Gluten-free sesame-buckwheat mousse cake

I had yet to make a true vegan chiffon cake prior to writing and testing out this recipe. Last year, I did make a pumpkin roll cake, but it was not a true chiffon batter, just a cake roll. When I say chiffon, I’m talking whipped whites folded into an egg yolk mixture. Doing so creates that springy texture that bounces back when you press into it, kind of like memory foam. The pumpkin cake I made before did not quite do that. Luckily, this gluten-free recipe delivers on what a chiffon cake made with regular wheat flour should have. When it came to which gluten-free flour to use, since I went with a black sesame cake, I figured buckwheat flour would work. Buckwheat is normally used for soba noodles, and it has this deep, earthy flavor. I have used them before to make noodles in the past, and while I usually stick to savory applications with it, I figured that the buckwheat flavor would be neutral enough to use in a dessert. I also knew that buckwheat would pair well with the black sesame, which is earthy and nutty, and hilariously enough, it totally works with both the sesame and sugar! I used a black sesame-buckwheat flour blend in both the chiffon cake and the tuiles that garnish it! Surprisingly, the color of both batters was dark enough from just the buckwheat that I did not even need to use activated charcoal to darken the color more on either! With the tuiles, I used Pavoni leaf molds to shape them. If you do not have those, simply using a piping bag and piping out your own leaves is perfectly fine as well! Or you can even spread the tuile batter into one giant tuile, and crack it into smaller shards to garnish with!

For the components, we have a black sesame and buckwheat chiffon cake that is brushed with a tahini milk soak, then a tahini mousse, a black sesame chantilly cream on top, and black sesame-buckwheat tuiles as a garnish. I wanted to embrace that black and white look, almost like an Othello cake, but featuring sesame as the main attraction! The entire cake has sesame in it, with the buckwheat giving a nice background of toastiness and earthiness that might be a new but pleasant taste! There is nothing in this dessert that comes off as too savory, which could be a risk when using sesame or buckwheat, and the most important part is that the dessert is not too sweet and it is 100% gluten-free! On the note of this dessert not being too savory, I will add a warning to be careful of what kind of tahini you use in this recipe. While it did not happen for this recipe, I did make the mistake of using a tahini that had chickpeas and garlic in it in another dessert a while ago, and it was kind of traumatic. Always make sure to read the labels on the tahini you are purchasing, just to make sure it is just sesame paste, and that it does not contain garlic and chickpeas. The chickpeas can be workable, but the garlic is extremely unforgiving in most desserts and it would be a shame for you to spend a lot of time on a recipe, only for it to taste like a marinara sauce or a pizza over something that silly.

Makes 1 6-inch mousse cake(serves 6-8):
For the chiffon cake:
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup ground black sesame powder
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Whip egg whites with sugar to stiff peaks. Mix the other ingredients together. Fold both mixtures together to form your batter. Pour into a lined quarter sheet tray and spread into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Cool down before attempting to use.

For the soak:
1 tbsp tahini paste
1/2 cup milk
a pinch of salt

Mix together until combined.

For the mousse:
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup tahini paste
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Heat up milk with tahini and gelatin until everything is dissolved together. Pour half of the milk-tahini mixture into the egg yolks, sugar, and salt while whisking. Then pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pot with the milk-tahini mixture and whisk everything on low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain and mix in the vanilla extract, then let that mixture cool down to just above room temperature. Then fold in the heavy cream.

For the initial assembly:
1 6-inch ring mold
cooking spray
cling wrap

Cut 2 rounds of chiffon cake with the ring mold. Brush the cakes with soak. Then clean off the ring mold and line with cling wrap and cooking spray. Pour in half of the mousse first, then place in one of the cakes. Pour in the rest of the mousse, then the remaining cake. You can optionally outfit the ring mold with acetate, though this recipe should fit snugly into a 2 1/4-inch tall 6-inch ring mold. Freeze for at least 2 hours before attempting to unmold.

For the black sesame chantilly:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp black sesame powder
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Whip until stiff. Place into the refrigerator until time for final assembly.

For the tuiles:
1 egg white
3 tbsp buckwheat flour
2 tbsp black sesame powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp water

Mix to form your batter. Spread into Pavoni leaf molds and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. Repeat until you consumed all of your tuile batter. Store in an airtight container until time to use.

For final assembly:
Unmold the mousse cake first then transfer to a serving plate. Spread the chantilly on top of the cake, and garnish the sides and top with the cooled down tuiles.

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