Lemon Olive Oil Chiffon Cake with Thyme-Scented Vanilla Bean Mascarpone and Blackberry
Recipe courtesy of Michaela Arzola, Executive Pastry Chef, Austin (Texas) Country Club
- Ingredients for the lemon curd:
- fresh lemon juice - 9 ozs.
- egg yolks - 10 ozs.
- sugar - 12.25 ozs.
- salt - 1/2 tsp.
- butter - 1 lbs. 8 ozs., room temperature
- powdered gelatin - 1.5 Tbsps.
- cold water - 3 ozs.
- Ingredients for the lemon olive oil chiffon cake:
- eggs - 12 ea., separated, room temperature
- sugar - 2.75 ozs.
- olive oil - 10 ozs.
- fresh lemon juice - 5 Tbsps.
- lemon zest - 2 1/2 Tbsps.
- lemon oil - 1/2 tsp.
- vanilla extract - 1 Tbsp.
- cream of tartar - 3/4 tsp.
- sugar - 13.25 ozs.
- cake flour - 12.75 ozs.
- baking soda - 1/2 tsp.
- salt - 1/2 tsp.
- Ingredients for thyme-scented vanilla cream base:
- heavy cream - 1 qt.
- sugar - 8 ozs.
- vanilla bean - 1 ea.
- powdered gelatin - 10.5 gms.
- water - 2 ozs.
- fresh thyme - 2 handfuls, stems intact
- Ingredients for the blackberry fluid gel:
- blackberry puree - 250 gms.
- lemon juice - 10 gms.
- sugar - 30 gms.
- agar agar - 2.5 gms.
- Ingredients for candied lemon strips:
- medium lemons - 2 ea.
- simple syrup - 3 cups
- sugar - as needed
- Ingredients for lemon thyme syrup:
- lemon syrup - as needed
- fresh thyme - 1 bunch
- water - as needed
- Ingredients for mascarpone thyme mousse:
- mascarpone - 20 ozs., room temperature
- prepared thyme cream - as needed
- heavy cream - 6 ozs.
Procedure for the lemon curd:
- Prep a double boiler with a large bowl.
- Whisk sugar and yolks until just combined; whisk in lemon juice.
- Cook over double boiler on low, constantly stirring with spatula until a thick nape consistency. (Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides to avoid lumps.)
- While cooking base, bloom gelatin in cold water and gently melt.
- While still over the double boiler, make sure there is only a medium-light steam, chunk in the butter 2 oz. at a time. Stir after adding each portion; do not add more butter until previous portion is entirely incorporated.
- Once all butter is added, stir in gelatin. If there were any lumps previous to adding the butter, they should incorporate and smooth out.
- If still lumpy, run through a chinois and transfer to a container.
- Press plastic wrap directly on top to avoid a film and store in walk-in.
Procedure for the lemon olive oil chiffon cake:
- Prep two half hotel pans with spray and parchment paper.
- Whisk yolks, oils, juice, extract, and water.
- Whip whites with COT on medium until frothy; slowly add 13.25 oz. sugar and whip to medium firm peak (stiff, but still soft and not dry).
- Sift flour, remaining sugar, baking soda and salt into wet mixture and combine to a smooth paste.
- Add a third of the whites and fold in to lighten batter. Fold in remaining whites with lemon zest until evenly incorporated and portion between pans, smoothing out to an even layer of batter.
- Gently tap pans to knock out any large air bubble.
- Bake about 15 minutes at 300˚F on low fan until a paring knife tests clean.
- Store in freezer until ready to build.
Procedure for thyme-scented vanilla cream base:
- Bloom gelatin in cold water and gently melt.
- Boil cream, sugar, thyme, scraped vanilla beans and pod. Cover with foil and move off heat; steep for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Bring back up to a simmer and add gelatin, strain through a chinois and be sure to press all the solids through the chinois to get as much infused thyme flavor as possible.
- Store covered overnight in the walk-in.
Procedure for the blackberry fluid gel:
- Combine and stir all ingredients; bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes on a low simmer.
- Pour into a shallow hotel pan and chill.
- Once set up, chunk into a blender and blend smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more puree until it reaches the desired consistency.
Procedure for candied lemon strips:
- Use a peeler to peel long strips from about 2 medium sized lemons.
- Use a serrated paring knife to remove any white inner pith. Trim the rough edges from the peels and cut into pieces that are about ¼” wide and 2” long.
- Bring 3 Cups simple syrup to a boil and add strips – boil on a low simmer until strips become translucent and the syrup is sticky. (While strips are cooking, be sure to have your final set up mixed out: chinois over a bain marie, and a pan of granulated sugar.)
- Once peels are cooked, drain the peels into the chinois and immediately dump into granulated sugar.
- Toss peels in sugar; stretch out and press into straight strips.
- Cool in sugar and wrap tightly; store at room temperature.
- Condensed lemon syrup can be used again with water added to achieve the correct consistency.
Procedure for lemon thyme syrup:
- Measure out leftover syrup – add enough water for the syrup to equal out the original 3 cups.
- Combine leftover syrup from candied peels, thyme and water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Store in walk-in overnight with thyme to infuse; strain before using.
Procedure for mascarpone thyme mousse:
- Be sure your mascarpone is room temperature, so it doesn’t break when adding whipped cream base.
- Use a rubber spatula to transfer all of the thyme cream base to a mixer; a lot of the vanilla beans and infusion settles to the bottom.
- Use the whisk attachment to whip on low until the cream begins to break up and forms gently peaks.
- Slowly stream in heavy cream and whip on medium until firm peaks form.
- Transfer the mascarpone to a bowl and gently press and fold in 16-20 ounces of the thyme cream until desired consistency and flavor is reached.
- Remove cake from freezer and knock out of pans. Use a serrated knife to remove the mounded top of the cake so it lays flat. Lightly brush the tops of cakes with the lemon thyme syrup.
- Build cake on either a cutting board or cardboard round. Flip cake over and brush bottoms with lemon thyme syrup.
- Without stirring the curd, spread about a ¾” layer over the base layer of cake and top with second layer of cake. Freeze until ready to cut.
- Score cake; I cut my portions into about 1 ½” x 3 ½” Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and slice clean portions; set cake off to the side for finishing.
- Prepare a bag with the “spaghetti” tip – Ateco #133 or #234 and fill with the mascarpone mousse. With even pressure, pipe and drag clean lines on top of cake to create the lined design.
- Prepare a second bag with a straight tip and fill with mascarpone mousse. Fill a bottle with the blackberry fluid gel and one with some reserved lemon curd.
- Plate cake on far left of plate and pipe dotted designs with curd and fluid gel.
- Pipe 4 smaller mounds of mousse to the right of cake.
- Select 2 firm fresh blackberries and cut in half, wedge a half between each mousse mound. Finish with fresh thyme leaves, candied lemon and sourced white chocolate spear.