Injeolmi and barley tea mirror glaze cake

This was a last-minute cake order for my sister’s high school best friend, Jane. Jane is currently expecting, and in commemoration of that, I wanted to make a dessert that was very much to her liking – Jane herself is Korean, and she loves Asian desserts and flavors. So naturally, I went with injeolmi powder, since my own high school Korean bestie, Ellie, actually gifted me a bag of injeolmi powder made by her grandmother in Seoul! Injeolmi is this nutty grain mixture, with almost peanut butter-like notes, coupled with other toasty flavors. I’m combining that with barley tea, which is refreshing and warming, as well as Valrhona’s Almond Inspiration, just to create a comforting, well-rounded out mirror glaze cake experience! It had to be special, since it was for somebody I grew up with as well, and especially to commemorate somebody’s first child! And before somebody tries to say anything, barley tea does not contain caffeine, so nobody try to tell me that I’m feeding a pregnant person food that they should not be eating!

For the components, we have an injeolmi chiffon cake, a barley tea gelee, injeolmi mousse, Almond Inspiration mousse, a barley tea glaze, and a light dusting of injeolmi to half-cover up any flaws in the cake and to half tie back in with the fact that injeolmi is used to coat rice cakes in Korean cuisine traditionally. It was a convenient coincidence, because it just finishes off the cake nicely, and makes it almost look like snow on top of the mirror glaze! I made two of these cakes, since I wanted to take a cross section picture, but I scaled the below recipe down to be just one cake, in case anyone thinks that I’m a monster who would feed a pregnant woman caffeine or cut into a cake that was meant to be a gift – I am not. Well, a person who would do those things anyways. A monster? Maybe.

For the injeolmi cake:
2 egg whites
1/2 cups white sugar, in two parts
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp canola oil
a pinch of salt
1/4 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn baking powder
2 tbsp injeolmi powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Whip egg whites with half of the sugar to stiff peaks. Whip the rest of the sugar with an egg yolk, canola oil, salt, and vanilla until combined. Sift the baking powder, injeolmi, and flour into the egg yolk mixture, and then fold into that the stiff egg whites. Pour the batter into a lined quarter sheet tray and spread into a thin layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cool down before unmolding and cutting out a 5-inch disk. Reserve the rest for trifles, banana pudding, or tiramisu!

For the barley tea insert:
1/3 cup barley tea
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp agar agar

Bring to a simmer and reduce to about 1/4 cup of liquid. Pour into a lined 5-inch ring mold and freeze for 10 minutes to solidify before attempting to unmold. Still keep cold for assembly.

For the injeolmi mousse:
1/4 cup milk
1 tspn gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
3 tbsp injeolmi powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring milk and gelatin to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk the injeolmi with sugar, egg yolk, and salt. Temper the mixture with the milk and whisk on medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain and cool down. In another bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks and fold into the egg mixture. Pour about half of the mousse into a lined 6-inch ring mold and freeze for 10 minutes. Keep the rest of the mixture at room temperature in the mean time. Then place on the disk of gelee, the rest of the mousse, and then the round of cake. There should be a gap between the bottom of the mousse and the bottom of the cake, which is fine, as that will be covered with the almond mousse. Freeze for now just to expedite the setting process.

For the almond mousse:
3oz almond inspiration
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tspn gelatin powder + 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp almond butter
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat up everything but the cream first. Pour through a sieve and cool down to room temperature. Whip cream to stiff peaks and fold into the almond inspiration. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the crevices of the cake in the ring mold, spreading it evenly using an offset spatula. Freeze the entire cake for at least 2 1/2 hours before attempting to unmold and glaze at this point.

For the barley tea mirror glaze:
1/2 cup white chocolate
1/2 cup barley tea
1 packet gelatin powder + 3 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt

Bring everything to a simmer. Allow everything to sit for 1 minute before stirring, then pour through a sieve to remove lumps. Keep at 90 degrees F for glazing. Place the cake on either an upside down bowl that is smaller than it, or an upside down cup. Pour the glaze over the still-frozen cake, allowing the excess to drip off the sides.

To finish:
Injeolmi powder

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