Kir Royale Cakes

One of my favorite hobbies back when I was first learning about pastry was visiting bakeries and patisseries and buying their most intriguing or unique items. At Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita, CA, that item for me was their Kir Royale. Being 15 at the time, I had no clue what that was. But the cake featured two layers of mousse, one black currant, the other champagne, with fluffy chiffon cake at the bottom. The ambiguous red fruit flavored mousse reminded me of either blackberries or blueberries, while the champagne mousse felt light and effervescent. I would later learn through the power of Google that kir royale was a French drink that featured cassis(black currant) liquor and champagne, giving it this really pretty fuchsia color to it! Normally, I would not own black currant products, but after a collab I did with Samantha from Masterchef seasons 9 and 12, I owned a lot more than I initially knew what to do with! And in the spirit of Pinktober, it just felt right to tackle the Kir Royale cake of my childhood! I did not want to copy Patisserie Chantilly’s verbatim, since while that would be a fun challenge, it just did not feel right. So this is my interpretation of that dessert, done in a style that is more akin to my kind of pastries.

For the components, we have a vanilla chiffon cake that is brushed with a champagne syrup, a black currant gelee, a Kir Royale mousse, glaze, and fluid gel, and a champagne infused chantilly cream to finish! With these components, I wanted to make sure that the champagne had a decent amount of featuring throughout the dessert, since ultimately, the black currant’s color will take over quite a few of the components that use both black currant and champagne to begin with, and I wanted to visually convey that this is a black currant and champagne dessert, not just the former. I do love how several of these components also recycle into other things – the champagne syrup used to brush the cakes with is also used in the champagne chantilly cream, while the glaze that is leftover is then blended into a fluid gel to adorn the tops of the cakes with! I found that these cakes were a great way to utilize the abundance of black currant products I had lying around, and they allowed me to experiment more with black currant, which is something I had very little direct experience with using prior to this recipe!

For the vanilla chiffon cake:
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with the sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whip the egg yolk with lemon zest, and slowly stream in your oil. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk-flour mixture to form your batter. Pour the batter onto a lined quarter sheet tray, spread into an even layer and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool completely before unmolding. Cut out 3-inch rounds of the cake.

For the champagne syrup:
1/4 cup champagne or prosecco
1 tsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Reduce by half on medium heat. Cool down the syrup before using. Reserve 1 tbsp for the chantilly.

For the black currant gelee:
1/4 cup black currant concentrate
1 tbsp agar agar
a pinch of salt

Reduce everything together by half. Pour the liquid into silicone half sphere molds(1-inch in diameter) and freeze until set, at least 20 minutes.

For the kir royale mousse:
1/4 cup champagne or prosecco
1/4 cup black currant concentrate
1 tsp gelatin powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a pot, reduce down the ingredients, minus the heavy cream, until the gelatin is fully dissolved into the liquid. Allow the mixture to cool down, then fold in whipped heavy cream into the mixture to form your mousse.

For initial assembly:
Pipe the mousse into petit gateau molds first, then press in the gelees. Brush the syrup over the cakes, then press the cakes in as well. Freeze the molds solid, at least 2 hours, before attempting to unmold the mousses. Keep the mousses cold for final assembly.

For the kir royale glaze:
1/4 cup champagne or prosecco
2 tbsp black currante concentrate
2 tsp gelatin powder + 1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt

Bring everything to a simmer. Once the gelatin is fully dissolved into the liquid, allow the glaze to cool down to roughly 100 degrees F. Glaze each still-frozen cake with the glaze, allowing any excess to drip off. Let the glaze on the mousses set at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before transferring the cakes to a serving surface.

For the champagne chantilly:
1 tbsp champagne syrup*
1/4 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp xanthan gum*

In a bowl, whip everything together to stiff peaks. Keep refrigerated until time to assemble. Transfer to a piping bag. Pipe the chantilly on top of the glazed cakes, and press holes into them using the round side of a spoon.

For the kir royale fluid gel:
Reserved glaze
1 tbsp black currant concentrate

Puree together the reserved glaze with concentrate in a spice grinder until fully combined. Transfer to a piping bag or spoon the gel into holes on top of the mousses.

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