Week 33: Devil’s food cake with chocolate crème pâtissière

This is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe. After trying so many chocolate cake recipes, I have yet to find one to beat this in terms of taste and simplicity.

This time I halved the recipe and baked the cake in 2 6-inch tines. And I sandwiched a generous layer of chocolate creme pattisier.

Makes enough to pipe a generous layer to fill an 8-inch cake

250 grams whole milk

2 large egg yolks

35 grams sugar

1.5 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted

100 grams bittersweet chocolate, melted

20 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature


1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 60C remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

I heard plenty of horror stories about creme pattisier, but really, this is the third time I made this, and never had any problems. In fact, I didn’t even measure the temperature before adding the butter and it turned out okay. I guess the most important point is to ensure the egg yolks are tempered properly (and not scrambled), and also to ensure you never stop whisking the mixture when it is put on the heat. That way, once you achieve the desired thickness (coats back of spoon), you know to remove it from the heat immediately.


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