Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Happy Birthday! - Chocolate Mousse Cake -
Get ready for a treat, because it's the birthday of one of my house guests, and that means cake. Alex rarely gets to take a vacation and works very hard at his job, so he wanted to spend his birthday lounging. Fine by me! We had a wonderful rainy day of chatting, playing with our baby girls who're just two months apart in age, and, yes, eating yummy food. Speaking of which, stay tuned for the recipe of tonight's dinner, Chicken Coconut Curry Soup. Humina, humina, humina.... Okay, let's talk dessert. Lucky for us, Alex is a chocolate lover, so I knew just what to make: chocolate mousse cake. This is very dense and rich so move aside, chocolate light-weights. One thing I love about this recipe is that it's absolutely delicious without any embellishment. But it's also so easy to build upon. Try a little rum or cognac in the mousse, or teaspoon of almond extract. Top it with fresh raspberries, strawberries, or curls of shaved milk chocolate.
The mousse recipe comes from none other than my amazing mother, and the devil's food cake from food science genius Alton Brown (with a couple of slight alterations from moi.) Once you've tasted it, I think you'll agree that they should go into business together.
1 pint heavy whipping cream
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
(If you like a fair amount of mousse like I do, up the quantity by 50%.)
In a medium sauce pan heat heavy cream and chocolate on medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it reaches a boil. Turn down to a low boil and continue whisking for another minute. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, cover and place in refrigerator overnight. When it's time to frost the cake, whisk the mousse so that it's easier to work with. Do not over-whisk or the cream will begin to separate.
Devil's Food Cake
1 cup boiling water
4 ounces Dutch-process cocoa
10 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
4 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2 ounces sour cream, at room temp.
2 large whole eggs, at room temp.
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray 2 8-inch round metal pans with nonstick spray. Set aside. Whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, flours, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whisk the oil, sour cream, eggs and egg yolks in a large pourable vessel. Add the oil mixture to the cocoa and water mixture and slowly whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture over 30 seconds. Continue to beat on low speed for another 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on low speed until the batter is smooth, 10 to 15 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when pressed and reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, and then remove cake from the pan, wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours.
Assemble the cake a few hours before serving. Top with chocolate or fruit of choice and set in the refrigerator to cool. Enjoy with good friends and a scoop of Haagen Dazs or Kirkland brand vanilla ice cream.