I once saw a little family of quail dart across the street and scurry under the bushes. They were all in a line, just as you think they would be, and they were really cute. It was also quite a treat as the fairly thick suburban neighborhood I grew up in didn't have many quail sightings. Here's a link to a nice website about the California Quail, which if I ever came across another one, and I could get away with it (which I couldn't), I would hug the little bird. They are just so dang cute! Look!
|Originally uploaded to flickr by pendeho|
Anyways, these cakes are made with quail eggs, and as the eggs were imported from California, I say thank you California quail, for giving up 10 of your eggs so I could make a cake. (No, the eggs weren't foraged from the wild, but it never hurts to be thankful.)
February 13, 2011
Name of cake: Quails!
Constituents: a pound cakey cake made with quail's eggs
Although the recipe calls for 5 quail egg yolks, it took 9 of my quail yolks to get the proper weight. Does the egg yolk conspiracy reach all the way to the little quail?
I didn't have the requisite two-person heart shaped pan, so I decided to make little cakelettes. The heart shaped pan had a three-cup capacity and my cakelettes have a one cup capacity, so I figured I'd make three little cakes and call it good. Especially after using pretty much all my quail eggs to make one batch of batter.
As I assembled my ingredients I noticed that the weights of flour, sugar, and butter were equal, and the cream just a little less, and the yolks about half the weight of the flour, etc. It kind of reminded me of the pound cake, which traditionally has equal weights of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. Still, the ratio of butter in this cake is greater than it would be for a regular butter cake, making this little cake dense, rich, and soft with a crispy buttery crust.
Separating the eggs takes a bit more work than it does for a chicken egg, which if at room temperature separates so fast it is a little hair raising. Quail egg shells are tougher than the chicken's, so the top needs to be pierced with a sharp knife and sawed open a tad before you can use your fingers. With the first egg I made the mistake of doing this at the fat end of the egg, which meant I stabbed the yolk and the whole thing oozed out in a big unseparable blob. So take heed: stab the shell at the smaller end, please. The white is thicker and more mucousy than a chicken egg, and requires what Mendy called manhandling to separate. I would try to pin down the white with one of my stubby fingers while passing the yolk into my other hand; after about five or six passes usually the white would fully separate. It felt like trying to put pants on a squirrely toddler. There's kicking, there's screaming, there's running away, but eventually them pants are on them kid. Or in this case, them whites are off them yolk.
The rest of the cake making was completely ordinary. Two stage method, bake at 350, done just before the cakes pull away from the sides of the pan.
So you only see two of the three cakelettes as I had to sacrifice one tonight for tasting so I could write this post, but I'm saving final photos for Monday morning when I have some natural light in this place. Don't be sad, I'm eating the ugliest one, just for you.
The cakelette is very soft and moist, and rich. Although it is dense like an egg yolk cake would be, it isn't dense like a sour cream butter cake would be. Let's say it is somewhere between a butter cake and a sour cream butter cake in the density scale, but rich like one of those sour cream cakes. There is a little something different in the flavor of this cake that could almost be pinned as yolky...maybe...but is that because I am looking for a yolky difference?
I had a good ol' time getting these quail eggs because it meant an excuse to check out the local Asian supermarket called Fubonn. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was back in the Philippines, and after finding the quail eggs--next to a bunch of Balut, that feeling intensified. I love the strangeness of foreign markets. Anyways I wandered around and found some other foods I needed to take home besides quail eggs--not the balut--some lumpia wrappers, some shanghai-style lumpia made in Seattle, and a frozen package of lau lau. I know they won't be as good as real lau lau in Hawaii, but one makes do.
Anyway, I have wandered far off topic, and so will circle back to the Quail Egg Indulgence Cake. In summation, it was good, it was rich, it was fairly easy to make, and really easy to eat. I don't know how often I will make these, as a sour cream bundt still has my heart when it comes to rich, good, easy cakes, but I'm glad I'm made them at least this once.