An Interpretation of Vanity: Juicy Chocolate Cake, Cold Milk Cream, Gold and Chocolate Bubbles

Adapted by
January 2009
Yield: 4 Servings


Almond Cream
50 grams Marcona almonds
130 milliliters milk
5 grams sugar
8.8 grams kuzu (a root starch used as a thickener)
80 grams egg yolks
125 grams sugar
30 milliliters lukewarm water
125 grams egg whites
110 grams flour, passed through a tamis
15 grams cocoa powder
Rum Syrup
65 grams mineral water
17 grams sugar
5 grams glucose
14 grams rum
Chocolate Mousse
110 grams cream (32% fat)
20 milliliters milk
10 grams trimoline (invert sugar)
1/2 vanilla bean, split
20 grams egg yolks
50 grams coverture chocolate, 70%
90 grams cream (32% fat)
Black Glaze
2.5 grams gelatin sheets
55 grams mineral water
65 grams sugar
10 grams nonfat powdered milk
15 grams cocoa powder
45 grams cream
Cocoa Bubbles
1 liter mineral water
100 grams cocoa powder
1 gram xanthan gum
100 grams white sugar
0.5 gram salt
20 grams powdered egg white
Gold Shimmer
Edible gold dust
To Assemble and Serve
beechwood chips


For the Almond Cream

In a machine that can make nut milk, place the almonds in the section for the solids and the milk and sugar in the section for the liquids. Blend together until the nuts have transmitted their essence to the milk. Leave the liquid to macerate for 12 hours. Pass almond milk through a strainer, pressing on the solids to extract all liquid. (The almond milk should amount to approximately 100 milliliters). Place almond milk in a pot and add the kuzu and a pinch of salt. Place over a low flame and stir with a silicon spatula to prevent sticking. Remove from the flame when the milk has acquired a creamy, unctuous texture. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve at room temperature.

For the Biscuit

Preheat the oven to 250ºC/480ºF. Place the egg yolks and half of the sugar in a mixer. Add the water little by little. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites; when they begin to become fluffy, add the remaining sugar. Beat until they form a meringue, and fold in the egg yolks. Mix well and add the flour, then the cocoa powder. Pour on a sheet tray and bake for 5 minutes. Cool and reserve. 

For the Rum Syrup

Bring the water, sugar, and glucose to a boil in a pot. Remove from heat, chill, and add rum. Reserve covered and cold.

For the Chocolate Mousse

Bring 25 grams of the 110 grams of cream to a boil with the milk, trimoline, and vanilla bean.* Put the remaining 85 grams of cream in a bowl; whip and reserve. Break the coverture chocolate into small pieces. Lightly beat the egg yolks and temper them with the cream/vanilla mixture. Cook this mixture in the style of a crèam anglaise until it reaches 85ºC/185ºF. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate; mix and puree until the mixture turns into a smooth ganache. (The mixture should be around 3ºC/85ºF.) Add a small portion of this ganache to the whipped cream and blend carefully with a silicon spatula. Add the rest of the ganache to the whipped cream mixture and continue to mix gently until you have a smooth, even cream. *For the most intense flavor, this mixture can be prepared the day before and left to rest for 12 hours. 

For the Black Glaze

Soften the gelatin sheets in cold water, then dry the leaves of gelatin between absorbent paper towels. Bring the water to a boil with the sugar and powdered milk, stirring well. When the mixture is hot and the powdered milk has dissolved, add the cocoa powder and cream. Heat the mixture to 102º C/216 ºF. Remove the pot from the flame. When the mixture cools to 50ºC, gently stir in the drained gelatin, but be careful not to agitate the liquid and create bubbles. 

For the Cocoa Bubbles

Combine 950 milliliters of the water with the cocoa powder in a bowl and mix gently so as not to create any bubbles or foam. Strain through a tamis. Add xantham gum, sugar, and salt. Put mixture in a mixing bowl and blend gently with a mixer to homogenize. Put the powdered egg whites in a metal bowl and very slowly incorporate the remaining 50 milliliters of water. Use a spoon or a pestle to plaster the paste that forms against the walls of the bowl so that no air bubbles form. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, and then push the mixture against the bowl again to remove air bubbles. Add this paste to the mixing bowl containing the cocoa mixture and blend for 20 minutes. Pour mixture in a vacuum bag and vacuum seal to remove all air. Keep in the refrigerator at 45-50ºF until needed. 

For the Gold Shimmer

Combine the gold dust and vodka and reserve in a covered container. 

To Assemble and Serve

Cut the biscuit into rectangular pieces, 7cm long x 1cm wide, so that they are the shape of elongated ingots (gold bricks). Soak these in the rum syrup for 20 minutes then remove and dry on a rack. Fill 4 8cm x 3cm x 3cm silicon molds with 1cm of chocolate mousse, and sink 1 rum-soaked biscuit in each mold. Cover with chocolate mousse until even with the top of the mold; you should have 4 mousse-covered, rum-soaked biscuits. Chill until set in the refrigerator. Slowly warm the black glaze. Remove the mousse-covered biscuits and glaze them with the shiny black glaze. When finished, you will have a pastry composed of the rum-soaked biscuit, mousse, and a brilliant glaze. Dip a sponge in the gold shimmer and decorate one corner of the plate. (Aduriz cuts a design in plastic and uses it as a stencil.) Place wood chips in a smoking gun and capture smoke in a lidded bowl or airtight container. Place a piece of the glazed cake on the plate, and place a spoonful of the almond cream by its side. Remove the cocoa bubble mixture from the vacuum bag and pour it in a bowl. Place the absorbent part of the air machine in the container holding the smoke, and the expelling part in the cocoa bubble liquid. As the machine takes the smoke and expels it into the liquid, smoke-filled bubbles will form on the surface. (NB: These bubbles will be stronger than usual because of the xantham gum.) Use a skimmer to collect the bubbles from the top of the liquid and place them over everything on the plate (they should completely cover the cake and the cream). Serve immediately; the bubbles will be bursting smoke as they are laid in front of the diner.