I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Love Triangles

20 triangles, 10 to 20 servings


These were originally named as a joke regarding my friend Frank. Frank, at age 23, is remarkably intelligent, mentally "together", and an all-around cool dude, but he still has more testosterone than any six men you'd care to name. Anyway, the name stuck (well, these are triangles, and everyone loves them). These consist of two layers of very light, not too sweet, chocolatey sponge cake, sandwiched together with an equally light ganache, which can be flavored with a bit of black raspberry liqueur. Because they are not very sweet and rather sophisticated, these would probably be appreciated more by adults than by children.

This sponge cake here is extremely delicate and must be handled very carefully. I find it helps to dust my fingers with some of the additional unsweetened cocoa powder called for in the recipe. The completed triangles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days; to store, line a non-metal airtight container with wax paper, then place each triangle carefully inside. Cut a piece of wax paper to dimensions slightly smaller then the inside top of the container, and lay it lightly on top of the pastries, then cut a piece of paper towel to slightly larger dimensions, and lay that lightly on top of the wax paper (the paper towel will absorb any condensation that might form). Cover the container airtight.

It is important that the eggs be at room temperature before they are beaten, as both yolks and whites will achieve much greater volume that way. Although I use a stand mixer to beat the egg whites, you could use a second hand-held mixer, or you could wash (with soap!) and dry thoroughly the beaters used for the yolks. Either way, the beater(s) and bowl you use must be completely free of any grease.


Chocolate Sponge Cake:
4 ozs. best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
5 eggs, graded "large", separated and at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
Pinch salt
1 tsp. freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
Additional unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

8 ozs. best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Optional: 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp. black raspberry liqueur

For Serving:
Good-quality thin chocolate sauce or syrup
Additional unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Optional: Fresh raspberries and/or fresh mint leaves


For the Sponge Cake:
Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15-1/2" by 10-1/2" by 1" baking sheet with solid vegetable shortening. Line the bottom and the two short sides with one piece of baking parchment, allowing about 1/2" overhang on each short edge. Grease the parchment, then dust the entire pan lightly with flour, knocking out any excess. Have ready a cotton (not terrycloth) dishtowel that is longer and wider than the baking sheet, a very fine strainer, and additional unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder for immediate use after the cake is baked.

In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and warm water. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); whisk frequently until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and hot water. Add cocoa powder and whisk in thoroughly until most lumps are gone. Cool until barely warm.

Place egg yolks in medium nonreactive bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. sugar (reserve remainder). With hand-held electric mixer, start beating at low speed to combine yolks and sugar. Gradually increase speed to high; beat 3 full minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula; beat 2 minutes longer at high speed. Yolk mixture will be increased in volume and a pale yellow. Add barely warm chocolate mixture; beat at a low speed just until incorporated. Scrape bowl bottom and sides with rubber spatula.

Place egg whites in absolutely clean, grease-free small bowl of electric mixer; attach whisk beater. Add salt, then lemon juice. Beat at high speed until white and very foamy; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating between each addition. Beat just until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer.

Transfer a large spoonful of the beaten whites to the yolk-chocolate mixture, and fold it in to lighten the latter (do not be too thorough). Repeat with a second large spoonful. Transfer the lightened yolk-chocolate mixture to the bowl containing the whites. Fold the two mixtures together quickly but gently, only until no white streaks remain.

Turn batter into prepared baking sheet and quickly but gently spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven 14 to 16 minutes, or just until center of cake springs back when pressed lightly with a fingertip. the cake will start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. Do not overbake! Remove to cooling rack. Immediately cover surface with additional unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder forced through a very fine strainer (you want a light covering on the cake surface, but you want it to be as completely covered as possible). Work quickly. When done, lay the dishtowel gently over the top of the cake. Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, start the Ganache:
In medium heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped chocolate and 2/3 cup heavy cream (reserve remainder in refrigerator). Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, chill a medium bowl and the beater(s) from a hand-held electric mixer. When the chocolate mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the liqueur, if you're using it.

In preparation for assembly, have ready a cutting board that is at least 11" long and 9" wide. Cut a sheet of wax paper to fit the top surface of the board, and tape it on in several places. Have ready a baking sheet or flat surface larger than 15-1/2" long by 10-1/2" wide. You'll also need a short, sharp, serrated knife and a long, very sharp, serrated knife; an offset spatula is handy, too.

When the cake and the chocolate mixture are both at room temperature, assemble the pastries. With the small, sharp, serrated knife, gently loosen the cake from the long edges of the pan. Loosen the short edges of the baking parchment from the pan (if necessary), then loosen the short edges of the cake from the parchment (if required). Make sure the top surface of the cake is still coated with cocoa powder. Tear off a length of wax paper larger than the surface of the cake, and place it gently on top. Cover with the bottom of the larger baking sheet, then invert. Remove the 15-1/2" by 10-1/2" baking sheet (you may have to pull very gently at an edge of the parchment paper to help the cake out of the pan--OK). To remove the baking parchment from the cake, work from the middle of a long edge. Gently tear the paper off in small sections. Be careful!! This cake is delicate!! Once the parchment has been removed, the cake will be roughly 14-1/2" long by 9-1/2" wide; use the large, very sharp, serrated knife to gently cut the cake in half (use a sawing motion) so that you have two pieces, each about 7-1/4" long by 9-1/2" wide. Dust your fingers with unsweetened cocoa powder, then VERY GENTLY work them under one of the halves. Carefully and quickly pick up that half and transfer it, cocoa side down, to the wax paper covered cutting board. Don't worry if it cracks or splits slightly Gently place a piece of plastic wrap loosely over each half of the sponge cake.

Finish the ganache filling. Pour remaining 1-1/3 cups of cold heavy cream into the chilled medium bowl. Beat with chilled beater(s) at high speed just until definite traces of beater marks show in the cream. Stir the cooled chocolate mixture vigorously for a few seconds to loosen it, then quickly add it all at once to the cream. Quickly resume beating JUST until soft peaks form--do NOT beat to stiff peaks! If the ganache is overbeaten, it will not be smooth or delicate in the finished triangles. The cream and chocolate probably will not be completely combined at this point--OK. Use a rubber spatula to fold the two together until the mixture is a uniform color. Remove plastic wrap from both sponge cake halves. By large spoonfuls, place all of the ganache on top of the chocolate sponge cake half on the wax paper lined cutting board (it will look like too much, but it isn't). With an offset spatula (if available), spread the ganache into an even layer, stopping just short of the cake edges.

The remaining sponge cake half will be lying cocoa side down on wax paper. Use the wax paper to help you and very gently flip it over so that the cocoa side is now facing up. Gently and carefully brush any excess cocoa from the cake surface, using either your fingers or a clean, soft pastry brush. Dust your fingers with a bit more unsweetened cocoa powder, then carefully and gently pick up this sponge cake half., and quickly place it (in the same orientation) on top of the ganache. Press together VERY GENTLY. The uncut pastry should be the same thickness throughout (although if the very edges are a bit thicker or thinner it doesn't matter). Chill, uncovered, for three hours before cutting. This gives the ganache a chance to firm up.

To cut, you'll need a large, very sharp, thin-bladed, serrated knife. Place the uncut pastry in front of you so that one long edge is parallel to the edge of your work surface. To cut, saw very gently through the top sponge cake layer, then cut straight down to the wax paper; you'll have to rinse the blade under hot water, then dry it, after every cut. Gently trim all four edges so that they are even (cut off as little as possible here). Place the pastry so that one long edge is parallel to the edge of your work surface; cut it in half with respect to the short edges, so that your halves measure about 9-1/4" long by 3-1/2" wide. Next, cut each half into fifths with respect to the long edges, so that you'll have 10 rectangles, each a bit under 2" long by 3-1/2" wide. Finally, cut each rectangle in half diagonally; this will leave you with twenty "Love Triangles". Gently transfer the cut triangles (using cocoa-dusted fingers and a stiff, thin-bladed, preferably offset metal spatula ) to airtight storage container prepared as described in recipe introduction. Chill until serving time.

To serve, drizzle a small amount of good-quality thin chocolate sauce or syrup on each light-colored (preferably white) serving plate, forming a random zigzag pattern. Place one or two triangles on top of the sauce/syrup. Using a very fine strainer, dust a thin coating of unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder over the top of each (some of the cocoa will fall onto the serving plate, which looks very pretty). If you wish, place a few fresh raspberries and a mint leaf or two onto each plate. Serve immediately.


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Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.

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This page created April 1999