I was going to make this before I did this post but then a friend is visiting so I’m not going to have time today to make it. However, I do have the agar agar and the molds and I am ready to go this weekend. Oh Lordy, help me. I have watched ten different videos about it. But I’m going to try. I’ll post pictures. The online tutorials are actually pretty helpful because they tend to talk a lot about all the errors they make.
So let’s talk about this beautiful gelatin cake. Now, one thing that I have noticed is that all over the internet, people have tried to recreate these cakes and I think the biggest thing that I think people are struggling with is the proportions. How much water vs agar agar vs probably some other ingredients to put in for a perfect clear cake. It’s so easy to make it look like opaque crap. Or like runny goo. While it is simple, it is pretty deceptively simple, especially to the unexperienced.
Curious internet sleuths investigated how to re-create the dessert, and the consensus appears to be that agar, which is derived from seaweed, is the ideal stabilizer. That’s because, as one report concludes, it creates the right texture while maintaining the water’s pristine flavor. So, agar is the solution that Darren Wong, the advertising professional behind the simply named Smorgasburg rookie Raindrop Cake, went with. (Gelatin is the other obvious choice, but apparently it doesn’t yield a delicate enough result.)
Like a lot of people, Wong first discovered the dessert went it went viral in 2014, and later wondered why no one was making it here. His recipe for the cake, he says, contains only agar powder and spring water. As Wong sees it, the dessert is very much in the Asian tradition, and he tells Grub, “It’s not about flavor or nutrients; it’s about the texture.”
Though it’s a very basic combination — and is so elegantly simple that it kind of flies in the face of over-the-top viral sensations like monster milkshakes and rainbow doughnuts — he says he spent months trying to hit upon the correct ratio of agar to spring water. While some people say it’s like Jell-O, Wong protests that the texture is “nothing like that.”
Mine will likely not be as pretty as Wong’s but still—I’m gonna try. The question is: Snack or no Snack? It sure is pretty though.