Vallery grew up in south Louisiana making her grandmother’s favorite recipes: from gumbo to jelly cakes and cheesecake topped with berries picked from her backyard. She moved to Los Angeles for college, satisfying her exploratory and adventurous nature. As a French major, she studied abroad in Paris, widening her love of pastry, food and wine. During her final year of law school, she started a blog: www.FoodieInNewYork.com and baked her way through her last year of law school and the looming recession.
When she ended up in New York City, Vallery knew she had found where she belonged. She focused on her law career and adventured her way through the big apple. She continued to travel to far-off places, using those flavors as the base for her innovative desserts. A casting agent discovered her Instagram account, prompting Vallery’s audition for the Great American Baking Show, where she beat out ten contestants to take home the title of “America’s Best Homebaker.”
Recipe inspired by Cyril Lignac
125 grams heavy cream
125 grams Guittard 66% semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
65 grams finely ground almonds (almond flour)
195 grams confectioner’s sugar
75 grams all-purpose flour
3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
2 grams salt
200 grams egg whites
105 grams (7 ½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
165 grams Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare molds, such as a 12-capacity mini bundt pan, by generously coating each mold with softened butter. Add flour to each mold and turn the pan over to tap out any excess flour.
Prepare the ganache. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over low heat. Remove the cream from the heat as soon as bubbles form around the surface. Place the finely chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler and gently melt. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Add 1/3 of the cream to the chocolate and stir to combine. Add remaining cream in thirds and stir until a smooth ganache is formed. Set the ganache aside.
Sift the almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg whites, then melted butter. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop the batter into the prepare molds. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for ten minutes. Once the ten minutes have gone by, remove the cakes from the pan by inverting the pan on the cooling rack and lightly tapping the cakes until they come out. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling.
To assemble, fill the center of the cakes with the ganache (depending on the design of your pan, you may need to cut the center out of the cakes. Once filled with ganache, garnish with flaky sea salt. Serve the same day.