“Plenitude”, the name of this classic cake by Pierre Hermé, brings to mind a kind of complete perfection which is further evoked by its round shape. This dessert is a dark dome with a cracked surface, as if the hardened chocolate shell had burst into pieces when it came into contact with its molten center. A single white chocolate tile attracts the eye and enlivens the ensemble. The cake’s external appearance is certainly pleasant to the eye, except for the rather unflattering golden cardboard saucer on which it is presented.
The tiles on the surface of the cake are made of dark chocolate enhanced with fleur de sel. They are quite thin, with an approximate thickness of 1 mm. As we taste them, we are pleasantly surprised by the salty note which immediately appears alongside the chocolate flavor. These tiles are held in place by a dark chocolate icing which covers the cake. Beneath this icing, a bitter chocolate mousse envelopes a slightly more solid salted caramel center. The whole creation rests on a chocolate macaron.
The cake has a maximum diameter of 65 mm and a maximum height of 40 mm. The specimen we purchased weights 96 grams and costs exactly 7 euros.
The dessert has an overall unctuous consistency. However, one still perceives that it is composed of distinct layers. There is indeed a gradation in the various textures discerned as one tastes the dessert – albeit a very smooth one, as there are no clear breaks from one layer to the next. The roundness which had been introduced by the cake’s dome shape is found again on the palate, as the cake seamlessly melts into a smooth mass, pleasant on the tongue. The base of the cake is made of a chocolate macaron. Not to be compared to the variety which can be purchased in Perre Hermé’s boutiques, this macaron is much slimmer and its role appears secondary in relation to the other components. The almond taste is there as expected , but is barely discernable in the overall final product.
Plenitude is a good chocolate cake, albeit one which takes no great risks. The light salty touch makes it slightly more original. The transition between its different layers and the macaron base is very well managed. One could accuse it of being somewhat banal, but its classic and predictable nature may well provide a sound choice for the cautious taste buds in search of a complication-free “chocolate” moment.
Score: 3/5 Good
72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France