Dessert, Dessert Recipes, Masterchef
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Adriano Zumbo V8 Cake, Masterchef Recipe

You would think that after my last encounter with an Adriano Zumbo cake, I would know enough to make it my final try. However, I’m not one to shy away from challenges and I decided to go one step further this time tackling the V8 Cake.

So what is the V8 cake for those who have been living under a rock in the last couple of weeks? For the Masterchef finale week, the first pressure test challenge was an insane cake made by Adriano Zumbo. The cake takes its name from the 8 different vanilla layers, each presented textually differently. The contestants were expected to complete the cake within 4 hours.

4 hours in the kitchen, how hard could it be?

The finished V8 cake

The finished V8 cake

Boy how I had underestimated the V8. By the time I had completed the cake I was cursing the crazy person that initially conjured up such a torturous idea. Gellan, titanium dioxide, patissier glaze WTF!

Let’s take a look at how I spent collectively SIX hours in the kitchen.

Day 1

Prep work in the kitchen

Prep work in the kitchen

First day consisted on completing the layers which involved baking; dacquoise, macaron and brown sugar crumble. For these steps, I followed the recipes exactly as written on the Masterchef website. The crumble was absolutely delicious on its own and I found myself munching on to it as I worked through the other layers. Upon completing these three layers, I actually felt good! With my confidence level up I got to washing the million utensils and baking equipments used.

Bring on day 2.

Day 2

Day 2 prep work

Day 2 prep work

I figured for this day I’d make all the layers that required freezing or refrigeration, cream chantilly, brown butter brûlée, vanilla glaze and vanilla gel. I followed instructions accordingly, however for the vanilla gel I used gelatine instead of gellan.

I had difficulties with the brown butter brûlée and vanilla glaze. With the brûlée I just remembered on the Masterchef episode that Jimmy shoved a couple of slightly burnt trays to the side, I couldn’t remember if Adriano said he would used the burnt bits or not, so stupid me tried to scrap off all the burnt parts. Half-way through, I went to watch the episode online again and realised that the burnt bits were his actual intention. Unfortunately my brûlée wasn’t as bitter as how I think Zumbo would have liked, however I think I salvaged enough of it to retain the burnt toffee flavour. Tasting it before I move on, this layer is so far my favourite.

For the vanilla glaze, I didn’t have titanium dioxide, or cream patissier, so I figured my cake would have to be off white rather than the pure white that the titanium dioxide would have imparted.  To set the mixture once again, I used more gelatine than was required and I think it did the job.

To finish off the night I made both the cream chantilly and vanilla gel, easily the simplest layers to make. Once again I followed the instructions accordingly, however substituting Gellan for Gelatine powder in the gel.

With everything baked and stored in the fridge and freezer once again I got to washing the dishes. So far for me, the most difficult aspect of this whole cake was the cleaning up! I probably spent one hour after each session just washing the dishes and cleaning the counter.

Max helped too, licking every ounce of sugar dust I dropped on the floor.

Day 3 – D-Day

Building the V8

Building the V8

I decided I would be constructing the cake on the Saturday. Before setting out to build this epic cake I wrote down everything that was still to be done: Tempered chocolate, chiffon cake, vanilla almond crunch and vanilla ganache. OMG! I still have so much to do! I quickly made the chiffon cake, making good use of the 1L of egg whites that I had stored in the freezer. Whilst the cake was baking I got on to the Vanilla ganache, this process was extremely simple – just weigh out all the required components and throw them in to the food processor. 5 minutes layer all done, and the result an ultra smooth creamy vanilla mixture.

15 minutes later with the chiffon cake out of the oven cooling down on the rack, I made the vanilla almond crunch. This layer was a little more time-consuming then I had originally thought as there were a couple of components within this layer that I had to make. I quickly made an almond/hazelnut praline, once cooled I placed it in the food processor grinding it down to a fine paste. Once completed I toasted the almond meal I had left over from the macaron then ground that down to a paste. Research on google suggested substituting crushed cornflakes for the Pailette feullitine for an extra crunch.

Once all these components were done it just a matter of mixing everything together with the brown sugar crumble using the melted milk chocolate to hold everything together.

Finally with 95% of the components done the last step was the tempered chocolate. I have never been confident with tempering chocolate, finding it a little too sensitive. Too hot – the chocolate is too soft and therefore won’t snap when cooled, too cold – the chocolate does not spread on the piece of acetate smoothly. Knowing this I was very careful when tempering my white chocolate. This time, I was relatively successful however amidst all the rushing I wasn’t able to cut the pieces as cleanly as I would have liked, deeming my flower presentation quite ugly and uneven.

Assembling the cake

Now comes the fun part. Cringing through Callum’s confusion with flipping the cake tin back and forth I knew I wanted to avoid that dilemma, so I just layered the cake according to the recipe as on the Masterchef website. By the time that I had constructed the cake the milk chocolate in the almond crunch layer had already solidified, making it difficult to spread the layer evenly onto the chiffon cake. Once again, rushing got the better of me and I didn’t think to melt the layer, that was my first failure.

Second failure, by this stage I was getting a little lazy and sick of the whole thing so I didn’t use the piping bag to pipe the chantilly into the gap between the layers of the cake and the tin. As I remove the cake from the tin I realised what a big mistake this was, it meant that the cake did not come out in the same shape as the tin so I had gaps, which I tried filling up with left over cream, however it wasn’t as neat as I’d like. Hopefully pouring the Vanilla glaze over the cake would conceal all the dents.

As the liquid glaze start to gel up I quickly stuck the pieces of tempered chocolate onto the cake. With all the pieces of chocolate on the cake I let out a sigh of relief, I’d done it! I remember Alvin chuckling to himself as he presented his cake to the judges on Masterchef and I couldn’t help but also chuckle to myself, this is one ugly cake.

The finished V8 cake

The finished V8 cake

Adriano Zumbo V8 Cake

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 100g blanched almonds
  • Sugar spheres, to serve

Vanilla crème chantilly

  • 4g gold strength gelatine leaves
  • 590g thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 24g cold water
  • Toasted vanilla brulee
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 250g thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Vanilla water gel
  • 250g water
  • 38g caster sugar
  • 1.5g gellan
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Vanilla glaze

  • 9.5g gelatine leaves
  • 60g cold water
  • 40g glucose liquid
  • 35g water
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 400g thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 150g miroir glaze (specialty cold-application patisserie glaze)
  • 7.5g titanium dioxide (white colourant, powdered)

Vanilla ganache

  • 300g white couverture chocolate
  • 185g thickened cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 95g unsalted butter, softened

Brown sugar crumble

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 50g almond meal
  • ¼ scraped vanilla bean

Vanilla macaron

  • 53g egg whites
  • 50g pure icing sugar
  • 150g TPT (equal parts sifted almond meal and sifted pure icing sugar)
  • ½ scraped vanilla bean

Vanilla dacquoise

  • 60g egg whites
  • 43g caster sugar
  • 65g almond meal
  • 40g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla chiffon cake

  • 17.5g plain flour
  • 1 roasted and finely ground vanilla bean
  • 1.25 (21g) egg yolks
  • 5g dark brown sugar
  • 17.5g water
  • 15g canola oil
  • 45g egg whites
  • 22.5g caster sugar
  • 2.5g rice flour

Vanilla almond crunch

  • 45g milk couverture chocolate
  • 90g almond praline paste
  • 90g pure almond paste
  • 18g unsalted butter
  • 45g brown sugar crumble
  • 45g pailette feuillitine (crunchy wheat flakes)
  • 18g toasted diced almonds
  • 1 roasted and finely ground vanilla bean
  • 2g sea salt
  • ¼ scraped vanilla bean

Vanilla syrup

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 250g water
  • ½ vanilla bean, split
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

White chocolate flower and tiles

  • 500g white couverture chocolate, grated or finely chopped
  • 5g titanium dioxide

Please note – you will need precision scales. The vanilla crème chantilly, vanilla glaze, brown sugar crumble, and vanilla syrup can all be made ahead of time.

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. To make the roasted vanilla beans, place 2 vanilla beans in oven until burnt and charcoal in texture. Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Cover and set aside.
  3. To make the pure almond paste, place 100g blanched almonds on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until deep golden. Grind to a coarse paste. Cover and set aside.
  4. To make the vanilla crème chantilly, cut gelatine into small squares, soak in the cold water. Place cream, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 70-80°C, and then stir through the gelatine and water mixture until dissolved. Place in a container, cover the surface with cling wrap and place in the fridge.
  5. For the toasted vanilla brulee, mix yolks and sugar in a bowl by hand with a whisk until just combined. Add cream and vanilla bean to a small saucepan and bring to the boil, pour a little over the eggs while stirring, then add the remaining liquid including vanilla bean. Puree with a hand blender until smooth and pour into a shallow baking tray about 25 x 38cm. Place into the oven and cook until just set,  about 10 minutes, then increase oven to 200°C and bake until it forms a golden brown crust,  about 5 minutes. It should look slightly split when removed from the oven. Scrape mixture into a thermomix, blender, or small food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside in a small bowl, covering the surface of the brulee with cling wrap so it doesn’t form a skin. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
  6. To make the vanilla water gel, place a lined 18cm square cake tin in the fridge to chill. Boil all ingredients in saucepan whilst whisking until dissolved and mixture starts to thicken. To test if set, drop about a teaspoon of liquid into a metal bowl, it should thicken slightly. It will thicken on cooling. To speed up cooling, pour into a metal bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Pour into chilled cake tin and place in the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes. Remove from mould and keep gel in freezer.
  7. For the vanilla glaze, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until softened. Drain, squeezing out any excess water.  Boil glucose, water and sugar until 165°C, brushing around the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water as you go. Do not allow caramel to take on any colour. In another saucepan, bring cream and vanilla seeds to boil and then add to the sugar syrup. Mix through, then allow to cool to 70°C and add softened gelatine, stirring well. Add miroir glaze and titanium dioxide and blend well. Strain, then freeze until set. Reheat to 35°C when glazing the cake.
  8. For the vanilla ganache, place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Cover closely with cling wrap and set aside until needed.
  9. To make the brown sugar crumble, place all ingredients in an electric mixer and beat mix until dough forms. ‘Grate’ through  a cooling rack with a lined baking tray sitting underneath to catch the crumble then bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden.
  10. To make the vanilla macaron, draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. Using an electric mixer or hand beaters, whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add pure icing sugar, checking it has dissolved in between additions until you have stiff glossy peaks. Stir through TPT with vanilla seeds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square. Let a skin form and then bake for 10 minutes at 160°C until golden. Remove from oven, slide baking paper off tray and place on kitchen bench. Increase oven temperature to 180°C.
  11. To make the vanilla dacquoise, draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add caster sugar, beating until you have stiff glossy peaks.  Mix almond meal with icing sugar, vanilla seeds and extract, gently fold through egg whites. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square.  Dust with icing sugar, let sit 2 minutes then dust again. Bake at 180°C 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, slide baking paper off tray and place on kitchen bench. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
  12. To make the vanilla chiffon cake, draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. Mix flour, roasted vanilla bean powder, egg yolks, brown sugar, water and oil in a bowl until combined. Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add the sugar and rice flour, beating until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the meringue through the batter gently. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square.  Bake in the oven set at 160°C until golden, about 15 minutes.
  13. To make the vanilla almond crunch, melt milk chocolate, add almond praline and the pure almond paste and mix well. Melt butter and take to nut brown (noissette) stage. Add crumble and fueilletine flakes and mix through praline mixture, then fold through burnt butter, followed by toasted almonds, crushed vanilla beans, sea salt and scraped vanilla seeds.  Smooth a 5mm layer over vanilla dacquoise and set aside.
  14. To make the vanilla syrup, bring all ingredients to the boil, then allow to cool.
  15. To make the white chocolate tiles and flower, bring 5cm of water in a medium saucepan to the boil, turn off the heat and sit a metal bowl with 300g of the chocolate over the water. Stir until just melted then remove bowl to the bench and add about 100g more chocolate to bring the temperature down. Stir vigorously until the chocolate has melted, if the chocolate does not feel cold to the touch, add the remaining 100g chocolate to bring down the temperature. Add titanium dioxide and mix well. Keep stirring well to remove all lumps. If the chocolate mixture feels cold to the touch, spread a small, thin layer onto a small piece of baking paper. Set aside for about 3-4 minutes, it will start to harden if it is tempered correctly. If the chocolate becomes too thick and the temperature is too low, gently reheat the mixture in the bowl set over the saucepan of steaming water, but it still needs to be cold.
  16. When the chocolate is tempered, to make the flower, spread a thin layer, about 2-3mm thick on 2 pieces of acetate (30 x 40cm) using a large palette knife. Once the chocolate has almost set, on one sheet of acetate carefully mark 3 strips lengthways on the strips, about 7-9cm-wide. Mark thin triangles in each strip. These form the flower petals. Place a piece of baking paper over the top, and wrap around a rolling pin or similar cylinder and allow to completely harden.
  17. On the other sheet use a ruler to mark out 4 ½ cm squares. Place a piece of baking paper over the top and invert onto a board or clean work surface to completely harden.
  18. To assemble the cake, in a 20cm acetate-lined straight-sided cake tin spread a 5-10mm layer of Chantilly crème around base and sides of tin. Chill in freezer until firm. Lay vanilla gel at the base of the tin and smear with a tiny amount of brulee so that macaron layer will stick to the gel. Lay macaron layer over brulee smear. Cover macaron layer with an even 5mm of brulee. Place chiffon cake over brulee layer. Brush chiffon cake with a little vanilla syrup. Spread a 5mm layer of ganache over chiffon cake. Invert the dacquoise/crunch layers so the vanilla almond crunch layer is sandwiched next to the ganache and the dacquoise is facing up. The dacquoise will become the base of the cake.
  19. Fill in any gaps with Chantilly cream, then place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes until firm.  Place a large piece of cling wrap on the bench and place a cooling rack on top. Remove the cake from the chiller and invert onto the cooling rack. Heat sides of cake tin gently with a blow torch to help release the mould from the cake. Remove any acetate. Smooth top and sides if necessary with a palette knife. Pouring generously and using a palette knife, spread the vanilla glaze evenly over the top and sides, completely covering the surface. Using a large palette knife transfer the cake to a cake stand and place the chocolate tiles around the cake.
  20. To assemble the flower spread a small amount of melted tempered chocolate onto a small piece of baking paper and use this as a base to stick the petals, starting in the centre, working outwards to create a flower. Using choco-cool will help ‘fix’ the petals in place and firm up the chocolate base. Place chocolate flower on top of the cake and decorate the top of the cake with a few sugar spheres.

Snapping away at the cake I think I took more than 100 photos of the final product. Despite it being so ugly I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment, like Gary said it’s all about how it tastes! Slicing the cake into small slices I distributed it to family members and a couple of friends, the response I got was unanimous – it was the best cake they had ever tasted except for Minh who thought the cake was way too rich and sweet. For a cake that’s made up of 8 layers of vanilla flavoured components I guess it was to be expected. I’ve mentioned that my brother wasn’t a fan of desserts or anything sweet, however he actually SMSed me the following day asking if there were any leftovers.

Overall I would have to admit this was the best tasting cake that I have made, however was the time invested in constructing it worth it? I don’t think I will be baking this cake again any time soon! However, if you’re that way inclined the best way to tackle this cake I think is to get with a couple of friends and get each person to make a layer, or if you want to do it on your own, just divide the layers up in to different days and work through it slowly. Give it a go and show off to your friends =D

Max update

The little bugger is 7 months old now. As per usual he’s doing what he does best, sleeping while I bake.




  1. abercrombie says

    p.s – you’re right it is ugly… but damn it more than made up for it in flavour haha

  2. island says

    can you share what is the estimate cost that went into all the cake?

  3. You brave woman! great first attempt! was it hard to source the titanium dioxide? hmm maybe ill give it a go when i finally build enough courage! :)

    • Hi Rhonda, I didn't use titanium dioxide, as I was told that you can only get them in bulk. I'd suggest you give it a go though, it's soo good.

  4. and I like you just served it on a wirerack on top of the baking tray still. LOL Good effort though! :) Me and Alvin were joking about making a 15 layers, just so we can! ROFL

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  6. abercrombie says

    This is the BEST cake I've ever tasted, handsdown!

    Very lucky that I was able to score a slice

  7. LOL reading this has just confirmed that I don't want to finish making this cake. I still have the glaze in the freezer! 😛 But yeah, I think I'll just get you to make it for me. Oh and the mousse cake thanks Linda!

    Awesome work xx And <3 <3 to Max!

  8. When I saw V8 on MC, I thought I may give it a go…….. Hmm knowing your amazing baking skills, I think I might let this one go. Well done Linda, I don’t think it looks ugly.

    Max is a big cutie :)

  9. You crazy, crazy woman, I just knew you were going to do it as soon as I saw it on MC. All that washing up would have sucked! Nawww Max!!

  10. Max is so cute! Awesome effort on the cake. Don't forget that none of the contestants had to do any washing up, unlike you! Judging by the comments from tasters, it seems like it was well worth the effort too :)

  11. I was waiting around for you to get your hands on tackling this baby. I've printed off the recipe, haven't gone through it yet. Maybe I need some more encouragement to make it. Mmmm Such an orgasmic looking dessert! Ngawww…. Max is so cute!

    • Hey phuoc, give it a go, it's quite fun to make. Just do 2 or 3 layers each day. before you know it, you're ready to assemble.

  12. Congratulations on your achievement, the only way I would even consider making this cake is if I shared it with a few other people, that's still a hell of a lot of washing up though! He he!

  13. I was contemplating making this, but if you say that you probably wouldn't do it again anytime soon maybe i'll file it away in the 'maybe' pile haha. Awesome work though, I love the photo of all the layers. I'm sure it would've tasted amazing!

  14. Mad as a meat axe but kudos for attempting it! Bravo! Just reading the recipe is making me exhausted good on Max for sleeping through the whole thing!

  15. judy says

    my birthday is next week. please send me a cake! :) preferably this one…

  16. There's now a dedicated page on Zumbo's site to order these little beauties – $125. I think they're making 60 a day. Do we think it's worth it?

  17. Awesome effort with the cake! Looks like it still turned out to be a fantastic cake, despite all the issues you had to deal with. Imagine making this cake under Masterchef conditions!

  18. Holay molay! Good on you for making this monstrously-challenging cake. Glad it was worth the effort. Just need to find that much free time to attempt one… om nom nom

  19. Wow… Linda I am speechless. I also just checked out your other masterchef recipe blogs and I have to say, you are brave and amazing! The only recipe I've tried is the Black Forest one, only because BFC is one of my favouritest cakes ever! Anyway keep up the great work!

  20. I have just made 2 of these cakes simultaneously, they worked well but I was horrified with the amount of ingredients left over, with the exception of about 3 layers, I could have made another 2 cakes from what was left. I was very disappointed by this, especially given the amount of money it cost me to make rhem

  21. Hi, just wanted to know how long this cake lasted before it went bad/mushy. And did you store it in the fridge or freezer? I wanted to start making it today and make majority of the layers except for the tempered chocololate, but would it still hold together by friday? (thats three days including today). Sorry for all the questions, I just don’t want it to fall apart for my sisters 21st!!! :)

    • Hi Gabrielle,
      Doing the cake over three days is a good idea. Just spread the layers out, doing 3-4 layers each day, then leaving the final day for assembling it. I stored everything in the fridge, except for the gelee layer, which was stored in the freezer. I’m sure it won’t fall apart. However, if you’ve already assembled it, I think it will sit in the fridge for a couple of days without any problems. Mine did not go mushy at all after three days. Good Luck =D

  22. melissa says

    I am melissa stupers and I am 13 years old.
    I want to make the v8 cake bu theres one problem,
    I come from holland so i cant read the recipe,
    this is my question to you can somebody whrite the recipe in dutch please
    I really want to make it…

  23. Gerry says


    I have tried making this cake but it somewhat turned out not as good. This is because my chantilly cream failed and it was so fluid instead of being a cream. What did I do wrong? Any advise? Thanks!

    • Hi Gerry,
      Just wondering what type of gelatine did you use, was it the powder or the gelatine leaf? As I used gelatine leaves, mine turned out well following the recipe provided. However if you used the powder, then you would have to read on the back of the container how much powder is required to set a certain volume of liquid. Hope this helps,


  24. Thank God you made this cake and blogged it… I was actually tempted to give it a go!

    NO WAY!!! Hope it tasted good, I think I will have to buy one if I am ever going to try it.

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