Use this recipe for our Individual Chocolate-Espresso Charlottes.
- Yield: Makes two 15-by-10-inch sheet cakes (enough for 8 charlottes)
Photography: Anita Calero
Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2007
- Pate a Cigarette Batter (Chocolate Piping Batter)
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- 10 large eggs, room temperature
- 13 1/2 ounces fine almond flour (about 2 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons packed)
- 3 1/2 ounces bread flour (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed)
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 10 large egg whites, room temperature
Line two 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheets with parchment, then place monogram pattern under parchment as a guide. Pipe pate a cigarette batter on parchment, tracing pattern. Transfer to freezer until firm, at least 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Carefully transfer each piece of parchment with piping to a clean work surface, remove monogram pattern, and coat baking sheets with cooking spray. Return parchment to baking sheets, and place in freezer while preparing batter.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat eggs, flours, 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and the salt on medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add butter. Raise speed to high, and beat for 5 minutes.
Whisk egg whites in a clean mixer bowl until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. By hand, whisk a third of egg-white mixture into the flour mixture, then gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture in 2 batches. Divide batter between prepared baking sheets, and smooth tops with an offset spatula.
Bake until tops are pale golden brown and bottoms are set but still pale in color, lifting corner to check, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Run tip of a paring knife around edges of cakes. Sprinkle tops generously with sugar to prevent sticking, and invert cakes onto a wire rack set over a piece of parchment, being careful not to let cakes tear or to get sugar on the piped sides. Let cool for 3 minutes, then carefully peel off parchment. Let cool for 10 minutes more, then trim each cake into four strips, about 8 by 3 inches each. (It's better to cut less off now and then trim to fit exactly when lining the molds.) Use immediately or store. To store, lay cake strips, piped sides down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.