I bought a bag of cherries over the weekend and as usual, am having a tough time finishing them.
I was thinking that perhaps a cherry cake would be a nice thing to make since tonight is Fam Dindin night and we haven’t done that in probably over month with everyone being sick with colds and me being so wretchedly exhausted all the time. Today is also Dragon Boat Festival so Mom’s busy slaving away making duong — I guess people (read: Americans) have come to nickname them Chinese Tamales. The Hubbs just refers to them as sticky rice. Now that Dad’s retired(ish) he may be forced to help with the slave labour, even though he did make it very clear that he wasn’t helping. Mom might still make him do it anyhow. I’m rather amused that she’s enlisting him to help make all sorts of stuff. She made him do cabbage rolls back in April and a few other generally time consuming dishes and treats lately. I think it’s a good thing, and I’m rather glad that they’re spending time together doing things like this… even though Dad feels like he’s made to do it all against his will. I think he may secretly enjoy it ;)
I should really be helping mom make duong, but the last few years just haven’t been the greatest, obviously. I did help her a couple of times pre-SALLY and OMG it’s so much work. She starts prep at least 1-2 days prior because you need to wash, soak and salt the sticky rice, wash the leaves, soak the yellow beans, fry up the onions a bit, cut the salted duck egg yolks, sausage and fatty pork, etc etc etc etc.. I am still amazed that she used to do it all on her own when we were little, without fail and churn out 50-100 every year. Gramma used to make them too, obviously, but she also had help from my Aunty and her daughters, which makes so much sense. These things are time consuming in every sense of the word and help is always appreciated. For people that make special occasion treats, no matter the nationality, help always makes things more enjoyable and you can make so much more.
I think next year I will see if she will come here and help me make a batch so I can write down the recipe and all the instructions. I remember quite a bit of the instructions, oddly enough from the ONE time we made them here, but a refresher is always good and having everything written down is of utmost importance to me.
Nobody else in the family will be making these once Mom and Dad get too old. Other than mom’s sister + her daughters, I know of no families that make duong anymore and this is a tradition that shouldn’t be lost. I am rather sad Mom won’t be able to pass this recipe down to anyone but me. Come time… perhaps Baby Skywalker might learn to make them, but I am pretty sure it will never happen given Older Bro’s wife. So hopefully I will be able to do my proper duty and record the making of and finally get my mad duong-making skillz going. I ~can~ make them, we’ve discovered, I am just not able to make them the size that Mom & Gramma do, which is to say: HUEG LIEK XBAWX! No, really… probably about hand-sized. These babies are big. Mine? Not so much. They’re more like decently palm-sized ^_^
To celebrate the fact that we’re finally having Fam Dindin again, I’m bringing cherry cake. The cherries needed to be consumed ASAP, regardless of its form. I searched for a fair bit for a decent recipe and most “cherry cake” recipes tend to be either: cheesecakes, chocolate+cherry type cakes, marachino cherry recipes or cherry pie filling containing desserts. I suppose I could make a cherry pie, but I’m just not that into pies and they tend to be hard to transport if you just wanna do a grab&go type of treat.
The recipe which is currently in the oven baking and smelling wonderful, is from allrecipes. For some reason I find it incredibly satisfying making a recipe that doesn’t require me to pull out the big mixer for and can just do with a couple bowls, a wooden spoon and a whisk. I followed the recipe almost to the letter, but did make a few minor changes: increase temperature to 350F, Increased cherries to 2 cups (actually, it’s probably more like 2.5 since I filled the measuring cup to the top) and decreased the sugar to about 3/4 cup since Dad keeps saying that sugar makes his tummy upset and sour. The only thing that surprised me is the cake is flavoured with cinnamon and I didn’t know that cherries+cinnamon went together…. well, at least, we shall see if they actually taste good together once the cake is baked. It does smell pretty fantastic though.
2 cups cherries, pitted and halved (use a glass measuring cup filled to the top)
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and lightly flour a 10 inch tube pan.
Place cherries in a bowl and toss gently with 3Tbsp flour. Set aside.
Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until smooth in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Fold in the cherries.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate or wire rack.