Hojicha lava bundt cakes

During the pandemic, one of my absolute favorite “inventions” was this roasted miso and hojicha sugar, made by toasting sencha green tea leaves and miso paste in the oven, then blitzing them with sugar to form a fine powder. That powder is delicious as a coating for a doughnut(which is what it was originally intended for), but it can also be used to make delicious milk tea, and just as a flavoring agent in place of sugar! The miso adds a fun saltiness to the sugar, while also giving it a lot of depth and body that really draws your palate in. This dessert really focuses in on that, as I use that sugar in a cake, a caramel, and a creme anglaise mousse! I wanted these cakes to be reminiscent of those molten cakes where you lift a ring of acetate and cream or sauce pours down around the cake, so I went with that direction in terms of the presentation of these! I also baked the cakes in bundt cake molds for optimal cream!

I went with the idea of sticky toffee cakes because I wanted something that could soak up as much of that hojicha-miso goodness as possible, and I felt like cakes were legitimately designed just to accomplish that! I have a miso-hojicha caramel, which will honestly just taste like a Tiger sugar boba drink, which will be drizzled all over the cake. And to finish, a simple chantilly cream that is infused with the same sugar, just to bring it all together. The cake itself is made in a fashion more similar to a Southern style cake batter, while also folding in whipped egg whites to guarantee a softer texture. All in all, this dessert is tons of fun to make, and I highly recommend it for people who love all things either salted caramel or milk tea!

For the hojicha-miso sugar:
2 tbsp miso paste
2 bags of sencha green tea leaves, loose
1 cup granulated sugar

Spread the miso paste in a thin layer onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Sprinkle next to that the sencha leaves. Bake at 350 degrees F for at least 5 minutes – you want the sencha to be brown and the miso to be closer to dark brown than brown-orange. Transfer both the miso and hojicha into a blender and puree with sugar. The end result should be a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.

For the hojicha cake:
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vinegar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup hojicha-miso sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with baking soda, vinegar, salt, and vanilla until frothy and white. In another bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. In a container, combine the grapeseed oil with the buttermilk. Alternate between adding to the sugar-butter mixture flour and the buttermilk until both are fully integrated. Then fold into that the whipped egg whites. Line 6 3-inch bundt cake molds, filling each all the way with the batter, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool down before unmolding.

For the miso caramel:
1/3 cup hojicha sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter

In a pot, heat up the hojicha sugar on low heat until it begins to melt and turn an amber-brown in color. Take off heat and stir in the other ingredients until combined. If the caramel firms up before it is time to use, heat it up with 2 tbsp warm milk to loosen.

For the hojicha cream:
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp hojicha sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups heavy cream

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with hojicha sugar. Heat up milk in a separate pot. Pour half of the milk into the egg yolks while whisking. Then add the yolks back into the pot with the milk and whisk on medium heat for 2-3 minutes – the mixture should thicken slightly. Pass through a sieve and add in the vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to cool down before folding in the cream to finish.

To assemble:
Hojicha sugar

Start by drizzling some of the caramel on top of the cakes. Then make 2 inch in diameter(roughly) rounds using the acetate and press into the tops of the bundt cakes. Then add on top dollops of cream and a dusting of hojicha sugar to finish.

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