How can a dessert made of almost 99.8% of water be so trendy? The answer…it is all in its texture…
When I first saw these raindrop cake (which in my opinion it is not a cake per say, cake in my view should contain flour or its substitutes) I was fascinated by its shape and the notion of its pureness…upon reading the ingredients, I immediately could imagine its textures as I had worked with agar-agar, both in the kitchen and in the lab. The trick is to have the right ratio of water and agar-agar to achieve a very soft almost running gel. A little extra of agar-agar the “cake” will turn into a flavorless jelly, a little “too little” and the “cake” will not hold its shape. Therefore the amount of agar-agar is very critical.
After searching through the internet I found that the ratio of agar-agar to water varied from 0.25% to 3% meaning that in 1 cup (250ml) of water the amount of agar-agar varied from 0.625g to 7.5g…yes, you read it right…so here is where my “experiments” started…
I started with the percentage that I used to use when working in the microbiology lab, 1.5%…then went down drastically since it gave me a jelly ball so hard that I could almost throw on the floor and it would bounce back. I taper down to 0.5%, then to 0.25% (not bad) but wanted to push lower and went to 0.1% which the gel barely set…finally decided to add a bit more and went for 0.2%. Yes, it did work! My notes reminded me of my lab notebook with all the calculations since I was varying the amount of water as well. As a result of all these “experiments” I just can tell you that you have to do your own “experiment” since the consistency will depend entirely on the quality of the agar-agar you use. The nice thing is that you are literally playing with water…
When I presented raindrop cake to my husband he loved it…the “cake” melt almost instantly in your mouth, the combination of the slightly sweet, rosy aroma just give you a clean, pure, light and refreshing feeling…something that it is hard to describe, somehow stir your senses…very hard to explain…now I kind of understand the hype over this particular dessert. With this said, I think that the most important thing besides achieving the correct texture the taste should match its “clean” look…then everything comes is harmony…magical!
Instrument and Ingredients:
Scale, a good one
Water (I used filter)
Flavoring component, I added rosewater in this particular one, and in the future I plan to add orange blossom water, cucumber infused water, mint infused water, strawberry infused water…and my list goes on and on…
Weigh the agar-agar and place in a small pot. Add a little water until the agar-agar is totally moist. Heat the remaining water and pour over the agar-agar.
Place the water with agar-agar in the low-medium heat. Stir constantly until all the agar-agar is dissolved. Add sugar and the flavoring.
Pour into the mold and let it refrigerate for 1 hour.
Unmold the “cake” and serve with something sweet such a maple syrup, simple syrup…
I added rosewater on the agar-agar mixture once it was all dissolved and ready to be pour into the molds. Just before serving I grated a bit of pistachio (to give some color contrast) and drizzled simple syrup made with organic crystal sugar.
Did you know that agar-agar was discovered in Japan? Agar-agar is a derivative from seaweed and has no calories, no sugar, no carbohydrates, no fat, and packed with fiber. Agar-agar if vegetarian and a great substitute for gelatin.