23 August 2019

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE

Chocolate cakes are traditionally seen as overly rich, with quite a bit of buttercream or other fillings, but this cake is quite different. The word I would use to describe it is light. It is not overly sweet, and its texture, and everything about it, despite it being a chocolate cake, is very light. Soft, tender cake layers, tangy glaze, and an airy mousse filling make for a perfect coffee-time treat. Actually, that is how it first came to be – as an impromptu wish for an after-supper dessert.
As always, when it comes to my cakes, I have two rules – the cake layers cannot be dry, and the filling has to be light and flavourful. Using good vanilla, as well as dark chocolate, gives this cake that special something that makes it a delight. I chose a 99% cocoa bar and a 70% cocoa bar, simply because I love the combination of extra dark chocolate and cream, but feel free to choose any chocolate bar with over 50% of cocoa.
Dark chocolate has a lot of flavour, and it makes the mousse smooth, yet not overly sweet, and it balances the overall flavour of the cake. It is worth noting that I used my homemade apricot jam, but you can use an apricot marmalade, too, if you wish. The slight tanginess of the preserves pairs perfectly with the lush filling.
Despite it coming together fairly quickly, the mousse does require a bit of time to cool down, so it requires a bit of planning. And even though it keeps well at room temperature and is fantastic just chilled in the refrigerator, if you are like me, and like ice cream cakes, you can place it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Ingredients
For the soft cake layers
250 ml hot water
1 teaspoon instant espresso
200 grams plain flour
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
150 grams granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
100 ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
200 grams apricot jam
For the chocolate mousse
200 grams extra dark chocolate
500 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preparation
Start by making the mousse filling, because it will require a bit of chilling before whipping. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, and gradually add the double cream, while mixing with a spatula constantly. It will take a bit of time to incorporate all of the cream, but be patient. Once it is combined, add in the vanilla, mix well, and let this cool down slightly, then place it in the refrigerator for 5 hours.
Take a small bowl and pour in the hot water; add the espresso powder, mix well, and let it cool down slightly. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then sift in the cocoa powder and the baking powder, add in the sugar, and whisk very well. When the coffee is a tad cooler, pour in the oil, vanilla, and the lemon juice, and whisk them together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, mix until combined, but not longer, and immediately divide it into four small square cake tins (15 cm) lined with baking parchment.
Bake the cake layers in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F), for 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven. Check them for doneness after about 10 minutes of baking, since they are thin and you do not want them to overbake and dry out. Take the baked cakes out of the oven, let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, and then very carefully transfer them to a wire rack with the parchment still attached, because they are quite fragile when warm. Carefully spread the apricot jam evenly on every cake, and let them cool down completely.
Once they are ready, proceed to make the mousse filling. Pour the cream and chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and whip it until firm peaks form. This might take some time depending on your mixer and the cream you used, but it will whip up, just be persistent. Once firm peaks form, divide the filling into four equal parts.
Carefully remove the parchment from the first cake layer, and place it on the serving platter. Generously spread the mousse filling on top, then top it with another cake layer. Repeat this two more times, then frost the entire cake with the remaining mousse. Place the cake in the refrigerator overnight, then serve with strong coffee. Yields 12 rich servings.

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