This recipe was devised by Nicolas Boussin, winner of the coveted title of Best Pastry Chef in France. Inspired by a burning log fire, but by no means confined to Christmas, this recipe has warm fiery overtones. This luxury chocolate cake costs less than £1 per slice net to make, but can retail for up to £4 per slice in a high-end bakery, café or patisserie. Each cake serves eight slices or can be sold whole.
Makes four logs each measuring 9x26cm
== Chocolate Cake (total weight 916g: ½ frame) ==
80g Ground almonds
6g Baking powder
40g Cocoa powder
45g Trimoline (invert sugar)
100g Whipping cream
75g 66% dark chocolate
1. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together, then add the ground almonds.
2. Melt the chopped chocolate and butter together. Combine the eggs, sugar and trimoline without beating and add the cream. Fold in the melted butter and chocolate and the sifted together dry ingredients.
3. Pour the batter into a frame or mould and bake at 200°C for approximately 15 mins. Allow to cool.
TIP: If time allows, cook the cake base the day before. This allows the starch to absorb the syrup more effectively when assembling.
== Orange Compôte (total weight 388g) ==
65g Brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange
5g Lemon juice
1.5cl Grand Marnier @ 50% vol extract
Peel the orange and purée in a food processor, leaving some small pieces of oranges. Bring the purée, brown sugar and zest to a boil (see image A).
2. Stir in the lemon juice and the starch, thinned with extract and bring back to the boil.
3. Set aside and refrigerate.
== For Syrup (total weight 130g) ==
10cl light syrup (boil 1 litre water with 800g sugar)
3cl Grand Marnier 50% vol extract
== For Ganache (total weight 695g: ½ frame) ==
300g Whipping cream
150g Dark chocolate
150g Milk chocolate
3.5cl Grand Marnier 50% vol extract
1. Bring the cream, glucose and trimoline to the boil and pour over the chopped chocolate.
2. Add the extract, stir well to combine. Let cool.
3. Lightly whip the ganache before pouring it into the frame (image B).
TIP: add the cream to the dark chocolate first and mix slowly or the fat, cocoa and sugar will separate and the ganache will not be smooth. Then add the milk chocolate. Always use a combination of dark and milk chocolate, because the strong flavour of dark chocolate will overpower the distinct taste of the extract.
== Icing (total weight 1,200g) ==
600g Dark glazing paste (compound chocolate)
400g Dark chocolate
20cl Hazelnut oil
Melt the chocolate and glazing paste and add the oil.
Assembly and decoration
1. Brush the cake with the syrup and spread the orange compote over the top. Place in the freezer (images C and D).
2. Pour the lightly whipped ganache into a 27cm x 37cm frame, then top with the frozen cake. Press down to even out, so that the cake is flat. Place in the freezer for approximately one hour (it should be hard).
3. Unmould the cake and cut to 9cm in width then place on a cooling rack and pour over the icing, so that the excess runs off. Sprinkle the sugar mixed with the orange zest all over the cake so that it sticks (image E). Decorate with a bundle of sticks and the dried orange rounds.
== Orange Sticks (total weight 302g) ==
For the pastry:
30g Ground hazelnuts
70g Ground almonds
2.5cl Grand Marnier 50% vol extract
Zest of 1 orange
For outer coating:
100g Brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1. Bring the water, sugar and zest to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the extract.
2. Combine the flour, ground nuts, cinnamon and salt and mix in the liquid. Allow to rest for 10 mins, then roll the pastry out very thinly and cut into very narrow strips.
3. Roll in the orange zest and brown sugar mixture (image F).
4. Arrange on a Silpat mat and bake at 160°C for 10 mins until the sticks are golden in colour. Let cool and tie into a bundle with a gold ribbon.
TIP: No fat or egg is present in the sticks to keep them crispy.
== Dried Orange Rounds ==
1. Cut 1 orange into 2mm thick rounds. 2. Arrange on a baking sheet between two sheets of parchment paper and let dry in a 60°C oven for approximately three hours. 3. Store in an airtight container.
TIP: Aim for 4-6% pure alcohol in the finished product. This will give good flavour delivery and enhance the taste of the other ingredients.