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Team Yu Mei share their favourite cake recipes

27 August 2021

A level four lockdown meant that team Yu Mei were unable to celebrate Wellington Yu Mei Lounge's birthday. Instead, founder Jessie Wong hosted a virtual bake-off, and shares the best of the cakes with Fashion Quarterly.

WORDS BY Courtney Joe

A global pandemic and nationwide lockdown always calls for some sweet homemade treats. But when it’s your birthday in lockdown—as is the sad reality for all Virgos out there—a celebration calls for something a little extra, and that’s exactly what Yu Mei founder Jessie Wong tasked her team with. A Wellington Yu Mei Lounge second birthday cake-off—but make it fashion, of course!

In order to spread the birthday cheer, team Yu Mei share the best of their cake-off recipes with us below. And the celebrations don’t end there. Starting today, Yu Mei is hosting Gifts Galore—an online event where you can find party-themed prizes hidden around yumeibrand.com. Prizes include Cake Kits from The Caker, Coffee Supreme coffee, drink packs from JMR & Co, Ārepa, Chia Sisters and Almighty, Skincare from Spring Spa, a stay at Naumi Hotel Wellington, Yu Mei prizes, and more! 

Degustation Cake by Jessie Wong, Founder & Creative Director 

Ingredients
3x cake kits of choice from The Caker
‘Happy Birthday’ cake topper
Candles

Method
Prepare your cake tin—it’s preferable to use just one cake tin for all three cakes, to prolong the baking fun.
Prepare cake mixture according to instructions.
Bake.
Cut cakes into equal segments and combine different flavoured slices into one degustation cake. You’ll be left with some excess (approx. two cakes worth).
Put on a trending-on-Tik-Tok song, in this case Bo Burnham’s ‘Bezos I,’ light candles and enjoy your masterpiece.

Jessie’s Degustation Cake won the award for Best Delivery in Yu Mei’s Birthday Cake-off, for obvious reasons—the cake looked beautiful. Special points awarded for sacrificing a few singed hairs when lighting candles for the video, such commitment!

Eggless Chocolate Coconut Cake (Vegan) by Adrian Williams, Head of Design & Production

Ingredients
1 ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons soy milk or other non-dairy milk
2½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting
Unspecified amount of desiccated coconut (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add desiccated coconut, if using.
In a separate bowl, whisk milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
Combine wet and dry ingredients, taking care not to overmix.
Pour into a greased tin and bake for 40 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar. Adrian garnished his cakes with blueberries

Adrian won the Participation Award in Yu Mei’s Birthday Cake-off for his baking efforts. Particularly commendable was that he managed to bake something while lacking in most pantry staples—butter and eggs.

Banana Bread by Brigette Thomas, Operations & Logistics Manager

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
4 ripe bananas
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 175°C.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and sugar.
Cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Add eggs and bananas to mixing bowl.
Mix on medium speed until combined.
Add flour, baking soda, salt and vanilla to mixing bowl.
Mix on low speed until just combined.
Add walnuts and chocolate chips to mixing bowl.
With a spatula, fold in walnuts and chocolate chips until just combined.
Pour batter in a greased and parchment lined 9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pan and bake at 175°C for 55 minutes.
Ice if desired, or eat it with lots of butter slathered on.

Brigette’s Banana Bread won the Overachiever Award in Yu Mei’s Birthday Cake-off as, though her cake was humble, she crocheted a matching beige hat to wear while eating it.

Chocolate Mascarpone Cake by Kirsten Nagel, Brand Manager

Ingredients
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup mascarpone
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strong, hot coffee

For the icing:
½ cup Mascarpone
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons icing sugar (or more, to your taste)

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced).
Sift together dry ingredients.
Whisk wet ingredients until well combined.
Fold wet and dry ingredients together. The consistency should look like buttercream icing.
Add the hot coffee and combine well until mixture resembles a batter.
Bake in a greased tin for 50-55 minutes.
Combine icing ingredients with an electric mixer, adding milk to achieve a lighter consistency.
Ice the cake once cooled and enjoy. Cardboard architectural model display is optional.

Kirsten’s cake won the Avant Garde Award in Yu Mei’s Birthday Cake-off owing to her detailed 3D display, an ode to the Yu Mei Lounge in Wellington.

Polenta & Plum Cake by Grace Gaudin, Sales & Retail Manager

Ingredients
For the cake:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup white white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup polenta
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
Fresh or tinned plums

For the plum syrup:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
Wedges of 6 plums

Method
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Cream eggs and sugar until pale and thick.
Gently beat in oil, white wine and vanilla extract.
Sift and fold in dry ingredients.
Pour into a lined cake tin and bake for 1 hour.

For the syrup:
Heat water and sugar over gentle heat until dissolved.
Boil until sugar caramelises.
Quickly add lemon juice and plum wedges.
Simmer for 5 minutes until soft.
Cool slightly before pouring over cake.
Decorate as desired. Grace used pink icing, plum wedges, pistachio nuts and mint leaves.

Grace’s cake won the award for Most Edible Cake in the Yu Mei Birthday Cake-off. Delicious!

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