Raspberry Pomegranate Hibiscus Meringue Cake
Is anyone else super excited about the fact that the final season of Game of Thrones is starting TOMORROW? I am super pumped, if you couldn’t tell. My husband and I didn’t jump on to the GOT band wagon until years after it started. I decided to start by reading the books I borrowed from a friend. I like to try to read the books first, but I couldn’t wait. We ended up starting the show before I read all the books. I guess it didn’t matter any way since the show surpassed the books. I consider myself lucky because we were able to binge watch the seasons without waiting a year before the next season came out. Have to look on the positive side! I am pretty excited to see how it all pans out. My husband and I nerd out by discussing who we think is going to be on the throne at the end. It’s way more exciting to discuss fiction then all the politics in the real world. AmIright?
Anyway, enough of the nerd spew. Soooooo this cake. This was for my birthday from last month. I can’t even. I have all the feels for this bad boy. I barely wanted to touch it because it’s so dang pretty! Who am I kidding, I couldn’t wait to bite into it. It was everything I could have hoped for, and better. I’m telling you, it seems that ever since I have started making this style cake, the inspiration juices have been flowing hard core. Maybe it’s because of all the gorgeously exposed layers make me want to try all sorts of different flavor combinations. Also, this non-traditional way of cake assembly makes it that much easier to experiment. Making all the layers separately, then putting them together after they are all made/cooked allows for all sorts of trial and error. And it makes it more exciting. If you haven’t tried making this kind of cake yet, dooo ittttttt.
So, let’s talk anatomy here. Of the cake. First off, we have a fabulous white cake, also known as a”hot milk” cake. Then, raspberry liquid cheesecake is slathered over the cake. (“Liquid” cheesecake is basically just cheesecake that is under baked jjuustt enough for you to slather it instead of it becoming firm.) A meringue round that has been baked to perfection is carefully placed on the cheesecake. Thennnnn, a pomegranate hibiscus curd is very carefully slathered over the meringue. To finished, whipped cream, fresh raspberries, pomegranate arils, baby meringues and freeze dried raspberries are sprinkled to perfection. Mic drop.
Raspberry Pomegranate Hibiscus Meringue Cake
Yield: one triple layered 6-inch cake
For the cake
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the meringue
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 plus an 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the raspberry liquid cheesecake
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
6 grams (1 Tablespoon) cornstarch
2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
26 grams (3/4 cup) freeze dried raspberries, finely ground
25 grams (2 Tablespoons) milk
1 large egg
For the pomegranate hibiscus curd
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 Tablespoon dried hibiscus flower, crushed
3 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Splash of vanilla extract
fresh raspberries, pomegranate arils, crushed freeze dried raspberries
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour the edges of a quarter sheet pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until light and lemon colored. Add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, slowly add the flour to the egg and sugar mixture and beat until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter, bringing it almost to a boil, stirring all the while. Beat the milk into the batter. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 250ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using the cake rings, draw two 6-inch circles on one parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Flip the paper over so the ink doesn’t get into the meringue.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar at medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and beat in 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Spoon some of the meringue into the drawn circles, about 2-3 inches thick, making sure you stay inside the lines. Spoon the remaining meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a closed star tip.* Pipe the meringue on the other baking sheet, in small rounds until gone.
Place in the preheated oven and bake until set and dry, about 1 hour, check the larger meringues after 1 hour, and continue to cook for another 20 minutes if necessary. Turn the oven off, leave the door closed, and let the meringue sit in the oven for about 1 hour.
To make the liquid cheesecake, preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a small loaf pan (8 1/2 x 5 1/2-inches) with parchment paper. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add in the sugar and mix 1-2 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt and freeze dried raspberries, then whisk in the milk and then the egg until smooth. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour in the egg mixture. Mix for 3-4 minutes, until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Bake 15-20 minutes. Gently shake the pan. You want the cheesecake to be firmer toward the outer edges but still jiggly in the center. Continue to bake as needed until this texture is achieved. Do not over bake – you want this to be under baked! Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the pomegranate hibiscus curd, fill a small pot half full of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl over the barely simmering water, ensuring the bowl is not resting in the water. Whisk in the sugar, pomegranate juice, crushed hibiscus flowers, egg yolks and eggs. Cook, whisking constantly until the curd is thick and the whisk leaves tracks, 8-10 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the cubed butter. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until completely cool, about 2-3 hours. The curd will last in the refrigerator up to a week.
When ready to assemble the cake, make the whipped cream. Pour the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract into a small bowl. Us an electric mixer and whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the cake*, invert the cake from the sheet pan onto a work surface. Use a 6-inch cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake (these will be the top two layers.) Wipe off the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silpat. Use a strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. Use scraps from the leftover cake to place in the ring and press together in a flat, even layer.
Spread half of the raspberry liquid cheesecake over the cake in an even layer. Carefully place one meringue over the cheesecake, trimming edges if necessary. (Yes, the meringue will crumble and maybe break apart, but don’t worry because it doesn’t matter!) Carefully spread half of the pomegranate hibiscus curd over the meringue in an even layer. Gently tuck a second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4-inch of the first strip of acetate. Set a cake round on top of the curd, and repeat the layering process once more of the cheesecake, meringue and curd.
Place the remaining cake layer onto top of the pomegranate hibiscus curd. Spread the whipped cream over the top cake layer. Transfer the assembled cake to the freezer set overnight.
At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve, remove the pan from the freezer, pop the cake out of the cake ring, and peel away the acetate layers. Transfer to a serving plate and place back in the freezer. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh raspberries, pomegranate arils, baby meringues and freeze dried raspberries. Slice and serve immediately. Store any leftovers covered in the freezer for several weeks.
*If you would like some color in your baby meringues, brush your choice of color food coloring in straight, thick vertical lines inside of your pastry bag.
**If you would like a visual on how to assemble the cake, check out this post here.
***You can make this in stages over a few days. Make the cake, cheesecake and curd days in advance if needed, just cover well and refrigerate. Make the meringues the day of assembly, whereas they become weepy after 24 hours.
Source: Cake from Lily's Café Cookbook, Revised Edition by Kyra Alex, curd adapted from Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped, liquid cheesecake and assembly adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar, meringue adapted from Bake From Scratch Magazine