Malted miso and chocolate layer cake: inspired from my Masterchef journey

So this layer cake was a rendition on the audition that got me my white apron on Masterchef. Even to this day, people keep asking for the recipe, so I figured I’d give it a little update and share it with everyone. While this layer cake uses almost the same recipe as the original, there were changes that I made to it so that it’s not 100% the same. Although it is basically the same.

For this recipe, I decided to take that deconstructed plated chocolate cake, and using my Milkbar experience, transform it into an entire layer cake. Specific modifications to the original recipe, include introducing an Ovaltine soak for the cake, slightly modifying the mascarpone and ganache recipes, and changing the twigs into a nest to rest on top of the cake. The proportions of the cake and crumble are also larger in quantity than the original too(I made about 1/3 amount of cake batter for my audition dish since I did not need a terribly large amount of cake for that), and I made about half the crumble that I did below. For the changes to the mascarpone, I added the option between malted milk powder or Ovaltine(the original used malted milk powder), and the inclusion of water. Since mascarpone can split very easily, the addition of water helps the mascarpone stay more pliable and spreadable, which are important things for a layer cake. For the ganache, I included the option to use either malted milk powder or Ovaltine – the original ganache also used malted milk powder, but Ovaltine works here perfectly fine. With all of those changes, this counts as an entirely different recipe, but this post is basically two recipes for one the price of one, since you know how I changed the original! Either make the layer cake, or plate it up! That’s the fun of cooking!

For the cake:
2/3 cups cocoa powder
1/3 cup Ovaltine powder
1 cup hot water
3 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tspn baking soda
A pinch of salt

Mix the cocoa powder, Ovaltine, hot water, vinegar, vanilla, and oil together. Sift the other ingredients. Combine to make your batter. Spread on a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes.

For the togarashi-walnut crumble:
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
A pinch of salt 
1/2 tspn Shichimi togarashi powder

Roast walnuts and chocolate chips on a parchment linked sheet tray for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool down and season. Crush into roughly pinkie nail-sized pieces.

For the Ovaltine soak:
1/4 cup Ovaltine powder
1 cup water

Mix to form your soak.

For the miso ganache:
1 tspn white miso paste
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 tbsp malted milk powder or Ovaltine powder
1/4 cup water
1 tspn honey

Spread miso onto a nonstick baking surface in a thin layer. Place the white chocolate onto the same surface. Bake together at 350 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chocolate is a golden-brown color and the miso is almost burnt. Place into a pot with everything else and simmer until everything is fully dissolved together. Pass through a sieve and keep at room temperature for assembly. You want it to have the consistency of a salted caramel sauce.

For the malted mascarpone:
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp malted milk powder or Ovaltine powder
16 oz mascarpone cheese
A pinch of salt1 tspn vanilla extract

Mix the water with milk powder first. Fold that into the mascarpone with the other ingredients.

Assembly:Cut out two 6-inch rounds of the cake and then cut out another fabricated layer from the scraps. Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Place the scraps down first. Then add in 1/3 of your soak, 1/3 of the ganache, 1/3 of the crumble, and 1/3 of the mascarpone. Repeat these steps for the second layer. For the third, do the soak, then the ganache and mascarpone together on top, then finally the crumble. Freeze for at least 1 1/2 hours before unmolding and finishing with the other garnishes.

For the dark chocolate nest:
1 cup dark chocolate
A pinch of salt
A pinch of Shichimi togarashi
1 teaspoon grated cocoa butter*

Melt everything together but the cocoa butter over a double boiler. Once the chocolate is half melted and registers 95 degrees F on a candy thermometer, take the chocolate off heat and continue to stir until it goes down to 89 degrees F. If using the cocoa butter, stir it in once you take the half-melted chocolate off the boiler. It gives the chocolate a nice sheen and a crunchier finish, but it is not necessary, just a nice add-on. Transfer into a piping bag and pipe into ice water to form your nest. I did twigs on the show, but for this layer cake, a nest just looked prettier.

To finish:
Edible flowers

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