Blackberry-almond Arnold Palmer cake

This was a cake I made with my dad in mind, for his birthday. He loves to golf, so the Arnold Palmer is a caddy shack reference. He loves my lemon curd cakes, to the point where he has actually eaten a cake I made before I even finished decorating or photographing it before, so I knew that going with the Arnold Palmer route would be perfect, between the usage of tea and lemon. For the tea component, I wanted to do a reference to milk tea, so I went ahead and made that a Bavarian cream, which perfectly pairs milk and tea together. Since my dad likes lavender, I went with earl gray for my tea of choice, although if you wanted to go more traditional darjeeling tea or any black tea would really work. For the lemon component, I went with lemon curd, because my dad loves lemon curd, and I just knew that I would offset the Bavarian cream really nicely. Another aspect to the dish that really ties in with a flavor combination that I love is the usage of almonds. Thanks to Melissa King’s milk tea and almond cookie ice cream, I have an addiction to pairing those two together. So I went with the best form of an almond cookie that I could think of: a French macaroon. For the coloration of the macaron, I went with purple, to tie in more with the fact that I used blackberry as the main fruit of my cake. The chiffon itself is flavored with blackberry, and colored with ube and pitaya powders, just to get it to that right, natural hue of purple.

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For the chiffon cake:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ube powder
1 teaspoon pitaya powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons blackberry puree
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Sift flour with baking powder, ube, pitaya, and salt. Whip egg whites with half the sugar, and then the yolks with the other half, canola oil, and the puree. Fold together. Pour into a sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cut out two 6 inch rounds, 2 halves of one 6 inch round, and reserve your scraps.

For the blackberry puree:
1 1/2 cups blackberries

Bring to a simmer. Once the berries have broken down completely, pass through a sieve, pressing to finish.

For the macaron:
2 egg whites
3/4 cups almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
purple gel food coloring

Whip egg whites with salt and granulated sugar to stiff peaks. Fold in the gel food coloring first. Sift the other ingredients. Fold into the whites until the mixture begins to slightly collapse on itself. Transfer to a piping bag. Pipe into 1/2 inch circles on a lined sheet pan and then tap to release any additional air(make sure to space these out!). Allow the macarons to sit for at least 15 minutes before baking at 300 degrees F for 14 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through to guarantee even baking. While it is important to have perfect macarons to garnish, any that collapse or crack can be chopped up and then used for the filling.

For the lemon curd:
2 egg yolks
1/2 stick unsalted butter
juice and zest from 3 lemons
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Combine yolks with salt and sugar. Reduce zest with juice by half before straining out the zest. Temper the juice with the yolks. Whisk on medium-high heat, and then whisk in the butter. Pass through a strainer and keep at room temperature for assembly.

For the milk tea Bavarian cream:
1/4 cup black tea
2 tablespoons milk powder
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Melt gelatin into black tea. Temper with egg yolks, milk powder, sugar, and salt. Strain. Allow to cool to room temperature. Fold in heavy cream. Keep at room temperature until it is time to assemble.

For assembly:
6 inch ring mold
acetate or parchment

Line ring mold with acetate. Place the crumbled up pieces of cake on the bottom to form your first layer. Spread on 1/3 of your lemon curd, then pieces of broken macaron, then 1/3 of your Bavarian. Repeat until you’re done with your layers of cake and filling. Freeze solid if using parchment or set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours if you’re using acetate before unmolding.

For the blackberry mousse:
1/4 cup blackberry puree
3/4 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cups heavy cream
a pinch of salt

Melt bloomed gelatin into the puree and cool down to room temperature. Fold in heavy cream that has been whipped to stiff peaks. Season with salt. Spread onto the top of the cake evenly.

For the blackberry-lemon French buttercream
1/4 cup lemon curd
2 tablespoons blackberry puree
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

Whip together all three ingredients until the mixture emulsifies into a smooth puree. Transfer to a piping bag. Pipe in between macarons and onto the cake.

To garnish:
Fresh blackberries

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