For whatever reason, Plaisir the gateau would be a square shaped cake. I found it an odd thing for a cake with a name as provocative as Pleasure, since all of my mental images of this word would involve more rounded shapes. Oh well, another one of those inexplicable French things I suppose (by this point I was keeping a list...)
Despite being angular, the taste lived up to the name. It was a combination of two cream layers – vanilla supreme and chocolate mousse – topped with a thin layer of biscuit joconde and finished with a croquant caramel. The techniques and recipes for each layer were very similar to things we’d already learned, with some notable differences.
The mousse was made with a milk-based ganache – the first I’d ever worked with. All the chocolate mousse we’d made so far was using a cream ganache. I couldn’t taste any difference in the finished gateau, but mixing this ganache was a touch more onerous. It was much more challenging to get a smooth ganache base, but I managed.
The vanilla supreme was very similar to a bavarois – consisting of cream, eggs, milk & gelatin but less gelatin than a bavarois. I guess for this fact they had to give it a different name.
By the time we were assembling the cake, I decided that I really liked the taste of biscuit joconde. It is a delicious sponge consisting of eggs, ground almonds, butter and powdered sugar to provide richness of taste, tempered with a French meringue to give the light & flexible texture. We’d first made it for the Opera gateau, and so the ingredients and technique were already familiar to me. Joconde is one of those sponge cakes which you can eat just as is, without any imbibing or additional toppings. I saved all my trimmings and wrapped them in foil to give to Isabelle.
The caramel layer was basically a mixture of beaten egg yolks sterilized with sugar syrup. So it was slightly airy in texture, the outer edge covered with cassonade sugar and then caramelized with a blowtorch to create a crisp shell.
We tempered dark chocolate and made decors to place atop the finished cake. I tried to create some complex and rather lengthy pieces to give more height to the finished cake. Unfortunately most of these broke and I ended up with a bunch of fragments. I put together what I had, and actually the result wasn’t bad. As I looked down the lens of my camera in taking the picture, I was suddenly reminded of a pirate ship…the chocolate decors sitting atop the golden caramel layer looked a bit like wreckage on a sandy beach.