“Shines Forever”: my signature malted chocolate cake

This chocolate cake recipe is the very same chocolate cake that actually won me my white apron in season 10 of the American version of MasterChef! During the casting process, we had to submit four signature dishes that we could make in 45 minutes, and this was the one I had practiced the most (before coming onto the show, I had practiced it a whopping 8 times, 5 of which with an actual timer). So when I was told that I would be making this for the judges, trust me, I was stoked. The chocolate cake is one that I have been making for 9 years, being the first cake I learned how to make. It was a vegan recipe from Chloe Coscarelli, but I modified it with Ovaltine and Chinese black vinegar to make it my own. I paired it with a roasted miso and caramelized white chocolate ganache, as well as a togarashi-walnut crumble, which has the roasted white chocolate as well. For my cream component, I went with a malted milk infused mascarpone, and I garnished the entire dessert with twigs and flowers. I went with mascarpone for three reasons. The first is that it has more body than whipped cream so it can actually hold up in the way I’m plating with it. The second is because it ties in with me going to school in Boston and being able to eat a ton of delicious Italian desserts that used it. The third is to tie in with the fact I love making mascarpone and other cheeses from scratch. The usage of togarashi and miso came from my extremely short stint at Hinoki and the Bird, where they had this amazing dessert that utilized both. I also went with the Ovaltine, which is my dad’s favorite thing to drink, and the Chinese black vinegar in the batter, because that’s obviously Asian, but also because I know how to use those ingredients in baking to make a really fluffy, light, and chocolatey cake, which I knew nobody else in the competition would be able to do.

The thought process behind my execution of the dish was to make components that tie together with their flavors and techniques, so that even if I had a lot of things on there, just to show ambition for 45 minutes, it would be easy to make. I could develop a lot of flavors by using the white chocolate, roasted, in two ways, I knew that I could roast the miso, white chocolate, and walnuts together to save time, and since the majority of my dish would be made in the oven, it gave me time to focus on three or four components that would not need to be baked (i.e. my crumble, twigs, sauce, and cream). The name, “Shines Forever” came from the lyrics of Koda Kumi’s song, It’s my life, which talks about how you can take control of your life and it can shine forever. I decided to do a bit of a visual play on that, and reference my passion for baking instead, as well as my determination to continue onwards with my culinary dream, despite whatever doubts plague my mind. The cake itself represents the seeds of my dreams, as it is the first cake I learned how to make, while the twigs growing out represent my potential, and the flower petals are my dreams, being colorful and bright, contrasting the darkness around it. Yes, a ton of thought went into this, since it is my signature dish after all!

Chocolate cake:
3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup ovaltine or malted milk
a pinch of salt

Combine ingredients together and bake in a lined sheet tray at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Crumble:
1/2 cup roasted white chocolate
1 tablespoon togarashi
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
a pinch of salt

Toast walnuts with togarashi in a pan. Crush cooled down roasted white chocolate and toss together.

Ganache:
1/2 cup roasted white chocolate
1 tablespoon miso paste (I used white miso)
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
1/2 cup water at most
honey (to taste)

Spread miso paste on a sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Puree everything together, using as little water as possible to bring everything together. Season with honey to adjust the salinity. Strain and cool down completely.

Roasted white chocolate:
1 cup white chocolate chips

Spread on a sheet tray and roast in the oven, at 350 degrees F, until the chocolate is browned. Divide in half, as you will use half for the sauce and the rest for the crumble.

Mascarpone:
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon malted milk powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together into a cream. Transfer into a piping bag.

Chocolate twigs:
Dark chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
togarashi powder

Temper chocolate on double boiler to about 95 degrees F and season. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into ice cold water(literally with ice in the water, to give the twigs a more organic looking appearance). Refrigerate until it is time to plate.

Assembly:
Pipe the cream along the curvature of the plate first(I sort of went with the Ω sign, just for more movement). Spoon in the sauce into each divot you make, and then place on three mounds of the crumble. Add on nine cubes of the cake, in clusters of three, and garnish with the twigs and flowers.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. jodenna harrison says:

    I am just now watching the episode were you made this cake and started looking for the recipe immediately upon watching you present it. I’m going to try making this because I believe it might be one of the best desserts I’ve ever made if I can get it right. Keep up with the great baking and good luck winning the show .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was a ton of fun to make so I’m sure you’ll have a fun time making it at the very least 🙂

      Like

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