“Day by Day”: a layer cake

So Carole and Tuesday season 2 just came out on Netflix, and with that, the soundtrack also dropped, so I was able to start listening to and get inspired by all of the new tracks on that album. One in particular that I liked was “Day by Day”, which was this quaint song that reminded me a lot of Fonogenico, a now-defunct band in Japan whose tracks I really loved listening to back when I was in school. When I thought about the song’s title in a more literal sense, I thought about routines and from there, breakfast. And that’s what I went for when I was coming up with this cake in terms of the flavors. We have a buttermilk-nutmeg cake, inspired obviously by pancakes, with blueberry compote, a maple-bacon crunch, and a salted duck egg pastry cream that takes inspiration from scrambled eggs.

Now I’ll address the major elephant in the room first, being the salted duck egg pastry cream. Yes, I know it sounds really weird. And yes, it might even turn you away from making this dessert, since it’s basically a hardboiled duck egg that has been preserved in salt, making it super salty and sulfur-y. But the thing is, I wanted to use the salted duck egg to add another layer of umami, on top of the bacon, since breakfast is a combination of sweet and savory. I also am discarding the whites of the egg, which is where the majority of that salt was soaked into, so at least know that it won’t be as salty. That and with all of the sugar and vanilla that I cut the duck egg with, just that brined egg yolk flavor translates into a really eggy-tasting custard, which is in my eyes, ideal if I’m trying to invoke the flavor of scrambled eggs, but not necessarily the texture, which would be off-putting in a custard. For the bacon crunch, I actually use mostly the bacon fat from rendered bacon, just so that it will be very bacon-forward. The blueberry and the maple add the tartness and sweetness needed to keep the cake in the realm of dessert, and away from being just a salty mess. There’s only room for one of those in my kitchen. 

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
a pinch of cinnamon powder
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 stick melted butter
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine malted milk powder, vinegar, maple, and heavy cream together first and allow to sit for 10 minutes to create the buttermilk for your cake. Combine the butter, sugar, and eggs together separately and whip until light and airy. Then combine all of your ingredients together and pour into a lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 22 minutes, and cool completely before unmolding. Cut out 6 perfect 6-inch circles and create another one out of the scraps of the cake.

For the crunch:
4 strips of bacon, chopped up and rendered crispy
reserved bacon fat from those 4 strips
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup maple syrup

Blitz together into a dough. Break apart into smaller pieces and spread on a lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the compote:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Reduce down all of the ingredients in a pot on low heat to a thick, glossy consistency. Cool down before using for assembly.

For the pastry cream:
2 salted duck egg yolks
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gelatin + 1 tablespoon warm water

Melt gelatin into heavy cream alongside the maple, duck egg yolks, and the malted milk powder. Whisk together with the cornstarch until thickened, then transfer to a blender. Start blending and add in your egg yolk first while the mixture is still warm. Then finish with your butter. Once the mixture is fully combined, transfer to a sheet tray and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes just to bring down to room temperature for assembly.

For the maple-milk soak:
3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
a pinch of salt

Whisk together.

To assemble:
Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate and start with your first full ring of cake. Then pour over 1/4 cup of your soaking liquid. Spread on about 1/3 of your compote, then sprinkle in some of the smaller crunch crumbs. Pour on about 1/3 of your pastry cream. Place the scrappy layer on next and soak with another 1/3 of the soaking liquid. Repeat the blueberry, crunch, and pastry cream layers. Finally, add your last layer and pour on the last of your soaking liquid. Pour the last of your pastry cream and compote onto the cake and spread together, allowing them to swirl together. Freeze for at least 2 hours to set the cake fully before unmolding and adding on your finishing touches.

To finish:
Blueberries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup water
Leftover maple-bacon crunch

Melt maple into water and glaze berries with that so that they don’t dry out. Arrange a ring of crunch and a ring of blueberries on top of the cake.

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