Chocolate Cake Not for the Timid

Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: My mouth waters thinking about La Mort au Chocolat served at Les Anges and I've got to have the recipe no matter what. Can you help?


Dear Donna: The recipe, which we regard as a Food Section treasure, is safely guarded in our file and ready for circulation upon request. Thanks for asking. You will see at a glance that the project could literally mean la mort au chocolat for the timid. But if you are game, and have the time, making this incredible cake could be fun.


(Death by Chocolate)

Meringue Layer

Chocolate Genoise

Chocolate Mousse


1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds

10 to 12 whole hazelnuts

Sliced almonds or hazelnuts

Prepare Meringue Layer and set aside. Prepare Chocolate Genoise and set aside. (These steps can be prepared well in advance.) Just before assembling, prepare Chocolate Mousse and Ganache.

To assemble, spoon half of Ganache over Meringue Layer in pan and smooth evenly over surface.

Cut Chocolate Genoise into 2 (1/4-inch-thick) slices, reserving remaining cake for another use. Place 1 cake slice over Ganache and Meringue Layer. Cover with about half of Chocolate Mousse. Top with second layer of cake. Spoon remaining mousse over cake and chill until set, at least 4 to 6 hours.

Just before serving, spoon remaining Ganache on cake. Carefully line sides of cake with chopped toasted almonds. Decorate top with hazelnut roses by placing whole hazelnut evenly around cake, then place almond slices around each hazelnut to resemble petals. Makes 1 large cake.

Meringue Layer

1/3 cup egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine egg whites and sugar in top of double boiler. Heat to lukewarm. Remove from heat. Pour into mixing bowl and beat about 15 minutes at medium speed, until stiff. Quickly fold in cocoa to prevent meringue from falling.

Grease 10-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper and grease again. Pipe meringue through pastry bag using round tube, forming spiral on bottom of springform pan, starting from center and working out toward sides until bottom is completely covered. Bake at 250 degrees 2 hours. Cool in pan.

Chocolate Genoise

10 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Grease 10x3-inch round baking pan, line with parchment paper and grease again. Combine beaten eggs and sugar in top of double boiler. Heat to lukewarm. Remove from heat. Pour into mixing bowl and beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until batter forms ribbon.

Sift flour and cocoa into batter and fold to combine. Fold in butter. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched and wood pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly. Remove from pan.

Chocolate Mousse

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, preferably Belgian

6 egg yolks

8 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water. Remove pan from heat and cool. Beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat sugar into egg whites. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Lightly fold 1/4 of beaten whites into chocolate. Fold in remaining egg whites, lightly but thoroughly. Chill.


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Belgian

2/3 cup whipping cream

Heat chocolate and cream together in top of double boiler over simmering water until chocolate melts. Blend well.

For the convenience of our readers, the recipe for Tortilla Flats soup from the Follow Your Heart restaurant printed in last week's Culinary SOS column was modified by substituting chicken broth for a broth product available only at the restaurant. The restaurant has asked us to mention that no chicken broth or any animal product is used at the Follow Your Heart restaurant, which is dedicated to vegetarianism.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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