Chocolate Dome

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Michel Richard makes this chocolate and raspberry dome cake for Julia Child's classic show "Baking with Julia."

Yield: 8 Servings

Course:
Occasion:

Ingredients

  • For Cake:
  • 1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter
  • Several tablespoons flour
  • 4 "large" eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain bleached cake flour in a sifter
  • 12 ounces top-quality semisweet chocolate
  • (5 ounces for filling 7 ounces for coating)
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange liqueur (optional)
  • 1 pint fresh red raspberries
  • For Decoration:
  • The remaining melted chocolate from above
  • 6 to 8 fresh green leaves--orange lemon, or bay
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder in a very fine mesh sieve
  • 2 cups raspberry sauce
  • For Raspberry Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup or more granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preparing the Génoise Sponge Cake: Using the brush, generously butter the 4-cup stainless bowl. Sprinkle in several tablespoons of flour and rotate the bowl in all directions to coat entire inner surface. Turn the bowl upside down and knock out excess flour. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. The Cake Batter: Beat the eggs and sugar in mixer bowl for 5 minutes, until thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume. Sift and rapidly fold in the flour with a big rubber spatula, and scoop the batter into the prepared bowl. Bake in the middle level of the preheated 350 F oven for 35 to 45 minutes. It is done when a toothpick, stuck through the center of the cake, comes out clean. Completely cool the cake on a rack--at least 1 hour.
  3. Ahead-of-Time Note: Cake may be baked several days in advance. Wrap airtight in plastic wrap, return to bowl, and refrigerate.
  4. Chocolate/Cream Mousse: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the 8-inch saucepan, set the bowl over it, add 5 ounces of chocolate, and remove from heat. When completely melted and smooth, remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to room temperature. Whip cream to soft peaks in bowl set over a larger bowl of ice cubes and water. Remove bowl from ice/water and fold half of whipped cream into cooled but liquid chocolate; when incorporated, fold in remaining cream.
  5. Assembling the Cake: Taste orange juice, adding a little sugar if needed. If you wish, add 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or orange liqueur. Use a serrated knife to slice the Génoise horizontally into three layers of equal thickness. Shave off and discard the crusty top of the cake. Line the same 8-inch baking bowl with a piece of plastic wrap. Fit rounded top piece of cake into lined bowl. Using pastry brush, soak cake with about 4 tablespoons of orange juice mixture. Spoon 1/3 of the chocolate cream mixture onto the soaked cake layer, and strew on a small handful of raspberries. Place next layer of cake onto the first, brush with 1/3 cup of orange juice mixture, spoon on remaining mousse and a handful of raspberries, 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, and refrigerate for several hours before decorating. Note: Cake may be assembled to this point a day in advance.
  6. Making Chocolate Icing: Melt remaining 7 ounces of chocolate in a bowl set over warm water, using the same technique as for the mousse. Remove plastic covering from cake bowl and fold back the plastic that is covering the cake. Unmold the thoroughly chilled cake, domed side up, onto a rack. Peel off and discard remaining plastic covering. Lightly dampen your work surface so that a sheet of plastic wrap will adhere, and lay out a 12-inch sheet. Using a rubber spatula, spread a thin 10- to 11-inch disk of cool liquid chocolate in the center of the sheet. Rapidly slide plastic over the top of bowl, letting the plastic with its chocolate disk cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Gently drop chilled cake, domed side down, into bowl, fold the plastic wrap over it, and refrigerate.
  7. The Chocolate Leaves: Dip the inside of each leaf into the remaining melted chocolate. Place on a plate, coated side up. Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.
  8. The Raspberry Sauce: Puree the raspberries with 1/2 cup sugar in a blender or processor. Add the lemon juice, taste, and adjust the flavor if necessary. Push sauce through fine sieve. Cover and refrigerate until served.
  9. Decorating the Cake: Remove cake from refrigerator and again fold back the plastic wrap. Turn the cake domed side up onto a serving platter and lift off the plastic to reveal a beautifully smooth, shiny chocolate surface. Sprinkle with a dusting of cocoa powder. Make a ring of raspberries around the edge of the cake and pour a little raspberry sauce over them. Remove chocolate leaves from the refrigerator. Gently separate the green leaves from the chocolate ones, then one by one dip the stem of each into melted chocolate and gently affix it near the center of the cake, making an upstanding bouquet of 4 or 5 leaves. Decorate with a few strategically placed raspberries.
  10. Ahead-of-Time Note: May be finished and refrigerated several hours in advance of serving. Let set at room temperature for an hour before serving so that the chocolate will lose its rigidity.
  11. Serving the Chocolate Dome: Dip a long sharp knife in hot water and wipe it off with a napkin before every cut. Surround each serving with a handful of raspberries covered with a spoonful of raspberry sauce.

Tips/Techniques

Special Equipment Suggested: Pastry brush, a 4-cup stainless steel bowl about 8" across and 3" deep, an efficient electric mixer, large rubber spatula, plastic wrap, an 8-inch saucepan, and a stainless bowl that fits snugly over it, and a metal bowl and whisk for whipping cream