Pierre Herme is one of the top pastry chefs in the world, and the one who inspires me most. I love his technique and style, and he is a hell of a genius knowing how to combine flavors and textures.
I have 5 Pierre Herme books in my baking library, and every time I need some inspiration I browse through it and get a whole lot of ideas.
This following recipe is for the best chocolate cake in the whole world – NO KIDDING. It’s a chocolate cake with nuts that’s super chocolatey, rich and soft, and the added nuts give it crunchiness and lots of flavors that goes perfectly with the chocolate.
It’s adapted from the marvelous book Pierre Herme Desserts by Dori Greenspan, which is my top favorite patisserie book and simply a must for all of you baking enthusiasts.
Pierre Herme’s Chocolate Cake with Nuts
For the cake:
- 185 grams all-purpose flour
- 65 grams dark chocolate
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 140 grams sugar
- 140 grams praline paste
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 160 ml. milk (see notes for nondairy version)
- 100 ml. vegetable oil
- 50 grams chopped hazelnuts
- 50 grams chopped walnut
- 50 grams chopped almonds
- 50 grams chopped pistachios
- 100 grams dark chocolate 60% cocoa solids (coarsely chopped)
- Preheat oven to 170c degrees and grease the pan.
- Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder to a bowl and set aside.
- In a bowl of mixer with a whipping hook, put sugar, salt and praline paste and whip until mixture is smooth.
- Add eggs one at a time, while mixing between additions until incorporated. It is important to “clean” the sides of the bowl using a spatula in order to get a completely smooth mixture.
- In a small bowl, mix milk and oil.
- Reduce the mixer speed and add the milk mixture in a thin stream while whisking.
- Switch to a paddle attachment add flour, cocoa and baking powder.
- Continue to blend at medium speed until smooth batter forms.
- Add the nuts and chopped chocolate and stir gently with a spatula only until they are evenly dispersed in the batter.
- Pour the batter into the pan and flatten off the top.
- Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the cake is very solid to the touch and a knife inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
- Cool completely and serve at room temperature.
- Keep the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4-5 days. Warm it slightly before serving.
- Freeze the cake well wrapped for up a month. The original recipe uses 120 grams of melted butter, but I prefer to use oil in pound cakes.
- Nondairy version: use hazelnut milk, soy milk or coconut milk instead of milk in the same amount. The resulting cake comes out high and very large.
- If you want, you can divide the batter between two 25 cm loaf pans. Baking time will be shorter.