2 T sugar
- 1 T light corn syrup
- Removes pits of 7 lychees and grind to extract its natural juice, add sugar.
- Strain lychees to separate its juice from its crushed fruit. Mix in light corn syrup to the juice and using a spoon, glaze top of cake.
- Decorate top or sides of cake using the remaining crushed lychees.
Lychee Glaze recipe created by URBAN BAKES.