It is so hard to believe that a whole two years has gone by since I have actually started writing, cooking, picture taking and posting. Gastronome Tart was a vision I have had for well over two years, however never got around to actually making it a reality until one day I just said screw it, I'm starting this thing because well, gastronome's, foodies, whatever we are called these days, need an outlet at times. And has this outlet delivered.I have thouroughly enjoyed sharing with you all every recipe, cookbook, new flavor combination, gadget, restaurant, anything that is food related these past two years.
As I did last year with our first birthday, I decided to make a Milk Bar cake. Last year's Birthday Cake was phenomenal as most Milk Bar recipes are. Although majority of the Milk Bar recipes I have made (Birthday Cake, Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies, Cinnamon Bun Pie) have been a bit labor intensive to say the least,every time I have ever bitten into any one of these recipes, a voice inside my head says you did good girl! You...did...good!
As we bit into this particular cake to celebrate two years of foodie mayhem, the hubby exclaimed it was the best cake I have ever made. Which I have Christina Tosi to thank for this recipe. Enjoy!
Carrot Layer Cake
1 recipe Carrot Cake (recipe follows)
1/4 cup milk
1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake (recipe follows)
1/2 recipe Milk Crumb (recipe follows)
1 recipe Graham Frosting (recipe follows)
1. Put a piece of parchment or Silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use a 6-inch cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top two layers. The remaining cake "scrap" will come together to make the bottom layer cake.
Layer 1, the bottom
2. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate (3x20 inches long) to line the inside of the cake ring.
3. Put the cake scraps inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
4. Dunk a pastry brush in the milk and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the milk.
5. Use the back of a spoon to spread half of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.
6. Sprinkle one-third of the milk crumbs evenly over the cheesecake. Use the back of the spoon to anchor them in place.
7. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the graham frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
Layer 2, the middle
8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate (3 x 20 inches long) between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5-6 inches tall- high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake found on top of the frosting and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of the 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
Layer 3, the top
9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish with the remaining milk crumbs.
10. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimu of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Or you can do as I did and place in the fridge, covered (I used a Wilton cake container) for 24 hours.
11. At least 3 hours before (if placed in the freezer) you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, it can be kept in the fridge up to 5 days).
12. Slice the cake into wedges and serve.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots (about 2-3 medium)
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the butter, sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. On low speed, stream in the oil. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of the original fluffly butter and sugar mixture, and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. Don't rush the process. Stop the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix for 45-60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Detach the paddle and remove the bowl from the mixer. Dump the shredded carrots into the bowl and with a spatula, fold them into the batter.
6. Spray a quarter sheet pan with the nonstick spray and line it with parchment. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.
7. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven an extra 3-5 minutes if it doesn't pass the test.
8. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack, or in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don't worry, it's not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons milk
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1-2 mintues, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Whisk together the cornstarch and the salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.
4. WIth the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Paddle for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6x6 baking pan with plastic wrap (I used parchment as I found the plastic melted a bit for me last time). Pour the liquid cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it. If the cheesecake rises more than 1/4 inch or begins to brown, take it out immediately.
6. Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set.The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup milk powder
3 ounces white chocolate, melted
1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees
2. Combine the 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
3. Spread the clusters on a parchment or Silpat lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point. Cool the crumbs completely.
4. Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Although the carrot cake calls for only 1/2 a recipe of this, I ended up using almost the entire thing in it. It gave it a bit more crunch and tasted awesome!
1/2 recipe Graham Crust (recipe follows below)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon tightly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Combine the graham crust, milk and salt in a blender, turn the speed on the medium-high and puree until smooth and homogenous. It will take 1-3 minutes. If the mixture does not catch on your blender blade, turn off the blender, take a small teaspoon and scrape down the sides of the canister, remembering to scrape under the blade, then try again.
2. Combine the butters, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and speckled yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
3. On low speed, paddle in the contents of the blender. After 1 minute, crank the speed up to medium-high for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. If the mixture is not a uniform pale tan, give the bowl another scrape down and the frosting another minute of high speed paddling.
4. Use the frosting immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup milk powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted or as needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.
2. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1-1.5 tablespoons butter and mix it in.
3. Eat immediately, or us in recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. If stored in and airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for one week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
Source: Milk Bar Cook Book by Christina Tosi