"Laurence and Véronique" Chocolate Cake Recipe
"Laurence and Véronique" Chocolate Cake
Flavors of Belgium
Total time: 1hr to 2hr
Preparation and baking time: 70 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

An original recipe from  Pierre Wynants of the restaurant Comme Chez Soi, Brussels

The white chocolate cream and the meringue can easily be made a day ahead. It will make assembly easier. 

Laurence and Véronique are the names of my daughters, who love chocolate. 

- 150 g (5 oz.) bitter Chocolate
- 50 g (2 oz.) shavings from the same chocolate
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) very strong coffee
- 125 g (4 oz.) fine granulated sugar
- 75 g (5 tbsp.) butter
- 4 1/2 sheets of gelatin
- (1 sheet = about 2 1/2 g)
- 200 ml (3/4 cup) crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 75 g (2 1/2 oz.) white chocolate
- 65 ml (1/4 cup) milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 large egg yolk
- 60 g (2 oz.) blanched Almonds
- 35 g (1 oz.) blanched hazelnuts
- 10 g (1 tbsp.) sifted flour
- 2 large egg whites
- 10 g (2 tsp.) very fine sugar
- A few drops of peanut oil

Preparing the white chocolate cream (20 minutes)

  1. Soak 1 sheet of gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. 
  2. Melt 75 g (2 1/2 oz.) white chocolate in 65 ml (1/4 cup) milk with the halved vanilla bean. Mix well. 
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 egg yolk with 25 g (2 tbsp.) sugar. Beat until the mixture is very smooth and pale. 
  4. When mixture 2 is well melted, pour it into mixture 3, taking care to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture; whisk everything well; then cook gently over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula. It should thicken gently, but not boil. Mix in the softened gelatin. Strain and let cool, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Whip 100 ml (6 tbsp.) of cream (with no sugar) and fold into the cooled #4 mixture. Let set in the refrigerator.

Almond Hazelnut Meringue (20 minutes)

  1. Finely grind the 60 g (2 oz.) almonds and 35 g (1 oz.) hazelnuts with 75 g (5 tbsp.) sugar and 10 g (1 tbsp.) flour.
  2. Beat the 2 egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into mixture 1. 
  3. Butter a shallow baking sheet about 25 x 16 cm (6 x 10"). Spread out the mixture (#2) and bake in a preheated 200° C (400° F) oven for 10 minutes. Cool. 

Dark Chocolate Cream (15 minutes)

  1. Soak the rest of the gelatin in cold water (5 minutes).
  2. Melt 150 g (5 oz.) bitter chocolate in the coffee with 25 g (2 tbsp.) sugar. Do not boil. When the mixture is melted, whisk it with 65 g (2 oz.) butter; add the drained gelatin and melt. Strain and let cool, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Whip 100 ml (6 tbsp.) cream to stiff peaks (without sugar) and fold into the cooled #2 mixture.

Assembling the cake (10 minutes)

  • Thoroughly oil (though using as little oil as possible) a mold about 25 cm (10") long, 8 cm (3 1/2") wide and 6 cm (2 1/2") tall. Spread the fine sugar on every surface. 
  • Pour in half of the dark chocolate cream. On top, place a rectangle of meringue the dimensions of the mold and about 1 cm thick. On top of the meringue, using a cake lifter, spread the white chocolate cream as evenly as possible. Repeat with another layer of meringue and the rest of the dark chocolate cream. Refrigerate for 24 hours, or even better, for 48. 

Finishing (5 minutes)

  • Cut slices about 2 cm thick and remove them from the pan using a lifter (be careful) and place them onto chilled plates.
  • Sprinkle chocolate shavings all around the cake. 
A white wine from Alsace * Vin d'Alsace Vendange Tardive *Gewurztraminer 1995 Vendange Tardive, Charles St-Peret
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