In all honesty, I would never have even contemplated putting miso into a dessert until I challenged myself to try every ingredient in the Momofuku dry storage prep kitchen in 2006. Wowza, was I surprised by the incredible flavor miso brought to sweet, butter-based sauces like butterscotch and buttery pound cakes. I quickly learned that the combination of savory miso, the bright yet homey flavor of an apple, and the rich vibe of sour cream made an unstoppable flavor trio. I use shiro miso when I bake. Also referred to as white miso, it is the mildest on the market and has the perfect amount of saltiness to go along with sweet concoctions.
Yield: 1 loaf, with 1 cup of sour whipped cream and 1 1/2 cups apple compote
BURNT MISO CAKE:
5 tablespoons shiro miso 2/3 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil 1 stick, plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 5 large eggs 1 1/2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon sugar 2 1/3 cups cake flour 1/4 cups, plus 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, packed 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
2. Spread the miso out in an even layer, about 1/4-inch thick, on the lined baking sheet. Bake it until the miso is browned and quite burnt around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t be a ninny! The edges should be quite burnt and there should be patches of burnt spots all over the top. Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly.
3. Reduce the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 1-pound loaf pan.
4. Scrape the miso into a blender. Add the buttermilk and oil and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Whisk the melted butter and eggs into the miso mixture.
5. Whisk the sugar, cake flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a separate large bowl.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir to combine. If the batter looks lumpy, use a whisk to break up all the lumps.
7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake until the cake rises and puffs, about 80 minutes. At 75 minutes, tap the top of the cake with your fingertips: The cake should bounce back and the center should no longer be jiggly. If it doesn’t pass this test, leave the cake in the oven for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
8. Let the cake cool in the pan for 45 minutes, then run a small butter knife or offset spatula between the edge of the cake and the pan to help release it. Invert the pan onto a wire rack to fully release the cake. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool completely before slicing.
9. Before serving, toast the slices lightly then dollop each with apple compote and sour whipped cream.
SOUR WHIPPED CREAM:
1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the heavy cream, sour cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium bowl and use a whisk to whip them into soft peaks, about 2 minutes, depending on how fast and furious a whisker you are.
1 granny smith apple, medium 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon pectin NH 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 pinch kosher salt
1. Peel and dice the apple into 1/4-inch chunks. Measure 200 grams (1 2/3 cups) of the diced apple (eat the rest as a snack!).
2. Stir the sugar, pectin, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Add the diced apple and toss to combine.
3. Heat the apples in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. The apples will begin to release liquid. Continue to heat the mixture on low until the released liquid begins to boil. Cook the apples on low, stirring occasionally, until they have thickened and softened, but haven’t broken down entirely, about 15 minutes.
4. Let the mixture cool completely before using. The apple compote will keep in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.