Skyward bound: a mirror glaze cake

This dessert was inspired by an ex-best friend from high school, who liked blackberries, hazelnuts, and lemons. While the friendship didn’t work out, I still have to admit that I love playing around with the combination of those three ingredients. For this variation, I wanted to include thyme, which I love to pair with lemon and hazelnuts, as it add this earthiness that plays off of the hazelnuts themselves, and the herbaceous note that works with the fragrant acidity of a lemon. Blackberries, they just work with lemons, so it’s really the lemons and thyme that hold everything together in this dessert.

I came up with the name Skyward Bound after, surprisingly enough, a song by the same name, which just takes me to a happy place. And no, I don’t mean like death or any of that shit. I mean a period or a moment in my life where all of the shit that makes us human beings just goes away, and all I really have to think about are the things I enjoy in my life, in this case, baking, running, playing videos, and quietly judging people while I’m doing all three of those things. What? I’m not a saint. In case you couldn’t have guessed already, muthafuckas. Anyways, for the components of the cake, we have a hazelnut cake, hazelnut-thyme-lemon curd mousse, blackberry gelee, and a hazelnut-thyme mirror glaze, and white chocolate bark that is embedded with hazelnuts, thyme, and lemon zest. The bark was totally not to cover my shitty job at glazing the cake or anything. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. Okay, I’m going to stop now because I’m annoying myself at this point.

For the hazelnut cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pureed hazelnut
1/2 cup roughly crushed hazelnuts
1 cup hazelnut milk
1 stick unsalted butter; browned
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Combine ingredients, sans hazelnuts, and pour into a lined sheet tray. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top of the cake and then bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, then punch out one 5 inch circle.

For the hazelnut milk:
2 cups water
1 cup toasted hazelnuts

Simmer together for 10 minutes on medium-low heat, then pulse slightly in a blender for 1 minute. Pass through a cheese cloth, pressing the liquid to strain out as much flavor as possible from the hazelnuts. Reserve the solids for the cake batter.

For the bavarian cream:
2 egg yolks
2/3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup hazelnut milk
1 1/4 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon hazelnut milk
a pinch of salt
lemon curd*

Melt together the gelatin and the hazelnut milk. Whip sugar with salt and egg yolks. Temper the mixtures together and then whisk over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pass through a strainer and allow to cool at room temperature to room temperature. Whip heavy cream until stiff. Fold together the cream into the egg mixture first, then finish with the lemon curd.

For the thyme infused lemon curd:
juice and zest from 2 lemons
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
a pinch of thyme

Whip together the sugar, egg, and cornstarch. Simmer the lemon juice, zest, and thyme. Temper together. Whisk over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens, then take off heat, and add in the butter. Continue mixing until smooth and pass through a strainer. Chill completely before incorporating into the hazelnut cream.

For the blackberry gel insert:
1 cup blackberry puree
1 1/2 tablespoons agar agar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Combine ingredients together and simmer. Pour onto a nonstick surface and chill before cutting out a 5 inch circle.

For assembly:
Pour half of the hazelnut-lemon mixture into a lined 6 inch ring mold, then press in the blackberry gel insert. Pour over the rest, and then press in the cake. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid.

For the mirror glaze:
2/3 cups hazelnut milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 packets of gelatin powder + 3 tablespoons hazelnut milk
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon spirulina powder

Melt the gelatin into the hazelnut milk. Once at a low simmer, add in the white chocolate chips and thyme. Stir, off heat, until just combined and then pour through a strainer. Pour half of it into a separate bowl and add in the spirulina powder to dye it green. Keep at 90 degrees F when you are going to pour it over the cake.

For the white chocolate bark:
1 cup white chocolate chips
lemon zest
crushed hazelnuts

Melt down 3/4 cups of the chocolate, then take off heat. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup and the pour over a parchment sheet. Spread as thinly as possible and then sprinkle on the thyme, lemon zest, and hazelnuts. Chill until solidified. Break into smaller pieces to garnish the cake with.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Marissa says:

    Fred this is majestic!! Thanks for the flavor combo inspo, too!! ~Marissa

    Liked by 1 person

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