O’Gourmet Food Hall Yee Sang Cake

18 Jan

One of the things I love about working with O’Gourmet Food Hall is that I am constantly challenged to think differently. Creating new recipes is intense, focused and fulfilling work, but the pleasure is multiplied when one has inspiring ingredients, and people, to work with.

I have enjoyed getting to know the various characters who work at O’Gourmet, and I am always interested in the new products which come in. Its wonderful to be the first to know about the sublime chili brought by hand from Kashmir, or to be introduced to an intriguing cheese.

About a month or so ago, LingCat came to me and told me that O’Gourmet was working on a Chinese New Year booklet, highlighting some of the unique food and drink of the season. She asked me to think outside the box, and come up with an special New Year dish. I love this kind of challenge, and it reflects, for me, the philosophy of O’Gourmet – unique, interesting and tasty, with a twist!

AngelKitten and I had lunch and threw around lots of different ideas, but we kept coming back to the traditional Yee Sang salad. Usually served as an appetiser, the Yee Sang is a very symbolic savoury dish, with each ingredient representing a wish for the new year. Tossed together at the table, the Yee Sang is a communal wishing for good luck and abundance.

However, Yee Sang is almost always served with raw fish – not very vegetarian! So AngelKitten and I decided to up-end this salad, and turn it from savoury to sweet. What would a Yee Sang dessert look like? We wandered through O’Gourmet Food Hall and were inspired by the dried fruits and nuts, and the gorgeous miniature apples and oranges. We decided that we would create a cake that looked like a plate, upon which a “salad” of symbolic fruit and nuts would be tossed. Each element of the dish needed to represent a different hope for the new year, and after some research (and much tasting), we had our ingredients.

We were lucky enough to have the wisdom and generosity of Mama Min (an amazing baker), who introduced us to PastryPro. This professional baker’s paradise was able to print a graphic image of a blue and white china plate on a sheet of icing for us. As we are entering the Year of the Rabbit, we found a beautiful image of an old china plate, with a rabbit front and centre. And of course, since rabbits love carrots, we decided that the base for the cake “plate” would be carrot cake, with a twist. We added a scant amount of 5 spice powder (a common element in the traditional Yee Sang), and came up with a unique and delicious cake which embodied the Chinese New Year.

We chose our “salad” ingredients with care. Dried pomelo, mango, lychee and strawberries, as well as caramelised cashews, chocolate almonds, winter melon, pumpkin and sesame seeds. I also candied some tiny Japanese apples, and caramelised some beautiful little oranges. AngelKitten spent ages painstakingly painting the dried fruits and nuts with gold powder, and I baked, candied and caramelised. We rolled fondant, applied our beautiful printed icing sheet, and sat back and sighed with happiness.

We brought our Yee Sang Cake to the brilliant Ping and Partner whose photographs grace this page. And when we finally saw the recipe in print, it was a feeling that cant be described … pride, happiness, satisfaction. In the end, we created a stunningly beautiful (and very delicious) version of the traditional Yee Sang.

Both AngelKitten and I would like to wish everyone a prosperous and happy Year of the Rabbit!

If you would like the recipe, please pick up a copy of O’Gourmet Food Hall’s “Traditions and Reunions” booklet at Bangsar Shopping Centre, or download the pdf by clicking on this link.

Please note that all images on this post are copyright O’Gourmet Food Hall, and may not be reproduced without written permission.

9 Responses to “O’Gourmet Food Hall Yee Sang Cake”

  1. ping January 19, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Hi Pia! Great write up and many thanks for the link back. It was a lot of fun working on this and eye opening too! I will be doing a post about your fab carrot cake and linking it back here. Too good not to share!

    • delectableblog January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am #

      Thanks Ping! The images are so beautiful, I cant believe it. Gorgeous, lush, so lovely. I really look forward to working with you all again! 🙂 x

  2. goddessmoments January 19, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Sweetie I’m totally ordering this cake. Is it only available through O’Gourmet? When you briefly described it previously to me I never imagined that is was this brilliant! How much imagination, talent and love went into this! Love!! Constantly amazed by you!

    • delectableblog January 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Actually, orders can be made through me, but limited quantity only 😉 And thank you, sayang, I was worried this cake would not work, but it turned out beautifully 🙂 x

  3. Mariana January 27, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    wow. absolutely amazing. Seriously.

    • delectableblog January 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks Ana 🙂 It was a schlepp, and I was terrified it wouldnt work, but it did! Thank the good goddess 🙂 Plus the photos are just AMAZING!

  4. Birthday Cake Designs July 16, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremel long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.Anyhow, just
    wanted to say fantastic blog!


  1. Foodie Days « delectable - February 4, 2011

    […] made more Yee Sang cakes than I can count in the last week or so for Chinese New Year. They were such wonderful fun […]

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