Definitely one of my favorites French speciality : the “Royal au Chocolat” (also called “Versaillais” or “Trianon”). I tried to find the origin of this cake on Internet or in books but surprisingly, I could not find anything. It’s name would make you think that it was created in Versailles because a village next to Versailles is called Trianon but I have no confirmation of it. Let’s just say it brings even more mystery to this amazing chocolate speciality.
It may look sophisticated but it is really easy to make. The only inconvenient if you live abroad is to find some ingredients like “crepes gavottes” but I give you some alternatives in the recipes. If you really want to stick to the traditional recipe, Internet is your friend and will help you find these ingredients.
Almond biscuit :
- 60 gr almond powder
- 130 g icing sugar
- 15 gr flour
- 3 egg whites (keep the yolks in the fridge, you will use them for the chocolate mousse)
Praline crunchy layer :
- 200 gr of praline paste
- 9 little packages of “crêpes dentelles gavottes”
- 40 gr of crushed hazelnuts
I give an alternative in the instructions below if you cannot find these ingredients.
- 75 gr sugar
- 3 egg yolks + 1 egg white
- 200 gr of chocolate (50% of cacao minimum)
- 500 ml of liquid cream
Begin with the almond biscuit:
Grease the baking ring and put in on a tray covered with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven at 220°C (rotating heat for me but a more classical heating -above/below – works fine).
Sift the flour, the almond powder and only 60 gr of sugar. Whip the egg whites until you get firm peaks and add the rest of the sugar (70gr). Keep whisking until it gets firm and shiny. Stop whisking and add delicately the dry ingredient with a spatula.
Put this mix in a piping bag and make a disk in the baking ring, beginning in the center and slowly going in a spiral towards the edge).
Bake for 10-15 min (depending on your oven). The biscuit must be light brown. Let it cool down before removing the baking ring.
Prepare then the praline crunchy layer:
For this part, I use ingredients I can only find in France. If you live in the Netherlands or abroad, you can order them online or just prepare them yourselves (that will take forever of course but it is technically possible) or use some alternative I will explain below.
For the praline paste, it is basically roasted caramelized nuts mixed until it forms a paste like chocolate/hazelnuts pasta you find in any supermarket but without the chocolate. So yes you could use this as well but the amount of chocolate, sugar and oil will change the taste of the whole cake and this part of the cake is really making the difference. Trust me, it’s really the BEST layer of the cake… For the “crepes gavottes”, this is a very thin layer of crunchy dough that breaks really easily. I never tried to do it myself. I read somewhere that you can replace it with corn flakes (put them a plastic bag and crush them in pieces with your dough roll but not too much, you don’t want the pieces to become dust).
Warm up the praline paste until it is completely melted.
If you’re using « crepes gavottes », brake them in small pieces with your fingers and mix it with the crushed nuts.
Add the praline paste and mix it until everything is covered.
Cover the inside of the ring with acetate paper and place the ring on a tray covered with baking paper. Put the biscuit back in the ring and add the praline preparation on top of it. Spread it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon (I use the flat bottom of a glass, it’s simply quicker).
Put everything in the fridge.
Chocolate mousse :
Put the bowl of your robot, the whisk and the cream in the freezer.
Put the egg yolks in a big bowl and briefly stir it.
Put the sugar in a pan with 2 table spoons of water and make it boil. When it looks like syrup (not caramel…), add it delicately to the egg yolks while whipping it at high speed until the volume of the preparation doubles and becomes white and foamy.
During this step, melt the chocolate au bain-marie. Add it little by little to the egg/sugar preparation.
Whip the cream and add it delicately in several times to the chocolate mix using a whisk. Once all the cream is added, you can whisk it with a bit more energy.
Take the biscuit/praline base out of the fridge and pour the chocolate mousse on top of it. Use a flat spatula to make the surface even.
At this point, you have 2 versions for the decoration:
– quick version : you put the cake back in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. Before serving, you just have to remove the ring, the acetate paper carefully and simply sift some cocoa powder on top of it. You can decorate as you wish : rasped coconut (not on all the cake but just a line on one side for example), coloured sugar or any kind of decoration you find in your store.
– long version (but more beautiful of course :)…): a chocolate mirror icing. Click here for the recipe that I found on this great blog. If you choose this version, the cake needs first to be frozen so leave it few hours or overnight in the freezer and take it out at the last minute when the icing is ready. Once the icing and the decoration is done, put the cake in the fridge few hours before serving.