Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jen's Birthday Cake

Dan's sister Jennifer turned the big 4-0 today, and I scored getting to make the cake. She said she liked chocolate, so I figured I'd go with the chocolatiest cake I could make. A coworker shared a slice of this decadent cake with me a few months back, and I begged his wife for the recipe, which she was kind enough to share.

It was fun to make, since I got to practice my folding technique (which I'm kinda awful at), which was integral to both the sponge cake layer and the mousse layer. I feel like I have to fold so much to get it integrated that I lose too much of the air. That's something I could definitely use some hands on training on.

Dan's Mom made dinner for the party, which featured spaghetti, her yummy mushroom side dish, rolls, and a great salad courtesy of Dan's sister Midge. After dinner and presents, I did my best to cut the cake into 12 slices (the crispy ganache top and the soft mousse underneath make cutting a challenge) and served it up on festive Happy Birthday plates with some vanilla ice cream on the side. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, but those without a serious sweet tooth couldn't quite finish their slices.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Layer 1: The Cake

1.25 oz ground hazelnuts
1.5 oz confectioners' sugar
0.5 oz cake four
0.5 oz cocoa powder
2.5 oz whole eggs
1.75 oz egg whites
0.25 oz granulated sugar
0.5 oz butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400. Mix together hazelnut, confectioners' sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add whole eggs and mix until smooth and light. Whip egg whites and sugar together until they form firm peaks. Gently fold egg whites into the other mixture, being careful not to allow much air to escape. Fold in the melted butter. Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment, and brush the sides with more melted butter. Pour cake batter into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. Bake for at least 10 minutes, until firm to the touch. Then remove from oven and cool in the pan. When pan is cool, brush the sides again with melted butter and line with strips of parchment.

Layer 2: The Mousse

1 lb bittersweet chocolate
4 oz butter
6 oz egg yolks
8 oz egg whites
2.5 oz granulated sugar
8 oz heavy cream

Melt chocolate in a dry bowl over a hot water bath. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Add egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Whip egg whites and sugar together until firm peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Whip cream until firm peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Transfer mousse into the parchment lined cake pan that contains the baked cake base, making sure it is evenly distributed. Place pan in the freezer.

Layer 3: The Ganache

8 oz bittersweet chocolate
8 oz heavy cream
2 oz butter

Place cream in a pan over medium-high heat and bring just to a boil. Add chocolate and butter, and remove fro the heat. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk contents together, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken and temperature is under 100 F. Take your cake pan from the freezer and pour ganache on top, making sure distribution is even, and there are as few bubbles as possible. Place back in the freezer and allow everything to set, about 4 hours, though overnight would be ideal. Remove from pan and serve. Makes 16 decadent slices.

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