Brown Butter Cake and Black Currant Jam

I am so excited to be working with my great friend, Fred Chang (season 10 + 12) on a MilkBar Inspired Collaboration!

On season 9 of MasterChef, I was so lucky to be awarded culinary school paid for by Chef Gordon Ramsay. I was also lucky to be offered a job at MilkBar in New York City. One of my previous posts (Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes) has the recipe that landed me that job. On season 10, Fred was also awarded a job at MilkBar. However, he worked for the LA location. We both ended up working for MilkBar at the same time, but cross country. We quickly became long distance friends and coworkers.

So here’s what we did. We called each other and brainstormed this cake. I am providing you with the cake recipe and the jam recipe. Fred has the liquid cheesecake recipe and the crumb recipe. Check out Fred’s page for those recipes!

  • 350g black currant concentrate (I used Ribena)
  • 100g water
  • 50g sugar
  • 15g sure-jell for recipes with low/no sugar
  • 26g freeze dried black currant powder
  • 22g lemon juice
  1. In a medium sauce-pot combine concentrate and water.
    • 350g black currant concentrate, 100g water
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine sugar, pectin, and freeze dried currant powder. Stir out the lumps.
    • 50g sugar, 15g sure-jell, 26g freeze-dried black currant powder
  3. Add dry mix into the liquids and add lemon juice. Heat on medium heat until mixture is boiling. Allow to boil for at least 2 minutes to activate pectin. 
    • 22g lemon juice
  4. To test for doneness, scoop a thin amount onto a spoon and allow mixture to set, push with finger and test. The mixture should wrinkle under your finger.

For the Brown Butter: heat a stick of butter over medium-high heat. It will start to bubble and fizz. Stir regularly so the milk solids brown evenly. Take the butter as dark as you feel comfortable. At MilkBar, we would take the butter super dark and nearing burnt. Once the butter is where you like it, pour into a heat safe container and allow to cool at room temperature, stirring every half hour or so to evenly distribute milk solids.

  • 55g unsalted butter, softened
  • 40g brown butter, softened
  • 250g sugar
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 110g half and half
  • 65g neutral oil
  • 2 g vanilla extract
  • 185g cake flour
  • 4g baking powder
  • 4g salt
  1. Heat the oven to 350F. Spray a ¼ sheet pan with non-stick spray and line it with parchment.
  2. Cream butters and sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy. The mixture should be a pale cream color. Trust me, go further than you think.
    • 55g soft unsalted butter, 40g soft brown butter, 250g sugar, 60g light brown sugar
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add your eggs one at a time. Let each egg get fully mixed in before adding the next one. After the last egg is fully mixed in, scrape the sides of the bowl.
    • 3 eggs
  4. Wisk together the dry ingredients and add a third of that mixture into your mixer. 
    • 185g cake flour, 4g baking powder, 4g salt
  5. Combine your wet ingredients and add half of that mixture into your mixer.
    • 110g half and half, 65g neutral oil, 2g vanilla extract
  6. Add another third of the dry ingredients.
  7. Add your last half of wet ingredients.
  8. Add the remaining dry ingredients.
  9. Once fully mixed, pour batter onto prepared sheet pan and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Focus on the corners first and then even out the center.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Allow to cool completely before cutting and assembling.

For assembly:

  1. Cut cake into 6 inch rounds using the MilkBar method: Cut 2 perfect circles and 2 halves to make 3 layers
  2. Using a 6 inch cake ring lined with acetate, layer cake, cheesecake, jam, and crumbs. Decorate however you like!

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