Carrément Chocolat

If you believe the Mayan calendar, the end of the world is near. In about three weeks… err. Okay.. What I’m getting at is that end of the world or not you’ll need all the excuses you can find to make this chocolate cake. Most importantly you need to embrace that “who cares about the calories anyway!” attitude. It’s outrageous, delicious and it’s downright contagious. It’s not going to end the world but it might end all chocolate cakes. It has five different textures of chocolate starting from the bottom with a lightly set chocolate brownie, a layer of chocolate cream and a layer of chocolate mousse. The whole thing is covered with a rich chocolate glaze and crowned with a thin, brittle sheet of dark chocolate. It’s a lot of work but think about the reward.

So now that you’ve been warned you’re free to run away from here as fast as you can. If you decide to stay it’s at your own risks and perils. Who knows, you might be sucked into a chocolate vortex and spin like you’re in a chocolate tempering machine. What a nightmare. Three. Two. One…

Oh hi! You’re still here. Welcome! So this is another one of those Pierre Hermé recipe that made him one of the most influential pastry chefs out there. As in any Pierre Hermé recipes the flavor and technique is spot-on but it is also a pretty involved process that could be made over two days. When I say pretty involved I don’t mean difficult, but there are a lot of steps. So are we ready to tackle this?

Let’s pull up our sleeves and let’s go.

  • Carrément Chocolat

    • Serves 8
    • Adapted from Pierre Hermé “Pastries”
    • Chocolate cake:
    • 4 ounces (125 g) Valrhona 72% cacao Araguani dark chocolate, chopped
    • 1 stick (125 g) unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup (110 g) superfine granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs (100 g)
    • 1/3 cup (35 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
    • Smooth chocolate cream:
    • 2 1/2 ounces (70 g) Valrhona 72% cacao Araguani dark chocolate, chopped
    • 7 tbsp (100 g) whole milk
    • 7 tbsp (100 g) heavy cream
    • 2 1/2 egg yolks (50 g)
    • 1/4 cup (50 g) superfine granulated sugar
    • Chocolate mousse:
    • 6 ounces (170 g) Valrhona 72% cacao Araguani dark chocolate, chopped
    • 1/3 cup (80 g) whole milk
    • 1 egg yolk (20 g)
    • 4 egg whites (120 g)
    • 4 tsp (20 g) superfine granulated sugar
    • Thin chocolate sheet:
    • 3 1/2 ounces (100 g) Valrhona 72% cacao Araguani dark chocolate, chopped
    • Chocolate sauce:
    • 1 1/2 ounces (50 g) Valrhona 72% cacao Araguani dark chocolate, chopped
    • 6 1/2 tbsp (95 g) still water
    • 2 1/2 tbsp (35 g) superfine granulated sugar
    • 3 tbsp (50 g) heavy cream
    • Chocolate glaze:
    • 3 1/2 ounces (100 g) Valrhona 72% cacao Araguani dark chocolate, chopped
    • 1/3 cup (80 g) heavy cream
    • 4 tsp (20 g) French butter
    • 1/2 cup (100 g) Chocolate Sauce, recipe above
      • For the chocolate cake:
      • Preheat a convection oven to 340’F (170’C) or a regular oven to 350’F. Butter an 8-inch square mold (or a round one), 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Sprinkle it with flour.
      • Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water to melt. Remove from the bain-marie. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the chocolate in the bowl, along with the sugar, eggs and sifted flour. Pour the batter into the prepared mold. Place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The cake should look underdone. Unmold the cake on a rack and let cool. Clean, rinse, and dry the mold, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Place the cooled cake at the bottom of the mold.
      • For the smooth chocolate cream:
      • In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Off the heat, combine the two mixtures, then pour them back into a saucepan, and stir over gentle heat until the mixture reaches 185’F (85’C). Pour one-third of the mixture over the chopped chocolate, stirring well. Repeat two more times, stirring after each addition, then process the mixture with a handheld immersion blender (or whisk it vigorously). Pour the cream over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then place in the freezer for 1 hour.
      • For the chocolate mousse:
      • Melt the chopped chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Pour the milk over the chocolate in the bowl, beating until the chocolate is smooth. Add the egg yolk and incorporate well. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff with a dash of the sugar, then, as the mixture begins to stiffen, add the remaining sugar. Incorporate one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.
      • Pour the chocolate mousse over the smooth chocolate cream in the mold. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Freeze for 2 hours.
      • For the thin chocolate sheet:
      • Melt the chopped chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and cool at room temperature until the chocolate thickens, then reheat it slightly for a few seconds in the bain marie until it reaches a temperature between 88’F and 90’F. Pour the chocolate over a sheet of acetate (or wax paper) and spread it out. Before it can set, cut out a square the same size as the cake. Place another acetate sheet on top and add  a weight to prevent the chocolate from warping as it dries. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
      • For the chocolate sauce:
      • Place the chopped chocolate  in a small saucepan and bring to a boil with the still mineral water, sugar, and cream. Stir continuously until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spatula.
      • For the chocolate glaze:
      • In a saucepan bring the cream to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Gradually beat in the chopped chocolate, beating it from the center outward. Set aside to cool to 140’F before adding the butter, then add the 1/2 cup (100g) of the chocolate sauce.
      • To finish the cake:
      • Remove the cake from the mold and discard the plastic wrap. Using a small ladle, pour the chocolate glaze (it should be warm, between 95’F and 105’F around the sides of the cake, then over the center. Using a cake spatula, evenly coat the sides and edges. Leave to set for a few minutes then transfer it to a cake plate. Remove the acetate from the thin chocolate sheet, and place it on the cake. Set the cake in the refrigerator to defrost for 2 hours before eating. Cut with a knife dipped in hot water for 30 seconds.
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  • Ang

    This is a work of art – absolute perfection

  • disqus_ca5htqhVMs

    I don’t eat chocolat often…but when I do…
    This will be it!

    However, I can’t find the matching ingredients for the “chocolate mousse” directions…did I miss something?
    love the photo

  • zenchef

    Oops. I just fixed it. I mislabeled the section but now it’s fixed. Thanks!

  • zenchef

    Thank you so much!

  • kitchenriffs

    Really good stuff. As usual. 😉 You’re right that this isn’t that difficult of a recipe, although there’s certainly a lot to do! Something I should try at some point, though, so I’m putting it on my “list” (which keeps getting longer and longer, never shorter). Great pictures. I think I actually prefer the 2nd one because you can see all the lovely texture of the dessert (the air bubbles in what looks like the smooth chocolate cream) and the great blue and white highlights in the background. But your top picture certainly is more dramatic! Anyway, thanks for this.

  • Véronique

    I think I actually love you for posting these beautiful, glorious patisseries. Thank you! :)

  • Mary

    Oh dear! What an inspiration. I don’t tend to take a go at the longer multi-faceted recipes… but this one I will!!!!!! Heaven awaits! Thank you. Brilliant.

  • My Weekend Kitchen

    OOOO!! I’m drooling 😛 It looks tough for my amateur standards, but I just have to have to try this :) Even if I get 10% close to what your pictures show, I think I will be proud :)


  • Stacey Snacks

    Gorgeous….I hope I have time to try this before the end of the world! xo

  • thelittleloaf

    This looks insanely good – a lot of effort, but 100% worth it!

  • Yue Cheong

    Look absolutely DIVINE!

  • ec

    this looks fabulous

  • Frank Fariello

    I’m not sure I have the baking skills to take this on—actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t—but I sure would like to taste it! They say that chocolate is a natural anti-depressant, the perfect food for those who are gloomy about the end of the world…

  • Chris Chang

    This looks amazing! Beautiful work as always! I think I’ll try out the chocolate mousse recipe, been looking for a good one and this one sounds simple. Maybe someday I’ll give this one a shot! I always am inspired when I stop by, thank you!

  • Oui, Chef

    I think I’d be OK dying as long as I get a big bite of this lovely thing first. So impressive, my friend.

  • Bret Bannon

    Stephane – I just discovered your website and though it’s 3 days before Christmas and I have a long list of things to accomplish, I’d really rather pour myself a cup of coffee and read through every one of your posts. What a happy discovery I have made. Thank you!

  • zenchef

    Thanks for the kind words, Brett. Nice to “meet” you!

  • andrew

    teach me your photography ways!! everything you photograph is beautiful. do you have a certain set up with lights and filters to get these photos. im a beginner in food photography myself and would appreciate any tips.

  • Helen Rennie

    Hi Zen,

    You are such an inspiration. I would like to make just the mousse part of this recipe. What’s the best way to store it and serve it? If I make it the day before should I store it all in a large bowl and then spoon out into little cups at service? or is it better to scoop it into little cups up front before refrigerating? How long does chocolate mousse last in the fridge?

    Thanks so much!

  • ConElPueblo

    Thank you for the inspiration! Made this yesterday, but left out the glaze, and added af layer of passionfruit gel instead. It was a tremendous success. One comment though, the recipe will easily suit 10 people, as it is so rich. All my guests had left-overs after getting their 1/8 share of it, a real pity I think.

  • Barbara

    I tried and it’s just… inexpressible. I have never tasted something like that before. Thanks to you, I encouraged myself to do that. Thanks a lot!
    and here is it:

  • http://spicycocoa.wordpress

    your pictures looks awesome! I baked the cake according to the recipe (using and 8″ cake pan) but the cake turned out to be alot thicker than your picture. Also when the cake cooled down, there were a bit of a gap between the cake and the cake pan (shrink width wise). is the cake supposed to shrink about 1/4″ width wise? :)

  • Terje

    I made this yesterday, and it was truly amazing.. For those wondering, i spent around 4,5 hours, including cleanup..
    Make sure you give the mousse time to set in the freezer the full two hours, I added the glaze too early, and it kind of ruined the end result for me.

  • Zoë

    Hi. So it means the eggs in the mousse are all unpasturized?