It's January and The Cake Slice Bakers group is starting a new cake cookbook - "The European Cake Cookbook" by Tatyana Nesteruk.
This isn't a run-of-the-mill everyday cake cookbook. It's a trip around the world, beginning with Chocolate St. Honoré Cake.
I have to admit that when I think European cakes, I think of dryer cakes with no frosting - maybe with a layer of raspberry jam somewhere on them. That's certainly not the case with this cake!
I can see already that the cakes from this book are going to present more of a challenge for my lowly cake baking skills. I chose this Chocolate St. Honoré Cake because it uses puff pastry, which I've never used in anything before. Of course, it's store-bought puff pastry, but still.
Then, on top of the puff pastry, you add a layer of pate a choux. Pate a choux (pateh ah shoe) is easier to make than you would think, so don't let it scare you away.
After the pastry is baked, it's layered with luscious whipped cream and from-scratch chocolate custard. Oh wait, let's make a few profiteroles (mini round eclairs) also filled with chocolate custard and mound them on top the cake.
What you end up with is a big ole' French pastry that makes you feel like you're sitting in an outside cafe eating a little slice of heaven.
Grab a cappuccino, sit back and enjoy. This is an incredible cake.
Stretch your baking wings and try this fantastic, impressive Chocolate St. Honoré Cake. Give yourself plenty of time to make this.
Make sure and take note of the ingredient changes I made in the Tips and Stuff section of the recipe below.
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
- 1 C water
- ½ C (113 g) unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 C (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- Chocolate Custard:
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ C (67 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoon (18 g) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) water
- 1 ½ C (355 ml) milk
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ C (90 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ C (57 g) unsalted butter
- Chocolate Dip:
- 1 C (175 g) chocolate melts, melted
- 8 oz (227 g) mascarpone cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) cognac
- 2 C (473 ml) heavy cream, chilled
- ½ C (100 g) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Transfer the thawed pastry sheets onto the baking sheets and cut out two 9" circles with a knife. Refreeze the scraps for future use. Pierce the puff pastry circles all over with a fork to prevent air pockets and set aside.
- To make the pate a choux: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, butter and salt, and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a simmer. Add the flour all at once and continue cooking and stirring until a dough ball forms (30 seconds to 1 minute).
- Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl and let cool for about 10-15 minutes until just warm to the touch. After cooled, add the eggs, one at a time and mix well between additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Transfer the sticky dough into a pastry bag tipped with a large, round tip.
- Pipe the dough over the unbaked puff pastry, creating three concentric rings. With the remaining dough, pipe out 1 to 1 ½" dollops for the profiteroles. Wet the tips of your fingers and smooth down the top of the dollops slightly.
- Move your oven racks to middle and mid-upper levels if needed. Bake the layers at 425° for 10 minutes. Switch the pans to the opposite level, turning the pan front to back as you do.
- Reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 35 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and use a small filling tip (or chop stick) to punch a little hole in the bottom of each profiterole. Cool completely, approximately 30 minutes.
- For the custard: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. In a small cup, combine the cornstarch and water to create a smooth slurry and add it to the egg yolk mixture and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until steaming hot.
- Temper the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture by drizzling the milk in very slowly while constantly briskly whisking. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens into a custard, 4-6 minutes.
- Remove the custard from the heat, and whisk in the chocolate and butter until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once the custard has cooled, transfer it into a pastry bag and fill each profiterole. Melt the chocolate melts and dip the tops of each profiterole in the chocolate, then place on a rack to set.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the softened cheese* and cognac for 1 minute until creamy. In a mixing bowl, combine the chilled heavy cream and sugar. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the cream on high speed for 2-3 minutes, until soft peaks form. Add the cheese and whisk again until creamy and stiff peaks form (45 seconds to 1 minute). Transfer the whipped cream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip.
- Generously pipe dollops of cream on the outer rim and between the outer and 2nd ring of the layer you'll use as the bottom layer. Then, fill the center with a generous amount of chocolate custard. Place the top layer on top of the other and finish off with rings and dollops of whipped cream and the chocolate custard. Top with profiteroles if desired and drizzle with any leftover melted chocolate.
- Store in the refrigerator if you have any leftover.
Tips and Stuff:
Changes I made to the ingredients:
I used salted butter.
For the chocolate dip, I used chocolate chips. After I melted them, I stirred in a couple of tablespoons of the whipped cream to make it a creamy lighter profiterole chocolate dip.
*Instead of mascarpone cheese, I used softened cream cheese. In place of the cognac, I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
If you don't have pastry bags and/or tips, use a zip lock back with the corner snipped. (Filling the profiteroles, though, works better with a long thin tip.)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 260mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g
Nutrition Values are Approximate