Yakult and Pineberry Roll Cake

When I first heard about pineberries from my coworker Georgina, I just knew I had to use them in something. Pineberries are albino strawberries that supposedly taste like pineapples – truthfully, they just tasted like tart strawberries to me, but that was fine either way, because I really wanted to use them for their beautiful pale aesthetic. Since I figured cooking these pineberries down would not result in a pretty color(usually cooking down white fruit results in either brown, like cooked down pears or weirdly gray, like a cooked down lychee – the latter, I would definitely never recommend doing), I wanted to keep them relatively fresh. The interior of the cake features whole pineberries, while I sliced them in half and used them for a garnish on top as well. For an accompanying flavor, I went with Yakult. Probably best known from being featured on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Yakult is a sweet yogurt drink that is consumed in basically every Asian household. I went with a roll cake this time, just because I wanted to do something different from my usual strawberry layer cakes. I grew up on Yakult and roll cakes, so this dessert pays homage to both of those things.

For the roll, I went with a Yakult-infused chiffon cake. The batter actually uses Yakult in it, which results in a super soft spongecake – the cultures in Yakult bake off a softer, fluffier cake, which is a similar effect to when you bake anything with Greek yogurt or buttermilk. I also whipped some chantilly cream with Yakult, and brushed the cake with a Yakult soak as well. The interior of the cake used whole pineberries, while the top was garnished with halved smaller pineberries and white chocolate sticks. So that the pineberries did not dry out on top or inside of the cake, I brushed them with simple syrup, which is a typical trick done on things like fruit tarts so that the fruit can sit out for extended periods of time. The white chocolate on top is more of a garnish to add some extra height for the cake. If you want to attempt this cake without pineberries, you can 100% use normal strawberries as well! If you are based in California and have access to Harry’s Berries(uber sweet and juicy strawberries grown out of California), you can totally use those as well for an amazing strawberry cream cake experience!

For the Yakult chiffon cake:
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp canola oil
2.7oz Yakult(1 small bottle)
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2/3 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whip together egg whites with sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix together egg yolks with canola oil, Yakult, vanilla, and salt. Fold together the egg whites with the egg yolks and flour to form your batter. Pour the batter onto a parchment-lined quarter sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. While the cake is still warm, roll it up with the parchment so that it will form a roll shape.

For the simple syrup:
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Mix together in a bowl and allow the sugar to fully dissolve in the water.

For the Yakult chantilly cream:
2 1/2oz Yakult
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, whip everything together to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until time to assemble.

For the white chocolate garnishes:
3 tbsp white chocolate chips
a pinch of salt

Half-melt the white chocolate over a double boiler with the salt. Take off heat and stir everything together until fully-melted. Pour onto acetate and using a ribbed paint scraper, spread into thin lines. Refrigerate for 5 minutes then gently peel from the acetate.

For assembly:
1 pint Pineberries(white strawberries)
Simple syrup
2.5oz Yakult

Prep the pineberries – I halved the smaller ones for garnish on top, and simply removed the bottom leaves from the larger ones that will go inside of the cake. Toss the berries in simple syrup first, straining off the excess and reserving that. Mix the reserved excess syrup with Yakult to form a cake soak for the chiffon cake.

Soak the cake with the Yakult soak. Spread 80% of the cream onto the cake and place inside the larger pineberries. Roll up the cake and transfer to a freezer for 30 minutes. Then trim off the ends and garnish the top with pipings of the cream, the smaller halved pineberries, and the white chocolate garnishes.

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