Gluten-free Gâteau Royal Chocolat (Royal chocolate cake)


FOTCM Member
The Royal chocolate cake (Gâteau Royal chocolat), also known as Trianon, Versailles, is a triple chocolate cake. Traditionally this cake is made with a base layer of a round of nut meringue, on top of which is placed a chocolate praline crisp. This is then covered and topped by a chocolate mousse, which itself is enrobed with a chocolate mirror glaze.

The origin of the cake is unknown. However, the alternative names may give a clue. Trianon is a village near the Palace of Versailles, which was a former royal residence. Originally built by King Louis XIII in 1623 as a hunting lodge, and then replaced by a small château in 1631-1634, which was subsequently expanded by King Louis XIV into a palace in several phases between 1661 and 1715.

Recently, a free magazine (le Castelsarrasinois, Hiver 2022) was delivered and it contained a rough outline recipe for a Royal chocolat. This differed from the traditional version in as much that the author (the owner-chef of the Restaurant L’Auberge du Moulin in Castelsarrasin) replaced the nut meringue with a round of vanilla génoise. This inspired the following recipe. As the cake is a triple chocolate cake, why not go a step further with a quadruple chocolate - with a chocolate génoise too?

In many respects, the formula is similar to a Palet d’Or, with the difference that for the Palet d’Or the mousse is in two parts, one placed on top of a layer of sponge, and the second placed on top of another layer of sponge. In the Gâteau Royal Chocolat all of the mousse is placed on the top. Traditionally the mousse used is light and pourable, or piped, and made with whipped cream. It is often made upside down with the praline crisp and vanilla sponge round pressed into the base of the mousse, before being turned right way up. Due to the depth of the chocolate mousse, without the intermediate support of the second layer of sponge (compared with the Palet d’Or), it was decided to that, in this recipe, a stiff chocolate mousse was needed, to allow it to stand on its own without needing to be kept well chilled before serving (especially as all of the photographs of a cut slice of the cake showed it falling in on itself).

Traditionally, the Praline crisp is made with Feuilletine, or Biscuit gavottes, which are made from baking crispy crêpes (dentalle or gavotte, which are very thin Brittany crêpes), which are then crumbled into small shards, that provide a crunchy texture. Originally it was made from cookie scraps. The problem there was that breaking up the biscuits could produce ‘dust’ rather than crunchy crumbs. Gavottes are commercially available, as are feuilletine flakes (crêpes dentelles crumbs).

This recipe is both gluten and dairy-free (if the Hemp milk option is taken for making Heavy cream). The cake itself is built up within a cake ring, and involves freezing overnight before glazing. Hence, the making of the Gâteau Royal chocolat is split over two days. The first: to make the chocolate génoise sheet cake rounds; to make the praline crisp; and the stiff chocolate mousse; and make a partial assembly. The second is to make the chocolate mirror glaze and complete the assembly.

The recipe makes one 20cm (8 in) cake, and it serves 8 - 12 people, depending on appetites - it very rich. Although two could be made just as easily at the same time.

Chocolate génoise sheet cake
Praline crisp (Croustillent praline)
Stiff chocolate mousse filling
Dark chocolate satin glaze

Some of the components use store bought items: Gavottes or feuilletine flakes (although gluten-free versions will need to be made); and praline paste; and if taking the dairy-free option, the Hemp milk Heavy cream.
Day 0
This is associated with making Gavotte biscuits, the praline paste, and the Hemp milk Heavy cream (if used).

Biscuit gavotte
Biscuit gavottes or Pailleté Feuilletine, are very thin biscuits made from a thin Breton crêpe dentalle (lace pancake) or gavotte (although Gavottes is now a brand name for the biscuit). A Biscuit gavotte is a very thin Breton crêpe, that is up rolled on itself and has a crispy texture.
The crêpe dentelle is said to have been invented accidentally in 1886 by a woman from Quimper, Marie-Catherine Cornic, although called by all, Madame Katell. She forgot what she was doing, whilst cooking a pancake on a billig (a thick circular cast-iron griddle) and overcooked it. Rather than waste it she decided to fold it, rolling it up on itself (in eight) and put it aside. It was transformed into a light and crispy biscuit tasting strongly of butter (the butter and the sugar coating had gently caramelized as it cooled, making it crisp). After selling it herself in Quimper and then on the Emerald Coast, she passed on her know-how to the house "Les Délicieuses" run by Madame Tanguy, where the biscuit became known internationally under the name of crêpe dentelle. From 1920, the Crêpe Dentelle was manufactured on a larger scale by the Crêperies in the Loc Maria district of Quimper. Today there are still made there, at the Biscuiterie de Quimper.

This recipe is based upon those given on the following two blogs: Le Journal des Femmes Cuisine, Recette de Gavottes and Cuisine Actuelle, .

Hemp milk milk 250g
Butter 60g
Salt pinch
Vanilla essence 1tsp
Gluten-free Flour mix 2* 60g
Cane sugar (superfine) 60g
Eggs 100g (2 large)

*Gluten-free flour mix: 440g White Rice flour, 125g Sweet Rice flour, 45g Potato starch, 95g Tapioca starch, and 55g Arrowroot. Total weight: 760g

Preheat the oven to 150°C for 45 minutes.

In a medium sized saucepan (1), add the milk, butter, salt and Vanilla essence over medium heat, bring it to a boil. Then, set aside.

In a medium sized bowl (2), add the flour and sugar, with a hand whisk, beat to combine, then add the eggs (lightly beaten), and incorporate. Then, add the warm milk-butter mixture, little by little, and whisk to incorporate.

Place the bowl of crêpe batter in a refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Place a silmat or sheet of parchment paper on top of an upturned baking tray. Spoon 2 tsp of the batter onto the left hand side of the silmat, or sheet of parchment paper. Using a thin, metal offset spatula using a back and forth motion, spread or smear it out in a strip, thinly and evenly. The desired thickness is about 1.5mm (1/16in). Repeat spreading the slips, leaving a gap between each one, as before, until the silmat is covered.

Place the filled baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove the baking tray from the oven and allow to cool for 10 – 20 seconds, then, using a thin, metal offset spatula, starting at the top, fold each of the baked crêpes in on itself to the ends of the baked strip. Then remove the spatula and flatten the biscuit gavotte a little. Place each flattened roll on a clean sheet of parchment paper and cover with another sheet. Leave to dry and cool to room temperature.

Wipe the silmat clean with a paper towel between batches and repeat the process until all the batter has been used up.

Store, airtight, in a cool, dry place. They will keep for a few weeks, although they are likely to be used up before then.

Praline paste
Praliné, or Praline paste, is a fine creamy paste made by puréeing a nut brittle (such as roasted almonds and/or hazelnuts embedded in caramel).

Praliné originates in the early 17th century when the chef, Clement Lassagne, working for César, duc de Choiseul, comte du Plessis-Praslin (who was a Marshal (minister of state) of France and a French diplomat under Louis XIV; and for the best part of his life was known as the Maréchal (Marshal) du Plessis-Praslin), created the idea of caramel-coated almonds (praline). The Marshal liked to offer these sweets to the ladies in his circle; they called the sweets praslines in his honour. In 1630, the Marshal retired to Montargis, south of Paris, near Orleans, and made his fortune selling praslines at a shop that he called the Confiserie du Roy (the King’s Candy Shop). Pralines became popular at the French Court in the 19th century. Also, during this period, French pastry chefs began to pulverize Praslines (and in the process dropped the first ‘s’) to make what is now called Praliné, or Praline paste.

This recipe is based upon a recipe for Praliné given in Brian Healy and Paul Bugat's book, The Art of the Cake , (New York, William Marrow and Company Inc, 1999), for Caramalized Almonds or Hazelnuts, and for Hazelnut Praline paste given in, Jaques Pfeiffer book, The Art of French Pastry, (New York, Alfred E Knopf, 2015), , for Hazelnut Brittle, given in Sherry Yard’s book, The Secrets of Baking, (New York, Houghton Mifflin, 2003), and for How to Make Hazelnut-Praline, given in the blogpost, How To Make Hazelnut Praline Paste by Baking Like a Chef.

Hazelnuts 200g (either blanched or raw)
Cane sugar 130g
Water 70g
Light corn syrup 50g (or glucose syrup)
Confectioners’ sugar 110g

Preheat the oven to 150°C for 45 minutes.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Prepare another sheet of parchment paper that fits the baking sheet, by lightly coating it with olive oil using a paper towel; then set this coated sheet of parchment paper aside for later use.

Spread the hazelnuts, in a single layer, on the parchment paper lined baking tray.
Place the filled baking sheet on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until brown and toasted all the way through. Stir occasionally.

Remove the baking tray of toasted, or roasted, hazelnuts from the oven and turn it off. Leave the oven door partially open.

First, the caramel is made; followed by the addition of the roasted hazelnuts.

First, a mention about safety: during the process of making caramel the sugar gets very hot; hot sugar burns; even the steam (and remember that steam is as hot as the liquid it comes off) that comes off the hot caramel can burn. Keep a bowl of iced water at the side of the hob, this is to dip a splashed finger, or arm into. Adding liquid to hot caramel will cause it to bubble up vigorously, so use a saucepan that is at least twice the volume of the ingredients used, so that it does not boil over the top. Be prepared: if possible, wear long oven mitts and cover the rest of the arms. Avoid placing arms and the head directly over the top of the saucepan (to avoid the steam).

In a large saucepan (1), add the water and light corn syrup, then carefully pour the cane sugar into the centre of the saucepan to form a cone of sugar, well clear of the edges.
Scrupulously clean the fingers of the dominant hand, and use them to stir the sugar and water together, so that any lumps disappear and that the sugar granules are all wetted. If necessary, add a tablespoon of water or more so that this happens. Check that the sides of the saucepan are free of any grains of sugar (as they will slide down and crystallize the caramel as it forms; the water and glucose syrup is there to prevent that happening to the main mass of caramel). If any stray granules exist, use a clean, yet wet pastry brush to brush them down into the mass of wet sugar. Wash any loose granules of sugar off of the stirring fingers.

Place the baking tray with the cooling roasted hazelnuts back in the warm, turned off oven, and keep the door partially open still. The residual heat of the oven will keep the roasted hazelnuts warm, whilst the caramel is made, and until needed.

Boil a kettle full of water and set aside, whilst making the caramel. In a medium saucepan (2), fill about halfway with water and bring to a simmer, then take off the heat. Place a large metal serving spoon in the hot water to warm up.

Cover the filled saucepan with a lid, and place the filled saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes (this is to speed up the initial heating of the forming syrup). Then, remove the lid, increase the heat to high and bring the wet sugar mixture to a boil, when the wet sugar mixture dissolves and it becomes a syrup. From this point onwards avoid any use of either a spatula or spoon. Just observe the saucepan, the mixture will become very bubbly. Again, if any stray sugar crystals appear on the side of the saucepan, use the previously described procedure with the clean, yet wet pastry brush. As the sugar cooks, the bubbles will increase in size. When this happens, insert a candy, sometimes called a sugar or jam, thermometer. Initially the temperature rise will be slow, then it will accelerate. When the temperature reaches 149°C, the caramel will be golden.

Remove the caramel from the heat. Whilst waiting for the bubbles in the caramel to subside, dry the warmed large metal serving spoon.

When the bubbles have subsided, add a pinch of salt.

Remove the warm roasted hazelnuts from the oven, and with the warm metal serving spoon, spoon them into the hot caramel. Stir for 15 seconds.

Immediately place the empty saucepan in the sink and pour in the boiled water. This will help with cleaning off any residual caramel.

Gently stir the hazelnut-caramel mixture to fully and evenly coat the hazelnuts. Avoid stirring too quickly or too much, as this will cool down the mixture.

Remove the used parchment paper from the baking tray and replace with clean, lightly oiled parchment paper. Turn the oven back on.

Using the large metal serving spoon, pour the hazelnut and caramel mixture onto the oiled parchment paper covered baking sheet. Using an oiled, large, thin metal spatula, spread into a single layer of separated hazelnuts. The trick is to get the nuts separated before a pile of nuts cools down and solidifies into a blob. If this does happen, a blob forms, or if the brittle cools and is too thick, reliquefy it by placing the filled baking tray in the heated oven and bake for 1 – 2 minutes. The heat will cause it to melt and spread.
Use a silicon spatula to scrape any tool used on the caramel-hazelnut mixture onto the sheet. Then place them in the saucepan of hot water to clean.

Once all of the hazelnuts are separated into a single layer, allow the becoming hazelnut brittle to cool completely to room temperature, approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

When the hazelnut brittle is hard, break it up into small pieces. Either use it straight away, or store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Place the hazelnut brittle pieces in the bowl (3) of a food processor fitted with a wide steel blade. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and combine. Then, on low speed, blend for 1 ½ - 2 minutes (stopping every 30 seconds to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a small silicone spatula). Then, switch to a higher speed and process until the sugared hazelnut brittle forms a paste. Continue to blend until the mixture turns into a smooth, creamy hazelnut praline paste, with just a slight grittiness. This will take between 4 – 6 minutes. Note that the praliné will become hot, and it may be necessary to stop, let it cool down, and then resume blending.

Transfer the praliné to a clean bowl (4), and let it cool to room temperature (approximately 30 minutes). Once cool, transfer the praliné to an airtight container, such as a jar.

Store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks or 6 weeks in a refrigerator. It is possible that the oil from the hazelnuts may separate and rise to the top. If that happens, invert the jar to force the oil to mix back in, and/or mix it with a spoon or fork. Stir before use.

Hemp milk Heavy cream

(makes approximately 600g)
Butter (sliced) 238g
Hemp milk 360g plus 2Tbsp
Gluten-free flour mix 2* 16g (to thicken the liquid)

*Gluten-free flour mix: 440g White Rice flour, 125g Sweet Rice flour, 45g Potato starch, 95g Tapioca starch, and 55g Arrowroot. Total weight: 760g

Place 238g sliced butter in the top bowl (1) of a double boiler, gently heat until three quarters of the butter is melted, stirring with a spoon. Remove from heat and melt the rest of the butter with a spoon. Set aside the bowl to cool.

In a saucepan (2), warm the Hemp milk just to finger warmth (36 - 37C) and then remove from the heat.

Pour half of the warmed Hemp milk into the cooling melted butter and combine with a hand whisk.

Pour the butter-milk mix back into the warmed Hemp milk and combine with a whisk.

In a small bowl (3), mix 16g Gluten-free flour mix* with 2Tbsp Hemp milk and combine with a small whisk, and then pour the mix into the milk-butter mix, and combine to thicken.

Transfer the thickened milk-butter mix into a tall storage jar. Blend with a hand, or stick, blender for 5 minutes. This is to disperse the butterfat globules into the Hemp milk liquid to produce the Hemp milk Heavy cream.

Place a lid on the storage jar and store in a refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes before use. It will keep for several days in the fridge. It is best left in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours before whipping.

Day 1
This involved with making: the chocolate Génoise sheet cake, the Praline crisp (Crouistillent praline), the first part of the assembly, and the stiff chocolate mousse, followed by the second part of the assembly.

Chocolate Génoise sheet cake
Just as the génoise is the basis of many different types of cake, so too is the chocolate version; it is a building block for many different assembled cakes. Again, the key to success in making this chocolate génoise is in gently folding in the flour to the beaten and whipped egg foam.

This Gluten-free recipe is for a sheet of chocolate génoise. It is based upon the Gluten recipes of Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat (The Art of the Cake, (New York, William Marrow and Company, Inc, 1999), and is influenced both by Shirley Corriher in, BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes, (New York, Scribner, 2008) and Sherry Yard in The Secrets of Baking, (New York, Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

It will be noted that in the recipe below that extra egg yolks are added to the whole eggs (a génoise normally calls for just whole eggs). This is to obtain the stable egg foam needed to produce a successful génoise. The reasoning as given by E J Pyler in Baking Science and Technology (as quoted in BakeWise) is that modern eggs may be deficient in yolk proteins so it is common practice to add 20 – 50% more yolks to improve both aerating ability and foam stability. Also, E B Bennion states in The Technology of Cake Making (again quoted in BakeWise) that the best quantity of yolks to add is 20% for similar reasons. On top of this there are two approximate rules for génoise recipes: the weight of the flour (including cocoa powder) and sugar to be close to equal; and the amount of sugar to be less than 1.25 of the weight of the eggs. This recipe falls within both guidelines, with the ratio of sugar to eggs being 0.52; well below the 1.25 limit.

The recipe makes one 8mm (1/4 in) thick, rectangular chocolate génoise sheet cake, approximately 41cm (16in) by 29cm (11.5in).

Ingredients: (makes one layer (sheet) of chocolate génoise)
Gluten-free flour mix* 136g
Cocoa powder (alkaline) 28g
Cane sugar 163g (15 + 148g)
Eggs 286g (5 Large plus 2 yolks)

*Gluten-free flour mix: 440g Brown Rice flour, 125g Sweet Rice flour, 45g Potato starch, 95g Tapioca starch, and 55g Arrowroot. Total weight: 760g

Lightly grease the sides and long diagonal of a half sheet pan, or baking tray (33 x 45cm (13in x 18in)), and two perpendicular lines the other two corners with softened butter; cover with parchment paper and lightly grease with softened butter. Ensure that no parchment paper bends over, or encroaches into the pan.

Adjust a rack to the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 190°C for 45 minutes.

Sift the gluten-free flour mix and cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl (1), add in 1Tbsp (15g) cane sugar, and whisk to incorporate. This is to help later when folding in the flour with the whipped egg mixture; it will make it easier. Set aside.

If adding the optional butter, fill a medium saucepan (2) with about 5cm (1in) of water and over medium heat bring to a simmer. Place a small bowl (3) on top containing the sliced and cubed butter. Using a metal dessert spoon, melt the butter, when it is approximately three quarters melted, remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir to completion. Set aside.

Rinse a stand mixing bowl (4) with hot tap water to warm it, then dry well.

If not already done so, fill a medium saucepan (2) with about 5cm (1in) of water and over medium heat bring to a simmer.

Add the eggs and yolks to the warm mixing bowl (4) and break the yolks with either a fork or a whisk; add the rest of the cane sugar and whisk to combine for a minimum of 30 seconds. Then, place the warm, filled mixing bowl (4) on top of the saucepan (2) containing the simmering water; turn the heat to low. If whipping by hand, tilt the mixing bowl forward, almost horizontal, and sweep the whisk around the bottom of the bowl, with each revolution lifting the whole of the mass of egg mix to incorporate air into the process. If using a hand-held mixer, use a similar process. Whisk continuously for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the egg mix reaches a temperature of 40°C and the mix is frothy and pale yellow.

Remove the filled mixer bowl (4) from the double boiler and wipe the bottom dry. Place the filled bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use an electric mixer. Whip at medium speed for 12 – 17 minutes, until the egg-sugar mixture is three times the original volume, is thick, is almost white in colour, and is completely cool to a finger dipped in it. During the last 4 – 5 minutes of whisking stop from time to time to check the ribbon thickness when dropped from the whisk. There will be some definition of it in the filled bowl, it will initially stay on top of the mixture before spreading slightly and slowly flattening as it dissolves into the mass of whipped egg-sugar mix.

Sift a quarter of the cocoa powder-Gluten-free flour mix over the top of the whipped egg-sugar mix, avoiding the edges of the bowl. Imagine a clockface. Gently immerse a whisk vertically into the foam, facing forward at the 12 o’clock position and drag it across the bottom of the bowl. At the 6 o’clock position, lift up the whisk, and with it a large dollop of the mix, turn it over and spread it across the top of the sifted flour mix, folding the flour into the mix. Rotate the mixer bowl one quarter turn, sift another quarter of the flour mix and fold again. Repeat with the third batch of cocoa-flour mix, and again with the last quarter of sifted four mix and folding that in to fully incorporate the flour into the cake batter.

Pour and scrape the cake batter into the prepared half sheet pan, filling evenly to a depth of 1cm (3/8in). The batter will contain lots of air bubbles. Then, smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, pushing it out to the sides to make a slight depression in the centre.

Place the filled half sheet pan on a baking sheet on the middle shelf of a preheated oven and bake for 10 - 14 minutes, or until the chocolate génoise starts to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, and is firm to the touch. As an additional test, place the tip of a paring knife in the centre of the cake, and if it comes out wet yet clean, the chocolate génoise is done. If it doesn’t, bake for a further 2 - 4 minutes.

Remove the chocolate génoise sheet cake from the oven, place it on a wire cooling rack, and slide the tip of a paring knife between the edge of the chocolate génoise sheet cake and the sheet pan; to fully loosen the edge. Let the chocolate génoise sheet cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Unmould the chocolate génoise sheet cake on to another wire cooling rack covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Remove the parchment paper that the chocolate génoise sheet cake was baked on and cool right side up for at least 2 hours before using. When the chocolate génoise sheet cake is completely cool, place a silmat, or a sheet of parchment paper, on top of the cooled cake and carefully flip over on to the worksurface. Remove greased parchment paper on the bottom of the cake. Then cover the Chocolate génoise sheet cake with two layers of overlapping clingfilm. Place the cake back in the sheet pan; place it in the freezer for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, as freezing makes it easier to cut.

A clingfilm wrapped Chocolate génoise sheet cake may be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days, or covered airtight in a fridge for 2 days too. Alternatively wrap completely in at least two layers of clingfilm and freeze for up to 2 weeks in a freezer. If frozen, defrost overnight in a refrigerator, then unwrap the chocolate génoise for at least 2 hours before using.

Praline crisp (Croustillent praline)
This is the second layer of the cake.

Dark chocolate 120g
Praliné 480g
Biscuits Gavotte 240g

Chop the chocolate finely (at least 5mm (1/4in) square, and set aside.

On a sheet of parchment paper, crush the Biscuits Gavotte either by hand, or using a rolling pin, to produce small shards, or pieces (max 5mm (1/4in)). Set aside.

Either on a saucepan (1) containing at least 2.5cm (1in) of simmering water, or in a water bath containing simmering water, place a bowl (2) containing the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute, then using a metal spoon, stir for a minimum of 2 minutes starting in the middle and moving out to the outside. When just over three quarters of the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and continue to stir to fully melt all of the chocolate.

In the bowl (2) containing the melted chocolate, add the praline paste and mix to combine. To this chocolate-praline mix, add the shards of Biscuits Gavotte and combine to a coherent whole.

On the work surface, place a sheet of parchment paper.

Pour half of the crouistillent praline onto the sheet of parchment paper. Using the hands and a thin, metal offset spatula roughly shape the praline crisp int a circle. Place a sheet of clingfilm on top. Using a rolling pin, roll out a circle that is just larger than the cake size (20cm (8in)). Roll as evenly as possible. Allow the crouistillent praline to cool, then place it on a baking tray and place it in the freezer for at least 1 hours, or even overnight (preferable). This will make the praline crisp easier to cut to size.

Assembly 1.1
Remove the Chocolate Génoise Sheet Cake from the freezer.
Cut an 18.5cm (7¼ in) round from, either a sheet of parchment paper, or, from a 20cm (8in) cake board, to act as a guide for the cake round.
Using the guide, and a paring knife, cut an 18.5cm (7¼ in) cake round from the sheet cake. The trimmings can be cut too.

Melt 115g of dark (72%) chocolate in a bowl (1), set aside to cool. Then spread it over the bottom of the chocolate génoise cake round with an offset spatula or a pastry brush. Set aside to cool and harden.

Remove the Praline crisp from the freezer.
Cut an 18.5cm (7¼ in) round from, either a sheet of parchment paper, or, from a 20cm (8in) cake board, to act as a guide for the cake round.
Using the guide, cut an 18.5cm (7¼ in) cake round from the sheet cake. The trimmings can be cut too.

Line a sheet pan, or baking tray, with a sheet of parchment paper; place an 20cm (8in) cake board on one end of the sheet pan. Place a 20cm x 6cm (8in x 2.5in) cake ring over the cake board. Cut a length of acetate cake band to fit inside the circumference of the cake ring; then fit it.

Place the chocolate génoise cake round centrally in the bottom of the cake ring, with the chocolate coated side downwards. On top of this, centrally place the cut round of crouistillent praline.

If the Stiff chocolate mousse filling is not ready for filling the cake ring, place the sheet pan with prepared and partially filled cake ring back in the freezer until the Stiff chocolate cream mousse filling is ready for using. The cake rounds will freeze in about one hour.

Stiff Chocolate mousse
Chocolate is made from the fruits of the Theobroma Cacao tree, which is native to the Amazon Basin. The fruit is contained within a fibrous pod, and consists of between 20 – 50 seeds, or beans, embedded in a flavoured pulp. Chocolate use is ancient, the Mayo-Chinchipi people were cultivating Cacao trees as far back as 5300 years ago, and the Mayas used it to make a chocolate beverage. However, it wasn’t until the 16th Century that chocolate was introduced to Europe.

Mousse, in a baking sense, is an edible foam, originating from France where it was most commonly eaten as a dessert. The word mousse means foam or lather in French. A mousse can be simply defined as any soft or creamy dessert that is made light and fluffy (or it may be thick and fluffy too), that incorporates air bubbles to give it a light and airy texture. This is done by the addition of whipped cream or beaten eggs of some description, or both, to the base dessert.

Mousses, originated in the 1700s. Various desserts, consisting of whipped cream in pyramidal shapes with coffee, liqueurs, chocolate, fruits (either in the mixture or poured on top), were called crème en mousse (foam cream), crème mousseuse (foamy cream), and mousse (foam), amongst other names, and these were made as early as 1768. The first known recipe for chocolate mousse was documented by Menon, a French writer in 1750, in his book, La science du maître d’hôtel confiseur (which translates as, The science of a master confectioner). Later, such books as: The Book of Household Management, by Mrs Beeton, 1888, and Tante Marie’s book, La Véritable cuisine de famille, comprenant 1.000 recettes et 500 menus (original written in the 1800s, exact date unknown) gave mousse recipes. The mousses made today are a continuation of these types of desserts.

Mousse is made up of just a few ingredients: a base; the aerator(s); a flavouring or sweetener; and a thickener, stabilizer, or binder. The latter is optional, as it depends upon the base, and it may be eggs, gelatin, or just the base itself. In its most basic form, mousse is made by folding the aerator(s) into a base. The base for this mousse is melted, slightly cooled chocolate. Aerators have various forms of stability. Whole eggs and/or yolks are the most stable aerator, and is what is used here. From the name of the mousse, chocolate, is the flavouring. Gelatine is used to add further stability to the mousse.

This recipe is based upon a modified Mousse à Paris, as given in Bruce Healy with Paul Bugat’s book, Mastering the Art of French Pastry, (New York, Barron’s, 1984), which is made as a filling for the classic French cake ‘Paris’, as well as a recipe for a Chocolate Marquis (which once set can apparently be sliced with a knife (like bread) for eating), given in Medrich A, Cocolat, (New York, Warner Books Inc., 1990), both of which use two aerators: whipped egg yolks and whipped egg whites. Passing reference is also given to a recipe for a chocolate mousse component (part of a Nelusko mousse cake), as given in Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat’s book, The Art of the Cake, (New York, William Marrow and Company, Inc, 1999), this uses whipped egg yolks and whipped heavy cream as the aerators, and is the only recipe to use gelatin as a stabilizer. After due consideration it was decided to use just one aerator, whole eggs and a yolk, with especial attention paid to their aeration; to produce a light and airy texture, full of bubbles, yet the texture remaining thick and stable, as is characteristic of a mousse foam. The use of gelatin adds stability to a cut slice of cake.

Dark chocolate 400g
Butter (sliced) 230g
Eggs 418g (8 large plus 1 large yolk)
Cane sugar (superfine) 130g
Salt 1/4tsp
Gelatin (3 sheets silver) 7.5g

In general: Gelatin (approximately 1 sheet (2.5g) per 120g of wet mix) and use either
Gelatin sheets (silver) pro rata 2.5g (1) (or equivalent: 1tsp gelatin powder in 2Tbsp cold water)

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a small bowl (1), and set aside.

Place the sliced butter in the top, large, bowl (2) of a double boiler, gently heat until three quarters of the butter is melted, constantly stirring with a dessert spoon. Remove from heat and melt the rest of the butter with the spoon.

Return the bowl (2) of melted butter back to the heat source, medium; add the chopped chocolate to the warm butter (adding it in this order will greatly reduce any chance of the ganache splitting), and allow the chocolate to sit for 1 minute, then using a silicone, spatula, slowly stir the mixture in circles, starting in the centre and moving outwards to the side, and taking care to avoid incorporating air whilst stirring. Stir for a minimum of 2 minutes to ensure that all of the chocolate is incorporated. This is the base ganache. Take the bowl on and off the heat source as necessary to fully incorporate. Continue stirring until the ganache is fully emulsified. Set the bowl (2) of ganache aside.
If using gelatin sheets, bloom them in a bowl (3) of cold water for approximately 10 minutes until softened. Drain off the water from the gelatin sheets. Melt the gelatin in a microwave oven for 2 – 3 x 10 second bursts on full power.

If using gelatin powder, place 1tsp of powder into a small bowl (3), add 2Tbsp of cold water, whisk quickly so that all of the granules are surrounded by water, or clusters will appear. After 5 minutes of whisking, the mixture should bloom and become spongy; then allow to thicken for 5 minutes. To melt, either use the method above for gelatin sheets, or, stand the bowl in another, larger bowl (4) of hot water and stir until all the gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly.
Drizzle the melted gelatin into the ganache (bowl 2) and whisk until well-mixed.

It is best to use a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip the eggs. Although a hand-held mixer fitted with a beater can be used, it will just take longer to get to the ribbon thickness. Or, use a hand-held wire whisk, and that will take even longer.

Rinse a stand mixing bowl (3) with hot tap water to warm it, then dry well.

If not already done so, fill a medium saucepan (4) with about 5cm (1in) of water and over medium heat bring to a simmer.

In the bowl (3) of a stand mixer, or other bowl, add the eggs and superfine sugar. Break up the yolks with a wire whisk and whisk continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds to fully combine, this is because, otherwise, the egg yolks will burn due to the acid in the sugar. Then, place the bowl of combined egg-sugar mixture on top of a saucepan (4) containing a low level of simmering water. If whipping by hand, tilt the bowl forward, almost horizontal, and sweep the whisk around the bottom of the bowl, with each revolution lifting the whole of the mass of eggs to incorporate air in the process. When using a hand-held mixer, use a similar process. Whisk continuously for 3– 4 minutes or until the batter reaches a temperature of 40°C and the batter is frothy and pale yellow.

Remove the bowl from the double boiler and wipe the bottom of the bowl dry. Place the filled bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use an electric hand mixer. Whip at medium speed for 12 – 17 minutes, until the egg-sugar mixture is three times the original volume, is thick, and almost white in colour, and is completely cool. Whipping at a higher speed would produce a relatively small number of large air bubbles, and result in a coarse textured mousse. Note that if the eggs are not whipped for long enough, the ribbon formed will not hold. Similarly, whipping for too long of a time, will produce a dense mousse. Whip until it has tripled in volume, and produces a thick ribbon. Take the time to achieve this. The mix will be almost white in colour, and completely cool. During the last 4 – 5 minutes of whisking, stop from time to time and check the ribbon thickness. The whipped egg-sugar mix is ready when the whisk is lifted and the mix falls very slowly back, in a thick ribbon, into the mixing bowl of egg-sugar mix. There, it will initially stay on top of the mix before spreading slightly and slowly flattening as it dissolves into the mass of egg-sugar mix. However, the ribbon will still have some definition to it in the bowl. At the end, the egg-sugar mix will feel cool to a finger dipped in it, and will coat it thickly.

Cool the ganache to just above room temperature. Placing the bowl in a refrigerator will speed up the process. Periodically whisk and check the temperature.

Scoop between one quarter and one third of the whipped eggs (to initially lighten) and place on top of the ganache, and then fold in using a silicone spatula. Place it vertically into the far side of the ganache, drag it forward and rotate the bowl at the same time, then lift up the spatula, to turn a dollop of the ganache over on top of the whipped eggs, and spread it over, incorporate it by folding it into the mix. Note that the more the mousse is mixed, the more each aerator is deflating the existing mousse. So, it is important to quickly, yet gently and minimally. Then repeat moving the bowl a quarter turn with each third. This is to minimise the folding required for a light mousse. Finally, add the remaining whipped eggs to the lightened ganache, and fold in as before, until all streaks of whipped eggs have disappeared.

As a filling, once made, it is important to use the stiff chocolate mousse before it sets.

Once set, the stiff chocolate mousse will keep for a few days.

Cake Assembly 1.2
This is concerned with adding the stiff chocolate mousse to the cake ring.

If necessary, remove the sheet pan containing the prepared cake ring and chocolate génoise cake and praline crisp rounds from the freezer.

Spoon, or scoop, a small amount of the stiffened chocolate mousse filling into the space between the two ‘cake’ rounds and the cake ring. Use a small silicone spatula to push it well in and down. Spoon or scoop in more of the stiffened chocolate mousse filling until it reached the top edge, or just above, of the cake ring.

Going away from the body, sweep a long offset spatula (or a long straight edge) over the filling, resting the spatula on the side of the cake ring, from one side to the other, in one smooth movement, so that the top becomes completely smooth. At the same time, rotate the straight edge from starting at an acute angle to the cream, to finishing at an obtuse angle at the far side (any cream scooped up in the process will thus be on the upper surface of the straight edge).

Refrigerate any Stiff chocolate mousse that is left over, as it may be used later.

Place the filled cake in the cake ring on a supporting sheet pan, without covering it, into a freezer for 30 minutes, or preferably, overnight, to set the mousse.

Cake Assembly 1.2
After a few hours check to see if the centre of the cake has dropped. If it has, stir the reserved chocolate cream mousse filling to soften, and spread it over the top to fill in the depression.

When the cake is frozen, it can be covered with clingfilm until needed, if that is not the next day.

Day 2
This day is taken up with making the Dark chocolate satin glaze and then glazing, and decorating if required; to finish off the assembly of the Gâteau Royal Chocolat.

Dark chocolate satin glaze
The dark chocolate satin glaze is based upon both the Shiny Ganache Glaze and Satin-Smooth Glaze (which itself is influenced by Sherry Yard’s Ganache Glaze in her book, The Secrets of Baking) of Shirley Corriher in, BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes, (New York, Scribner, 2008).

This glaze is closer to a firm ganache than a medium, with a ratio of 1: 1.28 (chocolate to cream). It is an easy consistency to work with as a pouring glaze. It produces a professional-looking satin smooth glaze with a deep glossy sheen. The latter is provided by the use of corn/glucose syrup. The addition of Apricot jelly adds a little pectin to aid in firming up the glaze. In addition, it balances, sweetens and adds subtle flavours. The key to success is to keep the pouring temperature at 32°C, thin, viscous, yet flowing freely. It is ideal for using with the double icing technique to top a cake.

Ingredients: (makes approximately 800 - 1000g)
Dark chocolate (72%min) 454g
Apricot Jelly 160g (smooth, clear, with all chunks removed)
Hemp milk Heavy Cream 236g
Hemp milk 118g
Glucose/Light corn syrup 60g

Chop dark chocolate and set aside (bowl 1)

In a medium saucepan (2) warm and melt the Apricot jelly over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes stirring all of the time.

Add the Hemp milk Heavy cream, Hemp milk and Glucose syrup and whisk to combine. Increase the heat to medium and gently bring the mixture to a boil (the liquid will rise up the sides of the saucepan).

Take the sugar-cream mix (saucepan 2) off the heat, and allow the mix to cool slightly – until the bubbles subside, then add the chopped dark chocolate (bowl 1); shake the saucepan to settle the chocolate evenly, and let it sit for 1 – 2 minutes.

Using a metal spoon, or a silicon spatula, stir the mixture, gently, starting in the centre of the saucepan, and using a circular motion, work out to the sides. Stir until all of the chocolate is melted (approximately 2 minutes (minimum)) and the glaze is fully emulsified.

Using an immersion blender, mix until the Dark chocolate satin glaze is shiny and smooth.

Strain half of the dark chocolate glaze through a fine mesh sieve into a cold pouring jug (3). This is so as to remove as many air bubbles as possible. Strain the other half into a medium sized mixing bowl (4) and set aside.

Place the filled jug (3) in a larger bowl (5) of cold water, and cool the glaze, stirring occasionally to redistribute the heat throughout, until it reaches the working temperature of 35 - 32°C for pouring (if the temperature of the glaze is above 38°C, the poured glaze will melt the frozen filling of the cake, and the glaze will simply slide off); it has minimum viscosity.

To bring the other half of the Dark chocolate satin glaze back up to temperature, place the filled bowl (4) over the top of a saucepan (6) filled with simmering water (2.5cm (1in) deep) and gently stir until the glaze temperature reaches 35°C, when it is ready to pour. If the temperature goes too high, take the bowl off the top of the saucepan and continue to stir off-heat until the temperature again reaches 35°C.

The dark chocolate satin glaze can be stored, tightly covered, in a refrigerator for up to two weeks. To use, reheat as above. If the glaze seems too thick, add 1Tbsp of water and rewarm.

Cake Assembly 2 (final)
Whilst waiting for the dark chocolate satin glaze to cool, place a wire cooling rack in a clean baking tray lined with a sheet of parchment paper. The baking tray will act as a drip tray for when the chocolate satin glaze is poured over cake.

Remove the assembled cake from the freezer and place onto the cooling rack.

Remove the cake ring from the frozen cake. Peel off the acetate cake band (the beauty of using an acetate cake band is that it allows for a perfectly smooth surface for glazing without any extra work involved).

Place the cake (on the wire rack on top of the baking tray) back into the freezer if the chocolate satin glaze is still cooling. Remove from the freezer when the chocolate satin glaze reaches its working temperature.
Start pouring the glaze approximately 4 – 5cm (1 ½ - 2in) in from the edges, going around the cake in one smooth motion. Allow the glaze to flow down the sides and into the centre of the cake to fully coat. Watch, all of the time, to ensure that the entire top and sides of the cake are coated, to see that all exposed areas of the cake are glazed. If there are a few bubbles, prick them with the top of a wooden skewer. Also, tap, tip, the baking tray against the work surface to distribute the glaze evenly. Work quickly, before the glaze starts to set. Let the cake stand for about 5 minutes so that the glaze can set, and until the dripping has stopped.
Using a large, wide, oiled spatula (or two thin), or a cake lifter, transfer the cake to a serving plate, or surface. Take care, as the chocolate wants to stick, hence the need for an oiled spatula. If there are any drops of glaze adhering to the bottom of the cake, carefully scrape them against the cooling rack to remove them.
Use a silicon spatula to scrape off the pooled, dripped chocolate satin glaze from the baking tray into a container, cover, and then place it in a refrigerator, or freezer, for later use.
Decorate the cake as required.

Place the finished cake, Gâteau Royal Chocolat, in a refrigerator to thaw slowly for a few hours, before serving it.

To serve slices of the use a long, thin knife. Dip the blade in hot water (this is so that it will cut through both the praline crisp and the chocolate bottom coating of the Génoise sponge.
Slice the cake, cleaning the cake after each cut, and rewarm. It helps to cut the Gâteau Royal Chocolat cake in half first. This will ease subsequent transfer of the cut slices.

Use a palet knife, or cake server, to transfer each slice to a plate. A knife, or metal spoon will be required to cut through the praline crisp in order to eat it.

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