Milk Bar Mashup, or Entremet My Way
What is an Entremet??
If you follow cake stuff at all, I’m sure you have seen these gorgeous videos by cake artists like Ksenia Penkina who create these fancy mousse based entremet cakes and then pour multi colored mirror glazes over them. They are mesmerizing…. I could watch them for hours (and I feel like I have). Makes me want to make them myself!
An Entremet is a full size or perhaps a mini size cake – well, a cake meaning it’s in the shape of a cake usually, but it is mostly mousse and inside is generally a few layers of deliciousness that provide a variety of textures. Here is another attempt I made using a sillicone shamrock pan (not one of my more useful baking tools)
Unfortunately, I have not had the best luck using my friend Google to find some recipes to try. I tried one a while back and it was a massive disaster.. didn’t even document it for posterity, just know it was bad. I don’t care to revisit it… ever… so let’s move on. And because Google didn’t assist me for once, I was on my own. But that’s ok – I have a LOT of ideas.
Designing the dessert
I have a lot of recipes that I have seen or heard of over time that I keep in the back of my brain so that when I feel like just baking or creating, I have something to fall back on. One of those recipes that I have wanted to try for quite some time is Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar recipe for Birthday Cake. I saw her talk about it when she was on MasterChef and then again when I watched the Netflix episode of Chef’s Table that featured her.
I have wanted to make the cake, and so, I figured, why not double the recipe and use the leftovers to create an entremet. Now, this particular recipe has a lot of components, so I really didn’t feel like I wanted to reinvent the wheel for the other recipes I’d need, so I relied on my friend Google to help me there, and she did not disappoint.
The Milk Bar recipe was going to provide me with the cake bottom of my dessert, and the cake crumb crunch that would be my texture element, so I needed a mirror glaze and a mousse. I had heard that an authentic mirror glaze recipe needs 24 hours to set up before using it… I wasn’t having that, so I was happy to find one from Chelsweets that could apparently be used right away, and didn’t have any odd ingredients like platinum gelatin sheets (I mean, I just don’t have that stuff on hand!). For the mousse I went to a trusty website – Gretchen’s Bakery – she has never steered me wrong, and I credit her YouTube channel for completely bringing me back into baking a bunch of years ago!
Now I had my plan – had my cake base, the crunch element of the cake “crumb”, the white chocolate mousse and the mirror glaze. I had also recently purchased a sillicone baking form, just in case of last minute entremet making, so I was all set to go!
In other posts you will find that I have created or reinvented some other recipes, but this time I went with the expertise of others. However, I do have cool recipes sometimes – like check out the curry caramel post!
Getting everything ready
So, there are people who have spent a lot of time putting these recipes together, so I am not going to rehash each recipe… but how about some beauty shots of the in-progress work? I mean, everyone loves a little food porn, amiright? Here’s the cake crumb mixing up – it is truly a sweet wonderful treat. I made a double batch so I have a lot extra. I’m thinking that it would be awesome over ice cream!
I also made a double batch of the cake.. I did not need to, but it’s cake and I like cake. I always can freeze cake for later! I think I may have cooked this cake a bit long, so make sure you watch it carefully. I baked this double batch in a half sheet pan. I originally thought about putting it into a jelly roll pan, and I’m glad I didn’t. It rose too much, and it would have been a true oven disaster..like of the Mount St. Helen’s variety, all over my oven floor.
Now the cake crumb and cake are cooling, time to make the mousse. Looks yummy, right? The only change I made to the recipe here was to add a bit of clear vanilla. If you read Christina Tosi’s recipe, you’ll find out that she uses clear vanilla to get that old tyme-y flavor, so I thought it would go along with the theme of the dessert to add a half teaspoon to the mousse.
I also made up the mirror glaze and set it aside. Now, I was kvetching about making the glaze ahead of time, but guess what – I still didn’t use it for at least 12 hours, so, the joke’s on me!
Assembly time (Part I)
Ok – so, like I said a bit earlier, the cake rose more than I expected so it was a bit thick to use as a base for my entremet dessert. I cut out squares to fit the pan I had and then torted each of them so they would be thinner. I lightly brushed the cakes with a milk soak (milk and clear vanilla) and set them aside.
I took my sillicone cake pan and scooped two spoonfuls of mousse into each one. I then tapped the pan on the counter so that the mousse would get into the corners. (I really need to get one of those round cavity pans…put it on the list!).Then I placed some cake crumbs into the center of each square and topped them with another spoonful of mousse.
Then I topped them with a square of cake. It was quite messy and so I cleaned it up as best I could and popped the pan into the freezer to stay overnight and get really hard.
Assembly time (Part II)
The next day it was time to glaze. I had learned from a prior experiment that the mousse cakes from my pan had kind of sharp edges and that my glaze hadn’t worked as well on them. The solution was to unmold and soften the edges with the warmth of my (clean) hands and stuck them back in the freezer.
Next I removed the mirror glaze from the fridge (I wonder if I couldn’t have left it on the counter instead, but I’m a food safety nut) and took my time in re-melting it in the microwave. I did bursts of 1 minute at 50% power. It took a while. Might be faster over a double boiler? Anyhooooo… once the mirror glaze was liquid again I added some white icing color to make it more opaque instead of sheer for better coverage.
I also noticed that because of the white chocolate, the glaze was a bit yellow, so I added just a touch of violet food color to offset the yellow and make it more white (this works with buttercream as well!) I colored a bit pink and left the rest white.
Now is the fun part – I experimented a bunch with different pouring techniques, and I haven’t figured it all out, for sure, but one thing I did realize is that with small cakes you have less options, you don’t have as big of a canvas to work with so don’t expect to be able to do all the wild stuff you see online – save that for a bigger cake! I enlisted my 10 year old to take some action photos of the glazing – she did pretty good, huh?
This is a very messy business. Make sure you have something underneath to catch the glaze – makes for easier cleanup and easier saving of excess, leftover glaze. The cakes then went back into the fridge to set (NOT the freezer).
The waiting is the hardest part
You have to wait now. Sorry. I suppose you could eat them right away, but remember, they are frozen. You won’t get to enjoy the soft, creamy, airy mousse you created in the same way if you eat it frozen… but to each their own.
I was patient (for once!) and waited a couple of hours. I was not sorry.
The mousse was creamy and sweet, with the silly sweetness of the clear vanilla. The cake crumbs stayed wonderfully crunchy and the funfetti cake base was soft and delicious.
I’m a fan. I hope you try it too!