Crema de Fruta with delicious layers of from-scratch chiffon cake, sweet custard, and fruit gelatin is sure to wow the crowd! It's the perfect holiday or any time of the year treat!
Hello everyone! It's Sanna from Woman Scribbles here again to share with you another classic Filipino dessert.
If you're craving a treat, you're in look because this crema de fruit is sure to hit the sweet spot! Deliciously layered with fluffy soft cake, creamy custard, fruit cocktail, and gelatin, it's the perfect addition to any celebration!
Crema de fruta is as much fun to make as it is to eat. While the four-part recipe may seem daunting, and there are indeed simpler no-bake versions of this dessert using graham crackers, broas, or store-bought cakes, making the cake from scratch is really worth the effort.
Plus, three out of the four components can be prepared in advance, and with little careful planning, you'd have your special treat ready to enjoy without breaking a sweat!
- Chiffon cake- can be baked days in advance. Carefully wrap in plastic film or store in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap in plastic film and then aluminum foil; freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator when ready to assemble.
- Fruit cocktail- storebought
- Custard- will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store in an airtight container and press a plastic film directly on the custard's surface to prevent the top from drying out. It does not freeze or thaw well.
- Gelatin- prepare just before assembly.
Making the custard
The second layer of the dessert is a thick and creamy vanilla custard made with milk, sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. It's pretty simple to make but can be a little tricky. Read the tips below for success!
- Temper the eggs by slowly ladling a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs while whisking to even out their temperatures and ensure the yolks don't "scramble."
- For a smooth, creamy consistency, cook the mixture at low heat. Do not bring to a boil lest it curdles or separates.
- Tend to the custard closely and whisk regularly to prevent lumps.
- Cook the egg-milk mixture until it thickens and begins to bubble. Do not overcook as it can curdle. Remember that the custard will continue to thicken as it cools. It's ready when you can draw a clean line through it on the back of a spoon with your finger.
- To ensure a velvety smooth texture, run the cooked custard in a sieve to remove any possible lumps.
- Transfer to a bowl with a tight-fitting lid and press plastic film or parchment paper directly on the surface of the custard to prevent skin from forming on top.
- Cool the custard completely before using. You can cool it faster by setting the covered bowl in an ice batch for about 30 minutes before transferring it to the refrigerator.
Making the chiffon cake
- Use a non-stick aluminum baking pan to help the batter rise and keep the cake from deflating too much when taken out of the oven.
- Line only the bottom of the baking pan to make releasing the cake easier, but do not line or grease the sides so the cake can "cling" as it rises for more height.
- Sift the flour mixture to aerate and remove lumps.
- Prepare the yolk mixture first before beating the egg whites, and use the meringue straight away as it tends to separate as it sits.
- Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture with a spatula using a cutting motion until the batter is evenly colored. Do not overmix to keep from deflating the air bubbles and overdeveloping gluten.
Making the gelatin
- We used Knox to make the gelatin topping. If using another brand, check the package directions for measurements and instructions.
- Make the gelatin when ready to assemble, as it can set and harden really fast.
Assembling the dessert
- Use a clear square pan that will fit the cake snugly without large gaps to prevent the gelatin from dripping down the sides.
- Allow the cake and custard to cool sufficiently before putting everything together.
- Drain the fruit cocktail very well, as the excess liquid can make the cake soggy. Arrange on top of the custard in an even layer.
- Use a pitcher or a measuring cup with a spout to pour the gelatin over the fruit. Another easy way is to combine the gelatin and the fruit and spoon over the custard evenly.
- Allow the gelatin to firm up for about thirty minutes and refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours or overnight to set fully.
How to serve and store
- This luscious dessert is best enjoyed cold. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve for food safety and best taste.
- As it uses oil which stays liquid even in cooler temperatures, the chiffon cake base stays moist and does not harden or dry out in refrigeration like other cakes. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
For the Sponge Cake
- ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks, from large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites, from large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Custard
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Fruit and Gelatin
- 1 tablespoon clear unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ cups fruit cocktail juice
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ cups fruit cocktail, drained and juice reserved
For the Sponge Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, ¼ cup of the sugar, oil, water, and vanilla extract until pale and frothy.
- Sift half of the flour mixture over the yolk batter and stir well using a whisk. Sift the remaining half and beat the mixture well until it is smooth and lump-free.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the stand mixer. Once soft peaks form, gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar while the mixer is still running until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the beaten egg whites gradually into the yolk batter using a rubber spatula. The mixture should be uniform and color.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan lightly against the counter to get rid of any air pockets.
- Bake the cake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch.
For the Custard
- In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir until smooth and well blended.
- In a saucepan over low heat, bring the milk to a simmer low heat until it begins to gently bubble along the edges of the pan.
- Slowly ladle a small amount of the milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Continue to add a small amount of milk at a time, whisking regularly.
- Return the egg-milk mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, whisking regularly, until it simmers and thickens.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Transfer to a bowl with a lid. Allow to slightly cool and press a plastic film wrap directly on the surface to prevent skin from forming on top. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to cool and set.
For the Gelatin
- In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin powder into the ¼ cup cold water to separate the granules. Let stand for 1 minute.
- In a medium saucepan, combine fruit cocktail juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Turn off the heat and add the gelatin, stirring for about 1 to 2 minutes or until it is dissolved. Set aside to cool to slightly cool.
- Transfer the cooled cake into a square glass dish of the same size.
- Spoon the cooled custard over the cake and spread evenly to coat.
- Arrange the fruit cocktail in an even layer over the custard.
- Pour the gelatin over the fruit cocktail.
- Allow it to set for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for about 6 hours or overnight to firm and cool completely. Slice into serving sizes.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”