Heartless: Queen of Hearts inspired mirror glaze cake

I really just came up with this dessert when I was thinking about Tim Burton-inspired cakes. The Queen of Hearts is such an iconic image and has that really dramatic black-red aesthetic that I just knew I could work with. I wanted to do something that really captured that sinister look, so I went with activated charcoal and red mirror glazes to coat a red velvet mousse cake. Normally, red velvet is paired with cream cheese frosting, but I wanted it to be a little classier, since it is supposed to be a dessert fit for a queen. So I went with a crème fraiche infused mousse, and I also made a raspberry gel insert, to represent the blood that spills when you cut into the cake. To be extra, I garnished it with a chocolate tiara and red chocolate hearts, some of which have holes cut into them to represent being stabbed in the heart by the queen herself. The best part about making this was talking about making a chocolate tiara, quite honestly. The world tiara just sounds hilarious to say after a while, just because the moment you say it, you know you’re being excessive.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

For the red velvet cake:
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredients. Pour into a lined 5 inch ring mold and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool completely before unmolding.

For the raspberry gelee insert:
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 1/2 tablespoons agar agar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Bring ingredients to a simmer. Puree down and strain. Continue cooking down until the puree is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour into a lined 5 inch ring mold and freeze solid.

For the crème fraiche mousse:
8 oz crème fraiche
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 packet gelatin powder + 3 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bloom gelatin in water. Heat up the 1/4 cup water, sugar, salt, and gelatin and simmer down into a thick syrup. Pour into the crème fraiche and whip until just incorporated. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold together. Pour half the mixture into a lined 6 inch ring mold. Then place in your gelee insert. Pour in the rest then press in your cake round. Freeze the entire thing solid (4 hours at least).

For the mirror glazes:
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 packets gelatin powder + 1/3 cup water
1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt

red gel food coloring
1 1/2 tablespoons activated charcoal powder

Bring water and bloomed gelatin and salt to a simmer. Add in the white chocolate and take off heat. Stir only enough for everything to combine and pour through a strainer. Separate into two mixtures and combine the charcoal into one part and the red food coloring into the other. Heat up to 90 degrees F for glazing each side of the cake with, reserving some of the red to swirl into the black with.

For the hearts:
white chocolate
red gel food coloring or red cocoa butter

In a double boiler, bring 3 parts of your white chocolate up to 110 degrees F, then remove from heat. Add in 1 part and continue mixing until the chips are fully melted and the mixture hits 90 degrees. At that point, add in your coloring and continue mixing until the mixture hits about 85 degrees F. From there, pour between two acetate sheets and roll out to about 1/8th inch thickness. Allow the white chocolate to cool in the refrigerator for only 30 seconds, then take out. Press with a heart cookie cutter, then put back into the fridge until set. Once set, remove from acetate, and if desired, you can punch out more holes using a 1/2 inch cookie circle.

For the tiara:
Dark chocolate

In a double boiler, bring 3 parts of your dark chocolate up to 115 degrees F. Remove from heat then add in 1 part more of the dark chocolate, mixing until it is combined and the chocolate is down to 85 degrees. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out the crown on a strip of parchment Carefully pin the parchment around a 4 inch circle and allow to set in the fridge.

Assembly:
Glaze the cake when it is still frozen. Once the glazes are about room temperature, place on the other garnishes so that they will not risk melting.

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