Friday, April 17, 2009

(Finally Enough) Chocolate Mousse Cake

I've been analyzing some pretty serious topics lately (free-range pigs, raw milk). Weighed down by the endless list of thought-provoking issues I'd like to discuss, I need a break. What better diversion than joining in the fun for Poornima's first event on the Tasty Treats blog TASTY TREATS....: Announcing... "For the Love of Chocolate!!"

Let's step back for a moment to discuss the topic of desserts, specifically chocolate ones. We have a love/hate relationship. I love to eat chocolate desserts, but I am always left feeling either unsatisfied or guilty. If I eat enough to satisfy my intense dark chocolate craving, I feel just a bit guilty. If I stop at what most might consider a reasonable quantity, well, that's just not chocolatey enough.

So for this dessert, I had one requirement, and one requirement only. Blow me away with the richest chocolate dessert I'd ever had. Well, I think this one comes pretty close ... Nothing fancy, just a LOT of rich, dark chocolate.

From one of my favorite cookbooks, Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course, here it is. Two layers of light, airy chocolate, separated and covered by a thick coating of heavenly, dark, rich, smooth ganache. I'd say there is only one special technique to this recipe... buy good chocolate. I used Callebaut Bittersweet. At about $10/pound (and this recipe uses half a pound), it's not cheap, but really, is there any better use for five dollars than a killer chocolate cake? No contest.

Garden Cafe Chocolate Mousse Cake

  • 3 organic eggs
  • 250 g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 110 g (4 oz) white flour
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 300 ml (1/2 pt) heavy whipping cream
  • 225 (8 oz) really good dark chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 1900C/3750F.

Line the bases of two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper, then butter the bottom and sides and dust with cocoa.

Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks and sugar for two minutes. Blend in the water. Whisk until firm and creamy, about 10 minutes. I strongly recommend using a mixer because this does take a while. Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl to stiff peaks, then fold them very gently into the yolk mixture.

Divide the mixture between the two pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile make the ganache. Put the cream in a heavy, non-reactive saucepan and bring it almost to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir or whisk until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk until just stiff enough to pipe. Do not over-whisk or it will curdle and separate.

Sandwich the cakes together with the ganache. Spread the rest over the tops and sides of the cake.

Sit back, admire your creation, and then dig in. I recommend two slices for the beginner.

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