Miso chocolate cake with soy milk-black tea ice cream, sesame, and azuki jam

The inspiration for this dessert was Chinese New Years. The idea of a festive dish that embodies a lot of traditionally Asian flavors, namely the red beans and sesame. Red bean soup with black sesame-mochi balls is a traditional Chinese dessert, so this is a definite homage to that. The miso-chocolate cake really plays off of those flavors, while the black tea ice cream is inspired by Taiwanese milk tea. Since Taiwan is a hybrid of China and Japan anyways, and since I am Taiwanese, I wanted to really do a nod to two of the bigger sides of my home country’s cultural heritage. I opted to make this dessert vegan, because I wanted the Chinese flavors to really shine, and I feel like dairy does take away from that, because dairy is not used in Chinese cuisine at all.  I also added Chinese black vinegar into my cake, just to give it another level of complexity, and because it plays off of chocolate beautifully.

For the miso-chocolate cake:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow or red miso paste
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt down dark chocolate into soy milk. Combine ingredients. Spread onto a lined sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

For the soy milk-black tea ice cream:
1 cup soy milk
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons black tea leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
a pinch of salt

Whisk half of the soy milk into the cornstarch. Steep tea leaves in half of the soy milk for 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Strain out the leaves. Add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch-milk mixture, xantham gum and mix together over medium high heat. Once the liquid is boiling, strain, and allow to cool completely before churning in an ice cream machine. Alternatively, you can pour it onto a sheet tray and freeze completely. Puree in a food processor, and re-freeze so that it will set soft.

For the azuki jam:
1/4 cup red beans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups water
a pinch of salt

Simmer red beans in water and salt with a lid on for 5 hours. Should the water run out, add in more. You want to keep the beans submerged in liquid until they are tender. Once soft, add in the sugar and reduce all of the liquid. Puree.

Black sesame crumble:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup black sesame powder
1/2 cup tapioca maltodextrin
a pinch of ginger powder

Combine ingredients to form a crumble.

Assembly:
Start with the crumble, then spoon or pipe on the jam. Break up the cake and plate that along the crumble, and then finish with a quenelle of ice cream.

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