In Paris, chocolate is a legendary art form worthy of praise and worship. At La Maison du Chocolat, arguably the finest chocolatier in the world, the Delice Cake is equally legendary, intoxicatingly delicious and so rich a bite or two will more than satisfy.
I had to make this exquisite creation, and I will not claim this is my own recipe. No mes amis, this recipe belongs to Robert Linxe, the Basque “Wizard of Ganache” and is an adaptation of the sensational creamy chocolate macaroon creation for production in the home kitchen. The recipe appeared in an equally wonderful book, Paris Boulangerie-Patisserie by Linda Dannenberg and Gramercy Books.
Prepare to devote small portions of at least two days to create this divine dessert, so if you’re planning a dinner party on Saturday evening, start making it on Wednesday or Thursday. Believe me, it will be worth every labor-intensive step. Your guests will thank you!
Served cool, but not cold, with a biting cup of espresso — c’est magnifique!
1 1/8 cups sliced blanched almonds
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cold water
1 pound bittersweet and semisweet chocolate pieces, mixed
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spray the sides of pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter lightly. Set the pan aside.
2. In food processor, grind the almonds with the confectioner’s sugar until powdery. Sift into bowl, then add the cocoa and combine.
3. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add sugar and salt. Continue to beat to stiff peaks.
4. Fold almond-cocoa mixture into egg whites. Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
5. Bake until cake springs back, about 12 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
1. Prepare ganache. In saucepan over medium heat, bring cream and water to boil.
2. Stir in chopped chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
3. Continue stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth.
4. Remove 1/2 cup of ganache and refrigerate for later use.
5. Cool remaining ganache to lukewarm. Beat in softened butter, a tablespoon at a time. Chill until cold, but still liquid.
6. Remove plastic wrap from cake. Cut cake into 3 strips 9 inches by 3 1/2 inches. Use spatula to loosen from parchment.
7. With electric mixer and medium-high speed, whip ganache-butter mixture until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Do not overbeat.
8. Assemble cake. Place one cake layer on plate or cardboard/doiley. With spatula, spread thick layer of 1 1/2 cups whipped ganache over cake. Add another cake layer and repeat process. Top with third cake layer and spread final, thinner layer of ganache.
9. Smooth sides with spatula. Refrigerate until well-chilled.
Later – Day Two, or Day Three
1. Warm reserved unwhipped chilled ganache in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over simmering water, cutting and stirring the mixture until just pourable and barely tepid.
2. With a spatula, spread the fluid ganache over the top of the cake. Work quickly so the warm ganache won’t melt the filling.
3. With fork or knife, trace a pattern of lines into the glaze.
4. Refrigerate the cake, well wrapped for at least one hour, or overnight.
5. Remove from the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before cutting in slices.
6. Serve cool, but not too cold.
Tasting Note: After all that preparation, celebrate and enjoy your chocolate victory! The leftover cake scraps make an excellent “blend-in” to butter almond ice cream. Top with toasted almonds, and you’ve got a second dessert!