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Dominique Ansel’s Favorite Cocktail & Cake Pairings
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Dominique Ansel’s Favorite Cocktail & Cake Pairings

Every gourmand worth his/her weight in chocolate truffles knows how to artfully pair wines with food. Cocktails, however, are trickier, especially when served with sweets. Leave it to superstar pastry chef Dominique Ansel – the award-winning inventor of the Cronut, a donut-croissant hybrid – to dream up cake and cocktail pairings.

The French pastry expert did it in honor of Glenmorangie Scotch A Tale of Cake single malt Scotch whisky, a sweet and indulgent limited-edition treat that celebrates all that’s good about cake with flavors of honey, white chocolate and fruit.

Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake began when Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, found himself musing over how some of his happiest memories involved cake – from baking with his grandmother, to the pineapple upside-down cake his daughter made for his birthday. Dreaming of encapsulating cake’s magic in a single malt whisky, he experimented by finishing Glenmorangie in Tokaji dessert wine casks.

Naturally enough, this single malt tastes delicious alongside real cake, which is why Glenmorangie paired up with Dominique Ansel. The pastry chef hailed as “the Willy Wonka of New York” has a passion for exploring new tastes. Imagining how he could bring cake and whisky together, he created a unique twist on a pineapple boat cake. Paired with a pineapple Old Fashioned cocktail by expert mixologist Jeremy Le Blanche, it makes a deliciously indulgent CakeTail. What is more, Dominique and Jeremy have also invented CakeTail pairings to celebrate three of Glenmorangie’s most-loved whiskies: The Original, The Lasanta and The Quinta Ruban. The flavor gurus shared 5 special CakeTail recipes with Pursuitist to inspire cake baking and cocktail making at home.

“When I first tried Glenmorangie, it opened my senses to this amazing world of color, texture, taste, and aroma,” says Chef Ansel. “It’s a new adventure each time. I never guessed I could enjoy whisky this much, but there is a friendliness to the way Glenmorangie tastes. Baking and whisky making are different worlds, but they have a lot in common. If you stir Dr. Bill’s passion for single malt with my love for cake, you get the best of both our worlds.”

 

THE PEAR FIZZ

1.5 oz Glenmorangie Original whisky

0.9 oz pear juice

0.4 oz lemon juice

0.5 oz vanilla syrup

1 dash orange bitters

A splash of Champagne

Method: Shake first five ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe. Add a splash (0.9 oz max.) of Champagne. Garnish with a sprig of thyme. Pair with a poached pear float in a syrup made with Glenmorangie Original and vanilla, complemented by lemon thyme and orange notes, in a creation hinting at the light, fruity tastes of Glenmorangie’s signature single malt whisky.

 

THE FROSTED FLIP

1.5 oz Glenmorangie Lasanta whisky

0.5 oz caramel syrup

0.9 oz double cream

2 dashes Fee Bros. Aztec chocolate bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 whole egg

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass over cubed ice. Garnish with cinnamon dust and chocolate shavings. Pair with a dessert like Chef Ansel’s take on the affogato, with homemade chestnut ice-cream and smoked cinnamon cream showcasing The Lasanta’s spiced and nutty notes.

 

CHOCO-VINO

1.4 oz Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban whisky

0.5 oz port wine

0.4 oz Campari

0.2 oz dark creme de cacao

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass over block/ cubed ice. Garnish with a twist of orange zest. The whisky’s deep chocolate notes shine through in a decadent dark chocolate-dipped brownie, which matches its velvety taste with a liquid praline center infused with orange blossom and The Quinta Ruban.

 

THE CAKE OLD FASHIONED

1.5 oz Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake whisky

.25 oz coconut water

.25 oz pineapple syrup

1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

1 pinch black pepper

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass over block/ cubed ice. Garnish with a twist of orange zest and a walnut. Serve with Dominique Ansel’s PINEAPPLE BOAT CAKE.

PINEAPPLE BOAT CAKE

Dominique Ansel’s complex multi-day, multi-part take on a pineapple boat cake celebrates Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake whisky’s delightfully sweet, fruity tastes in mini sandwich-style cakes made from slices of almond sponge “biscuit” soaked in a whisky syrup and layered with fresh pineapple and a brown sugar ganache.

ALMOND BISCUIT

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

1½ cups almond flour

2 large Eggs

4 egg yolks

9 egg whites

½ cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

Method: Place a rack at the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 380°F (195°C) for conventional or 355°F (180°C) for convection. Line a half sheet pan (an 18 x 13in baking tray) with a silicone baking mat. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour, and whole eggs. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn the speed to high and mix for 1 minute more. The batter will become pale yellow and fluffy. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the egg yolks. When the yolks are completely incorporated, carefully fold in the AP flour. Do not over-mix at this stage, as it’ll result in a tough cake texture. Transfer the batter to a medium bowl. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whisk, making sure they are clean and free of any residue. Place the egg whites in the mixer bowl. Whip on medium speed until frothy. With the mixer still on medium, slowly stream in 1⁄3 of the sugar and continue to whip until incorporated. Whip in the remaining sugar in two additions. With the rubber spatula, fold 1⁄3 of the meringue into the batter. Once incorporated, add the remaining meringue, folding gently to avoid deflating the batter. When finished, the batter will be cream-colored, and you will see bubbles on its surface. Pour the batter on to the middle of the silicone mat on the sheet pan (or baking tray). Using the spatula, spread the batter to fill the pan. Overworking the batter at this point will result in a tough biscuit. Try to spread the batter as quickly and evenly as possible. When finished, the biscuit should be about ½ inch thick. Bake the biscuit on the center rack for 5 minutes. Rotate the pan through 180° and bake for 5 minutes more. When finished, the biscuit will be light brown and will spring back when touched in the center. Let the biscuit, still on the silicone mat, cool completely. Invert on to a piece of parchment paper and carefully peel off the silicone mat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until needed.

 

CARAMELIZED PINEAPPLE

1 ripe pineapple, peeled*

½ cup sugar

Pinch of star anise powder

1 2⁄3 oz Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake

*NOTE: save the pineapple tops and outer peels so the cakes can be plated up and displayed with them.

Method: Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice 3mm thick slices of pineapple lengthwise (if you stand the pineapple straight up, you should be slicing downward around the core). Make a dry caramel with sugar: sprinkle the sugar evenly into a medium pot, cook over medium-high heat until it caramelizes into a deep amber color. Gently add in the pineapple slices, gently stirring to coat each piece (the pineapple juice will create a sauce with the caramel), and cook until just tender (don’t overcook, as the pineapple will turn mushy and fall apart). Add pinch of star anise powder and toss evenly. Deglaze with the whisky (be careful, as it may flame a bit). Cook for 30 seconds, until the alcohol has cooked off, but the fragrant whisky flavor has infused.

 

PASSION FRUIT SYRUP

2 cups passion fruit purée

2 1⁄8 cups water

1½ cups sugar

2 oz Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake

Method: In a medium pot, combine the passion fruit purée, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1-2 minutes. Add the whisky, stir to combine.

 

BROWN SUGAR GANACHE

1½ tsp powdered gelatin

7 1⁄8 tsp water

1½ cups heavy cream

1⁄3 cup, packed muscovado sugar

5 ¾ oz white chocolate

1 2⁄3 cups heavy cream

Method: In a bowl, bloom the gelatin in the water. In a medium pot, combine 1 ½ cups of the heavy cream with muscovado sugar and bring to a boil. Once boiled, add gelatin. Put the white chocolate into a large heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot cream liquid over the white chocolate, gradually stirring with rubber spatula until the chocolate has melted. Emulsify with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the remaining heavy cream (make sure that it’s very cold), stirring with a whisk until combined. Cover with plastic wrap press directly onto the surface of the cream to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until fluffy stiff peaks.

ASSEMBLE THE PINEAPPLE CAKE SLICES

Cut the sheet of almond biscuit in half so you have two evenly sized pieces. Place one of the biscuit halves on to a sheet tray. Using a pastry brush, brush the cake generously with the passion fruit syrup (there should be no “dry” spots, but be sure not to soak too much that the cake falls apart). Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of the brown sugar ganache on to the cake. Place an even layer of pineapple slices on top, followed by another layer of ganache. Top with the second piece of almond biscuit. Brush the top with passion fruit syrup (again, so there are no “dry” spots but not so much that the cake falls apart). Place another sheet tray on top of the cake, pressing and weighing it down with weights so the cake is gently compressed as it chills. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

TO SERVE: Slice the cake into 1.5” strips, then into small triangular “wedges.” Place five cake slices on to the reserved pineapple peel, and finish with the pineapple top.



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