Pumpkin-Persimmon Mirror Glaze Cake

This recipe came about because I had a buttload of pumpkin-dulcey(blonde chocolate or roasted white chocolate) ganache that I left in my freezer for when fall rolled around. And the moment that it did, I went ahead and busted out my pumpkin-blonde chocolate ganache and made this cake with it and randomly a persimmon that I left in my freezer for a year. Fun fact, when you put a persimmon in a freezer, it ripens it like crazy! You can also use that trick on bananas as well to get suuuuper ripe bananas for either banana bread or banana pudding! For this recipe, I wanted to go with more autumnal flavors, so we have a disk of the pumpkin-dulcey ganache, a persimmon mousse, white sesame chiffon cake, a pumpkin mirror glaze, and whipped pumpkin mousse. What’s cool about this cake is that it is 100% gluten-free, and that the pumpkin-dulcey ganache is actually being used in multiple ways here! On top of being used as a core for the cake, I melted it down to use for the mirror glaze, and with whatever mirror glaze that did not make it onto the cake, I whipped that with heavy cream to make the whipped pumpkin mousse that went on top of the cake itself! I wanted to make sure that all of that damn pumpkin ganache went to good use, because lord knows how long I had to store that in my freezer(about 7 months, on top of the persimmon that I froze and almost forgot about for a year), and I just wanted to get rid of it all, in an artsy, pretty way!

For the cake sponge, we are making it 100% gluten-free by using ground white sesame seeds and almond meal. The cake it prepared in the style in a chiffon cake, since with gluten-free baking, egg whites are your best friend to keep the cake light and airy, instead of dense and chewy, which is what happens often with gluten-free baking. The proteins in gluten hold in air bubbles better, which is why gluten-based baked goods are lighter and springier, so by incorporating more air into the batter, and using xanthan gum to bind the batter in lieu of gluten, you can still have a nicely aerated sponge that is completely gluten-free! I went with the sesame in this case because it pairs nicely with persimmon, and I felt like the persimmon was a pleasant bridge between the pumpkin and sesame flavors! The sesame adds a nutty, toasty flavor, while the super ripe persimmon echoes some of that nuttiness, while also giving the dessert a molasses or date-like flavor that is reminiscent of brown sugar or sticky toffee pudding, randomly enough. Pairing that with the creamy pumpkin-dulcey ganache, which is being used in the remaining components in the cake, and you have yourself fall in a gluten-free mousse cake! And in the meantime, Fred can enjoy freeing up his freezer space of a decent-sized container of pumpkin ganache and a persimmon that was left in his freezer prior to leaving to film season 12 of Masterchef!

For the pumpkin-dulcey ganache:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
2oz blonde chocolate
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cinnamon
3oz pumpkin puree
2 tbsp brown butter

In a pot, heat up the heavy cream with gelatin first. Once the gelatin is fully dissolved in, add in the blonde chocolate, salt, and cinnamon. Stir on low heat until everything is mixed in, then add in your pumpkin puree and brown butter. Pour about 6 tbsp of the ganache into a 5-inch ring mold that is lined with cling wrap and cooking spray and freeze that solid. Reserve the remaining pumpkin ganache for the mirror glaze.

For the white sesame chiffon:
1 egg, separated
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp brown butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp finely ground white sesame seeds
2 tbsp almond meal
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
a pinch of salt

Whip the egg white with granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk with brown butter and vanilla. Sift the ground sesame seeds, almond meal, xanthan gum, and salt into the egg yolk mixture and then fold into that the egg white mixture to form your cake batter. Pour into a lined quarter sheet tray and bake the batter at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool before cutting out 2 5-inch rounds.

For the soak:
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp black tea leaves
a pinch of salt

Microwave the milk with tea leaves and salt for 1 minute. Allow the mixture to cool down completely before straining out the tea leaves. Keep the soak refrigerated for assembly.

For the persimmon mousse:
1/4 cup milk
1 really ripe persimmon, peeled and seeded
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
2/3 cups heavy cream, whipped stiff

In a blender, puree your milk with persimmon. In a pot, heat up the persimmon milk with the gelatin powder mixed with water, and salt. Once everything is dissolved together, pour the liquid through a sieve to remove any lumps and allow it to cool down to just above room temperature. Fold in the cream to form your mousse.

For initial assembly:
Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate and cling wrap. Pour 1/2 of the persimmon mousse down first, then press in a round of cake that has been brushed with the soak. Pour in the remaining half of the mousse, and then press in the ganache, then the cake. Level off the top of the ring mold, and then freeze the mousse cake solid, at least 2 hours in the freezer, before attempting to unmold. Keep the cake frozen for easier assembly.

For the pumpkin mirror glaze:
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tbsp gelatin powder + 3 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
Remaining pumpkin ganache

In a pot, melt down the gelatin and salt into the evaporated milk. Add the pumpkin ganache into that, stirring until everything is combined. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps and air bubbles. Make sure your glaze is at 90 degrees F for pouring. Pour the mirror glaze over the still-frozen mousse cake, allowing any excess to drip off. Reserve both the excess and any un-used mirror glaze for the whip.

For the pumpkin whipped mousse:
Remaining pumpkin mirror glaze
Equal parts heavy cream to the mirror glaze

Heat up the mirror glaze until it is melted down again. Whisk into that your heavy cream, and continue to whip the mixture until it forms into soft peaks. Pour the mixture into silicone half sphere molds(I used 1/2-inch in diameter ones), and freeze the mixture solid before attempting to unmold and use to decorate the cake with.

For garnish:
Marigold petals

To assemble, garnish the top of your cake with the pumpkin whipped mousse, and finish with marigold petals.

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