This was one of the technical challenges on The Great British Baking Show and when I saw it I was intrigued. The one thing that amazed me was that none of the bakers had ever seemed to have heard of it. It is one of the most classic and iconic of all the French cakes so it surprised me when no one knew what it was.
This challenge was set by the lovable Mary Berry. I have made numerous versions of the marjolaine over the years and I was pleased to see that Marys recipe is very close to the original. The marjolaine was created by the great culinary master Fernand Point at his iconic restaurant La Pyramide in Viennes, France. It is considered to be his masterpiece and is still on the menu at La Pyramide to this day.
The cake consists of four light and crisp nut dacquoise layers sandwiched with nut flavored buttercream and chocolate ganache. The whole cake is then frosted with more buttercream, covered in sliced almonds and decorated with more chocolate ganache and hazelnuts and pistachios.
It does take a bit of time as the dacquoise layers need a long slow bake and then must stay in the turned off oven until cool so plan ahead if your going to make this cake. You will also need to make buttercream and ganache and a nut praline so be advised if you are leary of sugarwork. All in all it is a wonderful cake and well worth trying at least once.
A few observations about the recipe.
Mary calls for you to bake the dacquoise in a single layer on two baking sheets and then when baked and cooled, cut them into the four layers. Being that the dacquoise is so fragile I prefer to mark out the size on need on the bottom of the parchment paper and then pipe over the lines. That way all I have to do is trim the edges a bit to make sure the layers are all even. I just feel that I have less chance of breaking the layers this way.
When making the buttercream, Mary indicates to whip the egg and sugar syrup mixture for 5 – 10 minutes until it is cool before adding the butter. This timing is relative. My mixer has stainless steel bowls and I sometimes have to beat these types of mixtures for up to 30 minutes before the bowl cools down and the mixture is cool enough to add the butter. At any rate, just make sure your mixture is cool before adding the butter. If you don’t. the butter will melt, the mixture will become greasy and your buttercream is essentially ruined as it will never come together and thicken.