Chocolate-sesame-cardamom cake

How this cake came about was hilarious. It was 6:35AM, and I had just finished my workout. It was also my friend’s birthday, and I was debating if I wanted to make a cake for her or not. But I did not want to be a crap friend, and I decided, screw it, 50 minute cake challenge accepted. And that was literally how this cake came together. I knew my friend, Naama, loved chocolate, and that she likes cardamom and sesame. So that’s where I went with the flavors in this cake. The cake itself was my chocolate cake, soaked with a cardamom milk, and enrobed with cardamom-caramel ganache, a black sesame Italian meringue buttercream, and sesame butterfly tuiles. I went with some familiar components for sure, being my chocolate cake and the sesame Italian meringue buttercream, since I knew for a fact those would taste great together. The cardamom adds a nice perfume-y aroma throughout the cake, while the tuiles give a fun little crunch. As I made this cake across those 50 minutes, I just kept telling myself to keep moving and don’t stop so that I could get it all done in time. And luckily, because I did that, I was able to get the cake assembled and in the freezer in less than an hour, ready for me to pick up after work and on my way to my friend’s birthday dinner!

For the chocolate cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup Ovaltine powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tbsp vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
3/4 cups canola oil

Mix together to form your batter. Spread onto a lined quarter sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool down and cut into 2 6-inch rounds and form a 3rd round using the scraps.

For the cardamom-caramel ganache:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 generous pinches of ground cardamom
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate

In a pot, heat up the sugar, cardamom, and salt until the sugar is golden brown. Pour in the milk and stir together until combined. Then add in the chocolate, and stir until combined as well. Keep at room temperature for assembly.

For the cardamom soak:
1/2 cup milk
2 generous pinches of ground cardamom
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all of your ingredients together. Keep cold for assembly.

For the sesame Italian meringue buttercream:
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar, in two parts
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup black sesame powder
a pinch of salt
a pinch of ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter

Whip egg whites with half of the sugar to soft peaks. Reduce the remaining sugar with water until it forms a syrup and begins to boil. Pour the boiling syrup into the egg whites while whisking together. Then whisk into the egg whites all of the other ingredients, whipping continuously until everything is fully combined into a smooth, creamy buttercream. Keep at room temperature for assembly.

For the sesame tuiles:
2oz ground white sesame
1/2 tbsp egg white powder
1 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp oil

Mix to form your tuile batter. Spread into your Pavoni butterfly baking mold(or onto a lined sheet tray) and bake at 350 degrees F for 6 minutes(if using the mold) or 15 minutes(if just baking into a solid sheet). Cool down before using.

To assemble:
Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Start with the scrap layer, then pour on your soak. Pour on 1/3 of your ganache and spread. Then spread on 1/3 of your buttercream. Repeat for the second layer. For the top layer, start with the soak and the ganache. Transfer the remaining buttercream into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe on the buttercream and place on the tuiles. Freeze for at least 2 hours before attempting to unmold.

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