Friday, April 16, 2010

Alhambra(Rich Chocolate Cake) - Metric

Chocolate Cake on FoodistaChocolate CakeIn my opinion the king of all chocolate cakes is the Alhambra. The techniques to make this cake are very involved, and the glacage coating step at the end is one of the most difficult skills to perfect*. During my time at Le Cordon Bleu this cake was our introduction to decorative piping, and marzipan work. I still to this day teach those wishing to perfect these skills to pick up a jar of clay just like the one you used as a child, and a tube of toothpaste to use in your practice. Both can be reused, and will save you a great deal of money over throwing away costly ingredients. For a variation of the Alhambra try the Sacher Torte which is identical in every way with the exception of the filling. The Sacher Torte is filled with Apricot jam in place of the Ganache.

Sachertorte aux Noisettes( Very Dense Sponge)
Cocoa Pods
55 g ground hazelnuts
40 g soft flour
40 g cocoa powder
110 g caster sugar
135 g unsalted butter
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
60 g caster sugar

120 mL water
150 g sugar
1x5 mL spoon coffee extract
75 mL rum

250 mL cream
250 g dark chocolate couverture

150 mL cream
150 g dark chocolate couverture
50 g butter

Finition/Décoration- Optional
Ganache or chocolate couverture for writing and other piping
Marzipan or modeling chocolate for roses and leaves
Cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Double butter an 10 inch cake pan and line with parchment. Lightly dust pan with flour.
2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, hazelnuts together
3. Cream the butter and 110 g of caster sugar together
4. Lightly beat the egg yolks, cream the yolks into the butter
5. Whisk egg whites to soft peak
6. Add 60 g caster sugar to the egg whites, whisk whites to stiff peak
7. In a separate bowl fold in 1/3 of the egg whites with 1/2 of the dry ingredients until just incorporated, add an additional 1/3 of the egg whites and fold in.
8. Add the remaining 1/2 of the dry ingredients, and fold gently into your mixture. Fold in the remaining 1/3 of the egg whites.
9. Pour batter into your cake pan and level. Bake the sponge at 160°C for approximately 45 minutes, or a toothpick inserted in the center is removed clean.

Make the Ganache-

1. Place cream into a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat.
2. Once cream is boiled add all chocolate at once.
3. Whisk until smooth, transfer to a stainless bowl, cover, and allow to sit overnight.

Make the Imbibage-
1. Mix 120 mL of water and 150 g of sugar together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce by 1/2, remove from heat and add 5 mL of coffee extract and 75 mL rum. Whisk to incorporate. Reserve.


1. When you're sponge is cold, slice horizontally to divide the sponge into two separate discs of equal thickness. The top portion will now become the base of your cake, and must now be inverted onto your cake card with the cut facing up.
2. Using a pastry brush gently dab the Imbibage onto the sponge making sure to coat evenly. Do not allow yourself to go overboard, the purpose is to provide moisture to the cake without making your cake soggy.
3. Using a pastry bag pipe the ganache starting from the center of your sponge in a circular pattern until the sponge is completely covered.
4. Add the remaining layer of sponge creating a sandwich appearance with sponge, ganache, sponge as your cake.
5. Brush top layer of the sponge with the Imbibage, and immediately place the whole cake into the freezer.
6. Make the glacage-by boiling 150 mL of cream and immediately removing from heat. Add 150 g of dark chocolate couverture, and 50 g of unsalted butter and whisk smooth using a spoon to prevent incorporating air into your mixture.
7. Place a wire cake cooling rack over the top of the sheet pan. Place cake on the rack and gently pour 1/3 of the glacage on the top of the sponge slowly just until the cake is covered. Smooth with a cake spatula and return the cake to the freezer for several minutes.
8. Remove the cake from the freezer, and gently smooth the glacage with a cake spatula. Add 1/3 of the glacage to the sponge however this time to not smooth with a spatula. Wait several minutes, and pour the remaining glacage on making sure the cake is completely covered. This process should leave you with a perfectly smooth exterior coating on the cake. If not, make a second batch of glacage and repeat the process over the previous glacage layer.

*Most commercial glacage applications are performed using an enrobing machine as it speeds up the process a great deal.

1 comment:

  1. Which Le Cordon Bleu did you go to? I went to the London one and I have a different recipe.