Culinary Arts

Chocolate Cake Finishing: Assembly & Presentation

Dominique Ansel

Lesson time 20:56 min

Learn how to assemble the cake, coat it with a stunning, slate-black mirror glaze, and top it with mini meringues for a finished dessert as intricate as it is whimsical.

Dominique Ansel
Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel teaches his essential techniques for making delicious pastries and desserts in his first-ever online class.
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This kind of cake is the cake I love. It's the French style cake. It's very shiny and it's very beautiful. This cake is going to be frozen, and then we're going to pull it, glaze it, and decorate it. When you look into it, you can actually see your reflection. I really want you to bring this to your next party and let this be the showstopper for everyone. We now have everything ready to build our chocolate cake-- our chocolate our chocolate mousse, and I'm going to show you how to assemble everything together. So timing is very important. Make sure you make your chocolate mousse when everything else is ready. We're going to start with a simple half sheet tray with parchment paper on the bottom. What I like to use to build my cakes is actually a cake ring. I think they are a lot more flexible than a regular cake pan. I always use acetate roll inside the cake ring. So this acetate roll is about the same size of the cake ring right now, but you can also build it higher if you like. That's why I like to use cake rings, because it's fairly flexible. So this roll is placed inside the ring, and then I just cut the right size. This piece if acetate inside is going to help me unmold the cake very easily so it won't stick to the cake ring. So this kind of cake is that cake I love. It's the French-style cake, with a very light, thin sponge, and a light chocolate mousse. So it's very different than classic American cake. The classic American cake will have a denser cake and buttercream. For this style of cake, you'll have to work a few days ahead of time. Once you're done with it, put it in the freezer, unmold it, and then finish it. So there's a lot of different textures that goes inside the cake. It's a little more intricate. It's a little bit more delicate. And it's the kind of cake I grew up eating. So now for the build of the cake. We've placed our cake ring and our acetate on the side of the ring. We're going to place our first chocolate sponge inside the cake ring, and push it all the way to the bottom. So this should fit perfectly, since we'll cut it in the inside of the cake ring. Then next step, what I'm going to do here is to actually soak the sponge with some rum syrup. So this is a fairly easy syrup, it's a simple syrup. It's an equal part of sugar and water, and then this one was spiked up with a little bit of rum. Make sure you put enough rum so you can actually taste it. If you don't want any alcohol, you can also flavor it with orange blossom, a little bit of water, which work perfectly as well. So what I do here is I just dip the brush in the syrup and I gently dab the sponge to make sure that it's moist enough. So I start from the outside, and I always go towards the center. You'll be able to find the recipe for this soak in the workbook. So you don't necessarily have to soak this cake. It's actually pretty moist by itself. But I like to add a little syrup that is flavored...

The Art of French Pastry

Celebrated for his innovative twists on classic desserts, Cronut® creator and James Beard Award-winner Dominique Ansel has been called the “world’s best pastry chef.” In his MasterClass, Dominique teaches his essential techniques for perfect pastries. Learn baking and more with his precise methods, add classic recipes to your repertoire, and explore texture and flavor inspirations to delight friends and family with your own decadent desserts.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I was familiar with several of the techniques and enjoyed a refresher. The chocolate class was something brand new to me and I will be doing a lot of experimenting! Presentation of each classe was top notch.

I am a culinary student at MATC. I was previously trained as a pastry chef, so I understand the basics. I really love how Dominique is able to teach me new methods. I am always learning. He presents it in a way that is not intimidating. The steps are carefully layed out in an understandable way. Great class.

I really loved Chef Dominique's philosophy about baking, having the right techniques and knowledge mastered to be able to create new things that connect with people.

This class was very informative. I really liked the instructor and the way he presented the information. I don't bake often, but when I do, I like to make something special. Everything he makes is special! I'm so glad he shared his skills and knowledge.


elio D.

i dropped the frozen cake.. but i picked it up cut away anything suspect and re glazed.. he makes the whole process with amazing ease.. i will make this again and again like the look of the glaze with out merigues also


I'm very excited to try this cake! Though i'm curious if there is any advice on if I can make this a more modern styled cake by switching the 2 - 8" rings to 3 - 6" rings and building it higher? Would the mousse be able to handle the weight? And would the 1kg of batter be enough to fill this? Thank you!

Michel Sin and Tanira Menezes

I`m completely in love with this class! Chef Dominique is amazing, and also the way that is filmed, food styled, props, the scenes, wow, so beautiful! Thank you for this! and Congrats!!

A fellow student

very interesting. i have seen a few posts online about different streaks of colour on a mirror do you achieve that?

A fellow student

Hi! after glazing where I suppose to keep my cake, if Ineed it day after? Thank You

Nancy A.

I have same question another student posted in how did the final product from the freezer have mousse all over outside when your biscuits are exact size of ring. How do get get on outside of biscuit unless you cut circle slightly smaller than ring? I haven’t heard others having this problem.

Pam S.

I finally made this for my son’s birthday dinner—it’s so decadent and delicious! I didn’t want to hide the mirror glaze, and since I think dark chocolate and orange is a marriage made in heaven, I substituted Grand Marnier for the rum (just straight, no simple syrup), and decorated with homemade candied orange slices which I half dipped in the glaze. It was magnificent and a huge, coma inducing hit!

Nicoletta O.

Great lesson! Is it possible to keep the cake before its glazed in the freezer for longer than 1 day or should it just be 1 day?

Lim A.

I would like to ask, if I make the cake a day before serving, should I keep the cake in the fridge or freezer? Thank you in advance!

Kelli D.

I love watching and learning from him he is amazing. I did my first attempt this week and it was beautiful!!!