Gluten-free Palet d’Or Cake - for a special celebration


FOTCM Member
The concept of Palet d’Or as a dessert was first created by Bernard Serardi in Moulins, France, in 1898. In French, Palet d’Or means golden disc, or puck, which is a reference to its shape. The shape is thinner, and originally was smaller, than a layer cake. In fact, originally it was dark chocolate covered sweet, or confection, which was adorned with a piece of edible gold leaf, and had a filling of a combination of chocolate ganache and lightly coffee flavoured crème fraiche. The filling was like a mousse. The sweet, or confection, is still commercially available today. Over the years there have been many versions of the concept. Here, it is as a cake: it is a double layer of, a sheet of génoise type chocolate sponge (jelly roll) topped with a piped chocolate cream mousse; and the double layer is covered overall in a dark and shiny chocolate glaze. It looks good and it tastes good. In fact, it is a great celebratory cake to indulge your tastes in: a triple chocolate feast!

This gluten-free version is based upon: the gluten recipe given in Bouchon Bakery, (Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxel, 2012), and a version of the gluten recipe given by Shirl Gard ( The version is slightly larger than the original.

It is a simple cake, with just three components: chocolate sheet cake (made like an old-fashioned mayonnaise cake, such as was popular during WWII), chocolate cream mousse filling, and chocolate glaze; yet it makes a stylish ‘pâtisserie’ like cake. The mayonnaise acts as an emulsifying oil, allowing the chocolate sheet cake to be moist, rich and tender, and at the same time avoiding the taste of oiliness that sometimes happens through the use of too much butter. Whilst it is a stylish pâtisserie, making it is easily achievable by the home baker; it just takes time. But it is well worth the effort.

For the chocolate cream mousse filling, the ingredients include a Heavy cream that needs whipping, and for those people who are lactose intolerant, a substitute is given. Almost all baking authors providing substitute recipes for Heavy cream always issue a similar proviso – ‘it does not whip well’ (with the exception of a coconut substitute, which is discounted, as, whatever is done with coconut always tastes of coconut, and that is not what is wanted here). However, after a lot of research, a method to properly whip the substitute is provided. The method was inspired by the presentation of Nina s.vlog ( It is best if the Hemp milk Heavy cream is made the day before, so as to ‘age’ it, thus enabling the whipping, before starting to make this cake. Similarly, there is a recipe for making a substitute mascarpone cream, or cheese, which is an ingredient for the chocolate cream mousse filling too. If the substitute is used, it is also best if this is made the day before too.

The cake itself is built up within a cake ring, and involves freezing overnight before glazing. Hence, the making of the Palet d’Or is split over two days. The first: to make the sheet cake rounds; to make the chocolate cream mousse filling; and then to assemble the cake rounds; and finally, to pipe the chocolate cream mousse. The second day is for glazing and decorating the cake, and then to let it unfreeze in the refrigerator before serving.

The recipe makes one 20cm (8 in) cake, and it serves 8 - 12 people, depending on appetites - it very rich.

Feedback suggests that it looks like a gâteau bought from a local pâtisserie, and, that it tastes just like one too (except that it is gluten-free, and lactose-free, although you would never know). Enjoy.

This picture shows the final test Palet d’Or cake, which was subsequently improved before the actual birthday Palet d’Or cake was made, and which was eaten before any pictures could be taken.

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Devil’s Food Sheet Cake
Dark chocolate cream mousse filling
Dark chocolate glaze

Day 0
If not making the substitute Heavy cream, or Hemp milk Mascarpone cream cheese, skip to the section entitled: Day 1, Devil’s Food Sheet Cake.

Hemp milk Heavy cream
(makes approximately 600g)
Butter (sliced) 238g
Hemp milk 360g plus 2Tbsp
Gluten-free flour mix* 16g (to thicken the liquid)

*Gluten-free flour mix: 440g Brown Rice flour, 125g Sweet Rice flour, 45g Potato starch, 95g Tapioca starch, and 55g Arrowroot. Total weight: 760g

Place 238g sliced butter in the top bowl (1) of a double boiler, gently heat until three quarters of the butter is melted, stirring with a spoon. Remove from heat and melt the rest of the butter with a spoon. Set aside the bowl to cool.

In a saucepan (2), warm the Hemp milk just to finger warmth (36 - 37C) and then remove from the heat.

Pour half of the warmed Hemp milk into the cooling melted butter and combine with a hand whisk.

Pour the butter-milk mix back into the warmed Hemp milk and combine with a whisk.

In a small bowl (3), mix 16g Gluten-free flour mix* with 2Tbsp Hemp milk and combine with a small whisk, and then pour the mix into the milk-butter mix, and combine to thicken.

Transfer the thickened milk-butter mix into a tall storage jar. Blend with a hand, or stick, blender for 5 minutes. This is to disperse the butterfat globules into the Hemp milk liquid to produce the Hemp milk Heavy cream.

Place a lid on the storage jar and store in a refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes before use. It will keep for several days in the fridge. It is best left in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours before whipping.

Hemp milk Mascarpone cream cheese
(yields approximately 590g)
Butter (sliced) 384g
Hemp milk 180g plus 1Tbsp
Gluten-free flour mix* 8g (to thicken the liquid)
Lemon juice 2Tbsp

*Gluten-free flour mix: 440g Brown Rice flour, 125g Sweet Rice flour, 45g Potato starch, 95g Tapioca starch, and 55g Arrowroot. Total weight: 760g

Place 384g sliced butter in the top bowl (1) of a double boiler, gently heat until three quarters of the butter is melted, stirring with a spoon.
Remove from the heat and melt the rest of the butter with a spoon. Set aside to cool.
Warm the milk in a saucepan (2) to finger warmth (36 -38C) and then remove from the heat.
Pour a quarter of the cooling melted butter into the milk, and combine with a whisk.
Pour the butter-milk mix back into the butter and combine with a whisk.
In a small bowl (3), mix 8g Gluten-free flour mix with 1Tbsp of Hemp milk, add 2Tbsp of Lemon juice and combine with a whisk, and pour into the butter-milk mix, then combine to thicken and sour.
Transfer the thickened, soured butter-milk mix into a tall storage jar.
Blend with an immersion, hand, or stick, blender for 5 minutes, to disperse the milk fully into the butter, to produce Hemp milk Mascarpone cream cheese.
Transfer to a bowl (4) cover with clingfilm, and store in a refrigerator for 3 hours, or preferably overnight before using. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Note, it will behave just like a mascarpone cream cheese made from cow’s milk; it will weep liquid on the bottom, and go soft there. Just as with the cow’s version, use a jar fitted with a strainer lined with muslin cloth to contain the Hemp milk mascarpone cream, and cover.

Day 1
The first thing to make on Day 1 is the Devil’s Food Sheet Cake, which is placed in a freezer to chill for cutting. This is followed by whipping the Heavy Cream, or substitute. Once this is done, the Dark chocolate cream mousse filling can be made. Finally, comes assembly of the components before placing the unglazed cake in the freezer overnight to freeze.

Devil’s Food Sheet Cake

Gluten-free flour mix* 200g
Cocoa powder (alkalised) 60g (Dutch processed)
Baking soda/Bicarbonate of soda 1tsp
Sea Salt 1/4tsp
Gum Arabic 1tsp (or 1 1/2tsp Guar gum)
Eggs (room temperature) 110g (2 large) plus 10g egg yolk
Cane sugar 250g
Vanilla essence 3/4tsp
Mayonnaise 170g
Water (room temperature) 210g
Instant coffee 1 1/2tsp
Melted dark chocolate (72%) 115g (for glazing the bottom of the cake)

*Gluten-free flour mix: Brown rice flour 440g; Sweet rice flour 125g; Potato starch 45g; Tapioca starch 95g; Arrowroot powder 55g. Total weight: 760g

Line a half sheet pan, or baking tray (33 x 45cm (13in x 18in)) with parchment paper and lightly grease.
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 165C (for this recipe, a convection oven, that heats fairly accurately, was used at this temperature) for 45 minutes.
Sift Gluten-free flour mix and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl (1), add the instant coffee, cocoa powder, Gum Arabic, and salt, and then whisk to combine.
Place the eggs and egg yolk, lightly combined, in the bowl of a stand mixer (2) (or the bowl of a hand mixer) fitted with a whisk attachment and mix at low speed for about 1 minute to combine.
Gradually dribble in the cane sugar as the mixer is running, stopping and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as required. Turn the speed up to high and continue to whip until the mixture is thick and pale in colour. This will take approximately 10 minutes. At the end, when the whisk is lifted the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.
Turn the speed down to low, add the vanilla essence and combine. Then add the mayonnaise, a spoonful at a time, and combine.
Remove the mixing bowl (2) and fold in one third of the Gluten-free flour mix with a large rubber/silicon spatula; add half of the water and combine, ensuring that all of the flour is incorporated. Repeat with another third of the Gluten-free flour mix and the other half of the water. Finally, fold in the remaining third of the Gluten-free flour mix until it is fully combined (making sure to reach all the way down to the bottom of the bowl (where the flour likes to settle)). The batter will be very thin.
Pour the batter into the prepared half sheet pan and spread the batter with an offset spatula held at a slight angle, spread the cake batter evenly over the tray with a rapid back and forth movement (‘wax-on, wax-off’) in a motion that is quick and light, making sure that the batter reaches right into the corners. Use a rubber/silicon spatula to scrape off any batter that adheres to the offset spatula.
Place the filled pan in the preheated oven and bake at 165C for approximately 25 minutes, or until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the sheet cake comes out clean, and the sheet cake is starting to pull away from the sheet pan sides, and the cake springs back when lightly touched.
Let the Devil’s Food Sheet Cake cool in the pan completely.
Place a silmat, or a sheet of parchment paper, on top of the cooled cake and carefully flip over on to the worksurface. Remove greased parchment paper on the bottom of the cake.
Cover the Devil’s Food Sheet Cake with two layers of overlapping clingfilm. Place the cake back in the sheet pan; place it in the freezer for at least 1 hour, as freezing makes it easier to cut.
Wrapped completely in at least two layers of clingfilm, the cake can be left at room temperature for up to four hours; for up to 3 days in a refrigerator, and up to 2 weeks in a freezer.
To cut the Devil’s Food Sheet Cake, first remove it from the freezer, unwrap, and cut with a paring knife to the desired shape and size. Coat, or paint, the bottom surface with a layer of melted chocolate.

Whipping Hemp milk Heavy cream
(makes approximately 480g)
Hemp milk Heavy cream 480g
Lecithin powder 4tsp
Confectioner's Cane sugar 50g (or substitute with 2g Corn starch added to 50g Cane sugar)
Lemon juice 2tsp
Vanilla essence 1tsp

Place the Hemp milk Heavy cream in the freezer for between 30 – 60 minutes (so that it beats faster).
If powdered, or Confectioner’s cane sugar is unavailable, a substitute is made using: 50g cane sugar with 2g corn starch; and then blended together in coffee grinder, until it is fine.
Chill the mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk, in the freezer for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Remove the bowl, whisk, or beaters and the Hemp milk Heavy cream from the freezer.
Fill the chilled mixing bowl with 480g Hemp milk Heavy cream (note that the cream may have seeped liquid at the bottom of the storage jar, and it may be difficult to get all of it out, as it has frozen), add 3tsp lecithin powder, and mix by hand to combine. Using an electric hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or beaters, gradually whip from low to medium-high speed for 10 - 15 minutes until the cream begins to hold its shape. Add 1tsp lecithin powder, 50g powdered cane sugar, 2tsp lemon juice and 1tsp vanilla essence, and then whip at medium speed for 1 - 5 minutes or more until medium sized peaks form when the whisk is raised from the bowl. The volume of the cream will have approximately doubled. This is the state for use when mixing with other ingredients.

The whipped cream is best used immediately. After 2 hours it will begin to sag and seep, even if kept in a refrigerator – just like real whipped cream. If that happens, beat the cream with a whisk for a few seconds. It will pull together, however, it will be less firm and not as light as before.

Cake Assembly 1.1
Remove the Devil’s Food Sheet Cake from the freezer.
Cut an 18.5cm (7¼ in) round from, either a sheet of parchment paper, or, from a 20cm (8in) cake board, to act as a guide for cutting two cake rounds.
Using the guides, cut two 18.5cm (7¼ in) cake rounds from the sheet cake. The trimmings can be cut too.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl (1), and spread it over, either just the cake rounds, or the entire sheet cake, with an offset spatula or a pastry brush. Set aside to cool and harden.
Line a sheet pan, or baking tray, with a sheet of parchment paper; place an 20cm (8in) cake board on one end of the sheet pan. Line a 20cm x 6cm (8in x 2.5in) cake ring with a strip of parchment paper, and place over the cake board.
Place one cake round centrally in the bottom of the cake round, with the chocolate coated side downwards. Place the other cake ring to its side, again chocolate side down.
If the Dark chocolate cream mousse filling is not ready for piping, place the sheet pan with prepared cake ring and the other cake round back in the freezer until the Dark chocolate cream mousse filling is ready for piping. The cake rounds will freeze solid in about one hour.

Dark chocolate cream mousse filling

Heavy cream (or Hemp milk substitute) 375g
Dark (72% min) chocolate (chopped) 230g
Egg 50g (1 Large)
Egg yolks 90g (5 yolks)
Cane sugar 75g
Gelatin sheets (silver) 5g (2) (or equivalent: 2tsp gelatin powder in
4Tbsp cold water)
Mascarpone cream (or equivalent) 250g

Whip the Heavy cream, or the Hemp milk Heavy Cream, to soft peaks; refrigerate in a bowl (1).
Melt the chocolate in the bowl (2) of a double boiler; pour the chocolate into a large bowl (3) and cool to 38 - 49C.
If using gelatin sheets, bloom them in a bowl (3) of cold water for approximately 10 minutes until softened. Drain off the water from the gelatin sheets. Melt the gelatin in a microwave oven for 2 – 3 x 10 second bursts on full power.
If using gelatin powder, place 2tsp of powder into a small bowl (3), add 4Tbsp of cold water, whisk quickly so that all of the granules are surrounded by water, or clusters will appear. After 5 minutes of whisking, the mixture should bloom and become spongy; then allow to thicken for 5 minutes. To melt, either use the method above for gelatin sheets, or,
stand the bowl in another, larger bowl (4) of hot water and stir until all the gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly.
In the top bowl (5) of a double boiler that is over a pan of gently simmering water, at low heat, add the eggs, yolks, and cane sugar. Whisk, keeping it moving, especially over the bottom surface and the sides, whisk for 4 - 7 minutes until the foam produced starts to subside and thicken. However, watch the temperature of the mixture to avoid the eggs setting, or scrambling, so before the temperature reaches 83C pour the egg-sugar mixture into the bowl (6) of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Whip the mixture at medium-high speed for approximately 7 minutes, or until on lifting the whisk attachment the mixture falls in a steady stream.
Drizzle the melted gelatin into the egg-sugar mixture (bowl 6) and whisk until well-mixed.
Add the melted chocolate to the mixture (bowl 6) and mix until smooth. Continue to mix until the bowl is cool.
Take a spoonful of Mascarpone cream cheese, or substitute, and add to the chocolate – egg mixture (bowl 6). Repeat, and whip until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl (7). Take the whipped Heavy cream out of the refrigerator. Fold in one third, quickly, yet lightly, using a large rubber spatula, and pulling the spatula straight down the centre of the chocolate mixture, scraping the bottom of the bowl and turning the spatula to lay the chocolate mixture on top, turning the bowl at the same time. Repeat with the whipped cream, in thirds, until all the white streaks have disappeared.
Place the Dark chocolate cream mousse filling in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cake Assembly 1.2
If necessary, remove the sheet pan containing the prepared cake ring and cake round from the freezer.
Fit a 16mm (5/8in) plain nozzle into a clean piping bag, and fill with chocolate cream mousse filling, if not already done so.
Pipe a ring of the filling into the gap between the cake ring and edge of the cake layer, ensuring that the filling is forced into the corners. Then, pipe a 16mm (5/8in) layer of filling on top of the cake, beginning in the centre and piping a spiral that extends to the sides of the cake ring. Place the piping bag in a place where it will not cause a mess (a storage jar perhaps), or if there is insufficient filling to pipe a second ring, pipe the filling back into the vessel containing the filling.
Place the cake in a freezer for 15 minutes to set the cream.
Take the cake out of the freezer. Centre the second cake layer, chocolate side down, centrally over the piped filling.
Fill a second, clean piping bag with the filling. Repeat the piping process with the second layer of the cake, piping enough cream to reach slightly above the rim of the cake ring.
Going away from the body, sweep a long offset spatula (or a long straight edge) over the filling, resting the spatula on the side of the cake ring, from one side to the other, in one smooth movement, so that the top becomes completely smooth. At the same time, rotate the straight edge from starting at an acute angle to the cream, to finishing at an obtuse angle at the far side (any cream scooped up in the process will thus be on the upper surface of the straight edge).
Freeze the assembled cake in the cake ring on the supporting sheet pan, without covering it, overnight.
Refrigerate any Dark chocolate cream mousse filling that is left over, as it may be used later.
After a few hours check to see if the centre of the cake has dropped. If it has, stir the reserved chocolate cream mousse filling to soften, and spread it over the top to fill in the depression.
When the cake is frozen, it can be covered with clingfilm until needed, if that is not the next day.

Day 2
This day is taken up with making the Dark chocolate glaze and then glazing, and decorating with gold leaf; to finish off the assembly of the Palet d’Or cake. If using the substitute Hemp milk Heavy cream, this is the first thing to make.

Hemp milk Heavy cream
Ingredients: 225g Hemp milk, plus 1Tbsp; 149g Butter; 10g Gluten-free flour mix* - yields about 350g.

Method: as before, and above.

Dark chocolate glaze

Dark (72% min) chocolate (chopped) 300g
Cane sugar 450g
Alkaline cocoa powder 100g
Heavy cream 225g (or Hemp milk alternative)
Water 375g (plus more for the gelatin)
Pectin 15g
Silver Leaf gelatin 15g (6 sheets, or, 6tsp of powdered gelatin)

Coarsely chop the chocolate, place in a bowl (1) and set aside.
In a large bowl (2) add together the cane sugar and cocoa powder, whisk together by hand until well blended.
In a large saucepan (3), over medium heat, add the Heavy cream, water and pectin; whisk together to combine. Gradually pour in the sugar-cocoa powder mix (bowl 2) and slowly and gently whisk to combine. Bring the glaze mixture to a boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 88C (if gelatin is added to a boiling liquid its ability to gel is greatly reduced). This takes about 15 minutes.
Whilst waiting, place, either the gelatin sheets in a small bowl (4) of cold water and leave for 10 minutes to soften; or if using gelatin powder, place 6tsp in the bowl, add 6Tbsp of cold water and whisk quickly, as there are only a few seconds to work with, to surround each granule with water, else clumps will form. If they do, they should be targeted for whisking. After 5 minutes of whisking, the mixture should bloom and become spongy; then allow to thicken for 5 minutes.
If using sheets, squeeze out the excess water, then melt when the glaze mixture (bowl 3) reaches the desired temperature, melt the gelatin in a microwave oven with 2 – 3 bursts of 10 seconds. A similar approach is taken to melt the bloomed powdered gelatin. Slowly add the liquid gelatin (bowl 4) to the glaze mix (bowl 3), stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure that the gelatin is dispersed fully.
Add the chopped chocolate to the cooling glaze mix (bowl 3). Let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring with a wooden spoon around the saucepan to ensure that the chocolate is fully melted, and the resultant liquid smooth.
Using an immersion, hand, or stick, blender, completely emulsify the glaze and to make it even smoother.
Strain the dark chocolate glaze through a fine mesh sieve into a cold pouring jug (5). This is so as to remove as many air bubbles as possible.
Place the filled jug (5) in a larger bowl (6) of cold water, and cool the glaze, stirring occasionally to redistribute the heat throughout, until it reaches the working temperature of 35C (if the temperature of the glaze is above 38C, the poured glaze will melt the frozen filling of the cake, and the glaze will simply slide off).

Cake Assembly 2 (final)
Whilst waiting for the dark chocolate glaze to cool, place a wire cooling rack in a clean baking tray lined with a sheet of parchment paper. The baking tray will act as a drip tray for when the chocolate glaze is poured over cake.
Remove the assembled cake from the freezer and place onto the cooling rack.
Warm the sides of the cake ring with, either the hands, or with a warm tea towel (warm it in a microwave). Avoid using hot water directly on the cake ring as the cake will melt. Keep warming the ring.
Occasionally lift up the cake ring slightly to see if the cake will ease out. It may be necessary to press very lightly down on the outer top edge of the cake with the fingers whilst the hands pull up on the ring. Eventually (it takes approximately 10 minutes of effort) the cake ring will slide off of the cake.
Place the cake, on the wire rack on top of the baking tray, back into the freezer if the chocolate glaze is still cooling. Remove when the chocolate glaze reaches its working temperature.
Start pouring the glaze approximately 4 – 5cm (1 ½ - 2in) in from the edges, going around the cake in one smooth motion. Allow the glaze to flow down the sides and into the centre of the cake to fully coat. Watch, all of the time, to ensure that the entire top and sides of the cake are coated, to see that all exposed areas of the cake are glazed. If there are a few bubbles, prick them with the top of a wooden skewer. Also, tap, tip, the baking tray against the work surface to distribute the glaze evenly. Let the cake stand for about 5 minutes so that the glaze can set, and until the dripping has stopped.
Using a large, wide, oiled spatula (or two thin), or a cake lifter, transfer the cake to a serving plate, or surface. Take care, as the chocolate wants to stick, hence the need for an oiled spatula. If there are any drops of glaze adhering to the bottom of the cake, carefully scrape them against the cooling rack to remove them.
Use a silicon spatula to scrape off the pooled, dripped chocolate glaze from the baking tray into a container, cover, and then place it in a refrigerator, or freezer, for later use.

To decorate with gold leaf foil, use the tip of a paring knife, or cotton bud to lift it from the wrapping and place it on the cake. It looks more elegant if the gold foil is standing up, if only partially, rather than lying flat on the cake. Note that the gold leaf is extremely thin and incredibly flimsy and light; it will want to fold back on itself – keep it away from drafts. Also, avoid touching it with the fingers; it clings to whatever it touches. If it clings to the fingers it will be difficult to transfer it to the cake surface.
Place the finished cake, Palet d’Or, in a refrigerator to thaw slowly for a few hours, before serving it well chilled.

To serve slices of the Palet d’Or cake use a long, thin knife. Dip the blade in hot water (this is so that it will cut through the two frozen chocolate coatings of the Devil’s Food cake and prevent cracking) and then dry it well. Slice the cake, cleaning the cake after each cut, and rewarm. It helps to cut the Palet d’Or cake in half first. This will ease subsequent transfer of the cut slices. Use a palet knife, or cake server, to transfer each slice to a plate.

Having had the privilege to actually try this cake, I can easily say that it is phenomenal! As Ollie says, you would never know that it is gluten and dairy free (aside from the butter). It's easily as good as the best cake you can buy from an upscale bakery! And that without the qualifier 'considering it's gluten and dairy free...' It's the perfect cake!
Thanks for the excellent history of this Palet'D'Or and the recipe to make this delicacy, Ollie! Holidays just around the corner....Yum!!!! 🎂
Having had the privilege to actually try this cake, I can easily say that it is phenomenal! As Ollie says, you would never know that it is gluten and dairy free (aside from the butter). It's easily as good as the best cake you can buy from an upscale bakery! And that without the qualifier 'considering it's gluten and dairy free...' It's the perfect cake!
Agreed! I also had the privilege of trying the cake, and my goodness, it was the best, richest cake I have ever eaten- gluten/non-gluten. Thank you, Ollie, for discovering and developing the recipe. I have already put in a request for my birthday :love::-D
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