Lychee cake uses easy ingredients
I made a new friend over the phone a couple months ago -- Ernest Soares, a baker of the very generous variety. He's 84, retired from the Long Beach, Calif., Naval Shipyard, with no baking training.
"No, no, no," Soares said. "I use my brain. That's what God gave me."
Soares called after an article appeared in this section about the summer crop of lychee.
"Have you ever had a lychee cake?" he asked. "You haven't?" This was followed by an invitation to Kaneohe to try one of his.
I had to settle for his recipe, which uses canned lychee. This seems a good time to share it, as lychee season has passed. Those craving the taste can opt for an easy-to-find can of fruit and try this cake.
It's extremely easy -- from the genre of cakes that starts with a box mix. I could imagine the basic formula applied to canned peaches, pears or mandarin oranges as well.
I baked one up before work today, and it now sits on the newsroom food table, where unsuspecting eaters are biting into pieces and discovering the surprise chunks of lychee.
Basically, all you do is replace the water called for in the mix with lychee juice out of the can, then fold in some chopped fruit. It bakes up lighter than your average yellow cake. I'd actually increase the amount of fruit if I did it again.
I made a regular 9-by-13-inch cake, but Soares says he sometimes makes it into a Bundt, or makes mini-loaves (put baking parchment in the bottom of the pans so they unmold easily, he advises).
And he sometimes mails his cakes to friends in California (told you he was generous). Simply double-wrap a loaf in foil and paper, he says, then put it in a box. Mark it perishable. It should get there in three days.
1 20-ounce can lychee
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs (see note)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (see note)
Preheat oven as instructed in cake-mix instructions. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Drain lychee, reserving liquid in measuring cup. Squeeze liquid from fruit and chop.
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, substituting lychee juice for water. Fold fruit into batter. Pour into prepared pan; bake as directed.
Note: The amount of eggs and oil may vary; use what is specified in the instructions for the cake mix.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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