This beautiful chocolate chip cake is the brainchild of Christina Tosi and her team at Momofuku Milk Bar. It contains layers of passionfruit puree, passionfruit curd and a fluffy coffee frosting.
I often get asked if I bake myself something for special occasions. You know – things like my birthday, major holidays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day. The answer is yes, yes, yes and yes. I actually enjoy baking, and it’s fun to pick out a recipe and enjoy the fruit of my labor.
Earlier this month, it was Mother’s Day. I had been brainstorming ideas for my Mother’s Day dessert and finally decided on the chocolate chip cake recipe from Christina Tosi. I’ve made her confetti cake before and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, because the cakes require several components, they are time-consuming. Since I have a little more time on my hands these days, I baked this cake for myself.
I baked the chocolate crumbs and made the passionfruit curd both the day before I assembled the cake. On the day of, I baked the cake and made the frosting. The most difficult part of the whole thing was making the frosting. It uses a technique of adding a lot of liquid to fat, so that took some time (about 15-20 minutes just for the frosting).
While passionfruit, chocolate chips and coffee aren’t exactly your everyday flavor combinations, they work well in this cake. The passionfruit puree and curd provided a sweet yet tangy background to a lightly sweetened cake. The coffee frosting nicely complemented the chocolate chips for a subtle, mellow aftertaste.
As you can see, my family enjoyed this too! Please don’t be intimidated by the length of the instructions. You can absolutely take your time and make each component ahead of time (except for the frosting, which you should make immediately before assembling the cake).
Husband’s rating: 3 out of 5 (he isn’t a huge fan of coffee flavored things so would have rated this higher with a different flavor of frosting)
Addie’s rating: 5 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5
Momofuku Milk Bar chocolate chip cake
- Special equipment: ¼ sheet pan, 2 strips of clear acetate (each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long), a 6 inch round ring mold, passionfruit puree
- ⅔ cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons (4 grams) corn starch
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup (65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
- 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup (100 grams) passionfruit puree
- ⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 gelatin sheet I used ½ teaspoon of powdered gelatin and bloomed it in 2 Tablespoons of cold water for 4-5 minutes. Note: Do not bloom your gelatin until right before you need it!
- 12 Tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter very cold
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
Chocolate chip cake
- 8 Tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 and ¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) light brown sugar tightly packed
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup (110 grams) buttermilk
- ½ cup (75 grams) grapeseed oil I used canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon (12 grams) vanilla extract
- 1 and ½ cups cake flour If you don't have cake flour, you can make your own. For every ½ cup of cake flour, use all-purpose flour. Remove 1 Tablespoon and replace with corn starch.
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
- ¾ cup (150 grams) mini chocolate chips
Coffee frosting (I recommend doubling this)
- 8 Tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (40 grams) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (55 grams) milk
- ¾ teaspoons (1 and ½ grams) instant coffee powder Nescafe brand preferred
- ¼ teaspon (1 gram) kosher salt
- ⅓ cup (60 grams) passionfruit puree
- ¼ cup (40 grams) mini chocolate chips
Make the chocolate crumb
- Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet or pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, corn starch, sugar, cocoa powder and salt together on low speed.
- Add the melted butter and continue mixing until you achieve small clusters of dough.
- Transfer the clusters to your prepared baking sheet and spread them out. Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Allow the crumbs to cool completely before using. They can be made ahead of time and stored at room temperature for 1 week, or in the refrigerator/freezer for up to 1 month.
Make the passionfruit curd
- In a high-speed blender, add the passionfruit and the sugar and blend until the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low speed until the mixture appears bright yellow/orange and is smooth.
- Transfer the passionfruit mixture to a small saucepan set over low heat and clean out your blender (you will use it again). Bloom your gelatin now. Using a spatula, constantly whisk the mixture so it thickens. Allow the mixture to boil, and then take it off the heat.
- Transfer the passionfruit mixture back into your clean blender and add in the bloomed gelatin, butter and salt. Blend until your mixture is smooth, thick and shiny. Transfer the curd into a container, cover it, and chill in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The curd can be made ahead of time and chilled in your refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Bake the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease and line a quarter sheet pan. I used a half sheet pan and "blocked" half of it with aluminum foil since I didn't need the whole pan. I recommend using a 9"x13" pan to "block" the half you don't need to use as well or else your batter will eventually leak into the side you don't need.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer down to low and add in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for an additional 4-6 minutes. Your batter should be very pale in color. Be patient here - we're adding a lot of liquid into fat, and it takes a while for this amazing chemistry experiment to come together.
- Turn the mixer back down to low and slowly add in the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Only mix for another 45-60 seconds or until all the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Transfer the batter into your prepared sheet pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. If you gently touch the middle of the cake, it should bounce back. If it's too jiggly, bake for another 3-5 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool. You can also transfer to the refrigerator or freezer to let it cool faster. The cake can be baked (and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap) up to 5 days in advance.
Make the frosting (do NOT make this in advance)
- First, a note of warning. This frosting will take at least 15-20 minutes to come together. You MUST be patient with this. Do not get frustrated and stop. In the end, you will be rewarded with a smooth, shiny and fluffy coffee frosting. You can do it.
- In the bowl of a clean stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix the milk, salt and the coffee powder together. If the coffee milk contains clumps, you may consider using a fine mesh sieve to capture the coffee granulates; otherwise your frosting will be lumpy.
- Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed possible. Slowly stream in the coffee milk - you will likely need to do this in multiple additions. Once a bit of coffee milk has been added, the butter is going to separate and look really weird. Turn the mixer on a higher speed and let it do its thing. Right now, you are adding liquid into fat, and this process will take a while to complete. Allow each addition of coffee milk to fully incorporate before adding the next.
- Be patient. Let the mixer do all the work for you. Walk away for a while, then come back and check on the frosting. The resulting frosting should be smooth, shiny and a pale coffee color. Mine looked a bit like a wet play-doh or clay. Once the frosting is done, assemble the cake (do NOT refrigerate this frosting for later use).
Assemble the cake
- Using a 6 inch cake ring, cut out 2 rounds of cake and set aside.
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, place the 6 inch cake ring. Using scraps of leftover cake, fill the cake ring with a layer of the cake. Press down so it resembles a normal cake layer.
- Brush on half of the passionfruit puree. Add half of the passionfruit curd and smooth out the top. Add about half of the chocolate crumb and press it down into the curd. Top with a third of the coffee frosting.
- Add a piece of clear acetate on the inner part of the cake ring. Add one of the cut cake layers on top. Repeat the previous steps - brush with puree, add the remaining passionfruit curd, the remaining chocolate crumbs (unless you are saving some for the top) and ⅓ of the coffee frosting.
- Add the final layer of acetate and tuck it into the inner part of the last piece of acetate. Essentially, you are building a "wall" for the cake layers to stay between. Add the final cake layer on top and spread with the remaining frosting. Top with remaining chocolate crumbs and mini chocolate chips.
- Transfer your sheet pan to the freezer or refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours. Allow the cake to defrost in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.
- Slice and enjoy.