Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of the French Pastry School, presents Deerback, a rich pound cake that includes a layer of ganache, excerpted from The Art of French Pastry, a new guide to French pastry.
Yield: 1 loaf
- 2.6 oz/75 g sliced almonds, with skin
- 0.5 oz/16 g cocoa powder
- 3.1 oz/90 g confectioners’ sugar, divided
- 4.6 oz/132 g almond flour (skinless), sifted, divided (80/75)
- 0.7 oz/20 g cake flour
- 0.6 oz/18 g cornstarch
- 1.8 oz/52 g unsalted butter (82% fat)
- 1 oz/30 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1.7 oz/50 g egg yolks
- 0.7 oz/20 g clover honey
- 1.7 oz/50 g whole eggs
- 0.17 oz/5 g vanilla extract
- Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- Finely grated zest of ½ orange
- 5.6 oz/160 g egg whites
- 2.8 oz/80 g granulated sugar
- 2.6 oz/75 g ganache
1. Using a pastry brush, grease a loaf pan very generously with soft butter and pour the sliced almonds into it. Tilt the pan in all directions so that the almonds coat the sides thoroughly and evenly, forming a natural outside lining of your cake. Once the sides are coated, turn the pan over and allow the excess almonds to fall out. Set the excess aside for another purpose and place the pan in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C with the rack positioned in the center. Sift the cocoa powder, 2.1 oz/60 g of confectioners’ sugar, and 2.8 oz/80 g of sifted almond flour together onto a sheet of parchment paper and set aside. Sift the cake flour together with the cornstarch onto another piece of parchment paper or into a small bowl and set aside.
3. Place the butter in a small saucepan and set over low heat. Allow the butter to melt, then stir slowly with the spatula until it turns light brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain into a small bowl so that it does not continue to brown. Set it aside to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place remaining 2.6 oz/75 g sifted almond flour, the 1 oz/30 g sifted confectioners’ sugar, the egg yolks, honey, whole egg, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and light. Add the lukewarm browned butter and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out of the mixer and scrape out the mixture into a large bowl. Using a wide spatula, gently fold in the lemon and orange zests and the cake flour and cornstarch mixture. Wash the mixer bowl thoroughly with hot, soapy water, rinse, dry, and return to the stand. Change to the whisk attachment. Immediately move on to the next step so that the flour does not sit too long in the egg mixture.
5. Place the egg whites in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk. Whip on medium speed for 10 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and whip for 1a to 2 full minutes on high speed, until semi-stiff but not dry. Remove the mixing bowl from the machine, place a small bowl on your scale, and weigh out 120 grams of the meringue. Fold this into the egg yolk mixture. Do not over-fold or you will deflate the batter and your cake will be tough. Return the mixing bowl to the machine and continue to whip the remaining meringue on the lowest speed just to maintain it.
6. Stop the mixer, take out the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the cocoa powder mixture. Scrape into the almond- lined bread pan and, using a small offset spatula, gently spread it evenly all over the sides and bottom of the pan to create a chocolate meringue shell.
7. Fill the chocolate shell with the cake batter and smooth the top with the small offset spatula. The pan will be about 2/3 or 3/4 full. Place the mold on a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350°F/180°C. Reduce the heat to 325°F/160°C and bake for another 20 minutes, until firm. Insert the tip of a paring knife into the center of the cake; it should come out clean. If it does not, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately reverse the cake onto a wire rack, unmold, and gently wrap the cake in a towel. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature; this will take 1 hour.
8. Place the cake on a cutting board with the bottom facing up. Using a long serrated knife, create a V cut by slicing from the edge of the cake to the middle on an inward 45- degree angle. Repeat on the other side of the cake so that you can now remove the triangular slice. Using a small offset spatula, spread the surface of the V cut with the ganache. Return the triangular slice to the cake, setting it right on top of the ganache filling and pressing down gently but firmly so that it sticks to the ganache. Place the cake back in its original mold and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will allow the ganache to set and keep the whole cake together. Let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes and unmold. The cake is now ready to be served. This cake keeps in a cool place for 2 to 3 days wrapped in plastic wrap.
Excerpted from "The Art of French Pastry" by Jacquy Pfeiffer. Copyright © 2013 by Jacquy Pfeiffer. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.