French Chocolate Passion Mousse with Nougatine

It happened last night.  Excitement set in as this French Chocolate Passion Mousse was a simple  experiment that worked.

It’s based on a classic French dark chocolate mousse with its particularity being that it uses NO CREAM. However – I didn’t have enough egg whites and so experimented by adding – PASSION FRUIT juice.

Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse

The result?

It lightened it up even further, the taste was sensational and so I was rather excited about it. Those of you that heard me on Instagram stories will agree that I sounded really excited.

Excited in the French Kitchen – Be Warned!

Just don’t tell the French. Mention that you’re ‘excité’ in French and oh-là-là – your friends will tell you to take a cold shower.  Being excited just doesn’t have the same meaning here.

In the early days on arriving in Paris, I apparently told a few friends and – even worse – Antoine’s family that I was excitée to see (rather ‘had the hots’ for) all the farmers coming to the market, showing off their organic produce.  It’s just as well I didn’t babble on about their radishes and carrots.

I’ve also had many hot flushes for macarons too. I still can’t help becoming excited.  It’s when these macaron feet form in the oven.

French chocolate passion mousse

Who took the spoon?

Just saying, “Ça m’excite” is even worse – and I know I’m not alone on that one.  The French don’t have a real equivalent of saying that they’re excited about something.  They are more likely to shrug their shoulders and say, ‘C’est cool‘, or ‘C’est chouette“. They don’t become as bubbly and enthusiastic as we do – in fact, it’s seen as slightly childlike.

I don’t care any more. I’ll forever be a bubbly-sounding kid, excited in the kitchen.

So, when there’s a jam jar filled with leftover egg whites from the ever-growing egg yolk recipe collection, I still become excited. Either I could make a batch of homemade macarons – or I could make this light and fluffy French chocolate mousse – now with passion in it!

For Nutty Caramel Lovers

For nutty caramel lovers, I added a rather addictive Almond-Pistachio Nougatine. All because it’s February. Amour, love, chocolate, caramel and passion is in the air!

It’s based on this easy nougatine recipe, inspired by the famous Parisian rice pudding topping of chef Stéphane Jégo of l’Ami Jean restaurant in the 7th. I encourage you to try it – and if you can’t finish it all, ask for the famous Riz au Lait Doggy Bag!

This version is so quick and easy to make.  Unlike the original that uses 4 different kinds of nuts, I’ve cut it to my 2 favourites: almonds and pistachios, use just organic cane sugar and good, French President butter.

French Chocolate Passion Mousse & Nougatine

French chocolate passion mousse recipe

Join me here on Pinterest!

French chocolate passion mousse

 

5 from 6 votes
Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse
French Chocolate Passion Mousse & Almond-Pistachio Nougatine
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Chilling Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

The lightest French dark chocolate mousse with no cream but the juice of 2 passion fruits - served with the nuttiest caramel: an almond and pistachio nougatine

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate passion fruit, French chocolate mousse, gluten free desserts, no-cream chocolate mousse
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 205 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
French Dark Chocolate Mousse
  • 170 g (6oz) dark chocolate (I use 72% cacao - use only good quality)
  • 15 g (0.5oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 210 g (7.5oz) egg whites (from 6 organic eggs)
  • 30 g (1oz) caster sugar
  • 2 passion fruits juice sieved off, seeds removed
  • 1 egg yolk
Almond-Pistachio Nougatine (Optional)
  • 140 g (5oz) slivered almonds
  • 100 g (3.5oz) unsalted pistachios
  • 50 g (1.75oz) butter unsalted
  • 140 g (5oz) organic light brown cane sugar
Instructions
Dark Chocolate Mousse
  1. Melt the chocolate and cocoa powder together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water ('bain-marie'), taking care not to overcook the chocolate (don't have the water at a rolling boil; simmer gently). As soon as the chocolate is easy to stir, switch off the heat and stir until smooth, keeping the bowl over the pan to keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, sieve out the seeds from the passion fruits. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the passion fruit juice to the whites then the egg yolk and continue to whip until firm.

  3. Fold the chocolate into the whites using a spatula.

  4. Divide the mousse into 6 serving dishes and chill for at least an hour.

Almond-Pistachio Nougatine (Optional)
  1. Place the nuts in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and lightly toast them under a hot grill for a couple of minutes. Keep your eye on them and don’t move away from the grill, as this happens quickly and you do NOT want them to burn (any burning will make the nuts bitter).  Toasting them lightly brings out their natural flavour. When toasted, set them aside to cool.

  2. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat. As soon as it’s melted, add the sugar. Using a wooden spoon, initially stir the sugar and butter together, then wait about 5 minutes until the mixture starts to form a  liquid and a caramel forms.  As soon as this happens, stir until smooth and it’s light brown (not dark brown, otherwise bitter), add all the nuts.

  3. Stir in the nuts until they’re all well covered and sticky in the caramel. Turn out immediately on to a patisserie mat (Silpat) or directly on to a clean, marble surface.

  4. Leave to cool on the counter for about 10 minutes or until the caramel hardens. Store in an airtight tin or jam jar and eat within a month.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is gluten free.  Serve with chocolate or exotic fruit macarons (see recipes in either of my books), top with the nougatine or serve with extra passion fruit. The mousse can be made in advance, chilled overnight and is excellent served next day.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

There’s nothing more cereal-ously satisfying to know that many of you still enjoy making this maple granola for your breakfasts.  For chocolate and coconut lovers, I’ve now taken it to a nutty, new level. Make way for a bowl of healthy dark Chocolate Coconut Granola with juicy dried cranberries, toasted brazil nuts and seeds. What’s more, it just so happens to be vegan.

chocolate coconut vegan granola

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Granola

No Added Sugar

You may know I have a sweet tooth – but not THAT sweet. Too much sugar can totally kill a dessert or a macaron filling overloaded with it. Likewise, for breakfast, I prefer sugar kept to the minimum.

When it comes to granola, the beauty of making homemade is you can control this.  By adding natural sugars via healthy, dried fruits and maple syrup, there is NO ADDED SUGAR. Add the dried fruits after baking so that the juicy fruit retains all of its healthy nutrients.

chocolate coconut granola vegan

Gluten Free

If necessary, please do ensure your oats are specifically labelled as being GLUTEN FREE if you follow a strict diet or you are Celiac.

Vegan

If you are following a strict vegan diet, use vegan dark chocolate for the recipe. Good quality chocolate chips are good, as are dark chocolate chips. If you’re not following a vegan diet, however, you may prefer to use milk chocolate which will work well.

Good Quality Chocolate

The secret is adding the chocolate after baking – so that it melts into the hot cereal.  As soon as the chocolate melts, stir the granola around again to mix it well together.

Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts are particularly good for selenium (great for memory). Just 2 brazil nuts a day will have you covered – just don’t forget to buy them!  Sesame seeds (and poppy seeds if you’d like to add these too) are good natural sources of calcium. All this makes for a HEALTHY THYROID too – and, if you’re like me without one, great for staying healthy.

 

Dark chocolate coconut granola

 

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

5 from 4 votes
chocolate coconut granola vegan
Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Homemade dark chocolate Granola with coconut, brazil nuts, cranberries and sesame seeds make this one of the best ways to go vegan

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate granola, granola, vegan granola
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 300 g (10.5oz) jumbo oats (if on a strict GF diet, ensure they're labelled gluten free)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) brazil nuts roughly chopped
  • 50 g (2oz) sunflower seeds
  • 25 g (1oz) sesame seeds
  • 50 g (2oz) dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or a few drops vanilla extract)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 75 g (3oz) coconut oil melted if in a block
  • 125 g (4.5oz) maple syrup
To add after baking:
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dried cranberries
  • 140 g (5oz) dark chocolate chips or drops (Vegan if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (Gas 4).

  2. Using a digital scale, measure all the ingredients (except the chocolate and dried fruits) in a large bowl and stir to mix them all well together.

  3. Cover a baking tray with baking paper (or a silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture evenly. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, turn over the mixture and return to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes.

  4. Immediately sprinkle over the chocolate chips/drops and the dried fruits. After about 10 minutes, turn over the granola to mix in the partially melted chocolate and juicy dried fruits. Leave to cool and for the chocolate to set.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy at its best within 10 days.

Serve with almond milk, fresh berries or with homemade rhubarb compote for a vegan breakfast or any of your favourite vegan accompaniments.
Otherwise enjoy with yoghurt, milk or Skyr (we're seeing this appearing from Iceland in French supermarkets all of a sudden - it's great!)

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Chocolate coconut granola vegan

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Mention ‘The Queen of Sheba’ and Handel’s famous music from Solomon plays full swing in my head.
Little did I know when I married my Frenchman in 1997 that the Queen of Sheba is la Reine de Saba in French.  So imagine, years later, how it was music to my ears to hear that the French make a gluten-free chocolate cake called the Queen of Sheba. A Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake is a welcome arrival to any party.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)

I loved to play ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ as a piano duet with my bestie growing up in Edinburgh.  Even the day I married my Frenchman, Dad and I arrived to Handel’s music as I played Queen for the day. What a memorable entrance it was with an oversized Scottish golf umbrella, wondering if the organ of Saint Giles would be drowned out by the bagpipes playing to the tourists outside.

Only recently I discovered that there’s a Reine de Saba museum in Paris, particularly dedicated to Yemen. Out of 27 years in the City of Light, I still haven’t been to it yet on rue de Pradier in the 19th. So, if you have been or plan to go, please tell me below in the comments.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake Recipe

I saw a recipe for the Reine de Saba cake in a free French booklet of 50 Best Chocolate Recipes published by France Loisirs many years ago. It was popped into my bag at the checkout after Christmas shopping in a French kitchen appliance shop in Paris’s 16th. If you know the chic 16th in Paris, getting something free here is pretty much unheard of, so I treasured it.

Earmarking the festive-looking Reine de Saba chocolate cake, this wee book of recipes was forgotten about during that festive season madness. It was put away in the bookcase for another Christmas, dwarfed and hidden by my other cookbooks. Then recently on a bout of tidying (inspired by an episode of Marie Kondo on Netflix, as I thought, ‘Do I really need to keep all of those books?’), I re-discovered this slim chocolate-coloured book. It fell apart the moment I opened it. Well, it was free.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake slice

That Reine de Saba recipe still looked enticing. After trying it out a few times using different moulds, toppings, and tweaking a couple of things like reducing sugar and adding rum, this is it. That wee book perhaps is already in tatters but this recipe is definitely a keeper and now a firm, family favourite next to the Chocolate Ginger Fondant Cake.

Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes

Can you Handel another French gâteau that just happens to be a gluten free chocolate cake? If you would like more recipes like this, don’t forget that you can find all my best gluten free recipes here on le blog.

What Can I do with the Leftover Egg Yolks?

As you can see from the recipe below, this recipe calls for two egg whites. Normally egg whites can keep for a few days in the fridge but I prefer to use up fresh egg yolks as quickly as possible on the day.  You’ll find a whole index of egg yolk recipes here on le blog.

Moreover, if you’re looking for a recipe with 2 egg yolks, then you can find that too, such as these Honey & Lemon Sablé biscuits, or a creamy lemon sauce to serve with roast chicken, turkey or stuffed mini pumpkins. I even have a most deliciously creamy cauliflower velouté coming up next which, surprisingly, also uses 2 yolks.

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake Christmas

French Christmas Dessert Recipes

The baked, crispy glaze topping takes this recipe into Christmas dessert mode or for a special occasion birthday cake. The family loved this topped with freshly whipped Chantilly cream, laced with just a touch of dark rum (or with Grand Marnier®).

Finish off with a dusting of unsweetened chocolate powder or edible gold dust. If you like your Christmas chocolate cake spiced, then add a teaspoon of gingerbread or pumpkin spice to the cake and/or the glaze.

Plus (you know it’s coming, don’t you?) why not serve with some almond macarons? Don’t forget that Parisian macarons are also gluten free.  You’ll find the recipes for all my macarons in both my books, Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris!

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

5 from 6 votes
Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake slice
Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

A French celebratory, gluten free chocolate and almond cake, made extra special with a hint of Grand Marnier and topped with a festive glaze.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate almond cake, gluten free chocolate cake, reine de saba cake
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 309 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate (min. 60% cacao)
  • 75 g (3oz) butter unsalted, diced
  • 3 organic eggs separated
  • 1 egg white
  • 75 g (3oz) sugar
  • 75 g (3oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or potato flour (Maïzena)
  • 2 drops vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier® (or dark rum) optional
For the Glaze:
  • 175 g (6oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier ® (or dark rum) optional
  • 1 tsp gingerbread or pumpkin spice optional
Instructions
  1. Break the dark chocolate into bits in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water (bain- marie). Ensure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl so not to overcook the chocolate. As soon as the chocolate melts, add the butter. Mix together until melted and set aside.

  2. Separate the eggs: place the 4 egg whites in a large clean bowl to whip them later. In another bowl, place the 3 egg yolks and whisk together with the sugar until light and creamy. Add the cornflour, vanilla and stir in the ground almonds. Add in the melted chocolate, alcohol if using, and mix together. Set aside at room temperature.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Grease a 20cm cake tin with butter.

  4. Whisk the egg whites with the salt in either a stand mixer or using an electric hand whisk. When the whites are whipped up and firm, gently fold into the chocolate and almond mixture.

  5. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes without browning the surface (a smaller, higher cake tin will need longer baking, about 30 minutes). Remove from the oven to cool.

Make the Glaze:
  1. Mix together the egg white with the icing sugar and Grand Marnier (or rum) if using.

    Depending on the cake tin, there are 2 ways of baking the glaze:

    1) Directly in an easy-release cake tin: once the cake is cooled down (but still warm), spread on the glaze and return to the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool then turn out on a serving plate.

    2) Remove the cake from the tin and place on an ovenproof serving plate. Spread on the glaze then return to the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Remove from the oven then decorate, if desired.

Recipe Notes

For special occasions such as Christmas, serve the cake topped with whipped cream laced with a dash of Grand Marnier® or rum or simply with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

 

Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams

Imagine the surprise: a tray of cracked macarons on opening the oven door. Don’t despair – it can happen and there are easy reasons why. In the meantime, make these deliciously easy Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams.

Cracked macaron black forest creams

They’re so good, you’ll want to make a batch of macaron shells (perfect or otherwise) just for this gluten-free dessert!

Cracked macaron Black Forest Creams

Why Cracked Macarons?

It can happen at times – even with a good macaron recipe.  On opening the oven, there are a few cracked macarons – or even a whole tray of cracked macarons. Why did this happen? It’s not the end of the world. Jings, even in some expensive Parisian patisseries, I’ve seen them sell a few cracked macarons and they still taste cracking amazing!

In my first book, Mad About Macarons, I have a whole section on troubleshooting all sorts of macaron problems using my French macaron recipe. Cracked macarons are probably because either:

  • Your batter is too runny (making the shell weak);
  • The egg whites weren’t initially beaten enough;
  • Too much final mixing of the batter (macaronnage);
  • Too much humidity in the oven.

In our case recently, I made a whole batch and much of this lot cracked simply because I hadn’t cleaned the oven. Lingering oil on the oven base creates humidity and so the chocolate macarons just cracked up in there.  However, they still tasted wonderful.  I have a neighbour who chucked a whole batch of Italian-meringued macarons in disgust and I never forgave him – perfectionist or not. Please don’t waste perfectly good macaron shells!  This gluten free dessert below is the answer before your next batch.

macarons no feet reasons

Why did some macarons not produce any feet?

Why Don’t My Macarons have Feet?

Another case something went wrong was when Lucie and I made chocolate macarons side-by-side together, preparing them for school.  It was a wonderful time in the kitchen together with her Japanese rock at full blast – but I didn’t think to check her weighing out exactly all the ingredients. As you can see from the above photo with both our macarons on the same baking tray, her macarons (using the same ingredients, same oven, same baking sheet) didn’t produce feet. Why?  She realised afterwards that she hadn’t measured out the ingredients properly using digital scales: instead of 250g icing (powdered) sugar, she only measured out 100g – that’s a whopping difference!

So, please follow the recipe to the letter and don’t cut down on the sugar – as any changes you make will result in something like no feet!  Incidentally, no macaron feet is also due to runny batter (see above), insufficient airing or oven temperature too low. However, the ingredients used were still so good and they were perfect candidates for the base of this chocolate cherry boozy dessert.

cracked macarons soaking in kirsch for black forest creams

Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams

If you’ve made these gluten free Macaron Tiramisu desserts, you’ll remember that we left the macaron shells to soak in coffee and Amaretto.  In this case, we’re doing the same but using a Kirsch syrup.  Either pour on the syrup on a filtered tray on top of another tray or simply pour over the macarons in a shallow dish and turn the macarons over, ensuring that each shell is fully coated in the lush boozy syrup and leave overnight or for at least an hour.

cracked macaron black forest creams

Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams are not just great with boozy cherries but also delicious with raspberries too! Just replace the Kirsch with Chambord raspberry liqueur.

cracked macaron black forest creams

Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams

Love Chocolate and Cherries?

Try these Black Forest Chocolate Cream Desserts, as part of the egg yolk recipe collection and save the whites for making macarons. It’s a never-ending delicious cycle! It’s a great recipe using fresh cherries when in season or using Griottine® cherries, preserved in alcohol – or even just good quality tinned cherries.
Make more of the recipe below plus make this chocolate cherry macaron ganache.

5 from 4 votes
cracked macaron black forest creams
Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Resting time
1 hr
Total Time
40 mins
 

Cracked chocolate macarons? Make these easy Black Forest creams with Kirsch-soaked macaron shells topped with roasted cherries and Kirsch Chantilly cream. A gluten-free dessert for cherry season or any time of year.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: black forest, cherry desserts, chocolate cherry, cracked macarons, gluten free, kirsch recipes, macaron desserts
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 292 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 125 g (4.5oz) macaron shells (ready made: 36 needed) macaron recipe in either of my 2 books
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) water
  • 50 g (2oz) sugar (+ 1 tbsp for roasting cherries)
  • 60 ml (2.5 fl oz) Kirsch liqueur
  • 36 cherries (fresh or jarred such as Griottines*) (6 per person)
  • 300 g (10.5oz) whipping cream (chilled) (30% fat)
  • 1 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 25 g (1oz) dark chocolate, grated (optional for decor)
Instructions
  1. Make the Kirsch syrup: in a saucepan gently heat the water, sugar and 40ml (1.5fl oz) Kirsch together and stir until a thicker syrup forms.  Set aside to cool. Chill a bowl for preparing the Chantilly cream.

  2. Using a shallow dish filled with the macaron shells, pour over the syrup. Turn over now and again until all the macarons are fully steeped in the juices then leave for at least an hour to soak.

  3. Roast the cherries in 190°C fan/210°C/410°F/Gas 6: place the cherries in a roasting tin, sprinkle with sugar and splash with the rest of the Kirsch. Roast until the juices are released (about 10mins) then cool. 

  4. Make the Chantilly Kirsch cream: using an electric whisk, beat the chilled whipping cream in the chilled bowl with 1 tbsp icing (powered) sugar until soft peaks form.  Add 1 tbsp Kirsch or the roasted cherry juice and beat again until the peaks hold.

  5. Place the soaked macarons at the bottom of 6 serving dishes, sprinkle with chocolate powder, top with 6 cherries and top with Kirsch Chantilly cream. Either sprinkle on more cocoa powder or good quality grated dark chocolate.

Recipe Notes

* Note: If making with 'Griottine' cherries (cherries jarred in liqueur), then this recipe is even easier! Just pour over the boozy cherry juice from the jar on your macarons instead of making the syrup.

This recipe is also delicious made with raspberries instead of cherries. Simply replace the Kirsch with Chambord raspberry liqueur.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

cracked macaron black forest creams

 

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

It’s perhaps a bit last-minute to post an Easter cake recipe but this one is pretty quick to make without a packet mix in sight! As we have two birthdays this Easter week, my daughter and I celebrated both together in advance with this Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake.

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

 She then hopped back over the Channel – as a mix of happy and hot cross bunny – to prepare for her first university exams. Julie turns 19.
The older she gets, the more she asks for treats she loved when she was little, such as Melting Moments (oat biscuits), fresh strawberries now in season, macarons (surprised?) – and an extra large dark chocolate cake!

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

Easter Bunny Butt Cake – Let’s Say Bottom!

She may be 19 but she’s still my baby so her wee party did look more like a baby shower. Inspired by Easter Bunny Cake images on Pinterest, I loved this ‘Bunny Butt’ version as it’s easy to put together.  To achieve a clean, round mound without even needing to cut off tops – simply bake the cake in a greased glass Pyrex bowl and make 3 smaller cakes in cupcake or muffin moulds for the paws and tail (many sites tell you to use candy floss but I can’t find it here).

All the recipes I found on the internet, however, used a packet mix for both the cake and the topping. Like all my recipes, this is a recipe made from scratch which is still easy but you’ll see why it’s worth making your own.  Why should we bake from scratch? Because we can control the amount (and type) of sugar we use.  Too sweet and you lose the good chocolate flavours.

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake Method

How to make a Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

Good Quality Dark Chocolate Cake

When it comes to chocolate cake, we’re serious chocoholics. After years of appreciating good chocolat noir – dark, bittersweet French chocolate – it has to be pure and simply our best chocolate cake: moist rather than crumbly with melted intense dark chocolate, good quality unsweetened cocoa powder, plenty of good quality chocolate chips and not too much sugar to let the chocolate’s quality shine through.

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

Reduced Sugar Chocolate Cake

For a white rabbit topping, either use my easy dark chocolate glaze recipe and sprinkle coconut on top, or cream cheese frosting (from this purple carrot cake) – or make this topping using good quality white chocolate, making it a triple chocolate cake.

White chocolate is naturally sweetened so it doesn’t need any extra sugar. If you see recipes adding sugar to white chocolate and butter – DON’T. With some recipes, you could end up throwing in a whopping amount (as much as 250g/9oz!) of totally unnecessary sugar.  Just add a touch of vanilla powder, if you like, for more natural sweetness. The result? The white chocolate buttercream topping on this balances the overall cake’s sweetness.

White chocolate easter bunny cake topping

How to Make Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake Paws

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

Roll out ready-made pink marzipan and cut out these paw shapes using a sharp knife. If you have a piping bag tip, then pressing through paw circles is even easier. Cut the two muffin-sized cakes to form triangular feet, coat with white chocolate buttercream then stick on the marzipan.

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

Chocolate easter bunny birthday cake

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

5 from 1 vote
Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake
Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

A triple chocolate bunny cake that's great for Easter, birthdays or baby showers. Dark, bittersweet chocolate cake is topped with reduced sugar white chocolate buttercream and decorated with pink marzipan for the paws and ears. 

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: Dark chocolate cake recipe, Easter Bunny Cake recipe, Reduced sugar white chocolate buttercream
Servings: 12
Calories: 526 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 75 g (3oz) dark cooking chocolate at least 60% cocoa (broken into pieces)
  • 225 g (8oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 125 g (4.5oz) brown cane sugar (I use organic cocoa flower sugar)
  • 150 g (5.5oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 75 g (3oz) ground almonds (almond flour) (for a nut-free cake, replace nuts with more plain flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (fleur de sel)
  • 4 medium organic eggs
  • 75 g (3oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 150 ml (5.5 floz) milk semi-skimmed (or full fat)
  • 110 g (4oz) good quality chocolate chips
White Chocolate Buttercream
  • 150 g (5.5oz) good quality white chocolate drops or broken into pieces
  • 135 g (5oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or extract (optional)
Decoration
  • 100 g (3.5oz) pink marzipan (for paws & ears)
  • 250 g (9oz) green marzipan (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4. Grease a large ovenproof glass (Pyrex) bowl and 3 muffin moulds with extra butter.

  2. Melt the cooking chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bain-marie), ensuring the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. As soon as it starts to melt, take off the heat, stir until completely melted and leave aside to slightly cool.

  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, melted chocolate, eggs, cocoa powder. When well mixed, add the milk and chocolate chips and combine until smooth.

  4. Pour the mixture into 3 muffin moulds and the large Pyrex bowl.  Bake the smaller cakes for 15 minutes and the large cake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cake. Set aside to cool then upturn on a cake rack.

White Chocolate Buttercream
  1. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bain-marie), ensuring the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. As soon as it starts to melt, take off the heat, stir until completely melted and leave aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Cream the butter in a stand mixer or using a wooden spoon in a large bowl.  When the chocolate is cooled right down but still liquid, beat in to the butter (both should be the same temperature). Using a spatula, spread on top of the large cake. Chill until ready to serve.  Remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving, to appreciate the chocolate flavours.

Decoration
  1. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pink marzipan to a thin sheet and cut out paw shapes using a sharp knife: 2 ovals and 6 small circles (use a piping tip).

  2. Cut the top off to even one muffin cake for the tail. Cut off the sides of each of the 2 muffins to make a triangular shape for the paws. Spread on the buttercream, plopping one for the tail and place the 2 as paws, sticking on the pink paw-prints.  Optional: roll out the green marzipan into a large circular sheet as a grass-looking base and decorate with edible flowers, Easter eggs and macarons.

Recipe Notes

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Fancy making this Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake? Let me know by commenting below or show me your pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Otherwise, pin bunny for later below!

Alternatively, love a lemon cake? Try this gluten-free Almond & Lemon Easter Cake.

Chocolate Easter Bunny Birthday Cake

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Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

What is it with crumble that it looks so totally not sexy in photos? This Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble has taken me so long to post because of the images but in the end, I gave up and these photos will have to do. All that matters is the recipe – your proof is in the pudding!

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble

This Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble is so quick to make and ticks all the autumn-winter-spring pear comfort-food dessert boxes. We love this not just for dessert but any leftovers are pounced on for breakfast, weekend brunch and – typically French – for teatime too as a crrrrumbeulle with a pot of tea.

Comice pears Parisian market

All throughout Autumn and Winter, we’ve had a constant supply of ripe-firm pears at our local market, which are just right for this crumble.  In February, and now in March, they’re still going strong! For this recipe I use Comice pears but you can use Williams, Conference – any of the winter varieties.

Pears, Apples and Chocolate Heaven

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble recipe method

As I was developing the recipe, I found that adding some apple helped soak up the juices, as pears for a crumble do tend to be rather wet and juicy, which could make it a bit soggy if used on their own.  However, the mixture of the two together and cooking them lightly at the beginning will prove to be just right.

Chocolate hazelnut pear crumble method

Healthy Crumble with Oats

To make this recipe a little less in gluten than my classic apple crumble, I’ve replaced some of the flour with oats and the hazelnuts just add that incredible flavour.  It’s like having a homemade Nutella crumble but much healthier.

Although I add unsweetened cacao powder to the hazelnut crumble, the real secret is hidden underneath: good quality dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao), in cooking disks or grated, just merges in to the fruit. It’s a perfect marriage in a baking dish.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

This one is ready to go in the oven. Just ensure that the chocolate and fruit are hidden underneath the crumble.

More Crumble Love

If you love crumbles, have you tried these yet?

More Pear Recipes

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chocolate hazelnut pear crumble

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy chocolate oat crumble that's a great compromise for a family dessert with fruit - the ultimate comfort-food with extra dark chocolate and lower in gluten than the classic crumble.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: baking with oats, chocolate crumble, chocolate hazelnut recipes, eggless baking, low gluten, pear recipes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 318 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Chocolate Hazelnut Crumble
  • 50 g (2oz) Ground Hazelnuts
  • 50 g (2oz) Plain (all purpose) flour
  • 75 g (3oz) medium oats (porridge oats)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (4oz) butter unsalted
  • 1 good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 40 g (1.5oz) soft light brown sugar (cane sugar)
Fruity Filling
  • 10 g (0.5oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 firm to ripe Large Williams or Comice pears peeled, cored, chopped
  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, chopped
  • 10 g (0.5oz) vanilla sugar or cane sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 50 g (2oz) dark bittersweet chocolate (min 64%) (good quality, in button form or grated)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the crumble ingredients in a large bowl, lightly rubbing through your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
  3. Peel, core and chop up the apples and pears roughly into chunks. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan, toss in the fruit chunks and sprinkle over the vanilla sugar. Leave to cook over a medium heat, turning the apples and pears now and again, for about 5-8 minutes. The fruit should not be mushy, just lightly cooked. Drain off any excess fruit juice if there is any (set aside and reduce over medium heat to serve apart with the crumble later so that there's no waste).

  4. Transfer the fruit to a gratin or pudding dish (no need to butter it) and scatter over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle on a generous amount of crumble until the fruit and chocolate are completely covered.

  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is toasted or lightly browned. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Replace the dark chocolate with milk chocolate according to taste.

Although fresh pears are best for this recipe, tinned pears are also great!

We normally serve this chocolate hazelnut pear crumble on its own but if you prefer, add some vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or an adult boozy ice cream such as this non-churn Calvados ice cream (replace the Drambuie with Calvados).

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble