This cake could definitely be inspired from some chocolate bars we have all enjoyed as kids. The base of this cake is a soft macaron like texture called dacquoise. It is coated with a thin layer of milk chocolate glaze and almonds. Then topped with a luscious ganache and chocolate mousse. Doable and simply delicious! Inspired by Chef Guillaume Cuoco.
This recipe makes a 8''/20cm diameter tart ring plus a couple of individuals. Or a 9''x13''/23x33cm baking tray lined with greased parchment paper.
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar, and one third of the sugar on medium speed. Keep it to foamy stage. Meanwhile, lightly toast nuts over the stove top and cool. In a food processor, blend the nuts first to coarse meal. Add powdered sugar and flour, mix. Set mixer to high speed and beat egg whites into firm peaks adding the remaining sugar gradually. Turn oven on to 400ºF/200ºC. Stop mixer and fold the nuts-sugar mixture into the meringue. Using a large offset spatula, spread dacquoise mixture into desired size.
Bake dacquoise for about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Slowly melt dark chocolate over a water-bath. Meanwhile bring heavy cream to a quick boil. Mix hot cream in the melted chocolate in 3 steps. When the ganache reaches 140ºF/60ºC, add and mix butter with an immersion blender – keep the mixer nozzle down to prevent from forming excessive air bubbles. Tap over the countertop to remove air bubbles. Let cool. Use ganache at 95ºF/35ºF to coat the dacquoise. Pipe out ganache at 77ºF/25ºC for piping. Refrigerate leftover ganache for later use. Reuse at room temp.
Slowly melt milk chocolate along with the oil over a water-bath. Do not over heat. Mix and sieve. Use at 95ºF/35ºC.
Slowly melt dark chocolate over a water-bath. Keep warm at 104ºF/40ºC. Beat heavy cream to medium firm peaks, transfer to a pastry bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Clean the mixing bowl. To make pate a bombe (Italian meringue with egg yolks), cook sugar and water to 245ºF/118ºC. Begin to beat egg yolks on high speed with the whisk attachment. When syrup temperature is reached, stop cooking process by immersing the bottom of the saucepan in water. Pour hot syrup in thin stream in the running mixer. Beat on high speed until egg mixture is fluffy and cool. Fold pate a bombe in melted chocolate that must be at 40ºC. Then add whipped cream. Pipe out mousse within 30 minutes. Chocolate mousse can also be refrigerated in bulk, it will set. Scoop it out to decorate cake. Use leftover mousse to make extra cups.
Flip frozen dacquoise disk (brown side down). Coat dacquoise with a thin layer of ganache, and top with some chopped almonds; freeze a few minutes to set and keep refrigerated. Glaze cake with thin layer of milk chocolate glaze – chill. Pipe out cake with ganache using a French star pastry tip, and refrigerate. Make the chocolate mousse, and pipe out using a large plain pastry tip. Garnish with toasted hazelnut halves and gold leaf. This cake can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for weeks. Enjoy!