I don't think I've ever made anything with as many different stages before, I feel like I've really pushed myself this time! I'm really pleased with how I managed to efficiently use my time in the kitchen for each stage.
(Although maybe not quite as pleased with the amount of washing up in generated.)
Ingredients for Chocolate sponge
-6oz unsalted butter
-6oz caster sugar
-4oz self raising flour
-2oz cocoa powder
-pinch of salt
Ingredients for Dark and White Praline Mousses
-150g semi sweet chocolate (50% cocoa solids)
-150g white chocolate
-1 x 170g jar of crunchy hazelnut butter
-3tbsp light muscavado sugar
-6 egg whites
-3tbsp caster sugar
-400ml double cream
Ingredients for Hazelnut Praline
-100g caster sugar
Ingredients for Ganache Glaze
-200ml double cream
-200ml semi sweet chocolate (50% cocoa solids)
To Decorate (optional):
-Edible Gold lustre dust
-Edible gold glitter flakes (or even edible gold leaf, if you like!)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
STEP 1: Make the chocolate sponge sheet cake.
-Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and grease and line a rectangular 26x36cm baking tray with baking paper
-Cream the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy, and whisk the eggs in well
-Sift the salt, flour and cocoa together into the bowl and whisk, and finally whisk in the milk and vanilla
-Pour the cake batter into the pan, spreading evenly and tapping the tray on the counter a few times to get rid of large air bubbles
-Bake for 20-25 mins, or until toothpick clean, take out of the oven and cool.
STEP 2: Make the mousses.
-In a large measuring jug, mix and muscavado sugar and crunchy hazelnut butter together, and using a hand blender whizz everything up until smooth
-Melt the chocolates in two separate bowls, either in a bain marie (with the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water) or in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds and stirring so the chocolate doesn't burn
-Mix half of your hazelnut paste into each bowl of warm melted chocolate, and allow to cool slightly as you complete the next couple of steps
-Making sure your whisk is thoroughly clean, whip up the egg whites until stiff white peaks form, then whisk in the caster sugar well until glossy
-Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, being careful not to over beat
- Incorporate half of the egg white meringue mixture into each bowl of chocolate-hazelnut mixture, starting by mixing in a spoonful of meringue into each bowl to loosten them up (use careful folding motions once you mix the rest of the egg whites into each bowl to keep the air)
-Fold in half of the whipped double cream into each bowl, cover and chill both in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
STEP 3: Make the Ganache and Praline
-Spread your hazelnuts however you like on a non-stick silicone mat (or on oiled foil on a baking sheet), but keep eight whole ones aside, and place the caster sugar in a small saucepan on low to medium heat
-Do not stir the sugar: just wait until it melts! Towards the end you can gently swirl the pan around to help the last clumps of sugar dissolve into the caramel, then take off the heat and immediately pour over your hazelnuts. Set aside to cool
STEP 4: Assemble
-Turn your cake out onto a clean work surface, cut into twelve equal parts, and slice each part in half carefully down the middle (easiest with a bread knife, or a long serrated knife) You'll have 24 thin slices altogether: enough for eight three-layer cakes.
-Leave as is, or stamp out your favourite shapes on each section (you can freeze the cake scraps and make cake pudding, cake pops or more another time!)
-Take eights of your slices, set on a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch drips, and evenly pour over your ganache (I used an angled spatula to coax the ganache over the sides of the hearts). Ideally put them in the fridge for five minutes to firm up at this point: I just left them out because my wire rack doesn't fit in the fridge
- Layer up the rest of the cake slices with mousse (piping the mousse is the easiest way, plus looks really pretty). You want the layers to go: cake, dark mousse, cake, white mousse
-Top your four cakes off with the ganache-glazed hearts, and pop in the fridge while you complete the final step.
STEP 5: Decorate!
-Crush up some of your praline roughly with a pestle and mortar, and stir in some gold lustre dust.
(Yes, I have the tiniest pestle and mortar in the world.)
-Dust your four reserved whole hazelnuts with the gold dust
-Get your cakes out, sprinkle on your crunchy golden praline and top with a golden hazelnut.
Oh yes and STEP 6... eat!
I posted my pic on Twitter with the Godiva Challenge hashtag, and noticed that there is a picture gallery of some of the entries... and I found another entry that had already been tweeted from a while ago. The basis was pretty much identical to mine, praline, hazelnut mousse and all.
I spent a whole evening designing this recipe and hours making it. I know it doesn't matter, and that I made a genuinely honourable effort- but that won't stop people from assuming I'm being a copycat. The other entry looks so professional as well, like a master French patissier made it. Eep.
I got through to the finals. o.o I'll be making this for Mark Hix of Hix restaurant,foor critic William Sitwell, chef Juliette Nothomb and head chocolatier Thierry Muret on Thursday. *Dies*
I'm so excarded! (excited/ scared)!