To be sure, one should really create a cake or a work of art around a diva once they’ve found their defining voice and artistry. But Davidsen’s voice is magnificent. One can already hear the Valkyrie and the Isolde in her sound, and hopes that she’ll grow into one of the most promising artists in this repertory.
The voice is dense, intense, and beautiful, so this Davidsen creation is definitely a chocolate cake. Like, that voice compels you to cover the cake in ganache. But the instrument is also incredibly colorful, tinged with the kind of brightness that reminds one of how Birgit Nilsson’s voice could pierce through the thicket of an orchestral blanket like a sunbeam (hence the addition of the raspberry mousse).
This cake will likely be revised in the future, but for now this is how I envision a Grand Lise, with the top decorated with Valkyrie paraphernalia like macarons (Brunni’s shield), almond tuiles (the wings of her magic helmet), and a marbled chocolate spear in hopes that this very special fach will one day form the core of her repertory.
- 40g clarified butter
- 60g boiling water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- 88g sugar
- 75g sifted cake flour
Cake pan: 9 inch springform, buttered, lined with parchment, buttered again, and floured
Beat 5 eggs with sugar for 5 minutes until triple in volume using a KitchenAid mixer at high speed
Whisk two cups of the egg mixture with the vanilla and the clarified butter. Fold the butter/vanilla/egg mixture back the remaining egg batter along with the flour. Pour into the pan and bake at 350 F or 170 C for 30-35 minutes. Invert and cool.
- 1 kg frozen raspberries, thawed over a colander and juices collected.
Press juices out until most strawberries are dryish.
Microwave the collected juices in a large glass bowl until you have about 1/3 cup left
Puree raspberries. Add 1 tsp. lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add the concentrated juice.
Raspberry mousse cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream, very cold
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 15 g gelatin, melted with a bit of water
- 3/4 cup concentrated raspberry puree or more to taste
Whip heavy cream with sugar until stiff peaks form, and add fruit puree, and gelatin. Chill until ready to assemble.
Milk Chocolate mousse:
- 40 g dark chocolate 70%
- 30 g milk chocolate
- 2 egg-yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 50g sugar + 2Tbsp (20g) water
- 200g heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Melt chocolates and keep warm at 45 C. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip heavy cream to soft peaks; transfer in bowl.
Clean up the mixing bowl and put eggs and yolks in; beat on medium speed.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook sugar and water to 128 C (soft ball stage).
Increase speed to high and pour in thin stream and whip until very thick and the egg yolk falls from the whisk in thick ribbons.
Whip in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated.
Fold in the whipped cream in increments until the mixture is lightened. Refrigerate until needed.
- 250 g dark chocolate, 60 to 65 %
- 250 g heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. raspberry liqueur
Melt the chocolate and the cream in a double boiler until smooth. Splash in raspberry liqueur.
Hazelnut Praline Dust:
- 250 g hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
- ½ cup sugar
Melt and caramelize the sugar until brown, pour over hazelnuts. Let cool and harden. Break the hazelnut praline up with a food processor until you get praline dust.
Spear and magic helmet decorations:
- 2 vanilla macarons (buy or make your own)
- 2 almond tuiles (buy or make your own)
1 marbled white chocolate spear, made by spreading dark chocolate on acetate, spreading white chocolate on top, and shaping that into a decorative spear like structure
- Assemble by slicing the genoise in three layers.
- Layer 1: Spread all of the milk mousse on the first layer. Poke in a few raspberries. Add 1 cup of raspberry mousse spread thin.
- Add the second genoise layer on top.
- Add two cups of raspberry mousse.
- Add the third genoise layer.
- Spread the remaining raspberry mousse around the cake to form a protective layer.
- Chill for 20 minutes in the freezer.
- Remove from freezer and pour the warm ganache over the cake and smoothen.
- Decorate with hazelnut praline and Valkyrie accessories.
- Sing Elisabeths Gebet.
Photo of Lise Davidsen by Ray Burmiston.