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Coffee, Chocolate, Chestnuts and Chefs

Coffee Cake

Of late, I have been hearing a lot of talk about Las Vegas. People I meet, friends, tell me they recently traveled there or imminently going to. Every time, I slip into nostalgia and think about my times there, quite a few years ago. I seem to end the topic with.. "You know, I really should go soon. I actually love the place!" Yet, the conversation seemingly repeats itself.. :)

Anyway, the other day, I came across this little piece on

Jean Philippe Patisserie

in the


Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The creative mind behind the patisserie gorgeous creations is Jean Philippe Maury who hails from the South of France and his inspiration for pursuing this art form was his aunt. He graduate from L’Ecole Hôtelière du Moulin à Vent AND La Chambre de Métiers for a Masters in Pastry Arts!


Imagine that! A masters! After a week long course at the ICC, which, exposed me to the realities of a professional culinary program, I have amazing respect for the graduates of these programs. It makes my years of bookish study so tame in comparison to grueling physical and mental nature of these professions. I remember walking past the pastry classes, when in session, and inhaling deeply the sweet, alluring aromas of their decadent creations!

Maury was awarded the Best Pastry Chef of France in 1997 and then went to become a participant and, later, mentor in the World Pastry Team Championships! So, anyway, he has opened an enoromous spaced patisserie, which I really think is a restaurant to tempt, tease and satisfy everyone from the breakfast pastry connoisseur to the chocolate fancied. Flipping through some samples of his creations, has given me numerous ideas for execution! I am going to be playing with a whimsical themes, just for fun sake!

Coffee Cake Slice

In the meantime, a chocolate craving took me by and so decided to make this

Coffee Cake with Chocolate, Ricotta and Chestnut Frosting

. Its a moist, tender cake with a hint of coffee flavor, perfect for afternoon tea but with a rich, decadent chocolate frosting and ganache. I think it is indeed a piece of cake I would be proud to serve Chef Jean himself, should he choose to drop by for a spot of tea! ;-)


I have been asked to write about Jean Philippe Patisserie and ARIA Resorts. I personally, however, have not tasted his creations, having not visited the city in years. Yet, another reason...

Coffee Cake with Chocolate and Chestnut Ricotta and Ganache


For the cake:

100 g whole wheat pastry flour

50 g almond flour

2/3 T baking powder

1½ T cocoa powder

100 g unsalted butter, softened

100 g raw sugar

2 eggs, separated

30 ml coffee, cooled to room temperature

10 ml whiskey cream liqueur (optional)

For the filling:

1/2 cup fresh ricotta, whipped

3 T molten chocolate (bitter sweet) cooled

3 T chestnut puree

sugar to taste (optional)

{I didn't use any sugar. I find fresh ricotta to be sweet enough on its own}

For the ganache:

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 oz bitter sweet chocolate

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set asides. Whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and there are no crystals left. Incorporate one yolk at a time. Add the cooled coffee and mix until just incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three parts. Whip the whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold a third of the whites into the batter to loosen it. Working quickly and gently, fold the remaining whites into the batter.

Transfer batter into a prepared five inch cake mold. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and the cake passes the toothpick test. Cool completely before filling.

Meanwhile, whip all the filling ingredients to a smooth paste. Prepare the ganache by heating the cream and chocolate over a double boiler until just melted. Set aside to cool.

When the cake is completely cooled, slice the cake horizontally into two halves. If using liqueur, divide equally between the halves. Spread 3/4th of the ricotta mixture between the halves and the remaining on top as frosting. Pour the ganache on top and decorate with nuts and more chestnut puree.


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