Tired of the same old flavor combinations? Bring new aromas, textures and tastes to your baking by fusing exotic spices with familiar ingredients. Why bake up a cake with the same old flavor combinations? Jeanette Bozic believes in fusing exotic spices with familiar ingredients to create a cake that’s just as fun to eat as it is to look at.
Spicing It Up
By Jeanette Bozic
Flavor infusion in cakes is really taking off. A little twist on a classic flavor combination can make a world of difference. Rich chocolate or creamy vanilla with sweet raspberry—this is the ideal combination for most brides. However, adding an exotic flavor or spice can really take your cakes to the next level. Why not try something new and offer your guests an extra cake to taste?
More and more brides are starting to be intrigued with new and exciting trends in flavor. Who doesn’t want to be unique on their wedding day? Am I right? I certainly did. Not only did I have a wedding cake that I personally created, but I also constructed a large dessert buffet full of pastries, chocolates and confections.
I believe it is more difficult to push ourselves out of our element to try new things than it is to get our brides to experiment. Imagine the guests’ reaction with the first bite. They were expecting the same old chocolate cake with a flawless exterior, but their taste buds just flew off the charts. Create a new surge of excitement with flavors dancing, a new taste, and a new aroma. You just made that cake fun to eat.
Components of Flavor
When adding new flavors or infusing flavor combinations, construct them in different components, such as mousse, ganache, compote, syrup, buttercream or even in the cake sponge itself. Add contrasting textures—creamy, crunchy or possibly a gelée. I find it best to search the web for exotic spices or fruits and research their flavor notes. I always have a pen and paper at hand to list a composite of flavors. Think to yourself, “Does this flow?”
A spice I was introduced to recently is the Szechuan Pepper. It has a resemblance to black peppercorns, however it is not of the pepper family, but actually a dried berry. Native to the Szechuan province in China, the berries are a rust color with thin stems and open ends. Szechuan Pepper is also known as Chinese coriander. Szechuan is very aromatic with strong floral notes and lemony overtones, which makes it a great fusion with chocolate.
Take a chance and explore your creativity. Why not start out by trying this recipe for an entremet? It features a dark chocolate mousse infused with Szechuan Pepper.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
- 300 grams dark chocolate
- 250 grams heavy cream
- 15 grams Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 grams gelatin leaves, soaked in cold water
- 600 grams heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Bring the first amount of heavy cream (250 grams) to a slight boil, put the Szechuan pepper in and turn off the heat, allowing the Szechuan pepper to infuse for about 10-15 minutes. Then turn the stove back on to medium just to heat the heavy cream back up. Using a strainer, pour the cream over the dark chocolate. Discard the strained Szechuan pepper. Whisk the chocolate and heavy cream together creating a ganache, then add your bloomed gelatin. Once your ganache is cooled to room temperature, slowly add it to the whipped cream, folding gently.
- 250 grams butter
- 215 grams powdered sugar
- 15 grams baking powder
- 320 grams all-purpose flour
- 50 grams egg yolks
- 50 grams whole eggs, beaten lightly
- 45 grams water
Cream the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and soft. Add half of the flour and baking powder gradually. Then add the egg yolks, eggs and water. Lastly, add the remaining flour and baking powder. Press the dough flat onto plastic wrap and chill. Once chilled, roll out to about ¼-inch thickness and cut to desired shape. For this entremet, I used a 9-inch cake ring. Bake 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- 576 grams raspberry puree
- 173 grams granulated sugar
- 15 grams gelatin leaves, soaked in cold water
Heat the raspberry puree and sugar, stirring constantly to melt the sugar. Once the sugar is melted, turn off the stove. Add the bloomed gelatin and pour into desired mold. In this case I used a 9-inch silicone round cake mold. Place this in the freezer to set until frozen, which will allow for easier entremet assembly.
- 100 grams heavy cream
- 100 grams milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 38 grams granulated sugar
- 45 grams egg yolks
- 4 grams gelatin leaves, soaked in cold water
- 150 grams heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks
Put the first amount of heavy cream (100 grams) and milk in a saucepan with the vanilla bean and heat together, but do not bring to a boil. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Once the milk and cream are heated, slowly add to the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Add the combined mixture back into the saucepan on low heat, stirring constantly. Cook this mixture to ‘nappe’ stage, which is a slightly thick mixture that will coat the back of the spoon. Do not overcook, as you will end up with curdled eggs. Pour this into a new bowl, add the bloomed gelatin and rest the bowl on an ice bath to cool. Once cool, fold into the whipped cream slowly. When combined, pour desired amount into your mold. For this I used a 9-inch silicone round cake mold. Place this in the freezer to set until frozen, which will allow for easier entremet assembly.
Devil’s Food Cake
- 210 grams cake flour
- 35 grams dark cocoa powder
- 4 grams salt
- 6 grams baking powder
- 4 grams baking soda
- 122 grams butter
- 280 grams granulated sugar
- 140 grams milk
- 3 grams vanilla extract
- 105 grams milk
- 140 grams whole eggs, lightly beaten
Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in the mixing bowl and add the butter. Using the paddle attachment of a standing mixer, mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and mix again for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Blend at low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Whisk together the second amount of milk (105 grams) and the eggs, slowly add this to the cake mixture. The cake batter may be a little more on the liquid side. Pour into a 10-inch round cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until cake is set depending on thickness. Once cooled, cut into a 9-inch circle with about 1/2 inch thickness.
White Chocolate Glaze
- 500 grams milk
- 250 grams glucose
- 600 grams white chocolate
- 25 grams gelatin leaves, soaked in cold water
- Gel food coloring of your choice
In a saucepan, heat the milk and glucose. Just before it starts to boil, take it off the stove and pour the mixture over the white chocolate. Whisk the milk and chocolate together to create a ganache. Add the bloomed gelatin and desired gel coloring. This glaze is best used at about 95 degrees F.
To assemble the entremet using a 9½-inch metal entremet cake ring, place it on a piece of parchment paper on top of a flat half sheet pan. In the center of the ring put a 9-inch cake board. First, place the baked sable breton, then pour a small amount of chocolate mousse, just to cover the top and open edges. Next, put in the raspberry gelée, pouring enough mousse to cover the top of the gelée. Then, carefully place the devil’s food cake on top of the mousse, giving it a gentle press. Again, pour enough mousse just to cover the top of the cake sponge. You can use an offset spatula to help it to the edges. Add the frozen round of vanilla bavaroise and then pour the chocolate mousse to top off the ring, using a large spatula to level the top. Place the sheet pan in the freezer and let the entremet freeze overnight. To remove the cake ring, use the slight touch of a blowtorch, being careful not to melt the mousse. The easiest way to do this is to place the cake onto something smaller in circumference, for example a can. As you slightly heat the ring it should fall off the cake. Next, place the cake onto a glazing rack, and slowly pour the white chocolate glaze on top, letting the excess drip off. Using an offset spatula, remove the cake from the glazing rack and carefully remove the excess glaze from around the bottom of the cake. Place the cake on a decorative plate or cake stand, and decorate as desired. For this entremet, I chose to decorate with raspberries, chocolate cake crumbs and rose petals.