Recipe: Sunshine State Orange Crunch Cake
A hip Asian kitchen with an impressive culinary legacy, Blue Bamboo restaurant in Jacksonville, Fla., calls itself a “food lab, because we always come up with food combinations that are incredibly intriguing and fun to try,” noted Dennis Chan, chef and owner of the restaurant that is celebrating its 13th year in the community.
Chan watched his grandfather cook in his classic Chinese restaurant and essentially grew up in the restaurant business, knowing that he wanted to continue his family’s tradition. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, his passion for bridging the classical European techniques of culinary school with the classic Chinese cooking he learned from his grandpa came to fruition in Blue Bamboo. The Chan family has now been “feeding Jacksonville for eight decades.”
No stranger to the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, Chan was awarded Dessert Honorable mention in the 2017 contest. This year’s Sunshine State Orange Crunch Cake takes its name from Florida –the Sunshine State – and the state fruit. The restaurant’s signature dessert is an orange cake and this recipe is the “ultimate version.” Gold Medal™ Yellow Cake layers moistened with an orange sauce then stacked between alternating layers of airy pineapple cream cheese icing and crisp baked Pillsbury's Best™ Puff Pastry Dough for a luscious creamy, crunchy Napoleon-style textured dessert.
Alongside classic Southern Chinese comfort food, Blue Bamboo specializes in contemporary dishes including guest-favorite LA Bulgogi Tacos, Lobster Cantonese and Basil-Miso Grilled Salmon. Two “secret” menu items that regulars request are Peachy Southern Chicken and Waffles, incorporating sriracha maple syrup and crispy spring roll noodle wisps as well as Macaroni and Cheese Spring Rolls, where “the name says it all!”
“Our kitchen is where we get to have fun and we love cooking for our guests,” Chan said, adding that they have loved the “kicked-up version” of the traditional orange cake. “After celebrating many anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, babies and more with our guests, they become friends.”
As the South East Regional Recipe Winner in the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, Chan receives $5,000 plus $1,000 to share with a local nonprofit; Chan has selected “Real Men Wear Pink of Jacksonville.” The campaign from the American Cancer Society rallies men across the country to join the fight against breast cancer and works to advance efforts in the field of cancer research.
Blue Bamboo contributes to many local organizations and Chan also serves as an adjunct professor at the local community college to share his knowledge with the next generation of chefs.