A very rich decadent Le Cordon Bleu chef school cake!
This is a chocolate butter cake with a crisp hazelnut japonaise meringue base, covered and layered with dark chocolate mousse and coated with a chocolate glacage. Hazelnuts are pressed onto the outside edge of the cake's glacage. The cake is scored and each portion slice is garnished with hand made decorative tempered couverture chocolate.
It takes an experienced baker to make this style of cake. This style of cake is not easy for beginners. I made this cake as a required baked item at Le Cordon Bleu chef school. This is a copyrighted Le Cordon Bleu recipe, so I cannot write the details of the recipe. I can refer you to the Le Cordon Bleu cookbook or the Larousse Gastronomique cookbook for each individual recipe. A few tips and descriptions of the techniques is about all that I can describe.
The chocolate butter cake recipe is not difficult to make. A greased parchment paper circle that is slightly smaller than the cake pan will help to un-mold the cake. A very shap cake knife makes it easy to cut the cake into 2 layers.
The japonaise meringe is a Swiss or French meringue that is flavored with finely ground hazelnut. The japonaise is piped on parchment paper 3/8" thick to the same dimensions as the cake. The japonaise is baked at a low temperature, so the meringue dies to a crisp cookie texture and so the meringue does not brown.
There is no meringue in this type of mousse, so the mousse is firm enough to be used to layer and coat the cake. A stainless ring mold with a thin plastic applique liner is set around the 1st cake layer that is place on top of the japonaise. The ring mold should be 3/4" wider than the cake. The chocolate mousse is poured over and around the first layer of cake, so it covers the cake with a 3/8" thick layer. The second layer of cake is place on the mousse. Mousse is poured over the second layer, so the cake is completely covered.
The cake is then frozen, till it becomes solid. Then the cake is un-molded.
A piping hot chocolate glacage is poured over the frozen cake, to coat the entire cake with a thin layer. The glacage must be very hot to pour! You only get one chance to apply the glacage correctly. A glacage cannot be spread with a spatula!
After the glacage cools, chopped hazelnuts are pressed on the sides of the cake. The cake is scored for 12 slices. A tempered chocolate garnish and apricot glazed strawberry slice is place on top of the cake on the outside edge of each slice.
Complicated, time consuming and well worth the effort! I have done plenty of baking and pastry work professionally in restaurants over the years, so this cake was easy for me to make. This cake turned out good enough to sell. Making a cake that looks good enough to sell is a good goal!
As a note, I received an "A" grade in the Le Cordon Bleu Baking and Pastry Arts Class! I am a straight "A" grade chef school student and I am on the Presidents Scholastic Achievement Award list! So, I do know what I am doing and I do have the credentials. I do suggest getting some fine dining cooking experience, before attending any chef school. You will get far more from the chef school education, if you do!
I hope these pointers help, if you make one of these fine, rich, elegant, decadent cakes! Yum! ... Shawna