Are you craving delicate French desserts? The marjolaine is the queen of cakes, so read up on how to perfect your layers and mix meringues.
Fancy layered chocolate gateaux are common patisserie world habitués, but as is characteristic of this complicated form of French baking, there's a bit more to them than sandwiching cream and cake.
Enter marjolaine, the doyenne of gateaux. This deliciously light, beautifully layered creation is a variation of a dacquoise. It's a rectangular cake decorated with a dark chocolate ganache and a crosshatch pattern. Invented by restauranteur Fernand Point, traditionally, the dessert is made with layers of nutty meringue sandwiched between two flavours of crème pâtissière. It's then covered in glossy chocolate ganache and decorated with nuts (usually almond or hazelnut) to finish.
While some people may choose to adapt the recipe and use sponge (as pictured above), its original iteration is flourless, making the texture light and airy, despite its hefty seven layers.
Our cookery team has put together some top tips on perfecting the different elements of a marjolaine cake.
Tips for the perfect marjolaine cake
For the dacquoise (nutty meringue) layer
- Don't over mix the nuts and meringue, or the oil from the nuts will loosen the mixture, meaning you'll lose some of the air.
- Sieve your ground nuts to remove any larger chunks and keep them uniform.
For the ganache
- Try to keep the temperature of the ingredients as similar as possible before combining - room temperature chocolate and warm milk, rather than fridge-cold chocolate and hot milk, as this may cause the ganache to split.
For the meringue buttercream
- Invest in a good sugar thermometer, it's important to take the sugar syrup to the exact temperature for the perfect consistency.
Twists on the classic marjolaine
If you want to try your hand at chocolate and nut patisserie but the idea of going all-out marjolaine leaves you feeling 'froid', we have some simpler versions.
Keeping the core flavours of the marjolaine, our hazelnut meringues with praline & chocolate sauce make a deliciously rich dessert.
If you like height (and lots of it) this chocolate meringue Mont Blanc cake is layered up into an impressive crunchy tower. The sponge, meringue and chestnut cream complement each other a treat.
Or try this hazelnut meringue surprise as a snazzy centrepiece.
If you're having trouble with those cloud-like bakes, our meringue guide will walk you through the path to perfect pavlovas.
Need some extra inspiration for crisp and chewy meringues? Check out our collection.
Have any tips for super smooth ganache and magnificent meringues? Let us know in the comments below...