My Ombre Maria: Chocolate Génoise with Raspberry Cloud Cream

I had some leftover raspberry puree after making a white butter cake with raspberry buttercream, so I decided to put it to use for a celebration cake for the office. Rose Levy Beranbaum has a recipe for a "Strawberry Maria" cake in The Cake Bible that is comprised of two layers of chocolate génoise soaked with Grand Marnier syrup, filled and frosted with strawberry whipped cream, surrounded by a chocolate filagree band. I decided to make a slightly simplified raspberry version.

I've been making a lot of foam cakes and génoise lately and the additional practice is paying off in terms of more confidence and steadily improving results. This time I even took the extra step of clarifying the butter before using it; I browned the butter, strained it, and kept it warm. Beranbaum says that it's very difficult to incorporate dry cocoa into an egg foam and so her chocolate génoise recipe calls for dissolving the cocoa in a small amount of boiling water and adding vanilla; dissolving the powder in water also helps release the cocoa's full flavor.

The rest of the recipe is relatively straightforward: you heat eggs and sugar in bowl set over a pan of simmering water until lukewarm; whisk on high speed until tripled in volume; remove some of the egg mixture and incorporate it into the liquid cocoa mixture; incorporate sifted cake flour into the egg foam; fold in the lightened cocoa mixture, and fold in the clarified browned butter. You pour the batter into a greased 9-inch pan and bake.
I was thrilled when I turned the cake out of the pan immediately after taking it out of the oven. It was the tallest, most beautiful génoise cake I have ever baked; it looked like a chocolate version of the cake on the right of the photo at the top of this blog post on Rose Levy Beranbaum's web site (which I have consulted in the past when I was despairing my problems with génoise). It was a wonderfully plump, level, and pristine model of génoise perfection. The cake was 1.75 inches tall before I trimmed and split it.

Beranbaum's fruit "Cloud Cream" is a gelatin-stablized whipped cream with fruit puree. You soften powdered gelatin in a small amount of fruit puree and heat it until the gelatin dissolves, and then you stir that warm mixture back into the remaining puree. My puree had been stored in the fridge for a few days and I made the mistake of not making sure it was at room temperature -- after combining the small amount of warm puree with the dissolved gelatin into the larger amount of cold puree, the gelatin started setting. I unfortunately didn't notice this until I added it to whipped cream that I had beaten to soft peaks, and at that point it was too late to do anything about it. I beat my raspberry whipped cream to stiff peaks, but it was filled with bits of discrete chunks of raspberry gelatin of varying sizes. Regardless, it tasted incredible. I crossed my fingers that there was enough gelatin outside of the solid chunks to stabilize the cream.
I trimmed off the top and bottom of my génoise, split the cake into two layers, and soaked each layer with a sugar syrup flavored with Chambord. Then I filled and frosted the cake with the cloud cream. I used the decorating technique described for the Strawberry Maria cake, but without the chocolate lattice band; I put the cream in a pastry bag with a large star tip and piped rows of big shells in alternating directions across the top. The tip got clogged a few times with chunks of gelatin, but the tip opening was large enough that I was able to pry the pieces out with a toothpick. You could see bits of gelatin in the cream on the finished cake, but it didn't bother me much.

I stored the cake in the fridge overnight and when I took it out the following morning the color of the raspberry cream had deepened a few shades. Not only that, but it was an ombre effect where the cream was darkest on the edges of all the piped shapes. I have no idea why that happened, but it was a gorgeous and eye-catching effect that I wish I could create on demand. The color gradient is difficult to see in the top picture in this post, but more noticeable in the bottom photo of the cut slice.

This gorgeous cake held up incredibly well; after serving it I left it at room temperature for hours and the cream was none the worse for the wear. While I love rich butter cakes, I also love foam cakes -- and this one was delicate and delicious. Both the cake and the cream were practically weightless and the pairing of chocolate and raspberry was divine. I love this cake.

Recipes: "Génoise au Chocolat," "Raspberry Cloud Cream," and "Raspberry Puree and Sauce" from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Previous Post: "Tickled Pink: Rose Levy Beranbaum's White Butter Cake with Raspberry Buttercream," May 5, 2016.


Louise said…
Your cake is really beautiful. I can almost smell the raspberry. Wish I could stick a fork through the screen. : )
Thanks, Louise! I'm in love with this decorating technique to pipe fat shells across the entire top of the cake... If I had more frosting, I would have tried to pipe shells over all of the sides as well!