We eat with our eyes, which makes a bakery a dangerous place. Especially with the new trend being individual cakes charmingly decorated as if inviting you to your own special day. It was hard enough when we just had to fight off the desire for eclairs, cupcakes, and cookies cut into adorable shape, now we have cakes to defend our waistline from. My favorite bakery has to be Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. The whole block smells of sweet dough and vanilla. You can grab a scone and meander outside to nibble in the sunlight among the flowers. It is picturesque.
With memories in mind, when my love gave me the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook for Christmas (YEAH) I decided to make the prettiest recipe I could find. I chose the Palet d’Or. A rich moist chocolate cake with silky chocolate mousse enveloped in a chocolate glaze. The sheen on this trifecta cake makes it feel like you are cutting into a present. What can I say, it’s pretty.
(recipe from Bouchon Bakery, a must have cookbook)
Devil’s Food Cake:
1/2 c and 3 1/2 T all purpose flour
1/4 c and 2 T cocoa powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t baking powder
3/8 t salt
3 1/2 T eggs
1/2 c and 2 T sugar
3/8 t vanilla paste
1/4 c and 2 1/2 T mayonnaise
1/4 c and 3 T water
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a sheet pan with a silpat or line with parchment paper and spray the parchment.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt and whisk to combine.
Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and whip about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip medium high-speed for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.
Add the mayonnaise and whip to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the dry ingredients and water in 2 additions each.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and using an offset spatula, spread it in an even layer, making sure that it reaches into the corners. Bake for 10 minutes. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely.
Cut two 7 1/4 inch rounds from the cake. Using a small offset spatula spread 25 grams of melted dark chocolate over each cake round.
Line a sheet pan with a silpat and position a cake ring toward one end of the pan. Center a cake round, chocolate side down, in the ring. Place the second cake round next to the ring, and freeze for about 1 hour.
1 1/4 c and 3 T heavy cream
8.2 oz 64% chocolate, chopped
3 T and 1 t eggs
1/4 c and 3 T egg yolks
1/4 c and 3 T granulated sugar
Whip the cream to soft peaks and refrigerate. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Transfer the chocolate to a large bowl and let cool to 100 degrees.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in the clean top of the double boiler over simmering water. Initially the eggs will increase in volume and foam, but after 5-7 minutes, the foam will begin to subside and the eggs will thicken. Watch the temperature closely, as the eggs will begin to set if they get too hot; when the temperature reaches 183 degrees, immediately transfer them to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed for about 7 minutes, until the mixture thickens. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.
Whisk one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate to combine. Fold in the egg mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Transfer the chocolate cream to the pastry bag.
Remove the sheet pan from the freezer. Pipe a ring of cream to fill the gap between the edges of the cake and the ring. Then pipe a spiral, beginning in the center of the cake and extending to the edges of the pan. Center the second cake layer over the first layer. Repeat the piping, using enough cream to reach slightly above the rim of the ring. Sweep a long offset spatula over the cream from one side of the ring to the other for a perfectly smooth surface. Place the sheet pan in the freezer overnight.
7.2 grams of gelatin
1/2 c and 2 T heavy cream
1 c and 2 T sugar
3/4 c water
3/4 c and 3 T cocoa powder
Place the cream, sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cocoa powder, reduce the heat to keep the mixture at a boil, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by about one-third. Test by spooning a small amount onto a plate: run your finger through it – if it runs together, continue to reduce it until your finger leaves a track. Once it has reached the desired consistency, remove the mixture from the heat. Whisk gelatin into the cocoa mixture.
Assembling the Cake:
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set cooling rack on top. Position the frozen cake, still in the ring, on the rack. Warm the sides of the ring with your hands or with warm towels. (Do not use hot water- the cream must remain frozen.) Holding one side of the cake steady, lift up and remove the ring.
Reheat the glaze if necessary until hot, and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a spouted measuring cup. In one smooth, quick motion, pour the glaze over the top of the cake, beginning 1 1/2 inches from the edges, allowing the glaze to flow down the sides and into the center to coat. Tap the sheet pan against the work surface to distribute the glaze evenly.
Let the glaze set for a few minutes and then, using a cake lifter or a wide spatula, lift the cake from the rack. If there are any drops of glaze clinging to the bottom of the cake, carefully scrape them against the rack to remove them, then place the cake on a serving platter
To serve, run a slicing knife under hot water and dry well. Slice the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.