Noisette or boule au chocolat, the Mahlaba’s leftover cake
Noisette or boule au chocolat is one of the names given to this cake ball which basically have no fixed recipe. It’s commonly found in old bakeries and Mahlabas (dairy shops widely available in Moroccan cities and one of the most important part of the Moroccan street food world).
The recipe is all about using cake and cream leftovers which can be moistened with a vanilla sugar syrup then shaped just as big as a golf ball. It is then finished with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts or chocolate vermicelli.
Noisette chocolate cake balls can be anywhere from creamy soft to dense as far as texture is concerned. Even the same mahlaba or bakery may not reproduce the same outcome consistently. You can even use stale cake crumbs and bind them with a cheap chocolate buttercream or whipped cream. Add some crushed blanched and toasted almonds or peanuts for fanciness.
I used to buy a version from mahlaba with a thin layer of whipped cream between the cake mix and chocolate layer and I’d say this used to be my favourite.
For the sake of this post, I have bought 3 chocolate cake balls from different mahlabas which are literally lined up you would think it’s the same shop. Yet, the 3 cakes had nothing to do with each others.
So if you are familiar with this chocolate cake ball many of us in Moroccan cities have tried at some point in their lives and you want to reproduce something similar, I suggest the following guidelines:
How to recycle old cakes
– Get a cheap vanilla flavouring option and make a simple sugar syrup. The syrup is mostly to keep the cake mix ball moist.
– Melt a cheap chocolate for coating,
– If your usual version of cake ball has chocolate buttercream, it must be the cheapest drinking cocoa powder mix you should be picking for this recipe,
– For crunchiness; sprinkle toasted peanuts, not even blanched fried almonds (Moroccans will definitely understand me in this one),
– Use a spongy cake for optimal results but if you are used to a denser texture, you will be more likely better off with bundt cake or a buttery cake for the mix.
The binding of crumbs and finishing of this cake ball depends on the version you’ve been used to: whipped cream, melted dark chocolate, crunchy nuts, chocolate vermicelli..