Le Marquis (Chocolate Spongecake)

le marquis
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins

Here is a classic recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s not difficult but uses classic techniques many have never learned: beating egg yolks into thick “ribbons,” whisking egg whites into stiff peaks, and sifting and folding. Unlike most of today’s recipes, Julia Child’s were written with the equipment listed with the ingredients. That way you wouldn’t get halfway through the recipe only to realize you didn’t have an electric beater or 1 1/2-inch deep cake pan.


A round cake pan, 8 inches in diameter and 1½ inches deep
3 1/2ounces or squares of semisweet baking chocolate
2tablespoons brewed coffee
A small saucepan set over almost simmering water
A wooden spoon
3 1/2tablespoons butter, softened
A wire whip or electric beater
3 egg yolks
3quarts mixing bowl
1/2cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1tablespoon granulated sugar
A rubber spatula
2/3cup sifted cake flour, returned to sifter
A cake rack


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour the cake pan. Measure out the ingredients. Stir chocolate and coffee in the saucepan over almost simmering water until chocolate is melted and smooth. Off heat, beat in butter by spoonfuls to make a creamy mass. Let cool to tepid while proceeding with recipe.
  2. Beat egg yolks in the mixing bowl, gradually adding sugar, until thick and pale yellow and forms a ribbon.
  3. Beat egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  4. Fold tepid chocolate and butter into egg yolk mixture, then fold in one-fourth of the egg whites. When partially blended, sift on one-fourth of the flour and continue folding, alternating rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
  5. Immediately turn into prepared cake pan and run the batter up to the rim all around. Bake in the middle level of preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Cake will puff about ¼-inch above rim of pan and top will crack. It is done when a needle or straw, plunged into the center of the cake, comes out clean.
  6. Remove cake from oven and cool in pan 5 minutes. Cake will sink slightly and top will wrinkle. Run a knife around inside of tin and reverse cake on rack. Allow to cool for about 2 hours; cut layer in half horizontally. It must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
  7. For the frosting, see Creme au Beurre, Menagere.

From Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Glycemic Load 10
  • Calories 230
  • Fat 11g
  • Saturated Fat 6g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 3.5g
  • Cholesterol 85mg
  • Sodium 90mg
  • Potassium 90mg
  • Carbohydrate 31g
  • Fiber 1g
  • Sugars 21g
  • Protein 4g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Vitamin A 4%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 8%