I have something to admit: I don’t care much for cake. I am, and have always been, a much bigger fan of the things cake carries. It’s a vessel for buttercream, mousses, ganache, compotes, and curds. On it’s own, I don’t so much care. Probably because one needs to consume an awful lot of plain cake before the sugar bloat takes hold and you no longer have the will to live.
There are a few cakes I have found that I do not dislike. The Classic Génoise is not one of them. Sure it’s basic; eggs, sugar, flour is all you need. But I don’t know, there is something about the texture and the slightly sweet eggy flavour I’m not fond of. The first time I made a Génoise, I was so horrified by how, visually, it reminded me of the dimpled upper-thigh of a 50 year old woman, that I threw it out and made it a second time. Horrified again (this time I actually tasted it), I chucked it and chose a different recipe. I didn’t make it again until school, when I realized I’d made it right both times.
This cake requires a Gingerbread Génoise. The added spices gave me hope. Usually a genoise is soaked in a flavoured light syrup. This is why it is so versatile; you always make the same cake, then soak it in whatever suits your needs, and suddenly the texture of the cake is fixed too — dry and sticky to moist and velvety. The Gingerbread Génoise is not soaked, though I wanted to drench it in Green Ginger infused Fortified Wine.
Hm. Well. I’ve made gluten-free Génoise before and this freaked me out. This is not what a Génoise should look like. Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph the cake upon removal from the pan, when all the candied ginger adhered to the base, despite being heavily buttered and floured.
The first thing to do is chop up a butternut squash and throw it in a pot with some butter, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Cook this until completely soft. I mashed it, but did not purée or run through a tamis because I was too lazy. I would if I were doing this for money, not giving it away to my friends.
Cool cake in freezer. When it is almost frozen, level it. Place it in a frame, I used an 8” round pastry ring, which I used to cut the cake to size. Spread with butternut squash butter. Freeze.
As the cake cooled in the freezer, I made the caramel mousse. Not hard.
Migoya’s Caramel Mousse
3g gelatine — powder, 3.4g gold leaf
200g cream, whipped soft peaks, chilled.
- Cook sugar to a deep amber
- Deglaze with butter, then add cream
- Whip eggs on high until fully fluffed, pour in caramel (à la Italian Meringue)
- Add bloomed gelatine while caramel is still warm and whip until 21 degrees C
- Fold caramel mixture into cream (I do the cream to soft peaks so I can whip mixtures in, reducing the chance of the mousse collapsing)
Pipe or spread mousse over squash butter. The ideal way of doing this is to pipe the mixture around the ring, then use a small offset spatula to pull the mousse up the sides, then fill the ring just below the rim with mousse and level, then clean the edge with your thumb and forefinger. Spreading the mousse up the sides prevents air pockets in your montage.
My calculations were slightly off (I’ve adjusted the recipe here for you, don’t fret), and I was just shy of what the ring would take, so inevitably the glaze was too thick. Thankfully, the glaze was super tasty.
Migoya’s Ginger Spice Glaze
Cinnamon Stick, 2 cloves, nutmeg, toasted
2.5g gelatine (powder, 3.5g gold leaf)
Infuse cream with toasted spices and ginger by bringing to a boil, steeping 20 minutes, then straining. Heat again, add sugar, molasses, salt. Whisk water and cornstarch into a slurry, add to cream and bring to a full boil. Let cool, with saran over the surface, until 35 degrees C either at room temp or stirring over ice. When cake is frozen, glaze, freeze again, then remove the ring with a hot towel or hand torch.
The only thing I will say is that while I reduced the gelatine as I was using the powdered variety rather then fancy gold leaf (powder blooms at 225, leaf at 200, so powder sets stiffer), I didn’t reduce it enough so the glaze was a bit…chewy.
This was a cake that was not shown in the book. Migoya kindly published on Ptitchef.com three of the “lost cake” photos, including this one, which would normally have been decorated with white chocolate covered puffed rice. I don’t have such frivolous things. I stole some candied ginger and orange caramel corn I make at work and threw on a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. It is not a handsome cake. I’ll put more thought into the next one.
Here I plated it with that Ginger Caramel I’m in love with myself for making, some caramel corn, and licorice ice cream.
Licorice Ice Cream
350g natural Panda licorice
1 drop anise oil
Bring licorice, milk, and cream to a boil, then simmer until the licorice has mostly broken down and the liquid is a beige colour. Strain. Stir in anise oil and sugar. Mature in the fridge over night with saran on the surface to prevent a skin. The next day, the base should be thick enough to churn without egg yolk. Yay simple ice cream!
Note: the people I work with said “tastes like a pumpkin pie!” Um…this cake cost me $50 in ingredients alone. I do not appreciate that it just tastes like pumpkin pie. And it tastes wayyyy better then a pumpkin pie. Pfft.