Dragonfruit-Vanilla Bean Layer Cake #FreakyFruitsFriday #MelissasProduce #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Melissa's Produce.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development, but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.
Here we are at week two of this year's #FreakyFruitsFriday event. The Halloween before last, I noticed that Melissa's Produce* had a section on their website for 'Freaky Fruits.' I really wanted to showcase recipes featuring those fruits, so I reached out to my contact at Melissa's and he agreed. This year, I emailed him, again, and he agreed, again. Woohoo.

But first, please check out the other #FreakyFruitsFriday creations for today...
Asian Strawberry Papaya Salad by Frugal & Fit Blood Orange Chicken Red Peppers and Spinach by Cindy's Recipes and Writings Blood Orange, Pomegranate, and Avocado Salad by Kate's Recipe Box Chayote Squash-Apple Crisp by Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats Chayote with Roasted Tomatoes and Chile by Karen's Kitchen Stories Dragonfruit and Pomegranate Mojito by Hezzi-d's Books and Cooks Dragonfruit-Vanilla Bean Layer Cake by Culinary Adventures with Camilla Easy Passion Fruit Whip by A Day in the Life on the Farm Roasted Chayote Squash with Herbs by Blogghetti Super Green Smoothie with Tropical Fruit by Simple and Savory Vegan Coconut Lime Trifles with Tropical Fruit Salad by The Baking Fairy Yogurt Panna Cotta by Cooking with Carlee
Today's Freaky Fruit
Dragon fruits look really cool. Here's a brief introduction to the dragon fruit. I received several dragon fruit from Melissa's Produce* in preparation for an upcoming #FreakyFruitsFriday event. Starting this Friday - and for two subsequent Fridays - a group of bloggers will be sharing posts that utilize the 'Freaky Fruits' line from Melissa's.

Reviews at my table are usually mixed. "They are cool looking, but they don't taste like anything really." That sentiment seemed to be mirrored by several of my friends. After I posted a photo of them, I got:
Well there’s another fruit I’ve never tasted in my life—gonna have to go get one and check it out. There are two or three varieties and one of them is spectacular! Now if I can remember which one it is. The ones we've had haven't tasted like much other than sweet water, but they look really cool! I've had a ton of dragon fruit while on business in China. I was determined to understand why it's so popular. All I can come up with: it looks cool.
Yes, I think it's the cool factor, too, because 'sweet water' seems an apt description to the flavor.

Dragonfruit-Vanilla Bean Layer Cake
Ingredients makes one 9" cake layer  Cake 1-1/2 C flour 1/2 C ground almonds or almond flour 1 t baking powder 1 t salt 1/4 t baking soda zest from two organic lemons (I used Meyer lemons because my parents have a tree in their yard) 3/4 C whole milk plain yogurt 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, approximately from 1 to 2 lemons (I used Meyer lemons) 1-1/4 C organic dark brown sugar 3/4 C olive oil 2 large eggs 1 t organic vanilla paste or extract  Also needed: butter for greasing pans, parchment paper, 9" cake pan
Buttercream 5 large egg yolks 1/3 C water 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 T organic corn syrup 2 C butter, softened 1 T organic vanilla paste
To Assemble
1 to 2 dragonfruit, depending on size Procedure
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9" round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a separate bowl until very smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and olive oil until well-combined. Add the eggs to the olive oil mixture, one at a time, whisking very well after each, then stir in the vanilla paste or extract. 

Add the dry ingredients and yogurt mixture to the olive oil mixture and whisk until well-combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. 

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto to a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl and beat on high until they are thick, pale, and ribbon off the whisks.
Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. You can attach a candy thermometer to the side; I just kept testing until it reached soft-ball stage. If you're using a thermometer, heat until it reaches 238 degrees F. For testing otherwise, dip a spoon into the syrup, then into ice cold water. The syrup should immediately set up into a soft ball. Mine took about 8 minutes to reach the correct consistency.
Once the syrup is ready, remove it from the heat. While one hand hold the mixer, use the other hand to pour the syrup into the yolks. When all of the syrup is added, turn the mixer up to high and beat until the yolks have doubled in size and have reached medium peak stage. The bowl should be cooled and just lukewarm to the touch. Mine took about 9 minutes.
Begin adding butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. The more butter you add, the more firm the buttercream will be. Once your buttercream resembles what you think of as buttercream, add in the vanilla paste and beat until well-combined. 

To Assemble
Gently peel the dragonfruit, leaving as much of the pink color on the edges as you can. Slice in half lengthwise, then slice them into slices. Set aside.

Once the cake layers have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to cut the layers flat. Spread a generous amount of buttercream and spread it to the edges. Arrange slices in a thin layer on top of the buttercream. Place the second layer on top, then add buttercream to the top and the sides.

Smooth the buttercream over the top and along the sides.

Arrange more dragonfruit on the cake in whatever design you want. Refrigerate to let the buttercream harden.

This was a delicately flavored dessert with just the right amount of sweetness from the vanilla buttercream. And, while the dragonfruit didn't add much flavor, it lent to a lovely dessert.

The #FreakyFruitsFriday bloggers have one more official post. Stay tuned for more Freaky Fruits Friday creations!

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*Disclosure: I received product for free from the sponsor for recipe development, however, I have received no additional compensation for my post. My opinion is 100% my own and 100% accurate. ##FreakyFruitsFriday ##MelissasProduce ##Sponsored #Dragonfruit
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