Chocolate-Covered Marble Praliné Cake
So many times I’m asked how I came to be in touch with the best pastry chefs in the world, a friendship that is beyond work. The truth is that I’m trying to explain it to myself as well, and not really being able to come up with an exact answer. The passion, the appreciation I have for them, the desire to learn and explore, my love for people, a combination of things that are an integral part of me.
When I first arrived in Paris I had no connection to any of the pastry chefs, I was a stranger trying to get into the secret labs and the chefs didn’t quite understand what the purpose was. Slowly I paved my way in this sweet world, the production labs became my second home, the pastry chefs became my colleagues and some even became friends.
Our relationship with Marletti is such that we were even invited to spend time with him and his family during the “Vacances”, the sacred French summer vacation. Beyond being a talented pastry chef with one of the most spectacular dessert boutiques in Paris, he’s also a charming and warm person and every meeting with him fills me with good energies.
This time we met in his lab, to shoot a preparation video of the Chocolate-Covered Marble and Praliné Cake he recently released. Marletti agreed to share the recipe with us and like any recipe I get from a chef, I made it at home and took some photos. I changed the recipe a bit and adapted it for the home kitchen, so that you too can make this amazing cake.
The cake consists of a brown mixture with cocoa and a light mixture with pure hazelnut paste. The hazelnut paste gives the cake a deep nutty flavor and great moisture. The top layer consists of praliné, chocolate ganache and candied hazelnuts. And as if that weren’t enough, the whole cake is coated in a delicate chocolate glaçage.
130g butter, softened
200g sugar + 60g Muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
70g heavy whipping cream
60g creme fraiche
210g eggs (around 3 large eggs)
160g flour, sifted
5g baking powder
Pinch of salt
20g flour, sifted
90g pure hazelnut paste
30g cocoa powder, sifted
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
140g heavy whipping cream
130g dark chocolate 70%, chopped
Praline (prepare the day before):
100g± praliné paste, recipe inside
100g hazelnuts, peeled
150g dark chocolate 70%, chopped
120g milk chocolate, chopped
75g canola oil
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. line a 22cm loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until obtain a light and fluffy preparation.
3. Add whipping cream and creme fraiche, beat.
4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt over butter mixture, stir to combine. Don’t over-mix so that the cake does not come out too dense.
6. Divide the mixture into two equal parts, each part in a separate bowl.
7. Hazelnut Batter: Add flour and hazelnut paste to one bowl, mix lightly until golden.
8. Cocoa Batter: Add cocoa to the second mixture, mix lightly until a brown mixture is obtained.
9. Put each mixture in a separate pastry bag.
10. Pipe alternately from both mixtures stripes or dots along and across the mold. Yes, it requires a replacement of the pastry bag each time but it’s worth it 🙂
11. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the cake is firm but not too dry.
12. Dark Chocolate ganache: In a small 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 a minute before stirring. Using a spatula, slowly and gently begin to stir together the chocolate and cream. You should be stirring slowly and carefully for a few minutes until you have a glossy ganache with no air bubbles. Keep in room temperature.
13. Candied Hazelnuts: Over medium heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
14. Using a cooking thermometer, check the temperature of the syrup, which should reach 118 degrees Celsius. Add hazelnuts and stir with a wooden spoon, after a few minutes the sugar will first crystallize, that’s fine.
15. Stir until the sugar melts and wraps all the hazelnuts in a fine caramel layer.
16. Remove the caramelized hazelnuts to a baking sheet and let them cool. Using a wooden spoon, separate the hazelnuts when still warm, then let them cool completely.
17. When the cake reaches room temperature, remove it from the pan. Using a long serrated knife, slice the top of the cake to level it out.
18. When the ganache is cold enough, transfer it to a pastry bag and pipe stripes to form a rectangular fence of chocolate ganache on top of the cake (see photo).
19. Pour praliné into the rectangle created from the ganache piping (see photo).
20. Sprinkle candied hazelnuts over the ganache and praliné, freeze for about two hours.
21. Chocolate Glaçage: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave, remove from heat and add the oil, stir until smooth.
22. Remove the cake from the freezer, place it on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the glaçage evenly over the top of your cake until desired coverage is reached. You can re-use the chocolate glaçage that drips onto the baking sheet.
23. Keep the cake in an airtight container and when it reaches room temperature enjoy!