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Marjolaine, aka Dacquoise

Marjolaine is a classic French pastry made with dacquoise (nut meringue layers). This spectacular dessert is chocolaty, nutty, crunchy and creamy. Swooooonnnn…..

Are you ready for a baking project? Yes? Great!

I’ve got a really good one for you. Marjolaine is of my all-time favorite classic French pastries.

My version of this decadent dessert is made with crisp almond and hazelnut meringues layered with dark chocolate ganache, chocolate whipped cream and hazelnut buttercream.

Even though there are lots of steps to this recipe, you can spread the work over several days and the cake can be assembled a day before.

So, take your time, enjoy the process, and get ready to take a bow.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Marjolaine:

To make the dacquoise (nut meringues) start by grinding the almonds and hazelnuts with the flour.
Whip the egg whites with the sugar to stiff peak. Fold in the nuts in two batches. Spread the meringue into a half sheet pan and bake.
Toast the hazelnuts. Put the warm nuts in a dry kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins. Set 24 nuts aside for decoration. Use the rest to make hazelnut paste.
To make the hazelnut paste grind the warm nuts until they look like peanut butter. Add the sugar and the hazelnut oil and process to a paste.
1. Cook the sugar to a dark caramel. 2. Remove the caramel from the heat and toss in the nuts. 3. Lift the nuts, 1 at a time, with a greased fork. 4. Put the nuts onto a sheet pan to set.
Prepare to assemble the Marjolaine. Gather all the fillings. Cut the dacquoise into 4 layers.
1. Spread ganache onto the first layer of dacquoise. 2. Spread chocolate cream over the ganache. 3. Add the next layer of dacquoise and top with hazelnut buttercream. 4. Top the third layer with ganache and cream.
1. Set the final nut meringue layer onto the cake with the smooth side up. 2. Ice the entire cake with a layer of hazelnut buttercream and chill until firm. 3. Glaze the cake with melted ganache. 4. Lift the cake onto a serving platter to decorate.

FAQs for Marjolaine & Dacquoise

Is Marjolaine a Dacquoise?

Yes. Dacquoise is the name for nut meringue cake layers and is also the name of any assembled cake that includes those nut meringue layers. A Marjolaine is a specific type of Dacquoise that always includes chocolate and is presented in a rectangular shape.

Should the dacquoise be soft like a cake or crunchy when it’s baked?

The dacquoise should be light and crisp, not spongy like a cake. After the baking time, turn off the oven and leave the dacquoise in the oven to continue drying until the oven is completely cool.

Can I freeze the Dacquoise?

Yes. I suggest you slice the dacquoise into the 4 layers, then wrap them with a piece of parchment or wax paper between the layers. Unwrap the layers and allow them to defrost at room temperature.

Does the Marjolaine need to be refrigerated?

Yes, because of the chocolate cream the cake should be refrigerated until 1-2 hours before serving. The cake tastes best at room temperature.

Can I freeze Marjolaine?

Yes, you can freeze the assembled cake or left over individual slices. Double wrap in plastic and bring to room temperature before serving.

a closeup photo of a cross section of a marjolaine cake showing all the layers
a slice of marjolaine cake on a plate

If you love classic French pastries (and who doesn’t?), here are a few great recipes you’ll want to try; Caneles de Bordeaux, Classic Cream Puffs, Chocolate Eclairs, French Apple Tart, Creme Brulee, and airy Chocolate Genoise.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a closeup photo showing a cross section of a marjolain cake

Marjolaine

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 3 hours
Bake Time: 1 hour
Chilling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 7 hours

The classic french pastry made with nut dacquoise (meringue) dark chocolate ganache, chocolate cream and hazelnut buttercream.

Ingredients

Meringue Layers

  • 5 oz (140g) almonds or almond flour
  • 5 oz (140g) hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup (1.25oz, 35g) all purpose flour
  • 8 large (10 oz, 280g) egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 336g) granulated sugar 

Fillings & Assembly

Instructions

Meringue Layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, grind the nuts until fine. Toss in the flour. Pulse a few times to combine. Set the nuts aside.
  3. In a large mixer bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium speed (#6-7) until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, gradually add the granulated sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high (#7-8) and continue whipping until stiff peaks are formed.
  4. Fold the ground nuts into the meringue in two batches.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and spread to an even layer.
  6. Bake until lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the pans in the oven until completely cooled. The layer should be crisp, not spongy like a cake.
  7. The meringues can made made 1-2 days ahead and stored at room temperature, tightly wrapped.

Fillings

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven until golden brown and fragrant. If the hazelnuts have skins, fold the warm nuts in a kitchen towel and rub back and forth to remove as much skin as possible. Remove 24 nuts and set them aside for garnish.
  2. Place the rest of the warm nuts in a food processor. Process for 4-5 minutes. At first it will look like a powder, then it will look like wet sand and eventually it will form a paste that looks like peanut butter. Stop the processor and scrap down the bowl whenever the mixture builds up on the sides. Add the confectioner's sugar to the hazelnut paste and process until combined. Stop the processor and scrape down the bowl whenever the mixture builds up on the sides. Add the hazelnut oil and process until it becomes a smooth paste. The hazelnut paste can be made ahead and stored at room temperture for a day, refrigerated for as long as a week or frozen for up to 3 months.
  3. To prepare the reserved 24 hazelnuts for garnish, place a silicone baking mat or a sheet of parchment paper onto a half sheet pan. Have the hazelnuts set near the prepared pan. Lightly oil a dinner fork with oil or use baking spray to coat the tines of the fork.
  4. For the caramel, sprinkle the granulated sugar into a small sauce pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat. When the edges of the sugar begin to melt, reduce the heat to medium and begin stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent spots from burning. Continue cooking the sugar until it melts completely and cooks to a golden caramel color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Drop the hazelnuts into the the warm caramel. Use the greased fork to immediately lift a nut out of the caramel. Allow the excess caramel to drain back into the pan. Set the coated nut onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining nuts, working quickly before the caramel in the pan begins to set. The nuts can be dipped several days ahead and stored in a covered container at room temperature.
  6. Make the ganache according to the recipe and set aside to cool to room temperature. You can make the ganache up to 3 days ahead and refrigerate. Bring it back to room temperature and to a spreadable consistency before assembling the Marjolaine.
  7. Make the Italian Meringue Buttercream according to the recipe. Add the hazelnut paste to the buttercream. Set aside at room temperature.
  8. Just before you're ready to assemble the cake, make the chocolate whipped cream. The cream must be used as soon as it's made so this should not be done ahead of time.

Assembly

  1. Cut the meringue layer into fourths across the short side.
  2. Place a meringue layer onto a cardboard cake board or the back side of a baking tray. Spread 1/4 of the ganache over the meringue layer. Spread 1/2 the chocolate cream over the ganache.
  3. Place the 2nd meringue layer over the chocolate cream. Spread 1/3 of the hazelnut buttercream onto the meringue.
  4. Top with the 3rd meringue layer. Spread 1/3 of the remaining ganache over the meringue layer. Spread the rest of the chocolate cream over the ganache.
  5. Place the final meringue layer with the smooth side up. Smooth ice the top and sides of the cake with buttercream. Place the cake into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours until the buttercream is set firm or set into the freezer for 30 minutes. The buttercream must be quite cold to glaze the cake.
  6. Set a cooling rack over a clean sheet pan. Use a long spatula to lift the chilled cake onto the rack.
  7. Warm the remaining ganache in the microwave in 10 second increments until it is pourable but not very hot. Don't overheat the ganache or it will curdle. Starting from one end of the cake, drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake. Use a spatula to swipe 1x along the top of the cake and allow the ganache to flow over and completely cover the sides. Use a spatula to fill in in any bare spots. Allow the ganache to set completely before transferring the cake to a serving tray.
  8. Using the reserved buttercream, pipe 12 rosettes along each side of the cake. You want a pair of rosettes on each slice of cake. Place a candied hazelnut on each rosette. Pipe a border of buttercream around the bottom of the cake.
  9. Refrigerate until 1 hour before serving. The cake can be assembled up to a day in advance.

Notes

Almond oil or vegetable oil can be used as a substitute.

Did you make this recipe?

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