Robert W. Bennett
Pastry Chef,
Le-Bec Fin Restaurant, Philadelphia PA

Le Bec-Fin's Signature Chocolate Cake

"Of all the aphrodisiacs, nothing fuels one's passion more than chocolate."

Yield: Three 8" cakes


Butter and flour Three 8" pans

Step 1:

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
Whip with mixer until thick and light. The batter should form ribbons from the beaters when lifted.

Step 2:

  • 10 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder
  • 7/8 cups pastry flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Sift, and set aside.

Step 3:

  • 10 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
Whip until firm.

Fold 1/2 of the beaten egg whites (step 3) into the yolk mixture (step 1). Fold in dry ingredients (step 2). Fold in remaining egg whites. This mixture should be handled gently, avoid over mixing. Divide among the 3 pans and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

  • Rum Syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
Bring to a boil, remove from heat Add: 1 cup dark rum and stir Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Buttercream

Yields: 1 1/2 quarts

  • 5 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 9 oz unsalted butter, soft

Whisk eggs and sugar over a double boiler until very warm. Remove from heat and mix until cool and light. Add melted chocolate (warm, not hot) while on low speed. Then add soft butter and beat until light.

To Assemble:
With a serrated knife, split the cakes into 3 layers each. For each cake assembled, place one layer on a cardboard circle or cake platter, moisten with rum syrup using a pastry brush. Top with chocolate buttercream, spread out to the edges. Top with a second layer of sponge cake and repeat until all 3 layers are assembled. Coat the entire cake with buttercream, and garnish with shaved chocolate.

These recipes make enough for 3 completed cakes. After the final buttercream coating, the cakes may be wrapped and frozen. To serve, pull out of freezer 4 hours before serving and let sit at room temperature. Garnish with shaved chocolate. These may be frozen up to one month ahead.