This is my version of a cake created by Damien ‘Big D’ D’Silva, a linebacker of a chef, who appeared on my TV show Simply Ming. His cake featured pearl tapioca, whose wonderful texture I love.
The pearls are clearly visible in both of our versions, suspended in a cooked egg mixture. I’ve kicked things up, though, by flavoring the cake with coconut and lime and serving it with papaya. This makes a unique dessert, one I urge you to try.
To cut parchment paper for lining the baking pan, put the pan bottom on a sheet of the paper. With a pen or pencil, draw around the bottom, then cut out the circle about 1/8 inch in from the line. After baking, the cake will seem unset, but will become firm when refrigerated.
- 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
- 1-2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1 cup small-pearl tapioca
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cans (about 14 ounces each) unsweetened coconut milk
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch springform cake pan (see tip above). Grease the bottom and the sides of the pan with the butter.
- Place the parchment paper in the pan and grease with butter. Add the sugar and tilt the pan to coat the sides evenly.
- Make the pudding: Put the tapioca in a medium bowl and add cold water to cover it. Let the tapioca to soak for 1 hour. Drain the tapioca in a large strainer, rinse well under tepid running water and set aside in the strainer.
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk, brown sugar, coconut milk and salt and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
- Add the tapioca, stir, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until the tapioca is translucent but still slightly raw at the centre, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour the pudding into a medium sheet pan, add the lime juice and zest and stir to combine. Let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and yolks and whisk until just blended. Pour the eggs over the tapioca, fold to combine, and pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake until the cake is golden brown in spots and still jiggly in the center, 35–40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, then refrigerate in the pan for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- In a medium bowl, combine the papaya and lime juice and zest. Remove the pan ring, place a serving plate on the cake and invert.
- Remove the pan bottom, peel off the paper, cut the cake into wedges and serve with the papaya.
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