Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake
Home Cooking

Obviously there is always a certain amount of bias with how good I think my own cooking because, well... I did it. Sometimes though, there is a product that I believe is on par with (or even better than) the restaurant-standard equivalent and that's when I see cooking as every bit worth the effort or fuss.

Today I had one of those moments. You've probably heard me mention a few times about this anniversary dinner I was preparing for our 8 months. The dessert was to be the main event and in essence I started the preparations the day before. I knew I would be making a chocolate mousse cake (after a lot of time leafing through all my dessert cookbooks, as well as researching online) and I also knew something as rich as that wouldn't be complete without some cream or ice-cream on the side.

I've had maybe 3-4 failed attempts and making whipped cream. Don't ask me why, but I'd rather avoid having another go if I could.

Instead, I thought I would make a simple French Vanilla ice-cream. My ice-cream machine let me down so I painstakingly hand-churned the mix all last night.

The recipe I chose for the mousse cake is again from "How to be a Domestic Goddess". The photo accompanying the recipe was simply irresistible. I halved the recipe and got an awkward amount of mousse batter. The original recipe was for a 9in springform pan but somehow, I felt that my halved recipe was also enough for a 9in springform pan. I didn't want a large cake though so what I did was pour the batter into a mini springform cake pan and divided the excess into small souffle pots.

This is a really ideal method of using up excess batter for this cake because you can simply pop the pots into the fridge and that makes chocolate mousse! The batter doesn't contain any flour so it is literally a mousse cake.

An alternative is to bake the souffle pots in a similar manner until the top is cake-like and hard so that you have mini-mousse cakes in the pots. It's a very versatile recipe, that's for sure. I'm providing the original quantities for the recipe, as outlined in Nigella's book - you can then decide for yourself if you want to fiddle around with the quantities.

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake
Serves 6-8

  • 330g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into squares
  • 60g good quality milk chocolate, chopped into squares
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

1. Line the inside of the springform with heavy duty aluinium foil. Press the foil well into the sides and bottom of the pan so that the inside surface is as smooth as possible. The foil is there to keep the water out of the pan when you're using the water-bath technique so make sure there's no holes.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan or in the microwave (microwave on high at 20 sec intervals and stir each time... make sure it doesn't burn). Let the mix cool a bit.
I didn't pay much attention to the ratio of chocolates - I just used whatever good stuff I had lying around in the fridge

3. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugars till very thick and creamy.
4. Stir in the vanilla and salt, and then the cooled down chocolate mixture.
5. Whisk the egg whites in another large bowl until it forms soft peaks.
6. Quickly whisk a spoonful or 2 of the eggwhites into the chocolate mix to make the mix runnier and lighter.
7. Gently fold in the remainder of the eggwhite taking care to prevent the mix from deflating.
8. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and have some water on the boil.
9. Pour your cake batter into the foil-lined pan and place the pan inside a deep tray (I used a square cake pan).
10. Pour hot water into the outer tray until it comes to approximately 1-in up the side of the cake pan.
11. Place everything into the oven and bake for 50min-1hr.
12. When done, the inside of the cake should still be runny and mousse like (your skewer test won't work here! It didn't stop me though - I still poked my skewer in and it deflated a part of my cake) and the top should be solid, dry and cake-like.
14. Let the cake cool completely on a rack before attempting to remove from the cake pan. When you're up to that stage, you must be really careful - it's delicate work to get the cake out of there unscathed.
15. I put the cake back into the fridge to solidify the mousse portion a bit.
16. To serve, dust with icing sugar. I served a slice of my cake with fresh cherries and my own French vanilla ice-cream.
Big emphasis on my lovely ice-cream here

As I said before... absolute bliss. You could also serve with whipped cream/creme fraiche and raspberries as suggested in the book but in all honesty, it tastes great all on its own too. I was was only going to have a tiny bit (I've eaten way more than I was supposed to today) but ended up finishing more than my share and am still craving MORE MORE MORE. I had 3 pots of chocolate mousse extra. I baked 2 of them (one was for mum) and below is how they turned out.
Cute! The texture wasn't as good as the cake version but I don't know if that's because of the size, the ramekin or because I let the mixture sit in the fridge for 2 days before baking. They were more pudding/souffle like in texture than gooey mousse-cake. Different but still good.
Here's a texture shot, if you still need convincing

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