- For the chocolate pastry:
- 260 g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 120 g butter, softened
- 3 t honey
- 60 g cocoa powder
- ½ t salt
- 1½ t bicarbonate of soda
- 450 g cake flour
- For the chocolate cream:
- 350 ml milk
- 1 t vanilla essence
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 t cornflour
- ½ cup sour cream
- 100 g milk chocolate, melted
- 90 g butter, softened
- 280 ml whipping cream
- For the cream frosting:
- 75 g mascarpone
- 175 g whipping cream
- 1 t vanilla essence
- 55 g icing sugar, sifted
- To decorate:
- offcuts of pastry
- cocoa powder, for dusting
1. Preheat a Thermofan oven to 170 °C. Grease 2 large baking trays with non-stick cooking spray and line with baking paper.
2. Prepare a double boiler by placing just enough water in a saucepan (large enough to fit a large heatproof glass or metal bowl) that when the water boils, it does not touch the bowl but rather the steam from the boiling water heats up the contents in the bowl.
3. To make the pastry, combine the sugar, eggs, butter, honey, cocoa powder and salt in the heatproof glass bowl. Place it onto the prepared double boiler, ensuring that the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Use a whisk to stir continuously until the butter melts.
4. Whisk in the bicarbonate of soda – the mixture will double in volume. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
5. Add the cake flour and beat until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into 12 parts; keep it covered while you roll each part out. Roll the dough out into 1–2-mm thick pieces. The dough will rise and shrink in the oven, so roll it out large enough to cut a 20-cm diameter disc after baking.
6. Place the baking trays (one at a time, depending on the size of the oven) in the oven and bake for 12–14 minutes until the pastry is slightly browned.
7. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a work surface. Using a 20-cm diameter entremet ring/adjustable pastry ring, immediately cut the baked pastry and leave to cool. Keep the offcuts in an airtight container to use for decorating later. Repeat with the remaining pastry. If the pastry hardens, microwave for a few seconds to soften.
8. To make the chocolate cream, place the milk and vanilla essence in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
9. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, sugar and cornflour, whisking to incorporate.
10. Once the vanilla-milk is simmering, pour half of it into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Transfer the combined egg-milk mixture into the remaining vanilla-milk mixture in the saucepan, whisking to combine.
11. Add the sour cream and stir to form a custard. Remove from the heat, add the melted chocolate and butter, and mix well. Cover the surface of the custard with cling wrap, ensuring that the cling wrap touches the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight.
12. The next day, remove the custard from the fridge. Add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer and use a whisk attachment to beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whisked cream into the chilled custard until just incorporated. Divide the filling into 11 equal parts and set aside until needed.
13. To assemble, line the base of a 20-cm diameter entremet ring or adjustable pastry ring with cling wrap, and place onto a baking sheet. Place 1 chocolate pastry disc in the base of the ring and spread 1 portion of chocolate cream over it. Repeat with the remaining chocolate pastry discs and chocolate cream until you have 12 layers. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
14. Note: The top layer/pastry disc does not get a chocolate cream layer.
15. For the cream frosting, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a whisk attachment to beat the ingredients until stiff peaks form. Remove the cake from the fridge, carefully remove the pastry ring and cling wrap, and cover the top and sides of the cake with the cream frosting.
16. To decorate, place the offcut pastry pieces into a food processor and blend until fine.
17. Gently press the pastry crumbs onto the side of the cake, covering it well. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cook's note: This chocolate-honey cake is one of the most popular cakes in Russia, comprising 12 beautiful layers of chocolate-honey biscuits sandwiched with chocolate cream. It’s definitely one to make if you’re looking to impress your loved ones and it’s bound to become a firm favourite.
This recipe is an extract from My Sweet Life: A simple masterclass in home baking, published by Human & Rousseau and available at all good book stores.