Savoy Style Chocolate Cake
French patisserie has in recent years become a fascinating world of design, trends, techniques and creativity without limits. Pastry chefs have become real designers, each of whom produces a collection of desserts that just by looking at them one can understand how much work is invested in each creation.
Alongside all the designs and trends, there are many classics, less fancy, less designed but with a lot of nostalgia and fascinating stories. The Paris-brest, the Saint-Honore, the Tarte Tatin, the Madeleines, are just some of the desserts and cakes for them even the most sophisticated chefs keep a warm corner in their hearts.
I recently spent a whole day with my friend Julien Alvarez who is considered one of the best pastry chefs in France. I have known Alvarez and most of our activities together were in recent years when he was the pastry chef of the prestigious Bristol Hotel. During these years I photographed with Alvarez a large variety of creations, each time I was amazed at his creativity, accuracy and the wonderful combinations of flavors he produces.
To celebrate the new post, we decided to photograph some desserts that Alvarez created for “Ladurée” and in addition we made together a chocolate cake in the style of “Gateau de Savoie” (Savoy Cake) that can be very suitable for home baking. This cake is very classic, it’s not baked with sophisticated techniques and special decorations, but with a taste of childhood and a playful look.
Like many French desserts, quite a few stories have been associated with this cake, one of which describes the invention of the cake as early as the 14th century in the city of Chambery in the province of Savoy.
The cake consists of very few ingredients and has whipped egg whites that give it an airy and light texture. But it was its form that stole the show, a form that represented the topography of the Duchy of Savoy, a chain of valleys and plains topped by the Imperial Crown.
Over the years the original recipe has undergone several changes like adding cinnamon, lemon zest and citrus blossom. This time we chose to make a Savoy Style Chocolate Cake, rich in brown sugar, cocoa and chocolate and of course whipped egg whites that give it a very delicate and airy texture. If you have a sweet tooth you can also add a milk chocolate and praline insert and garnish with chocolate ganache (optional).
Did you prepare the recipe and have any egg yolks left? Flan Chocolate is the recipe for you.
Milk Chocolate and Praliné insert (possible, prepare the night before):
130g milk chocolate, chopped
30g praliné cream
very soft butter
50g Muscovado sugar mixed with 50g cocoa nibs
50g Canola oil
50g dark chocolate, chopped
100g Muscovado sugar or brown sugar
85g all-purpose flour, sifted
15g cocoa powder, sifted
200g egg whites
90g white sugar
Pinch of salt
Chocolate Ganache (possible):
120g heavy whipping cream
100g dark chocolate (at least 70%cocoa), chopped
1. Milk Chocolate and Praliné insert (possible): Melt milk chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave. Add praliné cream and stir. Pour the mixture on a baking paper and flatten, place in the refrigerator. Using two rings/cookie cutters of different sizes, cut a ring with a narrower diameter from the mold and keep it refrigerated.
2. Chocolate Cake: Preheat the oven to 160C degrees. Grease the pan with butter, making sure all the folds are well covered. Sprinkle the mixture of sugar and cocoa nibs on the sides of the pan, remove leftovers.
3. In a small saucepan heat oil with honey, while the oil is hot, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool.
4. In a medium bowl mix Muscovado sugar, flour and cocoa.
5. In a mixer bowl beat the egg whites, white sugar and salt until a stable foam is obtained.
6. Gradually fold the dry ingredients mixture into the egg whites until a uniform mixture is obtained.
7. Gradually fold in the chocolate and oil mixture (it’s important that the mixture is not too hot but warm).
8. Pour half of the mixture into the pan, place the chocolate praliné ring on top of the mass and pour the rest of the mixture over it.
9. Bake for about 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
10. Chocolate Ganache: In a medium pot, heat the cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat and strain the cream into the bowl with the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes before stirring. Using a spatula, slowly and gently begin to stir together the chocolate and cream. Stir slowly and carefully for a few minutes, until you have a glossy ganache. Pour on the cake and enjoy 🙂