There are very few people I have met who have the willpower to say no to chocolate cake.
This recipe is a tried and tested one that I have used for years. I wont lie and claim it as my own, I got it from my chef academy whilst still a student there but as the years have gone by I’ve added tweaks and other things along the way.
You’ll see some cakes referred to as ‘gateaux’ rather than just ‘cakes’. There actually is a difference between French style cakes and the American or British versions but as time has passed and ideas have crossed cultures and borders the rules don’t apply anymore. French gateaux were known for being layered with various sponges and even more decadent fillings and then topped off with a ganache (choc icing), they tended to have more than 3 layers (unlike American style cakes which had 2 layers usually filled with cream).
This recipe is for a chocolate multi layered cake. It has a vanilla relief sponge cake base called a ‘jaconde’ and a chocolate Genoise sponge layer as well as a chocolate mousse filling and topped off with a French chocolate coating called a Gellee. I won’t lie, this is a very intricate recipe that will test even a qualified chef’s skills but the wow factor is definitely worth it in the end. You’ll notice there is no baking powder or raising agents anywhere in this recipe. Be brave and try it.
When I make it for guests for dessert I make miniature versions of it…these are referred to as ‘petit gateau’.
1) For the chocolate mousse –
Egg Yolks 7
Dark chocolate cauverture 500g
Whipping cream 1 litre
Leaf gelatine 4 leaves or 8g
– Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and creamy (called a sabayon)
– Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water with 200ml of the cream
– Hydrate the gelatine (place in a bowl of water until soft) then melt it into the hot chocolate mixture
– Fold the chocolate into the sabayon
– Whisk the rest of the cream until medium (not stiff, stiff cream will result in a grainy mousse) and then fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
– Place in a container and then in the fridge for 3 hours to set
2) For the Jaconde –
Egg whites 5
Egg yolks 5
Cake flour 125g
– Whisk the egg whites and sugar together until medium peak meringue
– Fold in the beaten egg yolks
– Sift the flour and fold into the mixture carefully and gently (stirring will deflate the bubbles in the eggs).
– Spread the mixture onto a baking tray and bake at 170°C until golden brown.
– Allow it to rest after baking for 5 minutes.
3) For the choc Genoise sponge –
Castor Sugar 225g
Cocoa powder 25g
– Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and set them aside in a separate bowl.
– Melt the butter and allow it to cool down.
– Whisk the eggs and sugar until triple in volume and creamy.
– Gently fold the sifted cocoa and flour into the egg mixture
– Now fold in the melted butter.
– Similar to the jaconde above, spread onto a baking tray and bake at 180°C until springy (do not overcook it, it dries up very fast). It bakes for about 8 minutes.
– Leave to cool in the tray
4) For the Cocoa Gellee –
Sifted cocoa powder 150g
Gelatine leaves 8
Vanilla extract 20ml
– In a large saucepan bring the water, cream and sugar to a boil.
– Slowly whisk in the cocoa (be careful, the mixture will bubble a bit) and boil the mixture for 4 minutes whisking continuously.
– Remove the pan and place a sheet of plastic on the surface. Allow it to cool to 82° C (use a thermometer, the temperature is important to achieving a glossy product).
– Stir the hydrated Gelatine into the cocoa mixture and stir until well combined. Add the vanilla.
– Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
– Heat the Gellee to 49°C and pour over cakes once melted.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE:
I make use of cutters and cake rings to press out the various layers I need. With a cake ring cut out layers of each sponge.
The Jaconde is the first layer. I spread some strawberry jam on it or use a fruity liqeuer to moisten it.
Pipe some chocolate mousse on it and then place the layer of Genoise sponge. Pipe more mousse on it and place another layer of Jaconde on top and repeat the process above. Its up to you how many layers you’d like. Note: the top layer can’t be the mousse!
Place the cake in the fridge for about an hour to set the mouse again and to harden the surfaces of the sponges.
To coat the cake warm the Gelee to 49°C and pour it over the cake. I do this 3 times, placing the cake in the fridge after each coating. Don’t worry if the mousse melts a bit, by the third coat it will be sealed in and hidden. You can now add other decorations as you like.
Now sit back and take a few pics and call some friends to boast. A bit of a mission but definitely worth it in the end.