This cake from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook is another of Christina Tosi’s delicious multi-component layer cakes, made from a chocolate chip vanilla cake, passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbs, and coffee frosting. In the book she tells the story of how this was a birthday cake for David Chang, and it was a huge hit in the Momofuku kitchens. This cake was easier to make than the Carrot Layer Cake, probably because I had been through the madness of making that cake and knew what to expect. It takes some advance planning, because the cake, chocolate crumbs, and passion fruit curd need to be cooked and cooled before final assembly, but is doable for the home baker.
The vanilla cake batter is made from sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, grapeseed oil, vanilla, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. The batter needs to be whipped for a long time in a stand mixer to homogenize all of the liquid and fat components, longer than the suggested times in the book.
The chocolate crumb is pretty easy and is made from Valrhona cocoa powder, sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, and butter that are mixed together into a crumble and baked.
The passion fruit curd is made from passion fruit puree, sugar, and eggs that are blended together and then heated over low heat to thicken. This mixture must be stirred constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking, so the constant monitoring and low heat make it a bit of a pain. Once the mixture boils, it is poured back in the blender and blended with gelatin and butter to make a rich, tart filling for the cake.
The coffee frosting is made from butter, powdered sugar, Nescafe instant coffee, salt, and milk and is pretty straightforward.
To assemble, I used a 6″ x 20″ strip of acetate to line the sides of a 6″ cake pan. The chocolate chip cake is cut into two 6″ rounds, and the rest of the scraps are smushed together to form the bottom layer of the cake. The cake is soaked with some passion fruit puree, then topped with passion fruit curd, chocolate crumb, coffee frosting. This is then repeated with the second cake round. The final cake round goes on top, which is then topped with coffee frosting. Finally, the entire assembly is frozen overnight and thawed a few hours before serving.
Verdict: the chocolate chip cake was really good, and its sweetness was balanced by the tartness of the passionfruit curd. The chocolate crumb added bits of intense chocolate crunch, and the coffee frosting was really buttery with a subtle coffee flavor. A delicious, impressive cake for guests.
Link to recipe here.
Amazon link to Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook here.