My mother loves tea cakes. She was always searching for a recipe that would replicate the tea cakes that her grandmother made for her. I'm not sure if she ever found that exact recipe, but she has come across many tea cake recipes she's loved over the years. One that I can specifically remember was from "Ms. Debroah." She loved the texture of the tea cakes--something between a cookie and a muffin.
When I went to France in 2010 during my i-just-finished-law-school self-imposed sabbatical, I discovered the tea cakes that France has to offer. Sophie, a teacher at the school I was working at as a language assistant invited me to her home for tea. She knew I loved to bake, and her father was a pastry chef, so there were plenty of "tea cakes" or petit gateaux as the French like to call them. She made madeleines, cake marbre, and financiers. Financiers are squarely in the "tea cake" category--they're made with almond flour and the melted butter gives a crispy exterior.
And you know what's better than a tea cake? A tea cake filled with chocolate. So, when Guittard asked me to help celebrate their 150th anniversary, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I have long been impressed by Guittard. They are the American standard bearer for what the highest quality of chocolate is. And when you're putting so much time, energy and love into making something, it's only natural to want to use the best ingredients.
In the meantime, you can check out my recipe for these tea cakes filled with chocolate ganache! Oh, and I came across this lovely cork-shaped bundt pan, and I knew the cavities were perfect for holding the ganache, but you can use a regular mini-bundt pan, and even a cupcake pan.
Ganache-Filled Corks, adapted from Cyril Lignac's Tigres
125 grams heavy cream
125 grams Guittard 66% semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
65 grams finely ground almonds (almond flour)
195 grams confectioner’s sugar
75 grams all-purpose flour
3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
2 grams salt
200 grams egg whites
105 grams (7 ½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
165 grams Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare molds, such as a 12-capacity mini bundt pan, by generously coating each mold with softened butter. Add flour to each mold and turn the pan over to tap out any excess flour.
Prepare the ganache. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over low heat. Remove the cream from the heat as soon as bubbles form around the surface. Place the finely chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler and gently melt. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Add 1/3 of the cream to the chocolate and stir to combine. Add remaining cream in thirds and stir until a smooth ganache is formed. Set the ganache aside.
Sift the almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg whites, then melted butter. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop the batter into the prepare molds. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for ten minutes. Once the ten minutes have gone by, remove the cakes from the pan by inverting the pan on the cooling rack and lightly tapping the cakes until they come out. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling.
To assemble, fill the center of the cakes with the ganache (depending on the design of your pan, you may need to cut the center out of the cakes. Once filled with ganache, garnish with flaky sea salt. Serve the same day.