Thursday, July 8, 2010

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

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It's chocolatey, light and such a breeze to make! This Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake is deliciously amazing with its base of flourless chocolate cake, a middle layer of creamy chocolate mousse and the topping of a delicate white chocolate mousse. It may seem like an elegant, complicated recipe to prepare but it's much easier than you think. This dessert is quite a show stopper and all the effort is worth it even if it's for just one bite!...
 
When I first saw this recipe, I was thrilled to see the list of ingredients since I had everything on hand in my pantry. At first, the idea of preparing three layers seemed daunting and time consuming. The reality is that preparing the layers goes quickly, especially if you have a stand mixer to do all the leg work. I was quite surprised at how fast I prepared this. In the time the first layer is baking and cooling down, you can start and finish the second layer.... and as the second layer is assembled and setting, you can start and finish the top layer. When you finally finish assembling the top layer of the cake, all you have to do is find the patience while it chills and sets (making this before bed helps so it can chill and set overnight.)

To make this recipe, you'll need a tall 9-inch springform pan of at least 3 inches high... or in my case, I used a 10-inch springform pan that was about 2 inches high. Doing so resulted in thinner layers but didn't affect the taste or texture whatsoever. To prevent confusion, I have the recipe laid out by each of the layers so that the cake is made in a specific order.


Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Bottom Layer:
cooking spray to grease the pan
6
tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine or bittersweet chocolate chips can be used
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
Pinch table salt
1/3 cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar

For the bottom layer: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of 91/2-inch springform pan with cooking spray; set aside

In a large bowl, melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth... or place in the microwave at 1 minute intervals and stir to prevent chocolate from scorching. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.

In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through.

Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.

Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes to1 hour. You can even place the warm cake in the refrigerator to chill faster if you'd like. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan. While the cake is chilling, start on the middle layer of the cake...


Middle Layer:
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
5 tablespoons hot water
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine or bittersweet chocolate chips can be used
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the middle layer: Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth... or place in a large microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave at 1 minute intervals, stirring to prevent chocolate from scorching. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes. Pour the cocoa and water mixture into the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth; set aside.

In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer..


Top Layer:
3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon water
6 ounces white chocolate chips (
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional

For the top layer: Place white chocolate in medium bowl; set aside.

In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes.  Heat ½ cup cream in a 1-cup measuring cup in the mircowave for 1-2 minutes just until it's warm but not boiling. Remove from microwave and add the gelatin mixture to the measuring up; stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).

While the white chocolate mixture cools, in clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.

To serve: If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa*. Run thin knife between cake and side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.

* Tip - To dust cake with cocoa with little mess, I use a snap mesh tea ball. Dip the tea ball in a container of cocoa, filling it slightly. Gently tap the teaball over the cake to garnish. I use this tea ball whenever I need to garnish with a dusting of cocoa and confectioner's sugar. I've also used this with flour when I need to dust dough with flour.

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