09 January 2009

Succés au Chocolat - "Chocolate success"

On Christmas day I promised you the recipe for the cake in the photo, well finally it has arrived.
It is my version of a famous french cake called: Succés au Chocolat. It is made of 3 components: a layer of chocolate ganache encased between 2 hazelnut cakes then covered in a chocolate glazing.
It is easier to make than it seems. The first step is making the cakes, then the ganache then the glazing.

Succés au chocolat
2 spring form baking tins 24 cm/9" in diameter
2 small cooling racks (not smaller than 9" in width and length)
1 plate/dish larger than the cake diameter
1 serving plater

Hazelnut cakes
8 eggs
400 gr sugar
200 gr melted unsalted butter
200 gr ground hazelnuts (or almonds - almond meal) I usually ground the hazelnuts rather than buying them already grounded, it stays fresher that way.
4 TBSP all purpose flour

Separate the egg whites from the yolks (you can use the yolks in a custard) and whip the whites till firm, then add the sugar (like you would do for meringue).
Then gently fold in the melted and cooled down butter, the ground hazelnuts/almonds and finally the flour.
When all well integrated pour half into each greased baking tin that you have previously lined with baking paper.
Place in pre-heated oven at 385/390 F and bake for 20 to 30 mn (depending on your oven), the outside should be crispy and dry and the inside moist but cooked.
When baked turn upside down on a cooling rack and remove the baking paper (if you wait it will stick and will be very hard to remove), let the cakes cool.

Chocolate Ganache
200 gr dark chocolate (it is best to use chocolate that has a cocoa content of 60% or more)
200 gr heavy whipping cream
30 gr honey

Chop the chocolate into smaller pieces and place in a saucepan in a hot water bath (bain marie) then let it melt.
In a separate saucepan bring the cream and honey to a boil then let the liquid cool down.
Once the chocolate is melted and cooled down a bit add the cream/honey mix while mixing continuously, at first it will kind of solidify but keep adding the liquid and stirring vigorously then you will obtain a smooth and shinny cream like chocolate ganache. Let it cool down at room temperature till it starts "gelling" a bit.

Chocolate glaze (glaçage au chocolat)
90 gr extra dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa content)
90 gr normal dark chocolate (minimum 52% cocoa content)
125 gr unsalted butter

Cut chocolate in smaller pieces and place in a saucepan in a hot water bath (bain marie), add the butter and let it all melt.
This will be done last and after the cake has been assembled as it has to be poured hot over the cake.

Assembling the cake
Place 1 hazelnut cake upside up on a cooling rack, spread the chocolate ganache evenly on top of it then place the second cake on top of the ganache and place it all in the fridge or freezer for faster result to cool down, the ganache will start getting harder but not too hard (like butter left out of the fridge for 30mn).
At that point take it out and place the cooling rack with the cake on top of the large plate and pour over it the warm/hot glaze/glaçage it should be quite liquid, it will spill over (thus the larger plate) and spread it evenly with a long spatula, cover the sides and smooth them too.
At this point you can delicately remove the cake from the cooling rack using a large spatula (or 2) and place it on a serving platter (it can be a little bit tricky so if you don't feel confident enough wait till the chocolate glazing has cooled down to move the cake and use the left over glaze to touch up). When all the cake is covered place in the fridge and let it cool down till the chocolate solidifies.
Keep it in the fridge and bring it out 1h before serving it.
In my opinion this cakes tastes best the day after making it so plan ahead. It's great for special occasions and tastes totally delicious.
You can also freeze it properly wrapped and use in a couple of weeks, just make sure to take it out of the freezer 24h before using it to thaw properly in the fridge.

Bon appétit and bonne année!

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