With Valentine’s Day coming up (actually, tomorrow), I am jumping on the occasion to share with you my new baking love – this Buttermilk Chocolate Fondant Cake!
True to a Classic French Chocolate Fondant, this one is indulgent and intensely chocolatey. But the addition of tangy buttermilk cuts through the richness and makes it just a little bit more tender and moist. I have baked a lot of French Chocolate Fondant cakes in my life (some melty, some gooey, some firm), and this one has to be one of my all-time favourites!
Although not as big (and commercial) as it is in North America, Valentine’s Day is still a pretty celebrated holiday in France (although it is sometimes seen as cheesy and overdone). Still, most French lovebirds make it a point to go on a romantic date together or to simply share a nice meal at home – and often swap gifts. But mostly, Valentine’s Day in France, like in most countries, is an excuse to indulge in chocolates and chocolate-heavy desserts … And of them all, the Classic French Chocolate Fondant (“fondant” meaning “melty” in France) is probably the most enjoyed dessert on Valentine’s Day across France.
If you’ve been following my recipes for a bit, you know that buttermilk is a product I have a particular love for. Known in French as “lait ribot”, this traditional fermented milk is one of the most beloved (and iconic) products from Brittany, my home region. It is usually enjoyed aside a savory buckwheat crepe, but it finds its way into many delicious sweet recipes too.
In Canada, unfortunately, I have never found a bottle of real French “Lait Ribot”. But when it comes to baking, I have always been very satisfied when swapping “Lait ribot” with buttermilk. Buttermilk has a slightly more liquidy texture than “lait ribot” but offers the same pleasing sourness and leavening factor – which actually, couldn’t be more accurate to say, for this recipe.
The combination of whipped egg whites and buttermilk creates a mousse-like texture that is unique for a fondant cake. This cake is still chocolate-heavy, dense and rich, just like a French Chocolate fondant cake should be – but with a unique frothy bite to it. It is the perfect combination of fudgy and airy.
As you slice the cake, you can actually here the same satisfying bubble-crackling sound of a spoon dipping into a chocolate mousse…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
- A chocolate fondant cake calls for very little flour, and an equal ratio of chocolate and butter, both of great quality. For this recipe, choose a salted butter and a chocolate with at least 55% cocoa.
- Baking time for a chocolate fondant cake depends on your oven and your taste. Try checking the cake after 20 minutes. It should look a little wobbly in the middle, which will produce this satisfying creamy consistency in the centre, once cooled down. If you prefer a cake to be not as gooey, keep it in the oven for 5 extra minutes.
- It’s important to cool it completely before it’s served, or it may crumble as it’s sliced.
If you try this Buttermilk Chocolate Fondant Cake recipe let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
Buttermilk Chocolate Fondant CakePrint This
200g dark chocolate (55 to 70% cocoa), chopped (=1 cup + 1/8 cup)
200g salted butter (=3/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
150g sugar (=3/4 cup)
4 eggs (medium size), separated (eggs and whites)
2 tbsp flour
15 cl buttermilk (or lait ribot) ( =5.3 oz = 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup)
Pre-heat your oven to 375F and grease a 9’ circular cake pan.
Over medium-heat, in a bain-marie, melt the chopped chocolate and butter together. Once all melted and shiny, add in the sugar and whisk until melted as well. Remove from the bain marie, and while constantly whisking, add in the egg yolks, one at a time, and then the buttermilk.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until you reach a firm peak. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and then the chocolate mix.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on if you prefer a fudgy or slightly firmer cake).
Rest on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour, and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
A recipe translated and adapted from Elle A Table.