Week 205: Thomas Keller’s Palet d’Or

This is another one of those bakes which is proof that practice makes perfect. I first made this over 4 years ago, just shortly after I started baking. I shall not elaborate on that as a picture speaks a thousand words.

Fast forward 4 years, after countless entremet, mousse, oven burns and random kitchen accidents later, how different they look! Similar-ish recipe (I used a different cake last time), same kitchen, same set of tools. These aren’t as perfect as I hoped – I got a batch of uneven acetate, arrrgh. But, it does look close to perfection, especially next to that attempt from long ago.

This is a very American recipe in that while the ingredients were listed in both metric and imperial, the metric measurement was clearly converted from the imperial. Still, it yields a perfectly moist and delicious devil’s food cake and a very rich chocolate cream. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

For the devil’s food cake

51g plain flour

15g cocoa powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

1/16 tsp baking powder

Pinch of fleur de sel

28g eggs

63g granulated sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla paste

43g mayonnaise

53g water

1) Sift together flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate soda and baking powder and whisk in a pinch of fleur de sel.

2) Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer until thick.

3) Add mayonnaise to egg mixture and whisk until incorporated.

4) Fold in dry ingredients and water in 2 additions.

5) Pour batter into a parchment lined 9″ x 13″ baking tray.

6) Bake in convection oven preheated to 160°C for 8 to 10 minutes. Cake is ready when it springs back when pushed lightly.

7) Cool to room temperature then chill in freezer until required.

For the chocolate cream

167g heavy cream

116g dark chocolate couverture

25g eggs

50g yolks

41g granulated sugar

1) Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks and store in refrigerator.

2) Melt dark chocolate on a water bath. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

3) Add eggs, yolks and sugar into a bowl, and using a hand mixer, whisk on a water bath until 80°C. Allow to cool to room temperature.

4) Fold half of the whipped cream into melted chocolate. Then fold mixture into cooled egg mixture. Then finally fold in the rest of the whipped cream until no more streaks.

5) Prepare 3 x 7cm cake rings by lining the sides with acetate and covering one side of the ring with tightly stretched cling wrap. Placed the prepared cake rings, cling wrap side down on a flat baking tray.

6) Fill each cake ring with 55g of chocolate cream. Cut 6 x 6cm rounds of devil’s food cake and place 3 rounds in each of the ring. Fill with another 50g chocolate cream and top with another layer of cake.

7) Place in the freezer overnight until completely frozen.

For the chocolate glaze

3 gelatine leaves

150g heavy cream

225g granulated sugar

180g water

75g cocoa powder

Gold leaf and cocoa nibs for decoration

1) Bloom gelatine leaves in cold water.

2) Place cream, sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

3) Whisk in the cocoa powder and simmer for about 15 minutes. It is ready when it leaves a clear trail when you run your finger over the back of a spoon coated with the glaze.

4) Remove from heat and squeeze excess water from the gelatine leaves and whisk in until fully melted.

5) When cooled to 35°C, remove the frozen cakes and glaze. Top with a small piece of gold leaf and place a row of cocoa nibs around the bottom of each cake.

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