To those who have given up chocolate for Lent, you might want to look away, or save this one for another day.
Traditionally, chocolate mousse is a creamy, chocolately-whipped dessert, fuss-free to make and served in a small ramekin so that everyone gets their own portion. My dad’s chocolate mousse cakes were always popular amongst his clients, and I remember my mom telling me that rarely anyone makes a cake version of this classic restaurant dessert.
This version takes the well-loved chocolate dessert and combines it with an equally indulgent chocolate sponge. The result? An amplified version of the classic chocolate mousse with welcomed breaks of chocolate sponge with each bite.
Part 1: Chocolate sponge
This can be made up to two days in advance – wrap in saran wrap/cling film and store in the fridge.
1 Egg yolk
30g Cocoa powder
120g AP flour
¼ tsp Baking soda
10g Melted butter, cooled.
½ cap Vanilla flavouring
- Set oven at 175⁰C/350⁰F
- Grease a 9” tin, then lightly coat with flour. Shake any excess out.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar with a hand mixer until the mixture doubles in volume, and forms a thick mixture. The more air that is beat into the eggs will help make the sponge rise.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda together.
- Slowly fold the flour into the egg mixture until just incorporated. Careful of over mixing here as it could deflate the eggs.
- Take the melted butter and slowly pour it in, while folding, add half a cap of vanilla flavouring and keep folding until incorporated in.
- Pour mixture into your greased tin and place within centre of oven to bake for 45 minutes to an hour
- You may need to turn the tin 20-30 minutes in depending how even the baking is. To check if the sponge is ready, use a sharp knife, or toothpick, and stick it in the middle of the sponge. If it comes out clean it’s ready.
- Set aside and cool.
Part 2: The filling
200 g Dark chocolate 75%, high quality
850 mL Whipping cream (or 600mL whipping cream and 250mL fresh double cream)
3 caps Brandy or rum (optional) – can also use a teaspoon to measure
- Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl over a bain-marie. Once melted, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whisk the whipping cream until softly whipped.
- Mix a spoonful of the whipping cream into the melted chocolate to temper it – it will turn into a ganache-like texture at this point.
- Mix in the brandy/rum into the chocolate ganache.
- Carefully fold the ganache into the whipping cream until well incorporated.
Part 3: Assembly
3 tbsp Sugar
¼ cup Hot boiled water
2 caps Brandy or rum
50g Dark chocolate, 75%
50g Double cream
- Dissolve the sugar with boiling water in a small bowl or cup, set aside and once cool, mix in the caps of brandy or rum to make a sugar syrup and set aside.
- Take the chocolate sponge and horizontally slice off 0.5cm of the top to remove the top coating. Slice remainder of the sponge cake horizontally into 3 equal, level layers. These should be about 1.5cm thick. Set aside.
- On a large, flat plate, place a 9” ring down with a layer of the chocolate sponge as the base.
- Lightly brush the sponge with the sugar syrup to moisten the surface.
- Spoon chocolate mousse mixture on top of the sponge, spread evenly until it is 0.75” thick.
- Place the next layer of sponge on top and repeat steps 4-5 until end up with a top layer of the chocolate mousse mixture – it can go above the top of the ring, ensure it is equal around the edge and even on top.
- Wrap with saran wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour so the chocolate mousse mix can set. Store the remaining chocolate mousse mix in the fridge.
- In the meantime, you can make a ganache glaze to coat the top of the cake – heat the double cream in a small pan over medium heat until it’s just about ready to boil.
- In a medium sized bowl, break the dark chocolate into small pieces and pour the heated cream on top – whisk until glossy and set aside. It should be runny enough to pour over the cake.**
- To remove the cake from the ring, wrap a hot towel on the outside of the ring. Run a sharp knife under hot water, and then run it along the inside of the ring.The hot towel and warmed knife will help the cake separate from the ring easier, making it much cleaner.
- Slowly lift the ring to remove the cake.
- Use the remaining chocolate mousse to cover the surface and sides of the cake.
- Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, spreading it evenly to the edges – you can let it drip over the edges.
- Place in the fridge to cool before serving.
**Mine turned out thicker than it should be, hence the lack of shine and run,womp womp.
Part 4: Truffles
This is optional, but perfect for those who want to go that extra chocolatey mile.
200 g Dark chocolate 75%
150 g Double cream
Cocoa powder for finishing
- Heat the double cream in a small pan over medium heat until it’s just about ready to boil.
- In a medium sized bowl, break the dark chocolate into small pieces and pour the heated cream on top – whisk until well mixed. You can also mix a couple caps of brandy or rum in for added flavour.
- Cover the bowl with saran wrap so it touches the ganache and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours so it can solidify.
- Once chilled, use a small spoon to scoop out a bit of the ganache – about the size of an olive. Using your hands, do your best to shape into a ball.
- Dip the ganache ball into cocoa powder to continue shaping and to create a finishing.
- Repeat steps 4-5 until you reach the desired quantity.