Lucy's Friendly Foods

Petits Gateaux au Chocolat (little chocolate cakes)

What makes these petits gateaux rather than just little cakes? Well, in reality they are little cakes, but because they look fine and elegant, they’re somehow more than just a cake – this is the kind of little chocolate cake you could serve at a fancy tea in a 5* hotel. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also have a refined and very rich flavour – there’s nothing basic about these cakes!

The sponge is very light and delicate, so if you want to make unmoulded shapes like I have, it’s essential to use silicone baking trays and to also freeze before taking out of the moulds. If you want a bit less faff then I’d recommend using normal cupcake trays with liners and then you won’t have the issue of the cakes falling apart whilst unmoulding. They may not look quite so elegant, but they’ll still taste amazing.

The icing on the cake, and I really mean that because this icing tastes unbelievably delicious, is a whipped chocolate ganache. Oh my, you must taste this light and airy ganache, it is chocolate heaven on a plate. The process is very simple but you must make it the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight. The only difficulty is being prepared! If you have any of the ganache leftover, then it makes really lovely chocolate pot dessert – just spoon or pipe into small glasses or ramekins and keep in the fridge until required.

I’ve made tempered chocolate decorations which no only look rather pretty but give a nice contrast of snap to the soft cake and ganache. If you don’t fancy tempering chocolate then feel free to use melted chocolate to make the decorations – they won’t have the snap and shine, but they’ll still look pretty. Otherwise, use any decoration you prefer – how about some fresh berries or cherries, or perhaps some shaved chocolate?

I’ve used Enjoy! chocolate in this recipe and it really adds a great depth of flavour. I first came across Enjoy! a couple of months ago because I was preparing for my demo at the Celebrating Hampshire event for Hampshire Food Festival and I found that they are a local free-from chocolate brand. Why did I not know about them before? The chocolate is really great quality, it’s produced in Hampshire and the ethos behind the brand exactly fits with my friendly food message. Enjoy! was founded in 2015 by Chris Crutchley because he couldn’t eat mainstream chocolate, and he wanted to have chocolate he could enjoy! All the chocolate and factory are free-from gluten, soya, dairy and nuts, so it’s definitely a good fit for Lucy’s Friendly Foods 😊 I haven’t been paid in any way to promote Enjoy!, I just like working alongside a friendly local business. Do look out for the bars, buttons and fudge as they’re really safe and delicious.

Petits Gateaux au Chocolat (Little chocolate cakes)

Makes 6 Dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan
Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6


  • silicone cake moulds or cupcake tray and liners


  • For the whipped ganache:
  • 200 ml dairy-free single cream
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 160 g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • For the chocolate decorations:
  • 150 g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • Edible lustre/glitter
  • For the cakes:
  • 80 g plain flour
  • 15 g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 25 g dairy-free dark chocolate melted
  • 1 tbsp flavourless oil
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 tsp vinegar


  • The day before: make the whipped ganache.
  • Chop the chocolate and place in a deep bowl or jug.
  • In a saucepan, heat the cream and syrup to boiling point. Pour over the chopped chocolate and leave to sit for 1 minute. Using a hand-held blender, blitz together the chocolate and the cream until you have a lovely emulsified chocolate cream.
  • Cover and place in the fridge overnight. When ready to use, lightly whip the chocolate cream with a hand whisk.
  • If you’re making tempered chocolate decorations, follow these guidelines to temper the chocolate (instructions can also be found in The Friendly Baker). Then pipe squiggly circles onto a silicone mat or sheet of baking paper. Decorate with edible glitter if desired.
  • To make the cake:
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. If using cupcake cases, line a cupcake tin
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl
  • Stir in the sugar
  • Melt the chocolate and then add the oil, water and vinegar. Stir well.
  • Pour into the dry ingredients and then stir until well combined
  • Pour into the silicone moulds or cupcake liners.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until well risen and a knife comes out clean. Cool and then (if using a silicone mould) place in the freezer.


To assemble:
Unmould the cakes. Pipe the whipped ganache onto the cakes and balance a decoration on top of the ganache
Keyword chocolate cakes, chocolate fudge cake, petit gateau

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