Anyone who has ever watched Masterchef would probably know of the name Zumbo. Known for his intricate and complex desserts and in particular the V8 cake and the Zumbo Macarons Tower, he has certainly made a name for himself all across Australia.
Zumbo Patisserie has finally reached Melbourne, and it picks a hot spot too in South Yarra. Conveniently located minutes walk from the South Yarra railway station and in between newly develop(ing) apartments and Toorak Road. South Yarra has become the dessert place to be with the likes of LuxBite and Burch & Purchese.
The Zumbo store is smaller than I expected, and yet they manage to showcase a variety of their larger cakes, mini cakes and desserts, macarons and pastries.
From top left: V8 (8″), Apple Fields (8″), Non Che Nudo Ka, Lemon Meringue, Secret Carrot’s Business
From bottom left: V8 (6″), Dr Dot, Apple Fields (6″)
From left: Orange & Coconut, Decorated Fondant, Mylo Sacher Cyrus, Capsicum & Peanut
From left: (Minis) Dr Dot, Secret Carrot’s Business, The Annoying Orange Cake, Non Che Nudo Ka
From left: Lemon Meringue Tart, Tart Aux Fruits De La Passion
Macaron Flavours on the day (Subject to change): Pandan & Sticky Rice Pudding, Yoghurt & Passionfruit, Francesco Brownie, Salted Butter Caramel Toast, Toasted Marshmallow, Ghana Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Pancake, Caramel, Apple Pie, Fingerbun, Passionfruit & Basil, Meat Pie (Movember)
During November, all the Macaron boxes were in support for Movember as well as the very interesting Meat Pie which I didn’t have a chance to try.
Assortment of pastries and the Zonuts
I managed to (barely) bring back a few cakes and macarons. You can see they are a little bit travelled. We have here the Annoying Orange Cake, Apple Fields and Dr Dot as well as the macarons with the flavours listed below.
From left to right we have Apple Pie, Salted butter caramel on toast, Salted butter popcorn, Blueberry pancake, Fingerbun (fruit bread like), Pandan & sticky rice.
The Pandan & sticky rice macarons was something I was very keen to try. I found the pandan flavour to be too mild, very subtle. The texture of the slightly hard sticky rice makes it interesting to eat but with the pandan flavour lacking it didn’t really work as well as I hoped it would. It also goes without saying for all the six macarons that the shells are some of the best in Melbourne. Just enough bite to shell and still moist with the almond meal inside but not too much air in the shells’.
The Salted butter caramel on toast was also superb, the salty caramel filling that is just salted enough to complement the sweetness of the caramel and the slightly viscous nature of the caramel both sticky yet still retaining enough bite was just perfection.
Salted butter popcorn was, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown. You can see it very much looks like popcorn, but the flavour of the filling just tasted like whipped butter. The flavour of just popped buttered popcorn was almost non existent.
The Apple Pie was quite the delight to eat, packed full of flavour in the filling. It really does remind you of eating a apple danish of some sort. Excellent in every way, the freshness of the apple filling really makes it top notch.
The Fingerbun wasn’t something I was very familiar with but after trying this it definitely reminded me of a fruit cake. I checked what the Fingerbuns were and my assessment of what it was (sweet bread with sultanas and icing) seemed to be roughly on point. Flavourwise, I liked it but not being much of a fruit cake/bread fan it’s not something I’d immediately order again.
Lucky last was the Blueberry pancake macaron. Again, a milder tasting blueberry flavour but enough sweetness and slightly tart.
Overall the macarons I found weren’t overly sweet but with macarons they are basically packed full of sugar so that’s expected.
The annoying orange cake is made of flourless chocolate cake, orange caramel, olive sable, chocolate & clove mousse, orange & white chocolate jam. It reminded me of the Jaffa lollies because of the chocolate and oranges. The chocolate cake was very light and the orange flavoured caramel, and jam complemented the cake well. The orange zest also gave it a boost of orange which I found to be very pleasant on the palette.
The Apple Fields cake made of malt shortbread, sunflower praline crunch, honey cremeaux,sunflower chiffon cake, roasted apple jelly compote, apple mousse, was delicious. The apple flavour just oozed out of the compote (jelly) along with the mousse. Very distinct layers all complementing each other well, with none overpowering one over the other. Soft, sweet and bursting full of apples. Lovely
The Dr. Dot is made of chocolate sable, white nougat, roasted cocoa hib, creme brulee, raspberry vinegar jelly, gianduja mousse, dark chocolate glaze all in their distinct layers surrounded by the mousse and glaze. I absolutely adored this cake, probably because of the chocolate and raspberry working stupendously well together. I love a good raspberry jelly and this was one of them. Smooth but still retaining the essence and texture of raspberries and the nutty nougat gives it a bit of crunch. I thought it had hazelnut flavour in it too, but that seems not to be the case. The mousse is super smooth and ridiculously light. Even looking at the photos again makes me want to taste it again.
Although the impressions of many Melburnians seemed to have mixed feelings about the quality of the food here, I still think it has earned its place. Not everything hits the mark, and the prices lean on the more expensive side of things but for special occasions I think it’s reasonable.
The very complex V8 cakes were surprisingly expensive but after much thought realised of how much work would go into these cakes (the 6″ is $70, 8″ is $125) with all the different layers.
LuxBite and Le Petit Gateau does cakes and macarons well as well and I found them to be on average cheaper for what you get. More variety of patisseries the better I’d say though!
12 -14 Claremont St
South Yarra VIC 3141
Le Petit Gateau is still my go to dessert place. Sadly, now that I’m working, it’s challenging to make a trip down there since they close at 5pm on weekdays, and unfortunately don’t open on weekends.
However, it’s most definitely worth the time and effort to make your way here. My first encounter with Le Petit Gateau’s cakes was when my sister bought one to celebrate my mother’s birthday. She has this undying love for the combination of nuts and chocolate. Just like me!
I was so amazed that there was even a cake that had the flavour of Hazelnuts. This Hazelnut Praline Mud Cake was made for us choc+nut lovers.
The mud cake has that nice dense texture, with I believe a sprinkling of thinly chopped nuts through the cake. Although it may be rich, it is certainly delectable.
What makes this cake so beautiful is that silky smooth chocolate icing layer around the cake. Glossy, and it just melts in your mouth. It has such a pleasant hazelnut flavour, that it’s like you’re eating the filling of a Ferrero Rocher again and again, but only better. Absolutely delicious.
The chocolate strip on top is tempered to perfection, with that nice snap when you break it. Those candied almonds and chocolate bits just are the icing on the iced chocolate mud cake.
It even tasted better when I was greeted with the cake on my own birthday months ago! Happy Birthday to me!
Everyone must at least make a trip to Le Petit Gateau at least once. Their selection of petit (Hehe) cakes will make you salivate. If cakes aren’t your thing, but macarons are? This is the place to visit. I’m not certain if I have mentioned this but their macarons are amazing. One of the best macarons I’ve ever come across in Victoria. Their macaron flavours constantly change, but for those that like a bit of Green Tea, their Green Tea flavoured macarons are delicious. Crisp outer layer, not too airy, and just the right amount of chewiness.
Even just thinking about it, makes me want to go before work (when the shop opens at 7:30am) or taking up my whole lunch hour just to get there and back! To be honest, it would be well worth it.
458 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am-5pm
Tel: 03 9944 8893
fax: 03 9944 8895
I was searching high and low for a nice looking Mocha Cake to bake for my mother. I came across Gourmeted’s Goldilocks Mocha Cake Recipe which looked fantastic. I’ve tried this a few times following the exact method however on both occasions my cake sank like a rock. One my third attempt I thought, why not use the tried and tested Chiffon Cake way. Here is my slightly adapted Gourmeted recipe below. A big thanks to Gourmeted because it’s a fantastic recipe.
For the Cake:
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules [Nescafe instant coffee recommended]
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
½ cup canola oil
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Mocha Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
5 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons amaretto (Or Kahlua)
Tools & Equipment
Stand mixer (preferred) but a hand mixer will be sufficient
1 Chiffon cake baking tin
1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F (~160 C)
2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) over low, then medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in color.
3. Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture, along with canola oil, and beat until well combined.
4. Remove large bowl from stand mixer (if using one) and sift cake flour and baking powder over it. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl once.
5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks in a medium bowl, and fold into the mocha batter, a dollop or two first to liquefy the thick batter, and then in thirds.
6. Place the batter in the pan. Bake on two racks for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is done when the tops become golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
7. Once ready, take out of the oven and cool upside down on a mug. If you want to make the icing, the cake must be left to cool completely.
8. For the Buttercream: Whisk sugar and egg whites for 3 to 5 minutes in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl), until meringue is hot to the touch. The sugar granules will be dissolved and you will be left with a fluffy marshmallow cream-like froth.
9. Remove bowl from heat and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer set to medium speed, or pour into a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to mix.
10. Add half of the butter and beat with a hand mixer (or paddle attachment for stand mixer) until smooth before adding the next half to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give it a quick stir. Beat again on medium-high for another 6 to 10 minutes to thicken.
11. Dissolve cocoa and espresso/coffee granules in water, vanilla extract, and amaretto in a small bowl. Pour into the buttercream and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides at least once.
12. Spoon about ½ cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly with a flat metal spatula.Spread a thick layer of frosting over the side, working from the bottom up to the top. Frost the top by placing a mound of icing and spreading it to the side. You can decorate the cake with the remaining frosting as you wish.
As you can see I didn’t do the icing this time around. I have done it previously and it is indeed delicious. I used Kahlua instead of Amaretto but I believe Amaretto gives it a nice almond flavour to it.
This Mocha cake… I’m just going to call it a Mocha Chiffon Cake is beautifully soft. I put it only for roughly 30/35 minutes, just done and it is as moist as ever. If you’re a fan of Chiffon Cakes, and want a slight coffee hit. This is for you! I think if you try the Gourmeted way, you may still find success, it’s just that I used a hand mixer on my previous two attempts. My planetary stand mixer works wonders with egg whites and is excellent in producing stiff peaks so that could be the reason why I found success on my third attempt.
This is slightly smaller than my Orange and Pandan Chiffon Cakes, as it only uses 6 eggs, but it’s still quite nice as you can see. It’s just a tad shorter. I might try a Black Sesame Chiffon Cake sometime because I seriously can’t get enough of Black Sesame.
Le Petit Gateau is a small well known patisserie on Lt. Collins St in Melbourne.
As I’ve mentioned before, their macarons are really good but what they are known for is their delicious cakes. Their Praline Mud Cake is a definite must try so please go visit this shop when you have the chance, and despite their need to increase prices nearly every year, I think it’s still worth it.
Their Crisp Lemon Tart is only available in one size, unlike the other cakes. I’ve always had a liking for lemon because of it’s sour, acidic taste and combined with sweet desserts, it’s the perfect combination.
I actually bought this for my birthday because of my love of lemons. If you were old enough to watch Rugrats as a child, I will always remember this one part where they made lemonade and it made their face all scrunchy. Haha.
Back to the tart though. The pastry is unbelievably good. It’s just so delicate, but filled with flavour and the lemon curd is both sweet and tangy. Just how I like it! It is covered with a nice glaze of some sort, but I’m no expert as to what that’s called but it adds another layer to it.
One thing that might be of concern is that you can’t save it in the fridge! Or my fridge just adds too much moisture to it and makes the pastry too wet and the bite and crunch of the base disappears. So it’s unfortunate I couldn’t savour the taste for many days.
Overall, it’s one of the best lemon tarts out there and Le Petit Gateau just make top quality, delicious products that everyone with even a slight sweet tooth will love.
458 Little Collins St
Tel: 03 9944 8893
Monday to Friday, 7:30am-5pm