Welcome to Nomad’s Land.
It’s official. I’m homeless. Or, let’s be optimistic… I will have so many homes in the next few months that I won't even have time to settle down. Yes, perhaps none will really be mine, but there will (hopefully) be a bed. And a kettle. And as long as I can sleep and make tea, it’s fine.
I’m leaving on Thursday for a month. After, I’ll come back quickly to Paris, and then head off again for more adventures.
It’s a sad time, one that I’ve gone through a lot: leaving friends, moving on, etc, blah blah blah…
But if you choose this type of life style, you do it for a reason… and sometimes I don’t know exactly how I feel about leaving friends, family, favourite cafes… whatever, but then whenever I’m in my next location I remember why I did it in the first place. And why I’ll keep on doing it for the next few years.
I love new things: sights, tastes, sounds, people, beaches, cities, experiences. Right now in my life I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
It’s kinda selfish, but honestly, I’m 23. Forreals guys. 23.
And, on the note of age and exploration: it was my friend’s birthday this past week.
No words. (But obviously since I’m a notoriously loquacious, I’ll try…)
She’s a superstar.
She is the most dedicated (and honestly so – like, no affectations here) to her family and friends. She rocks school like none other (I’m talking genius vibes). She bakes, she decorates, she smiles, she laughs, she dances.
And, she does this all as a genuinely kind and caring person. She gives so much without expecting anything back.
These people basically don’t exist, and yet I’ve found her. So obviously, she deserves a cake.
This cake is the epitome of a nomad cake. I wasn’t accustomed to the oven that I was using. I had no normal cake pans. I didn’t have a cooling rack, nor any of my normal baking tools.
Shucks, I didn’t even have a good spot to take photographs (after I lugged 6 suitcases full of clothes, shoes, books, and random trinkets into my sister’s apartment, I decided she may be bummed if I rearranged her kitchen for a photo shoot).
It may not be the prettiest cake. It has some issues, for sure. But, it was made with love. And, as a fellow nomad, she totally understood.
Matcha Green Tea and Tahini Cake – What you need:
(This makes one normal layer, or two thin layers.)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup tahini
- 1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable, but sesame oil would obviously be an appropriate choice!)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup apple sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 sashet agar agar powder (2 grams)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Matcha Green Tea and Tahini Cake – What you do:
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Prepare a cake pan by greasing it, and then dusting it with flour.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, matcha green tea powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the tahini and oil. Beat in the sugar until combined. Next, add the apple sauce and water.
Beat in the agar agar powder.
Finally, beat in the vinegar.
In two or three additions, add the flour-matcha mixture to the wet mixture.
Combine well until the batter is smooth.
Pour in the prepared cake pan and bake at 160 Celsius for 20 minutes, or until the cake is an odd hue of green golden brown. (That’s matcha magic for you guys!)
So I had this grand idea of making two thin cake layers, with a mousse in the middle.
The mousse tasted really good, but it wasn’t the most structural component for the filling of a layer cake. Live and Learn. However, if you’re in the mood for mousse…
Matcha Green Tea and White Chocolate Mousse – What you need:
- ½ cup milk
- 180 grams white chocolate, chopped and melted
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
- 150 grams cream cheese, softened
Matcha Green Tea and White Chocolate Mousse – What you do:
Add the milk to the melted chocolate and combine really well until the mixture is completely incorporated. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites, sugar, and lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Whip in the matcha powder. Add this to the chocolate mix, and combine well. Finally Whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the whipped cream cheese to the mousse mixture. Fold everything together well.
I assembled the cake by putting one thin layer of cake (half of the prepared recipe) in a spring form pan. On top of this, I poured on the mousse. Then, I topped the mousse off with the second thin layer of cake that I prepared. I allowed this to refrigerate overnight.
In the morning I made a ganache to top it off with.
Tahini and White Chocolate Ganache – What you need:
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 100 grams white chocolate, melted
Tahini and White Chocolate Ganache – What you do:
Make a double boiler by heating 4 to 5 centimetres of water in a saucepan to a simmer, and then placing a (medium sized) heat-proof bowl on top.
In the bowl, add the egg whites and sugar. Whisk this mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are warm to the touch. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula occasionally to make sure that all the sugar gets incorporated. This should take about 3 minutes.
Take the bowl off the saucepan, and using an electric beater or really strong arm muscles, beat the mixture for 7 to 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add the tahini and the melted chocolate, beat until smooth and creamy. Cool the ganache completely.
Ok. Now, I shall be humble and admit that although the cake sounded like a magic plan in my head, it didn’t turn out as I wanted. If I were to do this again, I would serve the mousse separately, and make cupcakes out of the cake mix, then top off the cupcakes with the ganache. The cake is delicious. It was moist, had a nice texture, and was a really interesting (in a good way) flavour. But, the entire concept may have been better appreciated in a simpler fashion (read: cupcakes or even the cake in a loaf pan with the ganache on top).
Ah, well, I transferred the cake out of the springform pan, and then covered it in the ganache.
Anyway, we had wine. It was fun. Life is good.
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
So. I've been listening to the French radio station "Urban Hit" (... la puissance urbaine!) all week long. I'd like to pretend that I'm up on the latest cool indie bands. But I'm not.
Instead, I will share with you guys the most over-played-yet-awesome-trending songs in R&B and rap from France.
You can thank me later.
And, to make you smile... this is Walter. Have a nice Sunday evening!