Sunday, February 21, 2010

I will be on Masterchef yet...

Playing in the interweb lately I have noticed a few bloggers attempting to recreate Adriano Zumbo's now infamous Masterchef Chocolate Mousse Cake, and doing damn fine jobs of it. After a raging success with my latest Daring Baker's Challenge (to be revealed later this week) I was feeling buoyed with confidence and decided to give it a go.

According to my Masterchef Cookbook (and the other bloggers who've attempted the cake!) the recipe is challenging, Zumbo scored it 10/10 on the hard to make scale.

It's true. It felt like I spent all day on Saturday making the layers, although it was probably only about four hours. My feet hurt. Chocolate was everywhere. I had caramel in my hair. So tired.

The pate sable, the mousse and the jaconde were relatively easy to make however the caramel apple layer and salted caramel not so. The caramel apple layer didn't end up all creamy and oozy like in Zumbo's dessert but it did taste good, like a runny tarte tatin. The salted caramel layer was a total disaster, it didn't really turn a rich caramel colour and even after twenty four hours in the freezer it wouldn't firm up and I ended up throwing it in the bin.

Still, the cake looked pretty special once it was assembled, and the layers looked pretty. It tasted pretty special too, although I imagine it would have been different and better with the addition of the salted caramel, much more golden and oozy. Ah well...

The cake was also pretty enormous! The feeling of satisfaction upon completion of the cake was enormous, but I can't say I'm prepared to make it again. I value my sanity. To feel my pain, or to feel proud of me, have a look at the recipe below.


1. Pate sable cinnamon (This is the biscuit base of the cake)

285g cold butter cubed (frozen after reading the advice of Tasted by Two)
185g caster sugar
375g plain flour
1 egg
2g ground cinnamon
1/4 scraped vanilla bean

2. Texture apple tatin insert
4 granny smith apples, peeled & diced
350g caster sugar
175g butter

3 granny smith apples, peeled & diced
10g butter
1 orange zest
6g fresh ginger (leave in large bits)
50g caster sugar
15ml calvados (I substituted Grand Marnier)

3. Salted caramel layer

300g caster sugar
60g glucose
120g water
220g cream
5g gelatine leaves
125g butter unsalted
2g sea salt flakes

4. Biscuit decor jaconde

Cigarette decor paste
50ml cream
50g egg white
50g icing sugar
30g plain flour
20g cocoa

Biscuit jaconde
60g plain flour
40g butter melted
200g almond meal
200g icing sugar
6 eggs
180g egg whites
90g caster sugar

5. Chocolate blackberry sabayon mousse
Blackberry ganache
125g blackberry pulp (Used raspberry)
12g inverted sugar
50g caster sugar
6g caster sugar
3g pectin nh
200g 64% dark chocolate
35g butter

Sabayon mousse
60ml liquid strained black tea
50g sugar
50g egg
145g blackberry ganache (see recipe above)
60g 64% chocolate
400g whipped cream soft peaks

6. Chocolate spray (I didn't make the chocolate spray, I did not own a food spray gun!!)
500g dark chocolate
350g cocoa butter
colour as directed

7. Tempered chocolate (Didn't do this either, who needs more chocolate when cherries are in season)

500g white chocolate


1. Pate sable cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 160°c.
2. Add butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon and vanilla to a food processor and process to fine crumb. Add egg, mix till it comes together. Tip mixture onto bench and knead lightly. Roll out on a sheet of baking paper until 7 – 8 mm thick. Place ring mould over pastry and cut around outside edge, remove excess outer pastry.
3. Transfer pastry and ring mould on baking paper to an oven tray and bake until lightly golden.

2. Texture apple tatin insert


Dry caramelise the sugar, emulsify the caramel with the butter. Add the apples, cook until the apples are translucent and caramel in colour. Cool mixture.

1. Peel & dice the apples. Add butter, orange zest, & ginger to a pan and cook until aromatic. Add sugar & apples. Cook over high heat for 1 minute, add calvados & flambé. Cool mixture.
2. Mix the 2 apple mixtures together. Place in a silicon mould. Place in blast freezer until set.

3. Salted caramel layer

1. Heat cream. Place sugar, glucose, water in a saucepan, cook to caramel colour. Deglaze sugar with cream. Add gelatine. Cool to 50°c. Add butter and blitz.
2. Place in a silicon mould and place in blast freezer.

4. Biscuit decor jaconde
5. Cigarette decor paste

Mix all ingredients together.

Biscuit jaconde
1. Melt butter. Whip eggs, icing sugar, and almond meal together. Whip egg whites and sugar together to form stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into egg almond mixture alternating with butter & flour.
2. Preheat oven to 160°c.
3. Place cigarette paste on tray, swirl pattern with fingers. Place in freezer. Using a pastry scrape or palette knife spread cigarette paste with a thin layer about 3mm thick of jaconde. Bake until lightly golden. Cool.

6. Chocolate blackberry sabayon mousse

Blackberry ganache

1. Heat blackberry pulp in a saucepan, add sugar and inverted sugar, bring to the boil. Add extra sugar and pectin.
2. Pour mixture over chocolate in a bowl, stir until smooth. Cool to 40°c, add butter and blend with a stick blender.

Sabayon mousse

1. Place tea, sugar & eggs in a bowl over simmering water (bain marie) and whip to form a sabayon. Melt chocolate, mix in cream. Fold in blackberry ganache, gently fold in sabayon.

7. Chocolate spray

1. Temper chocolate see method below. Cool to 40°c. Add cocoa.
2. Place in spray gun.

8. Tempered chocolate

Melt the chocolate in a bowl. Add more chocolate stirring until melted, until the temperature of the chocolate reaches approximately 32°c (dark chocolate), approximately 30°c for milk or white chocolate. The chocolate should be tempered. To test, use a small square of silicon paper & dip in chocolate, place on bench (cool place), the chocolate should set at room temperature.
To temper the cocoa butter melt in pot on stove, then pour onto a clean work surface to cool rapidly (around 32°c), add colour as soon as you pour the cocoa butter on table and work with the palette knife. When cool, brush on clear plastic provided working left to right, and keep brushing until cool in same direction to obtain brush strokes. Cover in tempered white chocolate, and cut and shape to desired finish. Place on top of cake as desired.

9. Assembly
Layer of mousse in bottom of mould
Layer of salted caramel from silicon mould
Layer of jaconde
Layer of mousse
Layer of apple tatin from silicon mould
Layer of jaconde
Layer of mousse


  1. OMG I am sooo proud of your effort! Although I feel it was a large oversite on your behalf that you didn't include a snap freezer draw on your gift registry.. some of the other blogs online say that its necessary for the salty caramel. Did it end up a b'day cake of simple an "Emma Baked" cake???

  2. I would die and go to heaven if I had a blast freezer... sigh...

  3. Holy Christ!! I am devo'd that we had to miss out. xx

  4. bloody hell em well done!!!

  5. This is incredible - you have a way with sweets Em

  6. out of control! arggh SUCKS being in london where i can't taste any of this. come over for an international blog post! well done my dearrrr

  7. Wow! I've GOT TO try to make this cake! Nothing is too big of a challenge, right? Thanks for the inspiration and the recipe!