How to make a Palet d’Or Cake: Chocolate Praline Palet d’Or

What is a Palet d’Or?

Before I jump into showing you how to make this Chocolate Praline Palet d’Or, I thought I should answer this question: what exactly is a Palet d’Or?   The answer is:    #chocolate    #chocolatecake    #chocolatemousse    #chocolatemoussecake   #chocolateglaze    #gateau    #fancyfrenchchocolategateau    #goldleaf    #specialoccasioncake   #paletdor

For Chocolate Praline Palet D’Or, add:    #hazelnut    #pralinepaste    #caramelizedhazelnuts    #milkchocolateshavings


Chocolate Praline Palet D'Or

Chocolate Praline Palet D’Or


A Literal Definition:

Since this dessert comes from the French family of pâtisserie, the literal definition of a Palet d’Or is a golden disk or a gold puck, referring to its shape, which is a thinner (meaning shorter) cake (gateau) than an American-style layer cake. It is literally a disk-shaped chocolate mousse cake covered with a dark chocolate glaze. Also, it has a touch of gold (gold leaf) as a decoration, because that is the “d’Or” part of its name. The simplest Palet d’Or cake will have a single clump of gold leaf on top, but many pastry chefs add extra embellishment.


Chocolate Praline Palet D'Or

Chocolate Praline Palet D’Or


What I’ve Learned about Making a Palet d’Dor:

Here’s the way I would describe making a Palet d’Or, based on everything I’ve learned studying French pastry. The cake is made up of thin alternating layers of chocolate cake and chocolate cream (or mousse) and is best assembled in a cake pan and frozen before being  drenched with a dark chocolate (usually very shiny) chocolate glaze. The reason to use a cake pan for assembly is so that your frozen cake will have very straight sides, creating that perfectly shaped disk that you need for glazing. Composed of only three elements−cake, filling, and glaze−it is a very simple, but oh so elegant cake, because it has that touch of gold. However, many pastry makers (like me) love to get creative and add a little more pizzazz along with the gold leaf, but it always has gold leaf. Since it is such a classy cake, make it for a very special event: a birthday, an anniversary, or a holiday such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, and dress it up to match the occasion. I made this one for my son’s birthday.

Sometimes it is just easier to show someone how to do something than it is to describe it in words. I hope my photos and explanations below will be a stand-in for an actual demo of glazing a cake in the kitchen.





Tips for Glazing a Palet D’Or:


Pan, Cake Board, Acetate Cake Collar (or Band), and Gold Leaf Needed for

Assembling a Palet d’Or:

  • An 8-Inch Cake Pan: 8″ (20 cm) x 2″ (5 cm) or 2 1/2″ (6 cm) cake pan, cake ring, or springform pan.
  • Cake Circle (or Board): Wilton 8″ (20 cm)
  • Acetate Cake Collar or Cake Band: I recommend getting acetate collars or band 3″ (7.5 cm) wide, then trim to the size you need,  2 1/2″ (6 cm) in this case. If you are making a very tall cake, you can tape strips of acetate together to get the height you need. If you make a lot of cakes, buy the roll of acetate, instead of the separate collars, then cut pieces as needed; that’s what I do. Also, acetate strips can be washed in warm soapy water, dried carefully, and re-used. I use them over and over.
  • Gold Leaf: 24k Edible gold leaf. The best tip I can give you about working with gold leaf is to get a box of Q-tips. Yes, Q-tips. A Q-tip is the best way to pull off a piece of gold leaf and apply it to your cake.



Chocolate Praline Palet D'Or

Chocolate Praline Palet D’Or



Here’s another Palet D’Or that I made a few years ago for Valentine’s Day. It gives you an idea of what a blank canvas this cake can be. Just dress it up to fit the occasion, or simply place a chunk of edible gold leaf off-center on the top.

Chocolate Valentine Palet D'Or

Chocolate Valentine Palet D’Or


I hope you fall in love with this cake, as I have.


Chocolate Praline Palet D'Or Cake
This very elegant chocolate-glazed mousse cake is made with three basic components: Devil's Food Sheet Cake, Chocolate Praline Mousse, and Dark & Shiny Chocolate Glaze. Of course, some gold leaf to garnish the top makes it authentic because it supplies the "D'Or" in the name of the cake. "Praline" in the title means hazelnut. A Palet d'Or is not as difficult to make as it looks, and it is much easier if you make it over several days. I recommend making the sheet cake the first day; the next day make the mousse and assemble the cake in cake pan according to directions below, then freeze the cake overnight because it must be frozen when you glaze it. The third day make the glaze and glaze the cake. After glazing, place the cake on a platter and refrigerate to thaw for several hours before serving. This cake is delicious, but rich, so cutting it into twelve small wedges is good.

YIELD: One 8" (20 cm) Diameter Cake
Serves 12: Small Wedges

  • DEVIL'S FOOD SHEET CAKE (Separate Recipe)
  • - One recipe makes one half-sheet pan - 1000g (2# 3 oz); the sheet cake will be about ⅝" (1.5 cm) thick.
  • - Or, if you prefer, make a double batch: Devil's Food Sheet Cake - Double Recipe. Use half for this cake and the other half for 16 standard cupcakes. See my post for Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcakes.

  • YIELD: About 1000g (2# 3 oz)

  • 375 grams heavy cream, whipped softly and refrigerated
  • 60 grams egg yolks (3 large)
  • 30 grams water (2 Tablespoons)
  • 75 grams sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 5 grams gelatin sheets (2 sheets)
  • 40 grams Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
  • 115 grams praline paste (hazelnut paste)
  • 115 grams bittersweet chocolate 60%, melted, such as Ghiradelli
  • 250 grams mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese)

  • 1065 grams = Total 37 oz (2# 5 oz)

  • DARK & SHINY CHOCOLATE GLAZE (Separate Recipe)
  • YIELD: 1350g (3#)

  • The glaze must be at working temperature: 95° F (35° C)
  • Note: It takes quite a bit of glaze to cover a cake bcause you have to pour it all over the cake and let the excess drip off.
  • There will be about a pint of extra glaze that you can freeze for another project.

  • GOLD LEAF - For Decor: decorate the top of the cake with a clump of gold leaf and any other decorations that you want.

  1. MAKE DEVIL'S FOOD SHEET CAKE: Bake sheet cake and freeze overnight, if possible. Coat the bottom of the frozen cake with melted chocolate according to the recipe. Cut 2 - 7¼" (18 cm) rounds from a half-sheet of Devil's Food Sheet Cake. To make a template for cutting the rounds, cut a 7¼" (18 cm) circle from an 8" (20cm) cake board. Use the rest of the cake for snacks.
  2. MAKE CHOCOLATE PRALINE MOUSSE: WHIP egg yolks on high speed until thick and pale In Kitchen Aid mixer (using whisk). While yolks are beating, cook the sugar syrup.
  3. COOK water and sugar in a small saucepan to 248° F (120° C). Slowly pour hot syrup into beating yolks in a thin steady stream, making sure to pour between the beaters and the bowl. This is called a pâte à bombe.
  4. BLOOM gelatin sheets in cold water about 10 minutes until softened. Drain gelatin and combine with liqueur; melt in microwave 30 seconds at full power.
  5. DRIZZLE hot gelatin / liqueur into beating yolks until well mixed.
  6. ADD melted chocolate and praline paste and mix until smooth. Continue whipping until bowl feels cool.
  7. MIX in mascarpone cheese by the spoonful. Whip until smooth and thickened.
  8. TRANSFER to large wide mixing bowl. Fold in ⅓ of the chilled whipped cream, quickly but lightly; then fold in the balance, until no white streaks remain. Note: To fold, use a large rubber spatula and pull the spatula straight down the center of the mousse, scraping up the bottom of the bowl and turning the spatula to lay the mousse from the bottom of the bowl on top, turning the bowl as you go. Continue doing this just until the white streaks of whipped cream are mixed in. Use a very light hand and don't overmix.
  9. ASSEMBLE CAKE: LINE an 8" (20 cm) x 2½" (6 cm) cake pan with a large piece of plastic wrap (or use a springform pan, in which case you won't need to line it with plastic). Place an 8" (20 cm) cake board in the bottom of the pan and line the inside of the pan with a strip of acetate 2½" (6 cm) wide.
  10. PLACE one cake round in the bottom of the pan with the chocolate coated side down.
  11. PIPE mousse in the space between the pan and the cake layer, forcing it into the corners, then pipe a ⅝" layer on top of the cake.
  12. REPEAT this procedure for the second layer of cake, piping enough mousse to fill the pan to the top of the acetate. Level off with an offset spatula so that the top is completely smooth.
  13. FREEZE the assembled cake in the pan without covering it. When it is frozen, it can be covered with plastic wrap until needed.
  14. MAKE DARK & SHINY GLAZE according to recipe. The working temperature for this glaze is 95° F (35° C). If the glaze is freshly made, set it aside at room temperature until the right temperature is reached. If you have made it ahead of time and need to warm it up, place it in a bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally (very gently so as not to create too many bubbles), until thermometer registers the right temperature. ALWAYS use at the right temperature and make sure the cake or dessert is frozen and on a cake board. A glaze that is too warm will melt the dessert and slide off; a glaze that is too cool will be too thick and will not result in the smooth shiny finish that you want.
  15. GLAZE FROZEN CAKE: The set-up that I use for glazing cakes or desserts is as follows. Use two very clean half-sheet pans because the glaze is going to be dripping directly on the sheet pan. I purposely don't use parchment paper when glazing because it is much easier to scrape the left-over glaze into a bowl without it. Stack the two pans with a rack on top that fits inside the pan. Place the frozen cake (on a cake board) on the rack. Have the glaze at the right temperature in a bowl as wide as your cake. Starting at one side of the cake, slowly pour the glaze over the cake, making sure there are no unglazed areas; check all sides. If you do see a few bubbles, prick with a wooden skewer. Let the cake rest a few minutes until most of the dripping has stopped. Lift the top sheet pan with the rack and the cake and set next to the bottom sheet pan. Pick up the rack and set it in the clean sheet pan so the cake can finish dripping. Lift the cake with a large offset spatula onto the platter that you plan to use. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the extra glaze from both sheet pans into a large bowl; then transfer to a container and freeze for later.
  16. REFRIGERATE the glazed cake so that it can thaw slowly. Allow several hours before serving.
  17. CUT into 12 wedges, using a long thin knife. Dip the knife in hot water or hold it under running hot water, cleaning the knife after each cut.
  18. SERVE well chilled.
Recipe Ancestry Notes:
The Devil's Food Sheet Cake in this recipe is adapted from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook by Thomas Keller with Sebastien Rouxel (2012). The Chocolate Praline Mousse is adapted from a recipe for Crème au Pralin that was given to me by a fellow pastry chef, Gilles Lavergne, that I worked with years ago. The Dark & Shiny Glaze is my own creation, as is the design and assembly of the cake.


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Chocolate Praline PaletD'Or

Chocolate Praline       PaletD’Or

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!