Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Mousse Cake

This is a very decadent dessert to be savoured on very special occasions.  It is a little bit fiddly to put together, but each component is easy to make and the overall flavour and texture is excellent.  The best way to make this cake to bake the cake and make the mousse a day in advance of when you want to serve the finished cake – this allows the flavours to develop, the mousse to set and the cake to be well chilled when constructing the finished cake.  The cake itself is quite dense and flavoursome and benefits from being baked in advance.  It also means you are not stressed out on the day if you are serving this for a special occasion – all you have to do is assemble and make it pretty!

Chocolate Mousse Cake

 

For the cake:

450 grams dark chocolate
450 grams butter
100 grams self raising flour
200 grams caster sugar
100mls milk
100mls cream
8 eggs, separated
½  vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1 tablespoon Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat, melt the chocolate, butter, sugar, milk and cream together.  Stir frequently to ensure the mixture is evenly mixed.

Once the chocolate mix is melted together well, add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing very well between each addition.  The chocolate mix should be thick, glossy and lump free.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before whisking in the flour.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to very stiff peaks with a pinch of salt.  Spoon a little of the egg whites at a time into the chocolate mix until the batter is combined well.

Line a generous cake tin with baking paper.  This cake will not rise a great deal, however it does need room to grow a little, so do not over fill the tin.

Pour in the batter and bake in a moderate oven for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer can be removed cleanly.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.

Note: The cake will sink in the middle a little, don't panic - this is normal!  The idea is to have a shallow crater in which to lay the foundation of chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Once the cake has cooled, turn it over and use a skewer to prick lots of holes through the cake (in the base only).

For the syrup:

1 ½ cups caster sugar
¼ cup hot water
½ vanilla bean
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg
4 tablespoons Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur or syrup or your preferred flavouring

Once your cake is cooled and has all its little holes in it, it is time for the syrup!

Add the sugar and water to a high sided saucepan.

Over a medium heat, bring the water and sugar to the boil with the vanilla bean.  Stir constantly to encourage the seeds to come out of the vanilla.  Once the sugar is completely dissolved add the Frangelico and nutmeg and allow the syrup to boil until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency (similar to runny honey).

Remove from the heat and spoon over the cake, allowing the syrup to sink into the holes well.  Ensure the cake is well infused with the syrup.

Place the cake in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight or at least for a few hours.

Now it is time for the mousse!

For the mousse:

200 grams of chocolate (for a white mousse use white chocolate)
2-3 tablespoons of Brandy, Cognac or other liqueur
3 eggs, separated
1 cup of cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1 teaspoon very strong espresso coffee
Pinch of salt

Over a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the liqueur and egg yolks.  Beat the chocolate and egg mix well until very glossy.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks with a pinch of salt.  Fold the whipped cream and then the egg whites into the chocolate mix until a smooth, even consistency is reached.

Refrigerate overnight, or at least for a few hours  or until completely cold.

Now it is time to assemble!

Additional 200 grams dark chocolate, melted, for decoration.

Once infused, remove the cake from the container and place on a presentation plate the correct way up.

Spoon the chocolate mousse onto the cake surface, using a cake spatula dipped in hot water to spread the mousse evenly.

Once covered, drizzle over threads of melted chocolate and decorate as elaborately or as simply as desired.  Pre-made chocolate cups are excellent decorations when filled with dark and white chocolate mousse and drizzled with dark chocolate over the top.

Chill the cake well once decorated to ensure the mousse is set if serving on a hot day.

Allow the cake to stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavour to really develop.  Serve in thin wedges with lots of good espresso coffee.