What is it about Valentine’s day that essentially calls for cute desserts? Hm maybe because an excellent way to show love, give joy, and share happiness is through a delicious treat perhaps!
Spontaneity plus planning can make the best of desserts. Planning = Deciding what to make and getting the ingredients. Then spontaneity comes with the decoration. What is on hand? What if I put this just so? Add a dash of creativity in either or both steps, and you’ve got one hell of a dessert.
So I started planning, about two weeks in advance of the cake date- I give myself a hefty pat on the back for that one! The idea was a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse- the famous chocolate mousse that the Frenchman has mastered after making it almost every other week for a year, paired with my favorite chocolate cake recipe from Ina Garten.
For the decoration, I knew something pink, that much was obvious. I had originally thought pink hearts piped like polka dots along the side, admittedly a bit cheesy but I was going for the cute factor. But when the Frenchman stopped for an impromptu bouquet with roses on a walk about town a couple days before I was going to make the cake, I knew those had to be included somehow.
On the first day of the cake creation, I woke up to chocolate mousse being made at 7:45 in the morning (licking the spoon makes for an awesome breakfast). Then I made 4 six inch chocolate cake layers. One at a time as I only have the one pan. Chilled them overnight to help set the crumb, and to give time for the mousse to firm up, and then got to decorating.
With the 4 layers, I made two cakes – a three layer one for us, and a one layer one with tons of icing for a friend. Both decorated with eucalyptus leaves and rose petals.
The result was a two-day creation, a labor of love, and the perfect amount for two people that adore chocolate and cake (that and one happy friend).
And this cake- is exactly what I wanted it to be. Chocolate chocolate chocolate!! The mousse melds with the cake in the best way – like how when melted ice cream mixes with the cake making it somehow even better than before. The layers stay moist, the flavor is incredible, and then there’s a nice thin layer of icing to hold it all together. In short – fantastic. Xx
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Thank you Ina Garten because this is THE Chocolate cake recipe that I always use and it is FANTASTIC. Then pair that with the Frenchman's mousse and you've got one killer cake.
To make this cake, I'd suggest breaking it into two days. On the first day make the chocolate mousse because it will need to firm up overnight. Make the cake layers on the first day as well. Wrapping them in plastic wrap and chilling overnight in the freezer or refrigerator. This will make them easier to ice the next day. On the second day, make the icing and assemble the cake.
The cake will last about 3-4 days in the refrigerator once assembled. Just remember to let it warm to room temperature before eating so you have the best texture.
- 1 3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour (260g)
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar (420g)
- 3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder (90g)
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Buttermilk (225ml)
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil (80ml)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Freshly Brewed Coffee (235ml)
- 6 eggs
- 250g bittersweet chocolate (70%)
- pinch salt
- 40 ml creme fraiche or heavy cream
- 50 ml water
- 8 tbsp Unsalted Butter, room temperature (114g)
- 3.5-4 Cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 2 oz melted chocolate (70%) (90g)
- 6 tbsp Whole Milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cake:
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk together.
Add the liquid to the dry and stir to combine. Then whisk in the still hot coffee.
Bake at 350F/175C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. (I made 4 six inch cake layers and used three to make a cake for the two of us, and then just put icing on the other layer to give to a friend. Don't forget that baked cake freezes really well. Or make 3 eight inch cake layers!)
For the Chocolate Mousse:
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites into two different bowls, being careful not to get any yolk in the whites.
Chop up the chocolate and melt with the water and creme fraiche or heavy cream either in a bain marie or in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds. Stir to form a ganache.
Add the chocolate to the egg yolks and whisk together. If the chocolate is really hot, let it cool for a minute or two before adding it to the yolks.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whip them to stiff peak. Don't do this until you finish the chocolate bit noted above, as you don't want them to deflate.
Fold the chocolate into the whites until there are no streaks left, being careful not to deflate the whites too much.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
For the Chocolate Icing:
Beat the butter in a bowl until it's the texture of mayonnaise (pomade).
Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds, or on a bain marie. Then add this, and all the other ingredients into the bowl with the butter (only add 3.5 cups of powdered sugar, reserving the other 1/2 cup to add just in case it needs it).
Beat everything together until it's well mixed! If it seems too liquidy, add the extra powdered sugar.
Cut the tops off of the cake layers to have even tops and bottoms. On top of one of the layers, use a piping bag to make a ring of chocolate icing around the edge, this will keep the chocolate mousse from escaping once you add it like a dam. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, put enough chocolate mousse on top of the layer to create a nice quantity (about 1/4 inch/2cms). Put the next layer on top and repeat.
Chill at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. I let mine chill for about an hour. This is really important as it sets the mousse and makes the cake a bit sturdier, otherwise, it will be impossible to ice.
Ice with the chocolate icing. I'll usually put quite a bit on the sides and then use a scraper to make it smooth and even. I didn't have a scraper with me this time, so I actually used a large knife that had a blade that was completely straight. As you're evening up the sides, some of the chocolate mousse will come out of the layers, which is totally fine, and it looks really beautiful mixed with the icing. If too much is coming out, return the cake to the refrigerator to set up a bit longer before you try to ice it again.
Chill 30 minutes to an hour. When ready to eat, let the cake warm to room temperature before serving.