bruno albouze 12-layer chocolate cake

12-Layer Chocolate Cake

Yields12 ServingsPrep Time45 minsCook Time50 minsTotal Time1 hr 35 minsDifficultyBeginnerRating


Chocolate Pain De Gênes
 250 g almond meal
 250 g powdered sugar
 250 g eggs, at room temp
 50 g all purpose flour or corn starch if GF
 20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
 2 g baking soda
 120 g butter, melted
 100 g water
 100 g sugar
 5 g vanilla optional
 40 g alcohol such as cointreau, grand marnier, rum, zest or extract may be used instead of alcohol.
Chocolate Praliné Ganache Filling
 440 g dark chocolate couverture grade ≈70%
 450 g heavy cream
 350 g milk chocolate
 120 g hazelnut praliné or Nutellaat room temp
 70 g dark chocolate
 10 g neutral oil
Honey Ganache For The Glaze
 200 g dark chocolate
 20 g neutral oil such as grapeseed
 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder
 200 g heavy cream
 60 g honey



Multi-layered cake is a classic dessert that has become very popular in North America. In 2010, a trend called naked cake as emerged in weddings. Same making process as cake layers are baked and stacked with filling but without an outer layer of frosting. My 12-layer chocolate cake can just do that. You will still need to make a third of the honey ganache glaze recipe to cover the top.
The best suitable sponges for a ganache base cake are the viennois biscuit, joconde biscuit and pain de gênes. Pain de Gênes ''bread of Genoa'' is a cake made largely from almond paste, eggs and melted butter, but only a minimal amount of flour. Pain de gênes can be made GF. Cake that contain ganache is best enjoyed at room temperature!. So, leave cake out for a couple of hours prior to serve. You will find the original pain de gênes made with almond paste/marzipan in my Pastry Fundamentals Course. Make a day ahead.

sliced 12-layer chocolate cake

Chocolate Pain De Gênes

Make the pain de gêne/sponge one or 2 days prior to use; it will be easier to slice. Use a tall 8 -inch/20 cm diameter cake pan for the sponge. Grease with soften butter and flour. Use butter and cooking spray if making the cake GF. In the food processor, turn powdered sugar and almond meal to fine powder (this almond-sugar mixture is called tant pour tant/TPT in macaron making). In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed the almond-sugar mix and eggs for 7 mins or so. Meanwhile, sift together flour with cocoa powder and baking soda. In a large pastry bowl, mix one-third of the batter with the melted butter. Add the sifted powders and fold in the remaining batter. Pour mixture in the prepared mold.



Set oven temp to 350ºF/180ºC. Bake sponge for ≈ 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 mins and de-mold. Leave cake out or refrigerate overnight prior to slice.

chocolate pain de gênes


Bring to a boil water, sugar and vanilla. Flavored with alcohol if desired. Use syrup at room temp.

Chocolate Praliné Ganache Filling

Chop chocolates if needed and melt over a bain-marie; stirring up every so often – do not over heat chocolate; remove from bain-marie as soon as it is melted. Meanwhile, bring to a quick boil heavy cream. Mix a third of the hot cream in the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula and add remaining heavy cream gradually. Smooth out and add hazelnut praliné/spread (it must be at room temp, do not add it cold). Smooth out ganache using an immersion blender if needed. Leave ganache at room temperature until ready to use.

hazelnut ganache


Use a 8X3 -inch/20X8 cm cake ring lined with cake collar or parchment. Place prepared cake ring onto a flat tray lined with parchment. Cut out sponge into 6 slices and keep then in order. The bottom of the sponge should be the bottom of the cake. Place the first sponge in the cake ring and and press down evenly using a flat device (ramekin). Moisturize sponge with the punch (do not over do). Then pipe out the first layer of ganache making sure it touches all sides of the ring. Do not overload with ganache; the sponge and ganache should have the same height. Do likewise with remaining sponges, punch and ganache. Finish cake with a thin layer of ganache and even out using an off set spatula.

12-layer chocolate cake montage


Freeze cake for 4 hours at least before un-molding. Keep frozen until ready to glaze.

finished 12-layer chocolate cake


Chablon is a mixture of melted dark chocolate with the addition of 10% of oil. It strengthen cakes especially when they have been moisturized with syrup. It remains optional though. Flip frozen cake and quickly coat the bottom cake with the melted chocolate mixture. Flip again and keep cake frozen until ready to glaze.


Honey Ganache For The Glaze

Melt chocolate with oil (do not over heat chocolate–just melted and remove from bain-marie). Transfer melted chocolate to a narrow container and add cocoa powder. Meanwhile, bring to a light boil heavy cream combined with honey and pour in chocolate and mix using an immersion blender keeping the nozzle down to prevent air bubbles to form. Pass through a sieve and keep at room temp until ready to glaze.

ganache glaze

How To Glaze Cake

Place frozen or partially frozen cake onto a tray lined with plastic wrap and a cooling rack. Check chocolate glaze temp, and set it at 108ºF/42ºC. Glaze cake from the edges going toward the center. Right after, even out the surface of the cake with a large offset spatula going from 6 o'clock to noon; do it twice if needed. Tap tray a few times against the countertop and leave it out to set for 10 mins or so. To remove the glazed cake from the cooling rack, heat up a large offset spatula and run under the cake and transfer to a flat tray.

glazing chocolate cake

How To Cut The Cake

Cake must be completely thawed before slicing out. Mark 12 portions with a chef knife first. Heat up blade in hot water or run quickly over the flame and make the cuts cake cleaning off and rewarm blade between each cut.

cutting chocolate cake

How To Serve It

To get a shinny finish, quickly run a kitchen blowtorch or hair dryer over the cake or slice. A chocolate ganache base cake is at its best served at room temperature. Microwave slice a few seconds for an incredible melt-in-mouth effect. For the ultimate wow effect, flambéed it right before serving!



Well, if the room temperature is above 77ºF/25ºC, the cake may be kept out for up to 2 days. Otherwise, keep it in the fridge for up to a week. Ganache base cakes can also be vacuumed-sealed a kept frozen for up to 6 months. Do do so, cut cake into desired portions and freeze overnight. Then vacuum-seal 2. When ready to serve, remove frozen cake from the bag and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

vacuumed-sealed cake

5 thoughts on “12-Layer Chocolate Cake”

  1. Constantine Steriopoulos

    Tried this recipe a few days ago after coming across the author’s YouTube channel. Without a doubt, it helped me make the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted in my life. (I’m 54 yrs old and tried a lot of cakes in that time including some from various patisseries during my travels in Europe.)
    With the $25 worth of Callebaut Belgian chocolate that I used this was not an inexpensive option for a cake but, after all, Mr. Albuze is the “real deal” and perfection, rather than profit, would appear to be the goal of his guidance. My local, internationally experienced and French trained baker’s Belgian chocolate cake ($45) simply cannot compare.
    Thank you Mr Albouze for sharing your art in such an entertaining yet clear and concise fashion. I look forward to trying out your other recipes!
    All the best,

  2. Nach dem die Gäste den Kuchen probiert hatten, musste ich sofort ein Stück nur für mich sichern, eher die große Schlacht um diese Köstlichkeit begann. Ein absoluter Traum! Und ich, als der Hersteller dieser Köstlichkeit, war der König! Danke Maestro Albouze, für dieses phänomenales Rezept!

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