French Gateau Marjolaine (Marjolaine Cake)

"Four layers of nut meringue layered with vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream and Praline buttercream. This cake is Fernand Point’s masterpiece of pastry. Marjolaine means sweet marjoram, though neither flower nor herb have anything to do with it. For decoration the chef stencils the famous pyramid on the sugared top of the cake and they serve it every day at the Restaurant de la Pyramide. This restaurant is located in a little town called Vienne, halfway between Paris and the Riviera."
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Ready In:
1hr 5mins



  • 1 12 cups blanched almonds
  • 1 cup skinned hazelnuts
  • 1 12 cups sugar
  • 8 egg whites, beaten stiff
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 14 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 13 cup water
  • 18 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 8 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 12 cups sweet butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 14 cup praline powder
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces, melted with
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • FOR THE MERINGUE NUT CAKE: Preheat oven to very hot 450°F.
  • In separate pans or pie plates put 1 1/2 cups blanched almonds and 1 full cup skinned hazelnuts. Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until brown, shaking pans occasionally. Remove from oven and cool. Grind 1 cup at a time in an electric blender on high speed for about 5 seconds, and empty into a bowl. Mix ground nuts with 1 1/2 cups sugar.
  • Reduce oven to very slow 250°F.
  • Beat until stiff: 8 egg whites (reserve yolks for butter cream), a pinch of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.
  • Gradually fold in the sugar nut mixture.
  • Line baking sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper and butter paper lightly.
  • On it mark 4 bands about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Spread these bands thickly with the meringue nut mixture, and bake in the slow oven for about 30 minutes, or until crusty on top, but still pliable. Invert on waxed paper, and carefully remove waxed paper from bottom of bands. Cool.
  • FOR THE CHOCOLATE WAFERS: Melt: 6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces over hot water.
  • Cut circles 2 1/2 inches in diameter from waxed paper or parchment paper and spread these rounds with a thin coating of the melted chocolate. Place rounds on a cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator.
  • FOR THE BUTTER CREAM: In saucepan combine: 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, and 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly to 240°F on a candy thermometer, or until syrup spins a long thread. Gradually in a thin stream pour the hot syrup into 8 egg yolks beating all the time, and continue to beat until the mixture is COOL and thick.
  • When cool beat in bit by bit 1 1/2 cups sweet butter. This makes 1 quart butter cream.
  • Measure 1 cup of the butter cream and flavor it with 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Measure a second cup and flavor it with 1/4 cup praline powder.
  • Melt: 3 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces with 1 tablespoon water and stir into remaining butter cream. Chill all 3 flavored creams until firm enough to spread.
  • PRALINE POWDER: In a saucepan combine: 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1/2 cup blanched almonds. Cook without stirring until mixture is color of dark molasses. Pour onto oiled cookie sheet and let cool.
  • Detach the praline from sheet with pancake turner and break into pieces. Blend half at a time in container of an electric blender for about 20 seconds, or until ground to a fine powder.
  • Store in refrigerator in a tightly closed container. Makes a bout 3/4 cup.
  • PRESENTATION: Place a meringue band on a serving plate and spread with the vanilla cream. Top with second meringue band and spread with half the chocolate cream. Top with the third meringue band and spread with praline cream. Top with fourth meringue band. Frost sides with remaining chocolate cream and sprinkle top heavily with confectioners’ sugar.
  • Carefully peel waxed paper from bottom of the chocolate wafers and decorate the sides of the cake by overlapping the wafers all the way around. Serves 10.
  • A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Gateau Marjolaine is NOT really a Meringue cake. Although there is alot of whipped egg whites in the recipe, there is also a small amount of pastry flour (4oz by weight) folded in with the nuts. I tried this recipe because I thought it might be an interesting twist on my favourite cake but this recipe is awful! Between the meringue and the buttercream, it is far too sweet. The meringue is very difficult to work with and doesnt do any justice at all. If you are going to spend the time, money, and effort to make the glorious "Gateau Marjolaine", dont waste it by using this recipe.



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