For my inaugural book birthday celebration, my guest of honor is THE FEVER KING, a young adult science-fiction fantasy novel by debut author Victoria Lee, aka one of the coolest and most stylish authors ever! You can read about the novel on Goodreads here or read my short review here.
I loved this book so much, and the cover is so gorgeous there was no question I had to make a cake inspired by it! For flavor inspiration, I turned to a hipster-y (and delicious-sounding) latte the author mentioned on Instagram: "honey and rosewater infused, topped with cayenne, black pepper, and matcha powder." I'm still planning to figure out a recipe for the actual latte in the future, because it sounds amazing! For purposes of simplicity and not muddling things too badly, I pared the cake's flavor profile down a bit.
The cake is an entremet, and as these fancy layered desserts go, mine is simple! (Simple is a relative term here, though. I prepared the cake over two days since the many steps are fairly time-consuming.)
Honey rosewater latte entremet: espresso sponge, caramelized honey custard, rosewater jelly, and coffee bavarois
I used the honey custard part of this excellent recipe by Lisa's Lemony Kitchen.
1 envelope (or 1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin, bloomed in 120 ml water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
325 ml heavy whipping cream
90 ml milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
Line a 9x5 inch (or slightly smaller) loaf pan with plastic wrap. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer honey until it darkens slightly. Remove from heat and add vanilla paste, cream, and milk; return to heat and whisk until steaming but not bubbling. Remove from heat. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks, salt, and sugar. Very gradually, whisking continuously, pour the heated cream mixture into the eggs. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan and heat, whisking often, until mixture thickens. Add bloomed gelatin and whisk until dissolved. Pour mixture through a wire strainer/sieve and into the loaf pan. Place in freezer at least until solid. (To store it overnight, fold the edges of the plastic wrap to cover the top.)
My sponge was a coffee angel food cake adapted from this recipe by Gale Gand.
6 large egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp cake flour
~1/4 cup strong espresso, cooled (I used three ristretto shots)
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium-sized bowl, add vanilla to egg whites and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar while beating on high speed until mixture is glossy. In three increments, sift remaining 1/4 cup sugar and all the cake flour into the eggs, folding after each addition. Add the espresso and fold until mostly combined (there may still be streaks, but it's better to leave them than to overmix and deflate your eggs). Scrape mixture into an UNGREASED 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Invert pan, perching edges on two mugs or cans, and cool. When fully cooled, remove, wrap tightly in plastic, and freeze.
I adapted this recipe from Kathy of A Delightsome Life.
1 envelope (or 1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup chilled water
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp rosewater
1/2 cup boiling water
red or pink food coloring
Line a small square or rectangular plastic container with plastic wrap (you can also use square silicone candy molds). Bloom gelatin in chilled water. Stir salt, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and rosewater into boiling water until dissolved. Add a few drops of food coloring to achieve a pale pink color. Pour into the container or molds and refrigerate until firm (or overnight if necessary).
Prepare the layers: Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan (or similar rectangular mold) with plastic wrap. Remove the sponge from the freezer. Cut it in half so you have two thin layers and trim the edges so it fits in the mold with about 3/4 of an inch space on all sides. Set aside. Remove the custard from the freezer and cut it the same way you cut the cake; return the slices to the freezer. Unmold the jelly and cut it, if necessary, so you can form a two-inch wide strip of jelly the length of the rectangular mold.
Assemble the entremet: Place one layer of sponge into the rectangular mold, followed by one layer of custard.
Arrange pieces of jelly into a lengthwise strip down the middle of the custard. Top with the second half of the custard, followed by the second half of the sponge. This should come nearly (but not quite) to the top of the mold. If it's too tall, trim the sponge to fit. Place the mold in the refrigerator and make the bavarois.
I adapted this recipe. Only make the bavarois when you're ready to construct the entremet!
1 envelope (or 1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin
~3 tbsp strong espresso, cooled (I used a double ristretto shot)
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cornstarch
2 cups milk (whole and 2% are fine, but don't use skim)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Stir the gelatin in the espresso to boom; set aside. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs and brown sugar to combine. Pour the milk and cream into a small saucepan and heat just until simmering. Very slowly pour the heated mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens significantly and begins to bubble. Add the gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved, then strain into the bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until chilled. Once mixture is cool, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. In three batches, fold the whites into the chilled mixture.
Remove the mold from the refrigerator and pour the bavarois over the layers. Poke a spatula or spoon handle into the sides and corners to make sure the bavarois reaches the bottom of the mold. Fill to the top of the mold (bavarois should just cover the sponge). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least three hours.
I halved the successful glaze recipe shown in this fantastic YouTube video! Make the mirror glaze only once your entremet is fully frozen and you're almost ready to serve it.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin, bloomed in 2 tbsp water
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped (I suggest Callebaut or Valrhona)
gel food coloring of choice
Stir the gelatin in the 2 tbsp water and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine remaining water, sugar, and condensed milk; bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Dump the chocolate in, give it a stir to submerge all the bits, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir or use an immersion blender to fully combine the mixture, being careful to add as few air bubbles as possible. Strain into a bowl and wait until mixture registers 90°F on a thermometer, then divide into as many smaller bowls as you want colors. Stir in gel.
Remove entremet from freezer and unmold onto a cardboard base trimmed to size. Place the entremet on a small bowl or jar, then place that in the center of a baking sheet to catch drips. Pour your glaze over the entremet, starting at the edges to make sure the sides are covered. Allow all the excess to drip off, then trim any hardened drips, place on a plate, and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Be aware that glaze dulls in between 12 and 24 hours.)