La Mûre Noire

On my way home from the gym, I walk past a really great fruit shop which always has amazing local and fresh produce on display. Sometimes I like to pick up a "barquette" of blackberries or some mandarins to nibble on as I walk home for my post-gym hunger pangs and for a little antioxidant and vitamin fix. As I approached my apartment one night, I had the idea to combine the two fruits into a delicious dessert. So I got out a pen and paper and went on to design a cake which I think will be worth sweating on the treadmill for. 

La Mûre Noire

I hid a tab of dark chocolate and orange cremeux inside a tart blackberry mousse, and covered the cake with blackberry 'ganache'. I also had the idea of using chocolate covered cereal balls (Crispearls) to recreate the drupelets of the blackberry before I placed the cake on a disc of sablé breton with candied orange peel. The cake is then garnished with a fresh blackberry round up the look. 

I am pretty proud of this latest cake, even though it would mean I might need an extra long session at the gym tomorrow!


My Lavender Opéra

I can't believe it's November already! It's less than two months till Christmas and two weeks until I pack up and leave this beautiful city of love. I have about 30kg of cookbooks that I have accumulated this past year that I am currently a little stressed about shipping.. I know I have been imprudent about my book hoarding but I really couldn't help myself! The latest addition to my collection is the "La pâtisserie des rêves" cookbook by "Philippe Conticini". I've always loved the Japan-influenced design of the pastries from La Pâtisserie des Rêves (translation: "The pastry shop of dreams"! Cute right?) for their subtle whimsicality.

I've had several friends ask me about the steps I take to design and create my own cakes. I think it is really important to read as many books/magazines as you can! You could even start a Pinterest account and pin everything that catches your eye. I think once you've decided your aesthetic and figured out what it is about a particular thing that you like, it is really easy to start to create your own products. 

For this latest cake, I've decided to approach one of the French patisserie staples; the "Opera" and give it my own twist. The classic gateau Opera was invented by Maison Dalloyau 1955. It is composed of 3 layers of joconde biscuit which are imbibed with coffee syrup, 2 layers of coffee buttercream and a layer of dark chocolate ganache. I think this cake is perfect, simple and super delicious. You would find this cake in any pastry shop around the world. To be honest, I wouldn't change a thing. But for me, the concept of a "Lavender Opera" became too hard to ignore.

Opéra - Création Dalloyau 1955

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would know that I am rather fascinated by floral flavors. I think a subtle floral element can really pique the eater's curiosity and has the potential to turn the act of eating into an experience. So for the past few weeks, I've been trying to think up ways to work lavender into a cake. Lavender has a strong aroma that can easily overpower any other flavors that it is paired with. However, I then had the idea of using earl grey tea to balance it out. In my mind the fragrant bergamot will hold its own against the lavender while also providing a nice foundation of which the lavender can really shine. 

So here is my floral interpretation of the French classic:

For my cake, I used 2 layers of joconde biscuit which I imbibed with earl grey syrup, a layer of chocolate financier, 2 layers of earl grey mascarpone cream and a gorgeous layer of lavender infused ganache. I gave the cake a light spraying of cocoa butter, a sprinkling of dried flowers and candied violets to finish. I gotta say, I'm pretty proud of this one :)

Are you feeling a little skeptical about lavender in a cake? Why don't you try the recipe and see if you like it? I sure did!