Chocola Tea Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    14 to 18

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 25 to 35 minutes

The moist chocolate génoise from The Cake Bible was a favorite for its intense chocolate flavor and velvety, light texture. The tricky part of the recipe was always trying to integrate the flour into the chocolate mixture, and preventing the formation of hard little pellets. Matthew Boyer, one of the star participants on my blog, came up with the great technique of combining the chocolate and flour before folding it into the meringue, which makes this process much easier.

Many years ago, my mentor Cecily Brownstone of the Associated Press started a column called Copy Cat Recipes. She asked me to re-create the tea liqueur called Tiffin, which I have employed here as the syrup for the cake. I would never have thought that tea and chocolate would make such a good combination until I tasted Maurice Bernachon’s tea chocolate bar years ago in Lyon, France, when I was translating his and his son Jean-Jacques’s book La Passion du Chocolat. You don’t actually taste the tea in this cake, but it does wonders to make the chocolate surprisingly intense.

Plan Ahead For best flavor, compose the cake 1 day ahead. Make the ganache at least 4 hours ahead.



bittersweet chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao, chopped . 8 ounces 227 grams
boiling water 1 cup (237 ml) 8.4 ounces 237 grams
8 large eggs cups plus 4 teaspoons (375 ml) 14.1 ounces 400 grams
superfine sugar 1 cup 7 ounces 200 grams
bleached cake flour (or bleached all-purpose flour) cups (or 1⅓ cups), sifted into the cup and leveled off 5.3 ounces 150 grams

Special Equipment

Two 9 by 2 inch round cake pans, coated with baking spray with flour, then topped with parchment rounds


Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Cook the Chocolate

Into a heavy saucepan, place the chocolate and pour the boiling water on top. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the chocolate thickens to a puddinglike consistency, about 5 minutes. It should fall from the spatula and pool thickly when a little is dropped on its surface. If the chocolate separates, whisking will bring it together into a smooth, shiny mass.

Transfer the chocolate to a medium bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation, and cool it until it is warm to the touch (about 100°F/38°C), about 1 hour. To speed cooling, place the bowl in an ice water bath or, uncovered, in the refrigerator and whisk often. Reheat in a hot water bath if necessary.

Beat the Eggs and Sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a long-handled wire whisk, lightly combine the eggs and sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and heat just until lukewarm to the touch, stirring constantly with the whisk to prevent curdling. If the eggs are already at warm room temperature (80°F/27°C), there is no need to heat the eggs for this type of génoise.

Set the bowl in the stand mixer and attach the whisk beater. Beat the mixture on high speed for a minimum of 5 minutes. It will quadruple in volume and be very thick and airy. (A handheld electric mixer will take at least 10 minutes.)

Combine the Flour and Chocolate

Sift the flour onto a large sheet of parchment and then add it to the chocolate. Whisk the flour into the chocolate until it is incorporated. Use a silicone spatula to stir the mixture and check to see that the flour has integrated completely. The finished mixture will have the consistency of thick pudding.

Fold In the Chocolate and Flour Mixture

Remove 1 cup/2 ounces/60 grams of egg foam and fold it into the chocolate and flour mixture to lighten it. With the silicone spatula, gently slide half of the chocolate and flour mixture down the side of the mixer bowl. Fold it in gently but rapidly with a large wire whisk until the mixture has been mostly incorporated. Repeat with the second half of the chocolate and flour mixture until incorporated, being sure to reach to the bottom of the bowl. Use the silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl and gently fold to a uniform color. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, which will be a little more than half full.

Bake the Cakes

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centers enters as easily as it does when inserted closer to the side. The cakes rise almost to the top of the pans during baking and will lower slightly when done, pulling slightly away from the sides. Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum baking time because the fragile cakes could fall. Test toward the end of baking by opening the door a crack, and if the cakes do not appear done, continue baking for another 5 minutes.

To prevent the collapse of the delicate foam structure while still hot, the cakes must be unmolded as soon as they are baked. Have ready a small metal spatula and three wire racks that have been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Cool and Unmold the Cakes

Set the cake pans on wire racks. Run the small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert the cakes onto the prepared wire racks. Leaving the parchment in place, immediately reinvert the cakes onto the prepared racks so that the firm upper crust keeps them from sinking. Cool completely before wrapping airtight.

Make the Tea Cognac Syrup

See recipe.

Make the Tea Ganache

See recipe.

Compose the Cake

Use a long serrated knife and your fingertips to remove the top crusts. Remove the parchment and scrape off any remaining bottom crust.

Brush the tea syrup evenly on the top and bottom of the cakes. The cakes are now tender and fragile and need to be supported by a removable tart pan bottom or cardboard round when moved.

Spread a small amount of ganache on a 9 inch cardboard round wrapped in plastic wrap or a serving plate and set one cake on top. If using the plate, slide a few strips of parchment under the cake to keep the plate clean. Sandwich the layers with about 1 cup of the ganache. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache. If using the parchment strips, slowly slide them out from under the cake.

Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled. To cut cleanly through the ganache without its cracking or pulling away from the cake, run the knife blade under hot water and wipe it off between each slice.


Airtight: génoise with or without syrup: room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months.

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