Exquisite and decadent, lemon and triple chocolate Andalusia torte is much more than a mere chocolate cake: it’s a chocolatier work of art.
Andalusia, the chocolate fantasia
I’m not going to lie to you: this is a very special occasion cake.
It’s a labour of love and all the elements of it require time and reasonable skill. It’s best made over at least a couple of days and well in advance as the assembled cake needs to set overnight in the fridge.
But if making it for someone whose love of chocolate and lemons matches your love for them – it’s completely worth it.
It’s a triple chocolate explosion of, firstly, nutty, almondy macaron base which is a little similar to dacquoise.
Then there is the exquisite chocolate mousse which could be a dessert on its entirely own.
And finally the glaze, barely sweet, enrobing the whole confection or, as the French fittingly call it, an entrement, in a dark glossy dress.
All that chocolate fantasy is balanced in a wonderful manner by the tart and tangy lemon cream layer.
My recipe is inspired by a creation of Robert Linxe, the founder of La Maison Du Chocolat. Not setting the bar too low at all, am I?
I have consulted several interpretations of the recipe and thus came up with what I think is the best result, below. It is fairly intricate so a good few words of explanation and comment are on order.
The macaron base layers
The French call it biscuit macaron, a little confusing in a literal translation.
It is a thin layer of almond meringue pastry, flavoured with cocoa. It’s reasonably easy to make and might be amazingly versatile, as the future may show.
Just like for a macaron batter, ground almonds are mixed with icing sugar, with the addition of cocoa powder in this instance. That needs to be gently folded into a meringue made with eight egg whites, beaten stiff then more with sugar.
In the unlikely case that you own three large cake tins, divide the mix between them.
You can also bake one layer at a time, but it will be just as good if you spread the mix directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Draw circles on the parchment to keep the batter in shape or use pre-cut round cake tin liners.
The lemon cream
A simple and a brilliant idea: to combine homemade lemon curd with whipped cream. It creates a light but rich filling, and it also opens up so many possibilities!
Any other flavours might work in different confections, and it is completely legitimate to use good curd from a jar, fold it into whipped cream and have an exquisite dessert in five minutes.
The original recipe adds gelatine to the curd but I think it’s redundant. If you cook the curd until really thick and whip good double cream until stiff, it will keep the shape perfectly.
The chocolate mousse
The ultimate chocolate frosting: a light and airy mousse made from chocolate ganache enriched further by whipped cream – quite incredible.
First, you need to make heavy dark chocolate ganache, with more than twice as much chocolate as cream.
When it cools a little, it’s divided in two parts as some of it will need to be reserved to later spread over the top cake layer.
250 grams of the ganache is whipped until pale in colour, boosted in volume and fluffy like, well, a mousse. Extra whipped cream is added at this point and gently folded. It’s a pretty incredible concoction!
Assembling the cake
All the elements can be prepared in advance, so for instance, you might make the lemon curd and bake the base layers on day 1.
On day 2 whip the cream for both the lemon and the chocolate filling and prepare both. You can then peel the parchment off the macaron layers, assemble the cake and chill it overnight.
On day 3 make the glaze and the final decorations.
The assembly goes as follows: the base macaron layer, then all the chocolate mousse, spread thickly, then the second macaron layer, inverted so the outside surface is smooth. On top of that on goes the lemon mousse covered with the third macaron, inverted again.
The small amount of reserved heavy ganache is spread over the top layer and then, after the whole thing is chilled well, the chocolate glaze is poured over.
The chocolate glaze
The glaze is made with milk rather than cream so it’s more liquid. A little butter makes it shinier and the glucose, though optional, makes it softer.
Your decision whether to add sugar to the glaze or not. There isn’t so much sugar in the entrement overall, so I add just a little but if you prefer your chocolate gateaux dark, gothic and grown up, skip that bit of sweetness.
How to make the candied lemon slices?
I have not included the details in the main recipe body to avoid this turning into the longest cake recipe in the world.
Instructions are widely available and simple: slice lemon very thinly and simmer in a sugar syrup (1:1 sugar to water volume) for about an hour, until translucent.
Dry overnight on parchment. Use for decoration and scoff any leftovers – plus reserve the syrup for pancakes!
More chocolate cake recipes
The best chocolate cake with tart apricot jam filling and chocolate ganache layers. Rich and fudgy gateau, not very difficult to make. Your next birthday cake?
Sacher torte recipe, quite close to the original. Sacher torte is the most famous Viennese confection available in the Sacher Hotel, with long queues.
Silver Palate chocolate cake, a decadent and super moist cake with dark chocolate frosting. NY Times Cooking recipe adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook.