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Chocolate Dome Cake Tested Recipe

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Chocolate Dome Cake Recipe

When something a little different is called for, I like to make this unusual dome shaped cake.   A genoise cake is cut into layers and soaked with a Grand Marnier and orange syrup, then the layers are filled with a silky chocolate mousse that is finally smothered with a shiny ganache.  Don't let the length of the recipe put you off.    Breaking the steps down over a few days makes it very manageable and the cake can be assembled the day before serving.

This is not your classic genoise recipe.  Although the whole eggs and sugar are beaten together and the flour is then added, it does not contain any melted butter.  Genoise is the type of cake that is enhanced by a soaking syrup and this orange flavored syrup nicely complements the chocolate mousse filling.  I hesitate to give the exact amount of syrup to brush on each layer, as much depends on the dryness, or lack thereof, of the genoise.  You may need all or only part of the recipe for the soaking syrup.

The famous chef, Michel Richard, made this wonderful cake during Julia Child's "Cooking with Master Chefs" television series.  It looked so beautiful that I hurried out and bought her book so I could make this wonderful dessert.  The original recipe called for covering the dome with  melted chocolate, which was a little tricky, so I have used a ganache instead. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.  Butter and flour a 4-cup (948 ml) stainless steel bowl (8 x 3 inches) (20 x 8 cm).  Set aside while you make the cake.

For the Genoise Cake:  In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for about five minutes, or until pale, thick and fluffy.  (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.)   Sift half the flour over the egg mixture and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula, just until the flour is incorporated.  Sift the remaining flour into the batter and fold in.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place the cake on a wire rack to cool and then remove from pan.

Note:  You can make the cake several days in advance.  Just wrap the cake in plastic wrap, place it back into the bowl, and refrigerate until ready to continue the recipe.  A cake that is made several days in advance will soak up more of the soaking syrup than a cake that is used the same day as it is made.

For the Soaking Syrup:  In a measuring cup combine the orange juice, Grand Marnier, and enough sugar to make it sweet enough to suit your taste.

Using a large serrated knife, cut the genoise into three equal layers.  Cut off the hard crusty top of the genoise as it will not absorb the soaking syrup.  Set aside while you make the chocolate mousse.

For Chocolate Mousse:  Before whipping the cream, place the bowl and whisk in the freezer or fridge for about 15-30 minutes until they are very cold.  Meanwhile melt the chopped chocolate in a saucepan over a pan of simmering water (or double boiler).  Remove from heat and let cool until the chocolate is at room temperature.

Whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. 

Note:  The tricky part of this recipe is to fold the cream into the chocolate without the chocolate seizing and the chocolate mousse, instead of being smooth, has small bits of hard chocolate in it.  If this happens it is still useable but the mousse will not have that smooth texture.  So make sure the melted chocolate is at room temperature before you add the cream. (Seizing of the chocolate happens when the temperature of the chocolate and the cream are not close enough.)

Now, with a spatula, quickly fold a little of the cream into the chocolate.  Doing this step quickly helps to avoid the chocolate seizing.  Once a little cream has been added, quickly fold in about half of the cream.  Then fold in the rest. 

To Assemble the Cake:  Take the bowl you baked the cake in and line it with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap overlaps the top of the bowl.  Place the top rounded piece of the cake into the bottom of the bowl.  Using a pastry brush, soak the genoise with the soaking syrup.  (The amount of soaking syrup the cake will absorb (anywhere from say 3-6 tablespoons) will depend on how old the cake is i.e. a cake that is a few days old will absorb more syrup than a freshly baked cake.)  Spoon about 1/3 of the chocolate mousse onto the soaked top layer of the cake.  Place the next layer of the cake on top of the mousse and brush the layer with some of the soaking syrup.  Spoon the rest of the chocolate mousse on top of the cake layer.  Cover the mousse with the last layer of cake and brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup.  Lightly press down on the cake and cover the assembled cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours, or even overnight before covering with the ganache.

For the Ganache:  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl.  Set aside.  Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes so the chocolate melts.  Gently stir with a whisk until smooth.  If using, add the liqueur.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and turn the cake, domed side up, onto a cake circle and place on a wire rack.  Lift off the bowl and plastic wrap.  Put the wire rack onto a baking sheet to catch any drips.   Pour the ganache over the cake, making sure you are covering all the sides of the cake with the ganache.  If there are any bare spots on the sides of the cake, scoop up a little of the leftover ganache and cover the bare spots.   Once the cake is covered with the ganache, using a large spatula, remove the cake from the wire rack and place on a serving plate.  At this point you can decorate the cake with truffles and/or berries, if desired.  Refrigerate the cake until serving.  The cake be completely assembled the day before serving.

Note:  Leftover ganache can be strained to remove any crumbs and used to make truffles.

Serves 8

Genoise Cake:

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

3/4 cup (95 grams) cake flour, sifted

Soaking Syrup:

3/4 cup (180 ml) orange juice

Granulated white sugar to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Chocolate Mousse:

5 ounces (140 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream


5 ounces (140 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

1/2 tablespoon brandy or cognac (optional)






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