Friday, January 20, 2017

The White Witch's Cake

Perhaps it’s because this winter has been so much more intense than usual, but Narnia seems to be on the mind of many this season. My friend Devon from Nitty Gritty Life recently made some Wild Rose Turkish Delight that sounds pretty magical, and the ladies over at Gather Victoria have been making all kinds of wintery confections that would be perfect to tuck into the pocket of your coat to fuel an adventure in the land behind the Wardrobe.

I've been thinking about surprise worlds and winter wonderlands, myself. I've been dreaming about wintery confections and icicle-laden castles. Even though the White Witch is totally evil and scary, I can't help but *almost* wish for an encounter with her- she just seems so magical and beautiful! Plus I hear she'll give you some Turkish Delight if you do what she wants... 

I've had Turkish Delight before. It was good, but it wasn't sell-out-your-family-good, you know? (though Devon's version might just change my  mind on that one.) So here's my take on what kind of treat the White Witch might offer you to win you to her side: Wild Rose Turkish Delight Crepe Cake with Almond and Coconut. Yeah, it's a mouthful, but trust me- you'll want a mouthful of this cake! It's definitely enough to make me at least consider selling out my sister for a slice. ;) 

Speaking of my sister, she's a big part of the reason I wanted to try a crepe cake in the first place! She cut sugar out of her diet almost completely this year and says she feels so much better in general- more energy, more focus. She misses extravagant and beautiful desserts, though, so I wanted to find a recipe for a dessert she could enjoy as well. Most cakes contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and are honestly way too sweet for me to enjoy anyways. But guess how much sugar is in this ENTIRE CAKE? 1/2 cup. That's right.  My sister can enjoy it without worrying about a "sugar hangover" and I can enjoy it because I don't get overwhelmed with sweetness after the first bite! Hooray! This is such a delightful option if you, like me, enjoy slightly sweet treats where the flavors take center stage. Another bonus? This cake is totally gluten and dairy free!

And man oh man does it taste good... I've always thought almonds, coconut, and rose are a match made in heaven. The textures of the crepes and pastry cream taste wonderful together. It's definitely a delight for the senses! 

I wanted to due my inspiration justice, so I flavored the coconut pastry cream with some wild huckleberry-rose vodka I made during the summer. Huckleberries are surprisingly fragrant fruits so even just a little lends a lot of flavor to a mild base like pastry cream. You could try adding rose water, orange blossom water, or other flavored extracts to your own.

Don't those delicate stripes look lovely?? 
As you can see, I decorated the cake with real icicles. These should obviously be removed before serving ;) Another word of advice: this cake tastes MUCH better at room temperature. After the photoshoot the cake was pretty chilled and we found we could barely taste all of the delicious flavors until we warmed it up a little. A warmed piece of this cake is divine, though. We also put some rum and fruit syrup on top and that was pretty spectacular as well. 

Here are the recipes: 

Almond Crepes: 

1 1/2 c. gluten free flour
3/4 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. rice milk
4 large eggs
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp almond extract

Mix everything well in a blender until it’s smooth and about the thickness of heavy cream. Let sit (covered) for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up a medium pan over med-low heat and grease it well. (While I’m making crepes, I keep a paper towel and bottle of vegetable oil nearby to grease between crepes, but you could also use a stick of butter if you aren’t allergic to dairy.) To make the crepes, pour 1/4 c. (or 1/3 c. if you pan is larger) batter into the pan, tilting to coat the whole bottom. Place back over the heat and cook until the bottom just barely starts to brown and you can easily flip it. Turn it over and cook until the bottom sets up and is golden. Remove the crepe from the pan and re-apply oil and repeat the process, placing the crepes on a pile on a plate as you work. 

“Turkish Delight” Coconut Pastry Cream: 

In a medium saucepan, heat until simmering: 
2 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. sugar

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together:
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch 
Beat until thick and well combined. When the coconut milk mixture is bubbling, slowly pour it into the egg mixture in a small steady stream, beating the egg mixture continuously. When all of the coconut milk is incorporated, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick yogurt. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl. Stir in 1 Tbs. of wild rose and huckleberry-infused vodka (you could also use rose extract, orange flower water, or another flavoring of choice.) Cover with a layer of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming) and leave to cool. 

When both crepes and pastry cream have cooled to room temperature, start layering them. Put a crepe down and smear a heaping spoonful of pastry cream on top, then place another crepe on top of that, etc. Continue until you’ve used up all of the crepes and/or pastry cream. Leave to chill for several hours.

Coconut Cream Frosting: 

Remember how I said the whole cake only contains 1/2 c. sugar? I lied. There's plenty of sugar in the frosting, but feel free to just leave this off if you'd like. The cake tastes amazing without it (though doesn't look quite as pretty.) You could also cover it in lightly-sweetened whipped cream or even cream cheese or marscapone - both would taste delightful with the crepes. 

In a medium bowl, beat 1/2 c. unsalted butter or shortening. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until stiff. Continue to add powdered sugar, alternating with coconut cream (liquid) until frosting reaches the desired consistency/flavor. I added about 2 cups of powdered sugar and about 3/4 c. coconut cream (which was very thick- you may need less if you use coconut milk.) Mix in 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. almond extract. Frost the cake and cover in unsweetened coconut flakes.