“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(drink, not powder) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

22 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 🙂


  2. Nirmal Andrews says:

    What do you mean when you say temper chocolate to 95F? Should I just heat it on a double boiler to 95F? I thought tempering required heating to almost 105 and cool it down or add seed and so on.


    1. Freddy says:

      I just meant that you can melt it on a double boiler, and add in the chocolate off heat. There’s a lot of different ways to temper it, though the seed method is the most common(most of my other recipes call for the seed method). You just basically need to melt the chocolate, typically over a double boiler, and then once it’s melted, fold in the seed chocolate off heat and get the temp to 95 degrees before attempting to pipe. Or you can just microwave it on low power and stir.


  3. Dorothy Martinez says:

    Hello! Your cake part of the recipe calls for “1/2 cup ovaltine(drink, not powder) or malted milk” meaning add either powder to the mix or make 1/2 cup of the liquid drink? Thanks!


    1. Freddy says:

      I think you answered your own question there, but I meant the liquid drink


  4. DP says:

    Are you able to make this vegan ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Freddy says:

      You would have to substitute out the Ovaltine/Malted milk powder with just malt powder. For the white chocolate, you can use a vegan white chocolate instead. For the mascarpone, that would be the only part that would be difficult to adapt, but you could just use vegan cream cheese(I use Tofutti brand). For the honey in the ganache, sub it out with agave. Besides that, the rest of the recipe is already vegan, since the cake contains no eggs!


  5. Mary says:

    How many people does this serve?


    1. Freddy says:

      This serves 6 to 8 people easily!


  6. Mary Suh says:

    I made it over the weekend. It’s really great.


  7. Anver says:

    Nom nom nom; compliments on everything; the recipe; the photography; the website and you. Keep it up, Sir 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Max says:

    Yo Fred, I went to high school with you and had the pleasure of taste-testing a few of your cupcake experiments. Was really proud to see you make Gordon Ramsey lick your plate with this recipe, I’ll definitely have to try it out!


  9. Yoyoyo says:

    Hello, I’m wondering how it is possible that mascarpone nix other ingredients and still stay white, could you tell me how? Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s