Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chocolate au Royal

I can't believe I'm on a chocolate praline cake baking marathon. This is the 4th cake I've baked in 2 weeks. And this one is for my beloved sister's birthday. The first one was for my son; second one for my girlfriends; third one for my golf buddy's birthday and this last one for my sister. Why did I bake the same type of cake over and over again? First, I wanted to use up all the praline paste that I made and secondly, it's simply delicious .....

The only component that is different from my first chocolate praline cake is a layer of crunchy chocolate praline that is made by mixing the praline paste with melted chocolate and feuilletine followed by a layer of light chocolate mousse. The crunchy, smooth and light texture all combined is simply tantalizing.

I've never attempted a chocolate mousse with egg yolks in it before. First, it takes a little more work than chocolate ganache and second, it involves raw eggs. So make sure your hands are clean and the egg is very fresh. The effort is worth it. I found this chocolate mousse recipe from Cook, eat & move fast! blog. I have recipe from Pierre Hermes book too but that involves a little more work and equipment. It requires you to beat the egg whites. I just want to take the easy way out for now. Will save the Pierre Hermes recipe for next time.

How does this cake look and taste like? Imagine a layer of crunchy praline and light chocolate mousse sandwiched between 2 layers of brandy syrup  soaked chocolate genoise and dressed up with chocolicious chocolate glaze. Happy Birthday, Li. This cake is for you.

Royal Chocolate Praline #2 (6" round cake)

Chocolate Genoise (Please click here)

Use 60% of the recipe to yield a 6" round cake.

Praline Paste (Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum book)

100g hazelnuts, peeled
100g sugar
42g water

  1. Bake the hazelnuts in a 175 degree celsius oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Place them on a non-stick or lighty oiled baking sheet.
  3. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Increase heat to medium high and boil undisturbed  util the sugar starts to caramelize. It will begin to look like dark corn syrup and take on the characteristic smell of burnt sugar. (The temperature should be about 187 degree celsius.)
  5. Immediately pour the caramel over the nuts. Allow to harden completely (15-20 minutes).
  6. Remove and break into pieces. Grind in a food processor until a paste forms.
** Note ** I used a mortar to break them up into very fine pieces before grinding them in a food processor. This method will prevent the blades from being overworked. Furthermore, as you pound, the fragrance emitting from the caramelized nuts is simply wonderful.

Crunchy praline layer (Adapted from Cook, eat & move fast! blog)
64g pralne paste from above
16g dark or milk chocolate
32g feuilletine

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot simmering water.
Add the praline paste. Mix well.
Add the feuilletine and mix well.

Chocolate Mousse (From Cook, Eat & Move Fast! blog)
56g egg yolks (about 3 egg yolks)
48g sugar syrup (Bring 29g sugar and 20g water to a boil in a saucepan)
96g dark chocolate (70% cocoa mass)
192g heavy cream

Refer to Cook, Eat & Move Fast! blog for instructions.

  1. Remove the top and bottom crust and slice the chocolate genoise into 2 equal layers.
  2. Place the first layer on a cake board. Sprinkle brandy sugar syrup evenly onto the cake to moisten it.
  3. Using an angled spatula, spread a layer of the crunchy praline evenly over the cake.
  4. Spread a thick layer of the chocolate mouse evenly over the crunchy praline layer. Leave some to cover the top and side with a thin layer. At this point, you may want to refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes if the mousse gets too soft and runny. 
  5. Place the second layer of cake over the chocolate mousse. Sprinkle with brandy sugar syrup to moisten it.
  6. You can smoothen the side and top of the cake with the remaining chocolate mousse and refrigerate the cake while you prepare the Chocolate Cream Glaze.

Chocolate Cream Glaze (Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum book)

150g bittersweet chocolate (I used half each of 54% choc and 70% choco)
164g heavy cream
24g corn syrup

  1. Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and leave them in a bowl large enough to hold the glaze.
  2. Pour the heavy cream and corn syrup into a heavy bottom saucepan. Heat it to the boiling point and pour 3/4 of it over the chocolate.
  3. Cover for 5 minutes to allow chocolate to melt.
  4. Gently stir together until smooth, trying not to create air bubbles.
  5. Pass through a fine strainer into a measuring jug and allow to cool until just tepid. At this temperature, a small amount of glaze should mound a bit when dropped from a spoon before smoothly disappearing. If the glaze is too thick, add some of the remaining warm cream by the teaspoon. If glaze is too thin, gently stir in a small amount of melted chocolate.

Final Assembly
  1. Remove cake from the fridge. Set the cake without the cake board on a rack set over a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil.
  2. Pour the glaze onto the centre of the cake, allowing the excess to flow down the sides.
  3. Smooth quickly and evenly with a large metal spatula, moving it lightly back and forth across the top until smooth. If any spots remain on the sides remain unglazed, use a small spatula to lift up some glaze which has fallen onto the baking sheet and apply to uncovered area.
  4. Lift rack and tap lightly to settle glaze.
  5. Refrigerate cake briefly to set the glaze before removing it onto a cake board.
  6. Decorate as per your own imagination.

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