Sunday, February 21, 2016

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake (Gluten-free)

For as long as I can remember my mom baked a chocolate cake on my birthday. It was always a $0.99 special on Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, but the cakes she made were not any flavours you could find in stores. She pimped them way out.

Probably one of my favourites was when she went psycho with chocolate. First, she never followed the instructions on pack and being a developer of retail cake mixes myself, this is a big No No! Luckily for her Betty and Duncan use lots of emulsifiers and stabilizers that prevent any wreckage no matter how far you stray from the rules... I recall clearly that she always used one less egg and NO oil. None! How could she get away with it? Commercial cake mixes already contain oils blended in to coat the flour. They also contain emulsifiers that keep the cake soft even when you don't add fat. It's science.

Now for the egg... well mom may have been trying to be cost friendly or calorie wise, but really she was being a smart baker. Too much egg creates a firmer structure. Leaving one out left the cake extra moist. Clever lady.

As for the psycho bit, she would throw massive chunks of dark chocolate right into the batter. Not chips, chunks! When it baked, the chocolate melted just slightly into the batter so that it became a part of the cake yet still maintained its individuality. As it cooled the chocolate firmed up but never hardened since it took up moisture from the crumb. Think soft chewy pieces of chocolate fudge... genius!

She could've killed me with the frosting. It was always piled high! Her trick was cream cheese and cool whip. I would've liked whipped cream, but you know... maybe it was the calorie thing again...

She mixed cream cheese with melted chocolate and then folded in cool whip. It was rich and still light - an irresistible combination. She couldn't help but throw more chunks of chocolate right on top. You could say she knew me well. Thanks mom.

I will never turn down that birthday cake. But when I make cake, it's a different story. Still moist, still crazy chocolatey, but lighter, thinner and full of creaminess. This is my weekday cake. I pay little attention to appearances so I'll go right ahead and say it's a tad sloppy. But, this cake is for me. It's for breakfast when I really need some encouragement to get out of my pajamas in the morning, and it's for every hour after 7pm when all I can think about is chocolate.

The layers come together in a breeze and you don't even need sugar or butter or flour. All the sweetness comes from 200g of dark chocolate. All of the structure comes from 6 eggs.

Melted chocolate mixes with 3 whole eggs and 3 yolks. Just a touch of cornstarch gives some insurance.

After folding through some whipped egg whites, the batter is complete. Divide it evenly among three pans and bake them off for 3 thin, even layers. They are ready for stacking!

While they cool you can move on to making the moussey white chocolate filling which is a simple combination of white chocolate, vanilla and whipped cream. An elegantly thin layer of shiny chocolate coats the top and despite the slightly messy construction, it still makes me feel like every Monday through Thursday is an occasion.

Some people live for sports, some live for theater. I guess I live for layers and layers of chocolate. For real.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

For the sponges:
200g dark chocolate
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp cornflour
3 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt

For the mousse filling:
150g white chocolate, chopped
1 cup (237ml) 35% whipping cream, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze:
56g (2 oz) milk chocolate, chopped
42g (1.5 oz) bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
¼ cup (60ml) whole milk
2 tbsp (12g) cocoa powder
1 tbsp (15ml) glucose syrup
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.

Gently melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat. Stir whole eggs and yolks together in a bowl then whisk into melted chocolate with cornflour. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks and then gently fold into chocolate mixture, trying not to deflate them too much.

Divide mixture between prepared pans (it will be a very thin layer) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 

To make the filling, melt white chocolate with 1/4 cup of cream in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl, stir in vanilla extract and refrigerate until chilled but not completely firm. Lightly whip remaining cream to soft peaks. Gently fold whipped cream into chilled white chocolate ganache. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the glaze, very gently start to melt chocolates in a small saucepan and then begin stirring in the milk gradually until blended. Remove from heat, sift in cocoa and whisk until well blended. Return to low heat and whisk until thickened and cocoa is well absorbed. Do not boil. Stir in glucose and salt. 

To assemble: spread white chocolate filling between cake layers and then pour the slightly warm glaze over top.
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