Ernst Knam, the King of Chocolate

Ernst Knam, the King of Chocolate

Known as the “King of Chocolate”, pastry chef, cook, maître chocolatier, and TV personality, Ernst Knam – German by birth but Italian by adoption – is considered one of the leading exponents of contemporary confectionery.
A student of Gualtiero Marchesi, after having worked in some of the greatest and most prestigious restaurants and hotels in Europe, in 1992 he opened his shop L’Antica Arte del Dolce in Milan. He has received many prizes and awards including Best Pastry Shop in Italy, Italian Chocolate Champion, Italian Finger Food Champion and Gelato World Champion.
In 2014 he was appointed Chef Ambassador for Expo 2015 together with Carlo Cracco and Pietro Leemann.
His recipes run the gamut from sweet to savoury. Of course, the food of the gods is his passion.

“For me it is an incredible raw material, the only one that can really be used in any way, shape, or form: powder, solid, liquid, warm, cold.”

It is no secret that he strictly follows the rules of the art of pastry: choose raw materials that are excellent and in season; weigh everything, because pastry is chemistry; taste to avoid mistakes. His creations are often inspired by art and great artists, like Pollock, Pomodoro, Fontana.
He considers himself an innovator, an experimenter. His next goal is to create high quality products for those with food intolerances or problems with food.


Exotic ciambella with white glossy glaze 

A captivating cake starting from the description: marquise, dark chocolate mousse, exotic caramel, coconut bavarois, and white glaze. A triumph of chocolate with an exotic name, Hawaii. The combination of flavours and textures is perfect, particularly tasty. As its creator explains, a dessert must be surprising, beautiful, fascinating, intriguing, fragrant. At the first mouthful it should melt in your mouth, making you want a second portion.


egg yolk  100 g
powdered sugar 100 g
egg white 225 g
powdered sugar  200 g
unsweetened cocoa  90 g
potato starch   30 g
sugar to sprinkle     as needed

Beat the egg yolks with the powdered sugar.
Separately, beat the egg whites with the powdered sugar.
Gently mix the two compounds with the cocoa and potato starch to incorporate all the ingredients well.
Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with the appropriate paper and use a spatula to create a 5 mm layer.
Bake it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 8-9 minutes. Finally sprinkle with sugar.

Dark chocolate mousse

dark chocolate 250 g
fresh cream  250 g
egg yolk  50 g
isinglass   1.5 g

Whip the cream and egg yolks in two separate containers. Rehydrate the isinglass in cold water.
Melt it in the microwave or in a saucepan with a little cream.
Melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie (its temperature must not exceed 50°C).
Add the gelatin, egg yolks, and whipped cream and emulsify everything with a whisk.

knam cake
knam cake

Exotic caramel

sugar  200 g
cream 150 g
butter   80 g
salt   1 g
mango puree  100 g
passion fruit juice  100 g
gelatin in sheets  10 g
lime peel  10 g

Caramelize the sugar, decoct with the warm cream and then with the fruit pulps.
Reheat and bring to 106°C.
Allow to cool to 60°C, add the gelatin in sheets that have previously been rehydrated in cold water, the lime peel and heat the mixture to 40°C.
Add the butter at room temperature.

Coconut bavarois

sugar  25 g
egg yolk 80 g
coconut puree 350 g
gelatin in sheets 10 g
white chocolate  200 g
semi-whipped cream  550 g

In a saucepan bring the coconut puree with its milk to boil.
Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks with sugar in a bowl.
Once it boils, add the coconut puree to the mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Mix and heat again.
At 83°C, add the gelatin in sheets that have previously been rehydrated in cold water and the white chocolate.
Emulsify until uniform and add the semi-whipped cream. Use.

White glaze 

water  75 g
sugar  100 g
glucose  100 g
condensed milk 66 g
gelatin in sheets  8 g
white chocolate  100 g
orange cocoa butte   as needed
coconut flakes as needed

Bring water, sugar, and glucose to a boil. Add the condensed milk, the gelatin in sheets that have previously been rehydrated in cold water and the white chocolate. Add the colouring and uniformly glaze the surface of the cake.


In a 20 cm diameter ciambella mould pour a layer of coconut bavarois, then a thin layer of exotic caramel, cocoa marquise, dark chocolate mousse and complete with cocoa marquise. Place in the blast freezer for about 3 hours.
After this time has passed, remove the bavarois from the mould, add the shiny white glaze and “pollock”* with orange cocoa butter.
Finally decorate the base of the bavarois with coconut flakes.


*Pollock is a term used by Ernst Knam to refer to a technique that recalls the “dripping” of Jackson Pollock, master of action painting. It is a style of painting where the colour is thrown on the canvas or dripped spontaneously.

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