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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.


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 loved it! it´s really good to see something that often looks so simple being made by a big one and to learn the technics he uses. It inspired me to try them and to keep learning more about pastry.

I am glad to have learned a number of new techniques that will improve my bakery

This MC helped me to reinforce the learning I have in baking and I learned one or another technique. But I would have liked to download a certificate

Tempering chocolate was always something I wanted to learn professional technique for. Excited to make the croissants



Chef Dominique is a great teacher. This mousse cake is amazing! Doing it and enjoying it! My glaze was not the best but I think the final result is ok. Thank you Chef!


I loved it. I made it and it was gone in like a day. thank you so much for sharing

Mercedita S.

Dominique Ansel is such a good pastry chef. I have all his books and it was such a joy to see all his creations. This class is amazing. I have learned a lot from it and I will definitely going to make the chocolate cake and mini Madeleines.


My meringues flattened out right after I piped them. They look more like mini macarons. Can anyone tell me what my mistake was? Overall, I like the way my cake has turned out. The chocolate mousse inside is exquisite and the mirror glaze is beautiful. The layering wasn't perfect. The chocolate biscuit in the middle leaned a bit. Perhaps, I added too much filling on top. Other than that, I'm very happy. Looks professional and tastes like heaven!

Betsy L.

I loved making this cake and eating it! It’s a beautiful dessert to look at and I’m really pleased at how mine turned out. I used a slightly taller ring, so got three layers of mini me’s but was really impressed with the mirror glaze...and the whole thing really!

Andrea C.

Love this guy! Dominique has such a calming and serene way of presenting his classes. Baking these French pastries can be so intimidating and his way of teaching makes it seem like anybody can do it. I am looking forward to trying all of the recipes and techniques presented here.

Rahul K.

Great recipe. Can do in 2 days easy. Day 1: mousse, biscuit, glaze and mini me's -- Day 2: Assembling and decoration. The biscuit proportions in the workbook are a tad bit too much. It makes three silicon sheets of biscuits. Should alter it to 2/3rds of the proportion mentioned. This makes 2 sheets of biscuits to be on the safer side in case it breaks. Rest of proportions are spot on. Successful first attempt. Light, airy, chocolaty and good looking cake. Big enough for a party for 10-12 people. Approximately 2 kg cake.

Andrea Mariana B.

it's really so inspiring to learn from this chef. there's a genuine happiness he expresses while baking that students could really tell he loves what he's doing.

A fellow student

The workbook recipe calls for two sheet pans but chef only uses one. which should i follow?

AmiLynne C.

I appreciate these recipes and classes so much. One suggestion - pls make sure the closed captioning is accurate. "inaudible" instead of figuring out the correct word is not helpful :-) Thank you for these wonderful learning experiences.