I have always wanted to make one of these! Of course, making one for Christmas itself would be good. We’ll see how we like this version. There are plenty around, I’d always assumed that I’d make Julia Child’s recipe, but then… here it was in My Paris Kitchen.
This version is almost like a soft cannoli! Dark chocolate, candied orange peel and ricotta as a filling for a classic genoise, all covered in dark chocolate “bark”.
I’m afraid that I couldn’t find any candied orange peel. So I made some a few days ago. Man! It’s way good! Juicy and sweet… I’m sooo glad I couldn’t find any, because these were easy and really delish!
That did add an extra step, but while there’s a lot going on, this is still pretty easy. I made a half recipe, since the timing didn’t work for this for company.
The genoise is easy, at least if you have a kitchenaid mixer!!
Flour gets gently folded in along with some butter, then into a prepared pan and baked for a few minutes. Once baked, the cake gets turned out onto a towel with a little powdered sugar, rolled up and left to cool for an hour.
A simple syrup is simmered together. And the ricotta chocolate and peel filling gets combined as well.
My ricotta was a little more watery than expected, so I might drain it next time if that’s the case.
It was now time to make the meringue mushrooms. I think I could have made mine a bit stiffer, but this was a fun task. There’s a bit of cinnamon in the meringue to give a bit of color, but also made them delicious!
They weren’t perfect by any stretch, but there were enough acceptable ones to make it work out.
To assemble the cake, the genoise is unrolled and brushed with the syrup. The chocolate orange filling goes on top and it gets rolled back up, covered in plastic and chilled.
Once that’s done the chocolate “frosting” is brought together and the whole thing assembled. The meringue mushrooms for decoration and then it’s all dusted with some powdered sugar “snow”.
There were things I liked about the look – the chocolate made a lovely bark, and the mushrooms and snow were pretty. I don’t know that I got the proportions right with the branches. I’d want to rethink that next time.
But this is a lovely, dramatic and delicious dessert. It was surprisingly light, and not overly sweet. It was really quite delicate. And the meringues were very yummy. I liked the crunch and extra sweet taste a counterpoint to the cake itself. Definitely a hit, and a really fun baking project!! A merry Christmas cake, indeed!!