V8 cake

Every now and then it’s good to challenge oneself and it just so happened that last weekend – Ms Visiting Chef [VC], Ms TT and I – thought we might be able to pull together a Zumbo creation… I mean they did it on master chef – so can’t be that hard right? Besides, how good does eight layers of vanilla sound!

The V8 cake piqued my interest when it featured on Masterchef in 2010 – however it did, upon review of the recipe, very quickly get placed into the ‘one day when I have time’ basket… and there it stayed for over a year until Ms VC wrestled it out of the pile – it took us about 8 hours to make (including setting time and a coffee break) and by the end of it we were truly ready to dig in and eat (as were all our guests who were patiently twiddling their thumbs)!

It think the most frustrating part of the experience at the 6 hour point where each layer was in bowls and plates strewn across my kitchen bench… and all I could wonder was where my cake was! I just could not see when this would actually start to look like something that we could serve up – but like many an assignment, as the layers were being piled atop each other there was a strange thrill of achievement as it all ‘just came together’.

The part of this recipe that I found most challenging was tempering the chocolate – and since my chocolate refused to temper (still a bit of a sore point so we won’t dwell on this) the final product didn’t quite look like it should as it is missing a chocolate flower… we sprinkled the excess brown sugar crumble and some slivered almonds over the top instead. Despite this, and most importantly, I have it from a good source that it tasted just as good as the one from the Master Chef.

The original recipe can be found at: http://www.masterchef.com.au/zumbo-v8-cake.htm.

My comments:

  • Some of the ingredients are quite specialised (e.g. titanium dioxide) and were ordered from:
  • I couldn’t find any miroir glaze so had to make that (recipe also below).
  • I also skipped the sugar spheres.
  • The recipe called for precision scales – mine are standard kitchen scales – so there was some guess work – I have used the measurements from the original recipe and annotated where things were slightly different in my cake.
  • You will also need a blender or food processor.
  • If you are super organised the recipe states that the “vanilla crème chantilly, vanilla glaze, brown sugar crumble, and vanilla syrup can all be made ahead of time.”

V8 Cake
Adapted from Adriano Zumbo

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

2. Make the Miroir Glaze:
(Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert):
2 gold gelatine leaves (4g)   
220g water   
60g caster sugar   
30g glucose

Place the gelatine leaves into cold water to soak for 5 minutes. Heat the water, caster sugar and glucose in a small saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and let it cool to 70°C. Squeeze excess water from gelatine leaves, place in saucepan and stir until dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool slightly before storing in the fridge.

2. To make the roasted vanilla beans:
2 vanilla beans

Place 2 vanilla beans in oven until burnt and charcoal in texture. Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Cover and set aside.

3. To make the pure almond paste:
100g blanched almonds

Place almonds on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until deep golden. Grind to a coarse paste. Cover and set aside.

4. To make the vanilla crème chantilly:
4g gold strength gelatine leaves
, cut into small squares
24g cold water
590g thickened cream

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

175g caster sugar

Soak gelatine in the cold water. Place cream, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 70-80°C, and then stir through the gelatine and water mixture until dissolved. Place in a container, cover the surface with cling wrap and place in the fridge.

5. For the toasted vanilla brulee:
3 egg yolks

50g dark brown sugar

250g thickened cream

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix yolks and sugar in a bowl by hand with a whisk until just combined. Add cream and vanilla bean to a small saucepan and bring to the boil, pour a little over the eggs while stirring, then add the remaining liquid including vanilla bean. Puree with a hand blender until smooth and pour into a shallow baking tray about 25 x 38cm. Place into the oven and cook until just set, about 10 minutes, then increase oven to 200°C and bake until it forms a golden brown crust, about 5 minutes. It should look slightly split when removed from the oven. Scrape mixture into a thermomix [which I don’t have but REALLY want!!!], blender, or small food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside in a small bowl, covering the surface of the brulee with cling wrap so it doesn’t form a skin. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.

6. To make the vanilla water gel:
250g water

38g caster sugar

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1.5g gellan
 [I estimated this to be about half a teaspoon. We then did the metal bowl test below and decided that more was needed – a friend who absolutely loves this cake told me that it was crucial that this layer be firm, so I think it is best to have more gellan rather than less…]

Place a lined 18cm square cake tin in the fridge to chill. Boil all ingredients in saucepan whilst whisking until dissolved and mixture starts to thicken. To test if set, drop about a teaspoon of liquid into a metal bowl, it should thicken slightly. It will thicken on cooling. To speed up cooling, pour into a metal bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Pour into chilled cake tin and place in the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes. Keep gel in freezer.

7. For the vanilla glaze:
9.5g gelatine leaves

60g cold water
40g glucose liquid

35g water

250g caster sugar
400g thickened cream

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

150g miroir glaze (specialty cold-application patisserie glaze)

7.5g titanium dioxide (white colourant, powdered)

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until softened. Drain, squeezing out any excess water.  Boil glucose, water and sugar until 165°C, brushing around the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water as you go. Do not allow caramel to take on any colour [okay – only now that I reread this that I realise that I completely missed this and it explains why my glaze was a pale brown – whoops!]. In another saucepan, bring cream and vanilla seeds to boil and then add to the sugar syrup. Mix through, then allow to cool to 70°C and add softened gelatine, stirring well. Add miroir glaze and titanium dioxide and blend well. Strain, then freeze until set. Reheat to 35°C when glazing the cake.

8. For the vanilla ganache:
300g white couverture chocolate

185g thickened cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

95g unsalted butter, softened

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy [to be honest I didn’t think this would work – I mean ganache is usually made from melting the chocolate in hot cream – and for a while there I cursed whether Zumbo actually knew what he was talking about as the mixture was lumpy and didn’t look like it would come together – but to give him credit after a lot of blending the resulting ganache was silky smooth!].

Cover closely with cling wrap and set aside until needed [don’t refrigerate as it will harden].

9. To make the brown sugar crumble:

50g unsalted butter

50g plain flour

50g dark brown sugar

50g almond meal

¼ scraped vanilla bean

Place all ingredients in an electric mixer and beat mix until dough forms. ‘Grate’ through a cooling rack with a lined baking tray sitting underneath to catch the crumble then bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden.

10. To make the vanilla macaron:
53g egg whites

50g pure icing sugar

150g TPT (equal parts sifted almond meal and pure icing sugar)

½ scraped vanilla bean

Draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. Using an electric mixer (or hand beaters), whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add icing sugar, checking it has dissolved in between additions until you have stiff glossy peaks. Combine the TPT with the vanilla and process in a food processor – I do this instead of sifting. Stir through TPT with vanilla seeds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square. Let a skin form [let sit for at least 10 minutes] and then bake for 10 minutes at 160°C until golden. Remove tray from oven, slide baking paper off tray and place on kitchen bench. Increase oven temperature to 180°C.

11. To make the vanilla dacquoise:
60g egg whites

43g caster sugar

65g almond meal

40g pure icing sugar, sifted

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

½ tsp vanilla extract

Draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add caster sugar, beating until you have stiff glossy peaks.  Mix almond meal with icing sugar, vanilla seeds and extract, gently fold through egg whites. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square.  Dust with icing sugar, let sit 2 minutes then dust again. Bake at 180°C 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, slide baking paper off tray and place on kitchen bench. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.

[I had never tried making a dacquoise before and it seems to me to be a lot like a macaron – so I looked up the difference… According to www.joyofbaking.com a dacquoise is a “traditional French cake consisting of two to three layers of nut-flavored (almonds or hazelnuts) discs of crisp meringue that are sandwiched together with whipped cream or buttercream (can be flavored), and sometimes fruit (especially strawberries) and the top is dusted with confectioners sugar.” Functionally, according to www.maameemoomoo.com “…they have no skin. So, they’re not crisp on the outside … cake-like … less sweet…” than macarons.]

12. To make the vanilla chiffon cake:
17.5g plain flour

1 roasted and finely ground vanilla bean
 [see recipe above]
1.25 (21g) egg yolks 

5g dark brown sugar

17.5g water

15g canola oil

45g egg whites

22.5g caster sugar

2.5g rice flour

Draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. Mix flour, roasted vanilla bean powder, egg yolks, brown sugar, water and oil in a bowl until combined. Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add the sugar and rice flour, beating until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the meringue through the batter gently. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square.  Bake in the oven set at 160°C until golden, about 15 minutes.

13. To make the vanilla almond crunch:
45g milk couverture chocolate

90g almond praline paste 
[I substituted with a honeyed almonds bar, ground to a paste]
90g pure almond paste
 [see recipe above]
18g unsalted butter

45g brown sugar crumble
 [see recipe above]
45g pailette feuillitine (crunchy wheat flakes)

18g toasted diced almonds

1 roasted and finely ground vanilla bean [see recipe above]
2g sea salt

¼ scraped vanilla bean

Melt milk chocolate, add almond praline and the pure almond paste and mix well. Melt butter and take to nut brown (noissette) stage. Add crumble and fueilletine flakes and mix through praline mixture, then fold through burnt butter, followed by toasted almonds, crushed vanilla beans, sea salt and scraped vanilla seeds.  Smooth a 5mm layer over vanilla dacquoise and set aside.

[This was my favourite layer – This recipe made quite a bit, all of which I put into the cake (which perhaps was double/ triple the thickness of the other layers) rather than just 5mm.]

14. To make the vanilla syrup:
125g caster sugar

250g water

½ vanilla bean, split

1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring all ingredients to the boil, then allow to cool.

15. To make the white chocolate tiles and flower:
500g white couverture chocolate, grated or finely chopped

5g titanium dioxide
2 pieces of acetate (30 x 40cm)

Bring 5cm of water in a medium saucepan to the boil, turn off the heat and sit a metal bowl with 300g of the chocolate over the water. Stir until just melted then remove bowl to the bench and add about 100g more chocolate to bring the temperature down. Stir vigorously until the chocolate has melted, if the chocolate does not feel cold to the touch, add the remaining 100g chocolate to bring down the temperature. Add titanium dioxide and mix well. Keep stirring well to remove all lumps. If the chocolate mixture feels cold to the touch, spread a small, thin layer onto a small piece of baking paper. Set aside for about 3-4 minutes, it will start to harden if it is tempered correctly. If the chocolate becomes too thick and the temperature is too low, gently reheat the mixture in the bowl set over the saucepan of steaming water, but it still needs to be cold.

When the chocolate is tempered, to make the flower, spread a thin layer, about 2-3mm thick on 2 pieces of acetate (30 x 40cm) using a large palette knife. Once the chocolate has almost set, on one sheet of acetate carefully mark 3 strips lengthways on the strips, about 7-9cm-wide. Mark thin triangles in each strip. These form the flower petals. Place a piece of baking paper over the top, and wrap around a rolling pin or similar cylinder and allow to completely harden.

On the other sheet use a ruler to mark out 4½ cm squares. Place a piece of baking paper over the top and invert onto a board or clean work surface to completely harden.

18. To assemble the cake, in a 20cm acetate-lined straight-sided cake tin spread a 5-10mm layer of Chantilly crème around base and sides of tin. Chill in freezer until firm. Lay vanilla gel at the base of the tin and smear with a tiny amount of brulee so that macaron layer will stick to the gel. Lay macaron layer over brulee smear. Cover macaron layer with an even 5mm of brulee. Place chiffon cake over brulee layer. Brush chiffon cake with a little vanilla syrup. Spread a 5mm layer of ganache over chiffon cake. Invert the dacquoise/crunch layers so the vanilla almond crunch layer is sandwiched next to the ganache and the dacquoise is facing up. The dacquoise will become the base of the cake.

19. Fill in any gaps with Chantilly cream, then place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes until firm [we only waited 30 minutes – longer would have been better].  Place a large piece of cling wrap on the bench and place a cooling rack on top. Remove the cake from the chiller and invert onto the cooling rack. Heat sides of cake tin gently with a blow torch to help release the mould from the cake [this was not necessary]. Remove any acetate. Smooth top and sides if necessary with a palette knife. Pouring generously and using a palette knife, spread the vanilla glaze evenly over the top and sides, completely covering the surface. Using a large palette knife transfer the cake to a cake stand and place the chocolate tiles around the cake.

20. [As mentioned above the lack of tempered chocolate meant that I skipped this step.]  To assemble the flower spread a small amount of melted tempered chocolate onto a small piece of baking paper and use this as a base to stick the petals, starting in the centre, working outwards to create a flower. Using choco-cool will help ‘fix’ the petals in place and firm up the chocolate base. Place chocolate flower on top of the cake and decorate the top of the cake with a few sugar spheres.

Then to eat…

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14 Responses to V8 cake

  1. Oh my goodness, Michelle, you have a frightening amount of time on your hands. 😀 (But yuuuuuum.)

    • Michelle says:

      It is not having a lot of time but living with very little sleep to try and fit everything in!
      To be honest I thought it would take us 5 hours max!
      I’m not certain I would try making this again just because of the time it takes… 🙂

  2. Whoah! This is epic! I am so impressed. I wish I could try some 🙂

  3. wow! that is freaking awesome! (also not sure if you know but the pics on your rss feed are massive?)

  4. Louise Heiniger says:

    Michelle this is just the most spectacular creation – you can SEE the taste sensation without having to taste it! Although I would pay very good money for the privilege of tasting it. I totally admire your commitment to your craft : )

  5. You did an amazing job Michelle! 😮 Even contemplating this does my head in so hats off to you! 🙂

  6. how impressive! You did a great job. I remember the V8 cake in master chef, I am kind of a adriano zumbo “fan”, he always has unique technical creations. After soo much work, the cake must be tasting even better! =)

    • Michelle says:

      THanks Helene.
      You know, the funny thing was that after all that work the last think I wanted to do was actually eat it! I think next time I just going to buy it 🙂

  7. Tina says:

    Whoa I just randomly clicked on your page from Chocolatesuze’s list of aussie food blogs, and THIS IS THE FIRST POST I SEE?! this is pure awesomeness!!! and thanks for the annotations and links, this is defs going on my list of “things I must bake” 🙂

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