Goji Berry Osmanthus Cake

Instagram Post 5/19/2019

(Click on any image to view it in high resolution.)

Osmanthus and goji berries often pair up in desserts like this one, Goji Berry Osmanthus Cake (although I’m hard pressed to call it a cake), from Double Crispy Bakery at 230 Grand Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I’ve seen it elsewhere, executed with more finesse TBH, but I was passing by, it was pretty as always, and I wanted to play with lighting it from beneath, so here we are.

The translucent jello-like bar doesn’t acquire its bounce from gelatin, but rather agar-agar or konyakku. Agar-agar comes from red algae; konyakku is made from the corm of the konjak plant and manifests in Japanese yam cake and shirataki noodles.

Bright red goji berries (aka wolfberries) are sweet, usually found dried, and are prized for their purported health and medicinal benefits.

Used throughout Asia, osmanthus shows up in tea and tea blends as well as jams, liquors, and sweet desserts; it has a floral fragrance with a subtle flavor – I’d describe it as somewhere along the apricot—leather continuum, if there were such a thing. Also found dried, the corolla opens into adorable, tiny, four-petaled yellow flowers when reconstituted.

But really, all I wanted to do was take this picture – not deliver a bloomin’ excursus on Asian botanicals!