This Chocolate Raspberry Gateau is one of the most flavor packed, moist cakes to be found. Please don’t be put off because this looks so intimidating. While it looks intimidating, it really is not hard to make. I have provided a schedule starting a month out and it has to be competed a day or two before serving. The Chocolate Raspberry Gateau is ideal for entertaining, and is one of the great celebration cakes. This is an updated version of the one originally written in my first book, The New Pastry Cook.
Gateau is the French word for cake. It generally denotes items made with delicate ingredients which are best consumed soon after the confection is made. Cakes can last much longer, some even improving with age (fruit cake). Torte is the German word for cake, with similar properties.
Praline is sometimes viewed as difficult but in reality is is simply nuts suspended in hard sugar. The degree to which you cook the syrup to color it determine the taste. Lightly colored syrup will have a mild taste while darkly colored syrup will be much more intense. For this recipe, I try to go down the middle.
The biggest thing about cooking sugar is to realize that even after it is removed from the heat, it will continue cooking and darkening for a bit as it retains an intense heat. It is important to stir the nuts in as soon as the syrup is removed from the heat as it will harden quickly to the point they cannot be dispersed evenly. Equally important is to get the praline out of the pan onto sillpat or a lightly sprayed rimmed baking sheet immediately so it can be spread out. Whenever using a utensil to stir or a spatula to spread the praline, spray it to insure it won’t get stuck.
This Chocolate Raspberry Gateau is a chocolate genoise with pulverized praline added to it. As such, it has no leavener in it. Since I always had a problem adding the butter to the batter, I emulsify the melted butter in a little batter first and then fold it back into the main amount of batter. This keeps the butter from sinking to the bottom of the cake making an unsightly and heavy layer at the bottom. The cake is baked in a loaf pan.
The chocolate panels made for the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau were used on many a wedding cake we made at the bakery. While the panels were most often used with white chocolate, dark panels were also used. They stick up over the top edge of the cake and the void was filled with chocolate curls for wedding cakes. The panels for this cake are adhered to the cake with ganache before it is set up, They do not need to be stuck hard to the ganache as they will be tied with the ribbon immediately to keep them in place. The top will be filled with raspberries shortly before serving.
When you are ready to serve the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau, remove it to the kitchen or somewhere where dissembling it won’t be a disappointment to your guests. Remove the ribbon and pull away the panels if they are loose. Some of the loose raspberries may tumble down, but that is fine. Cut the cake into slices with a hot, dry knife (run the knife under really hot water, quickly dry and cut). Plate with some of the panels and fresh raspberries on each plate.
Schedule for the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau
- Up to a month in advance make the cake and freeze it.
- Up to two weeks in advance, make the praline, pulverize it and store it in a covered
container at room temperature.
- Up to two weeks ahead make the raspberry soaking syrup and store in the refrigerator.
- Up to a week ahead make the chocolate ganache and store it in the refrigerator.
- Up to a week ahead make the chocolate panels. Store in the refrigerator covered.
- Up to two days ahead assemble the cake without the fresh raspberries and store in the
- Several hours before the presentation, fill the top of the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau with fresh raspberries.
Almond Praline for the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau
Preheat the oven to 350 degees. Toast the almonds 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and just colored. Cool completely. Oil a jelly roll pan or line a half sheet pan with silpat and set aside.
Spray the back of an offset spatula and set next to the prepared pan.
In a small, heavy saucepan, add the water, cornsyrup and sugar. Bring to a boil and wash the sides down with a brush dipped in cold water. Cook over medium heat until the syrup turns a deep golden brown. As the syrup starts to color, watch it closely as it will deepen in color quickly. Take if off the heat just before it gets deep enough as it will continue to color. Quickly stir in the almonds, turn out into the prepared pan and spread out with the sprayed spatula.When completely cool, break into pieces and place in a food processor. Process to pulverize. You may have to do this several times, straining between to avoid over-processing the praline that is already pulverized. Set this aside.
This should be started at least the day to a week before assembling the gateau. Heat the cream until steaming but not boiling. Submerge the chocolate under the cream and let it sit for several minutes. Whisk smooth. Place film directly on top of the ganache and chill overnight or longer.
Yield: 2 cups
Chocolate Praline Cake for the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau1/2 cup sifted cake flour (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa (35 grams or 1 1/4 ounces)
4 eggs, separated
1 whole egg
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup Almond Praline, pulverized (70 grams or 2 1/2 ounces)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (90 grams or 3 ounces)
Beat in the praline powder. Mix in the flour and cocoa mixture on low until completely blended. Set aside.In a clean mixing bowl with a clean beater, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually, beating until stiff but not dry. Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently but thoroughly and quickly. Add about 3/4 cup of the batter to the melted butter, whisking the two together until completely mixed. Fold this mixture back into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan.
Smooth the top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven or until the center springs back when lightly touched. Do not overbake. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, loosen the sides with a spatula, and turn out. Remove the parchment paper and turn the cake right side up. Cool completely on a rack.
Note: If the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau is made 2 days ahead, wrap in foil and hold at room temperature. It can be made a month in advance, wrapped in foil, and frozen for up to a month. Defrost 24 hours in the refrigerator before using.
Chocolate Panels for the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau
10 ounces semisweet chocolate (285 grams)
This should be made up to a week before finishing the cake. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave on half power until about half to two thirds is melted. Remove from heat and stir until the remainder is melted. Pour onto the paper and spread evenly over the paper. Refrigerate to firm.
The chocolate must be cold coming after chilling. It most likely will be curled up. Let it rest at room temperature and the paper and chocolate will flatten out. Before it gets warm, using a pizza cutter and ruler, cut the chocolate into 1″ to 1 1/4″ panels. Move in and out of the refrigerator to maintain the temperature so you don’t mar the chocolate.
Cross cut the panels into 4″ tall pieces. Store the panels in the refrigerator.
Assembling the Chocolate Raspberry GateauChocolate Praline Cake
1/3 cup seedless red raspberry preserves
Split the cake horizontally into 3 layers. It is easiest to do this if the cake is partially frozen for a few hours. Place the bottom layer on a cardboard. Brush with 1/4 cup raspberry syrup andspread with half the raspberry preserves. Top with about 2/3 cup ganache, spreading evenly to the edges. Repeat with the second layer. Turn the top layer over so the cut side is up. Use the remaining 1/4 cup of syrup to soak this layer. Place it, right side up, on top of the ganache. Refrigerate to firm the filling. Trim the sides to even up. At this point the cake can be frozen or a week or so without the outer coating of ganache. Refrigerate the extra ganache. Thaw the cake in before continuing.
When ready to finish the cake, reheat the ganache to spreading consistency and cover the top and sides with the remaining ganache.
Finishing the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau
The freshly frosted gateau
Ribbon with which to tie the panels
About 12 to 16 ounces of Fresh Raspberries, depending upon the size
The cake should be freshly finished with the ganache so the panels will stick to it. Transfer the cake to the serving plate. Loosen the panels from the parchment by sliding a metal spatula under the panels. The panels as cut will be too tall. You want them to stick up over the top of the cake about 3/4″. Trim the bottom of the panels to size. Remember the panels should not all be the same height. Vary them slightly for an uneven finish.Press them lightly into the ganache all around the cake. Don’t worry if you have to adjust them as you go along. They, most likely, will not be glued in place.Immediately tie the panels in place with the ribbon. I use a wired ribbon so I can bend it into the shape I want.Refrigerate the cake up to 2 days.
For Presentation of the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau: Fill the top with fresh raspberries. Bring to room temperature for at least an hour but it can sit at room temperature for hours at this point. Be sure to display it where everyone can see it and admire it.To plate the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau: Remove the cake to another room. Remove the ribbon, panels and raspberries. Slice the cake into slices about 3/4 inch wide. Place some of the chocolate panels on the plate, top with a slice of cake and arrange some raspberries on the plate. Sprinkle the Chocolate Raspberry Gateau and plate with some of the remaining praline.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.