Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chocolate Mousse layer cake with Ganache

I made this for Nathan's birthday party this year and it was a big hit. I want to keep experimenting--raspberries? Hazelnuts? The possibilities are endless, but if you like a moist, dense, dark chocolate cake, this is for you! By the way, the Irish Cream liqueur is from Trader Joes and I promise it is worth getting. Once you boil out the alcohol, it becomes a sweet, caramely concoction that infuses the cake with fabulous flavor. 

Chocolate Layer-Mousse Cake with Ganache

makes 1 large cake – serves 12
active time: 2 hours
For the cakes
.           1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
.           1 cup Dutch process cocoa – sifted
.           2 teaspoons baking powder
.           2 pinches sea salt
.           8 large eggs – at room temperature
.           1 1/2 cups organic sugar
.           4 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted and slightly cooled
.           1 Irish Cream liqueur, boiled to remove alcohol
.           2 – 9” round non-stick cake molds – lightly buttered and floured
For the milk chocolate mousse
.           9 oz (255gr) milk chocolate – coarsely chopped
.           1 1/2 cups heavy cream
.           1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur
.           1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the ganache
.           12 oz (340gr semi-sweet chocolate – coarsely chopped
  1/4 cups heavy cream
.           2 oz (57gr) white chocolate curls, as garnish

.           Preheat oven to 375°F (190ÂșC).
.           Step 1: Place the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.
.           Step 2: Place the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk at high speed until very pale, thick and ribbony (about 2 minutes). Slowly add the sugar and continue whisking at high speed until soft peaks form, another minute.
.           Step 3: Add half the flour/cocoa mixture to the whipped eggs. Fold in carefully. Add the melted butter and fold in carefully. Fold in the remaining flour/cocoa mixture, taking care not to overmix.
.           Step 4: Divide the batter equally into the prepared molds. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the cakes have risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before un-molding.
.           Cook’s note: The cakes can be prepared up to 24 hours ahead. Cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before assembling the cake.
.           Step 5: To make the chocolate mousse: Place the chocolate pieces in a double boiler. Melt the chocolate over simmering water, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool until just warm to the touch.
.           Step 6: Place the heavy cream, 1 Tbs Irish Cream liqueur and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip at medium speed until thick, taking care not to overbeat or it will turn to butter. Pour the melted milk chocolate into the whipped cream and fold until well blended. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
.           Step 7: To make the ganache: Place the cream in a sauce pan. Heat it until it simmers. Add the chocolate, turn off the heat, and stir until melted and smooth.
.           Step 8: To assemble the cake: Un-mold the chocolate cakes and cut in 4 even layers, about 1″ thick (I use a cake leveler, it makes the job infinitely easier!). Place one layer of cake in the center of a serving platter. Line the rim of the platter with plastic wrap (this will keep the rim clean as you apply the frosting). Using a pastry brush, soak the cake with one quarter of the Irish Cream. Top with a third of the chocolate mousse and spread it evenly over the whole surface of the cake. Top with another layer of the chocolate cake. Repeat soaking with the Irish Cream, and spreading the milk chocolate mousse 2 more times until you have 3 layers. Top with the last layer of chocolate cake and soak with the remaining Irish Cream. Finish by applying the ganache, first on the top, then dripped down the sides. Loosely cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
.           Step 10: When ready to serve, shave the white chocolate using a vegetable hand peeler over the cake and around the rim of the platter.