Black Truffle Sponge Cake

A few weeks ago, Tina of Wandering Eater talked about an advanced copy of Pierre Hermé new book “Pastries” she received. I didn’t even know that Pierre Hermé was coming out with a new book so, my curiosity spiked, I begged to get a glimpse of it. After failing to get a preview copy from the publisher (hello, popular item!) she kindly emailed me a few recipes from the book and one of them was a “Biscuit à la truffe noire” that looked so amazing that within minutes I was on the phone with the truffle black market to try to secure one of those so-called black diamonds. All in the name of a Pierre Hermé recipe.

Now, as you probably know black truffles are very expensive and even more so this year because of the deep freeze in Europe. Perigord truffles have suffered from the cold temperatures so I settled for one from Provence with the deep aromas of the region. A whiff of it is like traveling without moving. Amazing. Now, for full disclosure I didn’t use the whole amount called for in the recipe. My plan is to make three recipes out of ONE truffle. Yes, I’m cheap that way.

Other than the exorbitant price, this recipe is quite simple. I loved the texture of the truffle sponge with a crusty, sugary exterior and a nice bounce. It’s glazed with a white chocolate “mirror” and finished with thin slices of black truffle. Unusual. Complex. Striking. And it’s even better the next day after the black truffle aromas had the chance to permeate every single crumb of the cake.

  • Biscuit aux Truffes Noires (Black Truffle Sponge Cake)

    • Recipe by Pierre Hermé in “Pastries”
    • Serves 8
    • Black Truffle Sponge Cake
    • 1 oz (25g) black truffles
    • 1 1/3 cups (270g) superfine sugar
    • 1 1/3 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
    • 10 tablespoons (135 g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) black truffle oil
    • 8 egg whites (235g)
    • Vanilla Miroir:
    • 7 oz (200g) white chocolate (Valhrona)* (I recommend adding 1 extra ounce of white chocolate here as my glaze was a little too thin)
    • 1/4 cup (45g) superfine sugar
    • Dash (2g) pectin
    • 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup (110g) still mineral water
    • 1 tsp (5g) glucose or light corn syrup
    • Finishing:
    • 1 black truffle
    • For the Black Truffle sponge:
    • Preheat a oven (convection of traditional) to 340′F. Grease a hemispherical mold 6 inches in diameter with butter, sprinkle with sugar and place in the refrigerator.
    • In the bowl of a food processor, process the truffles with half the sugar. Transfer to a bowl. Sift the flour and whisk it in the truffle sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the soft butter with the truffle oil until very soft and creamy.
    • In the bowl of a Kitchenaid, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks, gradually incorporating the rest of the sugar.
    • Pour the truffle-sugar-flour mixture over the whipped egg whites and incorporate the truffle oil butter mixture until you obtain a smooth batter (the mixture will deflate quite a bit but that’s okay).
    • Transfer the batter to the prepared mold, place it in the oven, and bake for about 15 minutes. Then wedge a wooden spoon between the oven door and the oven to keep it partially open, bake for 45 minutes more. Unmold the cake and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
    • If the cake rose too much cut the bottom part with a serrated knife to make a perfect dome.
    • For the vanilla miroir:
    • Chop the white chocolate and place it in a bowl. In a saucepan, combine the sugar with the pectin. Bring to a boil with the cream, still mineral water, and glucose. Pour one third over of the mixture over the white chocolate in the bowl, and mix from the center outward until smooth. Repeat twice more. Beat the mixture with a handheld immersion blender (or a regular blender) until the miroir is smooth.
    • To finish:
    • Pour the mixture over the cooled sponge cake. Slice the truffle on a mandoline into thin slices. Arrange the slices over the cake. Serve.

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  • Anonymous

    chef, this looks awesome! i don’t think i’ll ever be able to afford truffles though, else i’ll definitely give it a try -_- haha. i envy you’re able to cook & bake so well! most chefs are good in either just one! :D

  • http://mushitza.blogspot.com/ Silvia

    a couple of years ago I was on a food exhibition and bought 4 truffles. It was like I was in the truffle heaven – for several days we had truffles on every meal and dessert. But since then I hadn’t had the chance to lay my hands on these goodies, I could almost taste this sponge through the screen :)

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful photos, beautiful recipe.  This must taste exquisite.  I don’t believe I’ve ever had truffles in something sweet – just in savory dishes.  Great idea.  Thanks for making this expensive  dish that we can all at least enjoy vicariously!

  • http://cookinwluv.blogspot.com/ Javelin Warrior

    Wow, I don’t ever think I’ve heard of truffles used in a sweet way before – normally it’s truffle oil in something savory. I love the look of this cake with the finishing truffle shavings and glaze – gorgeous.

    FYI, I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. As ridiculous and inappropriate as this award may be at this point in your career, your blog is amazing to me and ever-deserving of more recognition and love. Please do pass on the torch to others and keep the incredible posts coming…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Evan. I enjoy baking. I think it relaxes me. :) Maybe one day I’ll be as good as you at it. 

  • Anonymous

    I bet such a truffle experience is hard to forget. And in this case the sponge soaks up the aroma like.. well.. a sponge. :)

  • Anonymous

    Ha, yes. I always hesitate posting something so pricey but I the craving was too bad and the season too short. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Javelin Warrior! I appreciate the kind words and the award. My posting schedule is a little too tight these days to pass on the torch but I truly appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by, as always. 

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    Now, that is a showstopping cake. I’ve had black truffle in ice cream before, so I can see how the earthy flavor would marry with the sweetness of white chocolate. A wonderful creation!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    Now, that is a showstopping cake. I’ve had black truffle in ice cream before, so I can see how the earthy flavor would marry with the sweetness of white chocolate. A wonderful creation!

  • http://thewanderingeater.com/ Tina

    Though I’m sounding like a broken record (on Twitter), you did a fantastic job on the cake! 

    I still can’t believe you can squeeze out three recipes in one truffle! :)

  • http://thewanderingeater.com/ Tina

    Though I’m sounding like a broken record (on Twitter), you did a fantastic job on the cake! 

    I still can’t believe you can squeeze out three recipes in one truffle! :)

  • http://mochachocolatarita.blogspot.com/ mochachocolatarita

    omg! *faints

  • shirley@kokken69

    PH always surprise with the most unexpected flavours. The recipe looks like an angel cake with Truffle oil…:) How clever! … Now, I am thinking about how I can make this more accessible for earthlings like us here… 

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    “Like traveling without moving”…I love that line.  Just had some potato rolls made with minced truffle and truffle oil here at a lovely restaurant in Telluride, and just the few flecks made them so aromatic.  I can’t imagine the bouquet of these cakes with full slices on top.  Leave it to Hermè to come up with such an unusual offering, and you for replicating it so perfectly.

  • Anonymous

    Ohhh, truffle ice cream. That’s what I’ll do next time I get my hands on those babies. 

  • Anonymous

    Yup. I “almost” could have done a fourth one but I didn’t want to sound THAT cheap. :)

  • Anonymous

    Er.. Hello.. Rita.. Wake up!
    Oh great, now I have a body laying in my comment section. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I thought about adapting it too. What about rose flower water and candied petals for Valentine’s day next year!?

  • Anonymous

    At L’Ambroisie in Paris they serve a whole truffle layered with foie gras in puff pastry with a truffle coulis. Imagine the aromas when you cut into it.. Truly a magical ingredient. 

  • Anonymous

    At L’Ambroisie in Paris they serve a whole truffle layered with foie gras in puff pastry with a truffle coulis. Imagine the aromas when you cut into it.. Truly a magical ingredient. 

  • http://pickyin.blogspot.com Chang Pick Yin

    I shouldn’t be concerned that Rita’s unconscious in your comment section but you have what seems like the backside of a Dalmatian up here instead of a more practical way of appreciating that piece of expensive stuff. I can’t agree with PH on this one. Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough? Sigh…

  • Anonymous

    Hey look, I didn’t agree either when PH made a grapefruit/wasabi macaron. It turned out to be the most amazing macaron I’ve ever eaten. Whatever he does works no matter how unusual it sounds. 

  • Yue

    What a luxurious dessert! Never really think of using black truffles n dessert and don’t think I can afford… Anyway, the photo is great as always.

  • http://weareneverfull.com/ Jonny & Amy

    “I’m cheap that way”? Please, anyone who “selects” his truffles electing for a Provencale is either lying about poverty or is buying them under the table. By the way, I think Dalmation’s backside is rather less a description than this deserves. I would offer rump of snow leopard instead. Stunning work.

  • http://www.tastewiththeeyes.com/ Lori Lynn

    This is so painful for me to look at…I simply cannot imagine a more prefect dessert.
    LL
    P.S. Adore your truffle and shaver image too.

  • http://cookinwluv.blogspot.com/ Javelin Warrior

    I know I’ve already gushed about this once already (and could continue), but wanted to drop by so say I have featured this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup. Let me know if you have any objections and thanks as ever for the inspiration…

  • http://almostalwaysravenous.wordpress.com/ Allan

    it looks and sounds amazing!!!! food envy!

    QU: how do u get the lighting so right, with such a dark reflective surface

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, guys! And yes, I did get a deal on the truffles.

  • Anonymous

    I just play around with it a lot. Exposure controls, angles, lights, reflectors.. Hard to explain!

  • http://colloquialcooking.com/ Colloquial Cook

     Ouais, pareil.

  • http://www.unintentionalsteam.blogspot.com Chris Chang

    Chef Zen, this looks amazing! I would never think to put truffles and anything sweet together…then again I’ve never even seen a truffle.  I can’t wait to see your other dishes!

    Heh, the cake and the truffle together kind of remind me of Asian rice cakes…