Sarah Bernhardkager are famous danish cakes developed by pastry chef Johannes Steen in Copenhagen, Denmark back in 1911. The cakes are named after the famous french actress Sarah Bernhard who visited Copenhagen in connection with her book release and so the cakes were created in her honor. The Sarah Bernhard cake is a macaroon cookie topped with a rich genache, covered with melted chocolate and the original cake was decorated with a small candied violet flower. The cake is a decadent treat.
This recipe makes approximately 40 macaroon cookies. The extra cookies can easily be stored in a cookie tin with a tight fitting lid and used later. The process for making the cakes is long, but fairly easy. I would advice to break up the process into two days, either make the cookies on day one and then make the ganache and assemble cakes on day two or vice versa. I also simplified the chocolate coating by using Ghirardelli dark melting wafers which is so much easier than tempering chocolate and it taste eaqually wonderful. If you cannot find the Ghirardelli wafers in your local store it can be bought online.
Sarah Bernhard Cakes – makes 15 cakes
For the Macaroons:
150 gram hazelnuts (5.3 ounces)
300 g sugar (10.6 oz)
approx 3 egg whites, at room temperature
For the Ganache:
4 deciliter heavy whipping creme (13.5 fl oz)
250 g dark chocolate, with about 66 % cocoa content (8.8 oz)
For chocolate coating:
300 g Ghirardelli dark melting wafers (10.6 oz)
To make hazelnut macaroons: Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (170 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a food processor combine hazelnuts and sugar and process until you have a fine crumble. Lightly beat egg whites with a fork to break up whites a little. With the processor going on low speed, slowly add egg whites until you have a smooth, thick mixture. Drop spoonful’s of hazelnut mixture onto baking sheets, no more than 4-5 cm (1.6 to 2 inches) in diameter, beware that the mixture will spread out. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until they start taking on a golden color. Allow to cool slightly on baking sheet before moving cookies to a cooling rack. Once cooled down, store in a cookie tin until ready to use.
To make ganache: In a small saucepan, heat whipping creme until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop chocolate finely and place into a bowl. Pour whipping creme through a sieve and then back into saucepan, heat to simmer once again and remove from heat. While stirring chopped chocolate in the center, pour creme in a thin stream into chocolate and continue to stir until you have a smooth, shiny chocolate. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
Assembling cakes: Remove ganache from refrigerator and stir until smooth. Spoon a small amount of ganache onto a macaroon cookie and using a small icing spatula or a butter knife shape the ganache into a rounded cone shape. Set cookie aside and repeat with remaining macaroon cookies until ganache is used up. To cover cakes with melted chocolate, place melted chocolate into a microwave bowl and microwave chocolate in 10 seconds increments, stirring chocolate in-between each heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Careful not to overheat, as chocolate will then burn and it become nu-usable. Over the bowl of melted chocolate, place a cake onto a fork and spoon melted chocolate over the Sarah Bernhard cake. Once covered, gently tap fork to allow excess to drip off. Place cake onto a piece of foil or parchment paper and allow chocolate to set. Repeat with remaining cakes. If melted chocolate starts to harden, place back into microwave for 10 seconds to soften back up. Once the chocolate has hardened on all cakes, store cookies in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator. Cakes can be served cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!