Saturday, September 13, 2014
gâteau au earl gray／ガトー・アールグレイ
I was assembling all my baking tools in preparation for this cake - stooping down to get the mixing bowl from the cupboard underneath the counter, tiptoeing to reach the canister of flour on top of that shelf, opening that narrow compartment near the fridge to get out the rimmed baking sheet. Ah, that tray. As I retrieved it from the pitch black storage space, the fluorescent kitchen light bounced off its surface and there were the scratches and dark patches (undoubtedly from too much harsh scrubbing), as plain as day. I used to regret not taking good care of it, especially during those times when I was into black backgrounds and often resorted to using my baking trays as backdrops - the scratches showed up all too starkly in the pictures - but looking at this picture here, I think its imperfections are actually quite lovely. It has so much character now, very much unlike when it was brand new and just a uniform sheeny dark gray. It just goes to show that y'know, no matter what happens and how much you change, there will always be someone there to love you. #unexpectedlydeep #storyofmybakingsheet
To be honest, the reason why I chose this cake to make was because of its appearance more than the flavour itself. As you can see, there's a swirly sort of pattern on top which I really wanted to attempt the moment I saw it in the book. But I kinda messed it up because I didn't know that you're supposed to drag the toothpick in opposite directions every other stroke. Whoops. I realised it only halfway which explains the uncoordinated swirls. There's also supposed to be a chocolate ribbon twirl thing on top but I wasn't really up to tempering chocolate, perhaps next time. So to compensate for the ugly swirls and the missing chocolate ribbon, I dusted cocoa powder over the worst of it and used an almond nutella cookie I still had (miraculously) to prop up two vanilla pocky sticks. I think it doesn't look half bad!
I also deviated from the recipe in another aspect, which is to slice the cake into just two instead of three layers because I have absolutely no trust whatsoever in myself when it comes to slicing a rather short cake that thinly. The layers I ended up with were still pretty thin in my opinion so the syrup managed to moisten them nicely.
Earl gray chocolate is a pretty safe combination so it's a no-brainer that the cake tastes pretty good. I would like more of the mousse though; it's heavenly! Earl gray permeates the entire cake - the sponge, the cake syrup and the mousse - so if you like earl gray, this cake is destined for you. A word on the sponge: whole tea leaves are folded into it so you will be chewing the occasional leaf or two as you're having the cake. It isn't unpleasant, but just a heads up.
Gâteau au Earl Gray／ガトー・アールグレイ
makes a 15cm cake
For the sponge:
1 1/2 eggs
1 tsp water
1 tsp earl gray tea leaves
20g butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 160C. Prepare a 6 inch round cake pan.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water until the mixture is warm. Remove from heat and continue whisking until pale and thick (the batter should fall back in a ribbon when the whisk is lifted up). Whisk in the water. Fold in the flour and tea leaves in two additions until no traces of flour remain. Fold in the butter until combined.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs attached.
For the earl gray syrup:
40ml boiling water
1 tsp earl gray tea leaves
1 tsp brandy (I used rum though)
Place the tea leaves in a small bowl with the boiling water and let the mixture stand for a few minutes. Pass the tea through a sieve and mix in the sugar and brandy.
For the earl gray chocolate cream:
5g earl gray tea leaves
10ml boiling water
120 heavy cream
80g chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp brandy
100ml heavy cream, whipped the medium peaks
a splash of milk
Mix the boiling water with the tea leaves and let the mixture stand for a few minutes. Add the cream and heat the mixture in a saucepan over low heat. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes then pass it through a sieve.
Add the melted chocolate in three additions until the mixture is homogenous. Mix in the brandy. Reserve 80ml of the mixture.
To the remaining mixture, fold in the whipped cream. Reserve 20ml.
Assemble the cake: Slice the cooled sponge into three layers. Get a 6 inch cake ring and place the first layer of sponge in the bottom of the cake ring. Brush generously with the cake syrup. Pour 1/3 of the chocolate cream mixture; repeat for the remaining layers. Refrigerate.
Pour the 80ml reserved mixture on top of the cake, rotate the cake so as to spread it out evenly. Before the chocolate sets, mix the 20ml reserved mixture with a bit of milk and transfer to a paper coronet and pipe line on top of the cake. Drag a toothpick across the lines to form a pattern, changing direction every other line. Refrigerate the cake until the pattern has set.
Remove the cake ring, decorate and serve.