This cake was the reason I bought Wacky cakes & kooky cookies by Gerhard Jenne 4 years ago…and yes, it took me that long to finally make it. It has never really been off my mind since I first saw it but the marzipan covering looked like a difficult job so I kept putting it off. Finally an occasion arose to make it. Our dear friends A and C (and their little one, J) from Israel came to stay with us for a week in October. C is a wonderful baker herself so I needed to make something to impress 😉 This was the perfect cake for it.
I like working with marzipan but this chocolate marzipan was different to work with than regular marzipan. It was hard to roll out. Not that it crumbled or something like that but it took like only forever to flatten. It’s good that I can be very patient but I think it took me an HOUR to flatten it to the required thickness. I thought it had to do with the fact that it was chilled (the recipe required it so I did what the recipe required…this time). A week later I rolled out the left-over marzipan for another recipe without chilling it but that didn’t make a big difference. Probably the amount of cocoa powder and the corn syrup did something to the marzipan to make it more difficult to roll. Also I rolled it between baking paper instead of the recommended thick plastic sheets…
The colour of the chocolate marzipan was a very deep dark brown. I suppose you could use brown food colouring but you’d end up using a lot to get a dark brown shade and you’d probably taste it too. And of course you’d miss the chocolate taste of the marzipan. So in sum I wouldn’t recommend using food colouring.
I didn’t use the chocolate sponge recipe but instead used a chocolate cake recipe I made in the early days of my blog. Now that I think about it, I didn’t even have my blog when I made it but I had a photograph of it and used that for one of my first posts.
Gerhard Jenne’s book is not a good as I had hoped though. I don’t like the measurements he uses in the book. Who uses cups to measure chopped chocolate for a ganache and not even state how finely the chocolate has to be chopped? I’m used to the metric system but can switch to cups if needed but then I need a little more info to feel assured that I’m using the right amount than simply 1 cup of chopped chocolate. I searched everywhere to see if there was some standard for a cup of chopped chocolate but as I suspected there was none. Still not sure about how much chocolate you had to use…I just chopped it in Â½ x Â½ cm (1/5 x 1/5 in) pieces and it worked out ok.
As for the recipes in the book, only a few ones I really liked with this one being my favorite. Another really pretty cake was this chocolate cake with star and dot decoration that I made a few years ago for A’s birthday (my A that is).
I loved the contrast between the very dark chocolate and hazelnut taste of the cake and ganache against the sweet chocolate and almond taste of the marzipan. I made the cake the evening before our friends came and served it the next day at room temperature. It was even better the day after when we ate it chilled. The ganache and the cake became more brownie-like. I thought it was definitely better chilled.
One piece of advice when your take a bite: do not inhale 😉
Chocolate hazelnut ganache cake with chocolate marzipan covering (from Wacky cakes & kooky cookies by Gerhard Jenne)
1 tbs light corn syrup
500 g (1 lb) marzipan
55 g (2 oz) cocoa powder, sifted
Knead the corn syrup into the marzipan. Add the cocoa powder and knead it into the marzipan. Wrap in plastic wrap until needed.
Chocolate hazelnut cake (from Culinair met Chocolade by Patricia Lousada)
45 g (1 Â½ oz) hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
70 g (2 Â½ oz) caster sugar
90 g (3 Â¼ oz) butter, diced
90 g (3 Â¼ oz)dark chocolate (70%)
2 eggs, separated
Â½ ts vanilla extract
15 g (Â½ oz) flour
Preheat the oven to 190Â°C (375Â°F). Grease two 15 cm (6 in) springforms bottom lined with baking paper.
Ground the hazelnuts together with 1 tbs of the sugar. Melt the butter, turn off the heat and mix in the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring a few times.
Beat the egg yolks with 45 g (1 Â½ oz) of the sugar until they are a light colour. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and keep beating until the egg whites are stiff.
Mix a big spoonful of egg white into the chocolate mixture to make it airy. Fold the remainig egg white in. Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes. The middle of the cake should still be moist. Allow the cake to cool down in the springform on a wire rack.
180 g (1 cup) dark chocolate (70%), chopped (Â½ x Â½ cm – 1/5 x 1/5 in)
225 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
Bring the cream to a boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool down and firm up up enough so it’s not really liquid but also not to firm because you have to add diced cake and mix it in the ganache.
Cut one of the chocolate cakes into 2 layers, one thicker than the other (the thick layer will be the base, the thin layer the lid). Cut the second cake into 4 x 4 cm (1 Â½ in) cubes.
Mix the cubes with Â¾ of the ganache, trying not to break up the cubes too much.
Stick the cake base onto a cake board or flat metal tray with a little ganache. Scoop the cubes in the ganache on top of the thicker layer and pat inot a dome shape. Put the sponge lid on top. Cover with plastic wrap and smooth with your hands to form a neat dome shape (it will not look very neat but that doesn’t matter because it will be covered with marzipan). Chill for 1 hour.
Remove the plastic and spread the remaining ganache over the cake (probably you’ll have to heat up the ganache a tiny bit for it to spread, like a few seconds on half power in the microwave).
Roll out the marzipan to about 3 mm (â…› in) thickness. Place on a flat metal tray. Mold the marzipan for a wavy effect. Then slide it onto the cake. Carefully adjust the waves for extra drama. Gently press the marzipan against the base of the cake. Trim the excess marzipan from around the base with a pizza cutter.
Dust the cake generously with cocoa powder. Move and tilt the tray with the cake as you dust so the cocoa powder can collect between the folds.