Sunday, May 15, 2011

Adriano Zumbo V8 Cake

Top left to right: Crème chantilly with vanilla water gel. Macaron layer added with a tiny smear of toasted vanilla brulee. Toasted vanilla brulee layer added.

Bottom left to right: Vanilla chiffon cake brushed with vanilla syrup and then topped with vanilla ganache. Vanilla almond crunch. Vanilla dacquoise base with added vanilla crème chantilly to fill any spaces.

26 years ago my Mother pressed the eject button and I was spat out into the world. To celebrate this, I decided to undertake the huge challenge of baking the
Adriano Zumbo V8 Cake. This cake first appeared in the 2010 season of Masterchef and it quickly captured the imagination of the nation. It also captured mine with its layers of vanilla crème chantilly, toasted vanilla brulee, vanilla water gel, vanilla ganache, vanilla macaron, vanilla dacquoise, vanilla chiffon cake and vanilla almond crunch, vanilla syrup enclosed in vanilla glaze. Normally I would photograph every piece and talk you through it but this cake had 20 steps and took me close to seven hours of preparing, baking, cleaning and constructing. So here are some handy tips I've learnt from this experience:

  • You don't need a mortar and pestle to grind the roasted vanilla beans. Pop them into a snap lock bag and use a rolling pin.

  • I purchased gelatine leaves, vanilla beans, pailette feuillitine and fine chocolate from Black Pearl Epicure.

  • Gellan is horribly expensive, it is $156.25 for 400g. The good news is The Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot stocks 10g packets of gellan and titanium dioxide which makes this cake much more affordable.

  • I made my own miroir glaze from a recipe from Leave Room for Dessert. I wasn't quite as comfortable with Anita's almond praline paste as it used a dry caramel method so I made a simple toffee (50g sugar, 38ml water) poured it over some lightly toasted almonds and once the toffee was cold, processed the whole lot to a fine powder. Make sure you add a little water to the almond praline and standard almond paste.

  • You could halve the vanilla syrup and brown sugar crumble as if you follow the instructions you will have a substantial amount left over.

  • Before making the vanilla ganache, gently microwave the white couverture chocolate as it will be easier to incorporate all the ingredients.

  • I used an Anonlon SureGrip - 20cm loose base square cake pan and it made removing the cake from the pan a breeze.

  • Equipment you will need includes a mixmaster, hand held electric beaters, stick blender, brulee torch, piping bag, ruler, precision scales and a generous supply of dishes, saucepans and baking trays.

The good news is despite my fears the cake turned out better than expected. Without any pressure and no distractions the experience was extremely pleasant and a great challenge. Here are some photos of the finished product. The final image on the end is the Facebook thread, mapping the progress.


  1. Brilliant Work Jo!! You are amazing. I made scones for the first time on the weekend, didn't look too pretty but sure tasted good.

  2. Really well balanced. It wasn't too sweet or heavy and I really loved the Vanilla Almond Crunch layer.