At New York City bakery Lysée, chef Eunji Lee makes pastries that are as inventive as they are labor intensive. “When people come to our shop, I’d like to feel like they are not only in the bakery but also in the art gallery,” says Lee.
Perhaps nothing Lee makes is as indicative of this as her realistic corn cake dessert. The dish takes three days to make and may have been among the first examples of the corn dessert trend sweeping the internet right now.
It starts with Lee making a caramel that gets mixed with vanilla bean-infused cream. Next, she makes a sponge cake from corn flour, which gives the cake its corn flavor. Once the batter is whipped, she makes a meringue out of egg whites and cream, and mixes that in with the cake batter. “It has to be folded very delicately to keep the meringue texture,” Lee says.
The batter gets spread over a Silpat baking sheet and generously sprinkled with a corn powder that takes two days to make and refine, all before heading into the oven.
Once the cake is out of the oven, it gets punched out into dessert-sized portions.
Lee then makes a corn sable to go at the base of the dessert, and a corn mousse that will cover the dessert. Once the mousse dries, Lee hand pipes the corn kernels onto each dessert, which then gets sprayed with a white chocolate sauce that is colored yellow to make the dessert look like — you guessed it — corn. The chocolate protects the mousse and also provides crunchiness. “It defines the final visual of the corn dessert,” Lee says.
Finally, each dessert gets two “corn leaves” made out of green-tinted white chocolate. “At the beginning, you can taste corn, like, grilled corn flavor,” says Lee. “My favorite part of this corn is the sable, so you finish with the crunchiness and then chewiness of the sable.”
Watch the full video to see how Lee makes Lysée’s other desserts, including a chocolate layer cake.