To commemorate Julia Child for her 100th Birthday, I drew inspiration from her Chocolate and Raspberry Dome Cake Recipe that is available on the PBS food website.
What I found interesting was that the recipe is categorized under “Occasion: Christmas.” I find this slightly perplexing because I don’t typically associate raspberries with winter. So, I ironically decided that deep into the Summer season I would do a more wintery take on this recipe, omit the raspberries and further highlight the use of orange (silly me). And despite having to use some rather mediocre oranges, the cake tasted quite well. I kinda love it! Chocolate and orange have always been one of my favorite combinations.
I would say this cake looks trickier to make than it actually is. However, it definitely requires some extra care and attention. I had to make the Génoise twice because it completely collapsed on me the first time. Ooooop!!!!!! I have a tendency to peek into the oven to check the temperature more than I should. During my first attempt, I did move the cake about twenty minutes into the baking to check its progress. It wasn’t anywhere near done and about 10 minutes further into the baking….it fell. So, don’t do as I did. Once you put it into the oven to bake, just let it be until the first 35 minutes of baking is up. After that it should be safe to check.
- Mixer and whisk attachment
- Sifter or fine mesh sieve
- Stainless Steel bowl that holds 4 cup and is approximately 8″ in diameter and 3″ deep (I used a 2 quart, 7.5″ diameter bowl…that was the closest I could find)
- Rubber or silicone spatula
- Plastic/cling wrap
- Pastry brush
- Bread knife
- Double broiler or metal bowl fitted over a sauce pan to melt chocolate
For the Génoise Sponge Cake
- 1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter for greasing bowl
- flour for dusting inside of bowl
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cake flour
For the Chocolate/Cream Mousse and Orange soak
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- 5-60z good quality semisweet chocolate chips or pieces
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- zest of one small orange
For chocolate coating and decorating
- approximately 10 ounces of good quality semisweet chocolate chips or pieces
- 4 orange segments neatly separated
Preparing the Génoise:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Generously butter the stainless steel bowl. Sprinkle in flour and rotate the bowl to coat inner surface. Turn the bowl over and tap the bowl to knock out the excess flour.
- Beat the eggs and sugar in your mixer bowl on high speed using your whisk attachment for approximately 5 minutes. The mixture should be thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume (but nothing like meringue…it will be much thinner than that).
- Sift the pastry flour over the egg mixture and then quickly but carefully fold in the flour with a large rubber spatula.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared bowl.
- Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes. It is done when a toothpick stuck through the center of the cake comes out clean.
- After the bowl is cool enough to handle, turn the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely (1 hour or longer).
Making the Mousse Filling and Layering the Cake
- In a medium sized saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer.
- Place the 5 -6 0unces of chocolate into a metal bowl, set the bowl of chocolate over the saucepan of simmering water and remove from heat.Using a rubber spatula, mix until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from over the water and let the melted cool slightly to room temperature.
- Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream in a bowl set over an ice bath until soft peaks form. Once the cream has achieved the proper consistency, remove bowl from ice bath and fold half of whipped cream into cooled but liquid chocolate; when incorporated, fold in remaining cream. Lastly, add the orange zest and fold into the mousse mixture.
Layering the Cake:
- Check the sweetness of the orange juice and add a little sugar if needed.
- Remove the crisp/ crusty top of the cake with a serrated knife. Now, use the serrated knife to slice the Génoise into three equally thick horizontal layers.
- Line the same stainless steel bowl that was used for baking, with a piece of plastic cling wrap.
- Fit the rounded top piece of cake into lined bowl.
- Use a pastry brush to soak this layer of cake with 4 tablespoons of the orange juice.
- Spoon 1/3 of the chocolate mousse mixture onto the soaked cake layer.
- Place next layer of cake onto the first layer of mousse and brush the cake with 1/3 cup of orange juice.
- Spoon on remaining mousse and cover with the final slice of cake.
- Brush on the remaining juice, and bring the hanging edges of the plastic wrap over the top.
- Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap in order to completely cover the exposed cake.
- Refrigerate for several hours or over night (up to a day in advance).
Adding the Chocolate Coating and Decorating
- In the same way that you melted the chocolate used in the mousse filling, melt remaining 10 ounces of chocolate.
- Set aside a small amount of the melted chocolate and dip half of each orange segment into the chocolate. Set the chocolate coated orange segments aside to dry on wax paper
- Return any of the small amount of reserved chocolate to the larger bowl of melted chocolate
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap covering the bowl.
- Remove the three layered cake from the bowl, unwrap and set aside.
- Lightly dampen your work surface with water and place a sheet of plastic cling wrap over your dampened work surface. The water will cause it to stick to the surface. Use two sheets of plastic wrap if needed.
- Using a rubber spatula, spread a thin 10- to 11-inch disk of cool liquid chocolate in the center of the sheet.
- Place the cake in the center of the disk of cool liquid chocolate.
- Carefully wrap the chocolate and plastic around the cake. Be especially careful not to allow the cling wrap to make deep folds or overlap. However, it will inevitably be textured rather than smooth.
- Gently drop wrapped cake, domed side down, back into the stainless steel bowl.
- Adjust plastic wrap if needed, remembering to try and avoid overlap and deep creases.
- Refrigerate and chill for at least 2 hours
- Remove chilled cake from refrigerator, remove from bowl and carefully unwrap. You may choose to break off pieces of chocolate covering the underneath portion of the cake. Be gentle when removing the plastic wrap to avoid cracking the chocolate covering or tearing the plastic leaving it stuck on the cake.
- Melt some of the excess chocolate and use a pastry brush to attach the chocolate dipped orange segments with the melted chocolate to the top of the cake.