Top Shelf: by Chef Mark Godbeer
Chefs aboard megayachts are not only in the limelight, on many occasions we have to be the limelight. Everyone has to eat, everyone is a critic, and when floating on a boat in the middle of the ocean, mealtimes take on a new sense of expectation. This is why I would like to share a recipe to elevate even the tastiest dessert or cake. In many ways simpler than most cakes I do with fondant and edible flowers, this glaze, in my opinion, makes for a grander effect.
While you might assume this technique could be performed only by professional pastry chefs, I’m here to debunk that theory — and show how easy it is to impress guests by giving them something to feast their eyes as well as their taste buds on. Enjoy.
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbsp. gelatin (unflavored)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup condensed milk
2 cups white chocolate
Food coloring of your choice
First, before we get to the glaze, have a cake available and frosted. For best results, freeze the cake for at least 4 hours before glazing and make sure the frosting is as smooth as possible.
I used a vanilla sponge cake layered and covered with a white chocolate and key lime mousse.
When frozen, the mousse will leave a solid nonporous exterior, allowing for a smooth finish once the glaze is poured over.
In a small bowl containing the cold water, sprinkle the gelatin on top and let sit for 5 minutes. (This is called blooming.)
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the condensed milk and sugar, and bring gently to a simmer. Once simmering, add the gelatin and white chocolate and reduce heat to low, stirring constantly (to avoid burning of the chocolate and to ensure even incorporation) for 5-10 minutes.
Once the chocolate has fully melted and the gelatin has fully incorporated, remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture through a sieve into a large mixing jug.
For a single-colored glaze, add the food coloring to this mixture a little at a time until the desired color is achieved. For a multicolored effect, divide the glaze mixture into an additional 3 jugs. Choose 3 complimentary colors and color the mixtures accordingly, leaving the fourth container white.
Allow the glazes to cool to just above room temperature – too hot and the glaze will be too thin to stick to the cake; too cold and it will become clumpy and uneven.
Once cooled, pour the lighter colors into the darkest color slowly, without stirring.
Place the frozen cake on top of a can sitting in a baking pan (to catch runoff glaze).
Starting with the edges, slowly pour the glaze over the cake, creating sporadic patterns with the colors.
Cover the entire cake and allow to drip for 10-15 minutes. Run a finger or knife along the drip line to remove excess glaze, then carefully place the cake on a serving dish and into the fridge.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
TIP: When mixing the colors into the glaze, a hand-held immersion blender works well.
Mark Godbeer has been a yacht chef for more than 10 years (chefmarkgodbeer.com). His recipes are designed for the owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.