Chocolate Mousse Cake

TIER 1

Chocolate Mousse Cake

There are only two elements to this cake – the sponge and the mousse. I show you how to master each one, then it’s just a case of building your cake! I recommend using a ring mould for the most professional finish, and running a warm palette knife over the top of your mousse to create a smooth top. This is such a simple recipe but it looks amazing, the texture is divine, and it’s so full of flavour.

1
6-INCH CAKE

Ingredients

Chocolate Sponge
80g Egg Yolks
20g Caster Sugar (A)
60g Caster Sugar (B)
150g Egg Whites
40g Plain Flour
28g Cocoa Powder
50g Vegetable Oil
30g Whole Milk

Chocolate Mousse
170g Whole Milk
120g Chocolate (70% Cocoa Solids), Finely Chopped
120g Chocolate (30% Cocoa Solids), Finely Chopped
300g Double/Heavy Cream
Pinch Sea Salt Flakes

Special equipment

39cm x 27cm baking tray
Electric hand whisk (or stand mixer)
Hand blender
16cm ring mould (4.5cm high)

Chocolate Sponge

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/356F Non-Fan Assisted (160C Fan Assisted) and then lightly grease a medium-sized baking tray (this recipe uses a 39cm x 27cm tray). Cut a rectangle of parchment paper so that it fits neatly inside the tray, and press it in firmly with your hands. 

2. Into a medium bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar (A). Whisk the mixture with an electric hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) until it is thicker in volume and pale in colour. About 1-2 minutes. Set this to one side. 

3. Into a medium bowl, add the egg whites and using an electric hand whisk (or a stand mixer) whisk on a medium-low speed. Once the mixture is frothy, increase the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar (B), about 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk until you have a medium-stiff peak to the meringue.

4. Pour the egg yolk mixture on top of the meringue and gently fold it through using a spatula until well combined.

5. Next, sift in the plain flour & cocoa powder, and fold it in carefully until it is fully incorporated. 

6. Finally, pour in the vegetable oil and whole milk. Use a spatula to fold this in, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.

7. Pour the batter onto the lined tray, and then using a spatula, spread the batter out evenly. Try to ensure the batter is relatively even.

8. Bake the sponge for 12 minutes then allow it to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. 

Chocolate Mousse

1. Add the milk to a small saucepan and place it onto a medium low heat, stirring occasionally. 

2. Meanwhile, add the chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. 

3. Once the milk is simmering, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes with a plate on top.

4. Then, remove the plate and use a hand blender to blend the milk and chocolate until smooth and set it to one side.

5. Into a medium bowl, add the cream and use an electric hand whisk to whisk it to a soft-medium peak.

6. Then, whisk the cream through the chocolate mixture in three parts until smooth. It’s important to whisk it through, as if you try to fold it, the cream will not incorporate properly and remain lumpy.

7. Lastly, fold in the salt.

Assembly

1. Take your cooled sponge and tip it out onto a silicon mat/piece of parchment paper.

2. Use your cake ring to cut 2 circles out of the chocolate sponge.

You will have enough remaining sponge to make the Tier 2 recipe, so make sure to save this if you’re moving straight onto Tier 2!

3. Take one of the sponges and place it on a tray lined with a silicon mat/piece of parchment paper. Place your cake ring over the top and gently push the sponge to the sides of the cake ring to make sure it’s even and there are no gaps.

4. Pour your chocolate mousse over the sponge until it reaches halfway up the cake ring. Then add your second layer of chocolate sponge and pour the remaining chocolate mousse over the top until it reaches the top of the cake ring.

You may have a little mousse left over but you can pour this into ramekins to have little pots of delicious chocolate mousse!

5. If you have a slightly uneven top to your mousse cake, heat the edge of a palette knife or scraper and run it evenly over the top of the cake to smooth out the top.

6. Place the cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours until set and ready to serve.

7. To remove the ring, simply gently heat the sides with a blowtorch and it should lift off smoothly. Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt just before serving.

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Chocolate Praline Mousse Cakes

TIER 2

Chocolate Praline Mousse Cakes

In Tier 2 we add two extra elements to really level up the cake – a hazelnut praline filling and a cocoa gavotte decoration. I’ve turned these into individual plated desserts by using smaller ring moulds, but you can make one large mousse cake if you’d prefer. I’ve adjusted the mousse recipe slightly here and only used 70% cocoa solids, but if you prefer a sweeter flavour then follow the same 50/50 split as Tier 1.

5
7CM MOUSSE CAKES

Ingredients

Hazelnut Praline

165g Caster Sugar
50g Water
250g Whole Roasted Hazelnuts, Without Skins
Pinch of Flaked Sea Salt

Chocolate Sponge

40g Egg Yolks
10g Caster Sugar (A)
30g Caster Sugar (B)
75g Egg Whites
20g Plain Flour
12g Cocoa Powder
25g Vegetable Oil
15g Whole Milk

Chocolate Mousse

130g Whole Milk
10g Honey
175g Chocolate (70% Cocoa Solids), Finely Chopped
220g Double/Heavy Cream
Pinch Sea Salt Flakes

Cocoa Gavotte

150g Water
15g Unsalted Butter
1g Salt
11g Plain Flour
30g Icing/Powdered Sugar
3g Cornstarch/Cornflour
35g Egg Whites
4g Cocoa Powder

Special equipment

Digital thermometer
Hand blender
Silicon mat
Food processor
Electric whisk
Small baking tray (16cm x 26cm)
5 7cm mousse rings (3.5cm high)
Heat gun/Blow torch

Hazelnut Praline

1. Into a medium saucepan, add the sugar & water. Place it on a medium heat, and cook the mixture until it reaches 110C/230F on a digital thermometer. 

2. Once at 110C/230F, pour in the hazelnuts. Stir constantly with a spatula. The mixture will initially look quite clumpy, then the sugar will crystallise, but eventually, as you keep stirring, the sugars will caramelise and you should have a deep golden caramel surrounding the nuts. It will take 3-5 minutes. 

3. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and tip the caramelised nuts onto a baking tray lined with a silicon mat. Sprinkle some sea salt flakes on top and let it set completely at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

4. The praline should then be completely cool and solid to the touch. Break it into pieces and add it into a high-powered food processor. Blend for 3-4 minutes, scraping it down every so often, until you have a smooth, nutty paste. Store in an airtight container. 

Chocolate Sponge

1. Preheat the oven to 180C Non-Fan Assisted (160C Fan Assisted) and then lightly grease a small baking tray (this recipe uses a cm x cm baking tray). Cut a rectangle of parchment paper so that it fits neatly inside the tray, and press it in firmly with your hands. 

2. Into a medium bowl, add the egg yolks, and sugar (A). Whisk the mixture with an electric hand mixer until it is thicker in volume and pale in colour. About 1-2 minutes. Set this to one side. 

3. Into a medium bowl, add the egg whites and using an electric hand whisk, whisk on a medium-low speed. Once the mixture is frothy, increase the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar (B), about 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk until you have a medium-stiff peak to the meringue.

4. Pour the egg yolk mixture on top of the meringue and gently fold it through using a spatula until well combined.

5. Next, sift in the plain flour & cocoa powder, and fold it in carefully until it is fully incorporated. 

6. Finally, pour in the vegetable oil and whole milk. Use a spatula to fold this in, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.

7. Pour the batter onto the lined tray, and then using a spatula, spread the batter out evenly. Try to ensure the batter is relatively even.

8. Bake the sponge for 10-12 minutes, until dry to the touch, then allow it to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Chocolate Mousse

1. Into a small saucepan, add the milk and honey and place it onto a medium low heat, stirring occasionally. 

2. Meanwhile, add the chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. 

3. Once the milk is simmering and the honey has dissolved, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes.

4. Then, use a hand blender to blend until smooth and set it to one side.

5. Into a medium bowl, add the cream and use an electric hand whisk to whisk it to a medium-soft peak.

6. Then, whisk the cream through the chocolate mixture in three parts until smooth. It’s important to whisk it through, as if you try to fold it, the cream will not incorporate properly and remain lumpy.

7. Lastly, fold in the salt.

Assembly

1. Take your cooled sponge and tip it out onto a silicon mat/piece of parchment paper.

2. Use one of your mousse rings to cut 5 circles out of the chocolate sponge and place them inside of your mousse rings. Gently push the sponge to the sides of the mousse rings to make sure there are no gaps.

3. Next, add a dollop of hazelnut praline to the centre of each sponge (I like to use a piping bag). You want it to cover about ⅔ of the sponge, not go all the way to the sides. 

4. Then, add the chocolate mousse until it reaches the top of the mousse ring (again, I like to use a piping bag).

5. If your mousse is slightly thicker then use a palette knife to press the mousse to the edges and ensure there are no gaps. Then, heat your palette knife in some hot water, dry it with a tea towel and smooth the top of your mousse rings to ensure a nice even finish.

6. Place the cakes in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours until set and ready to serve. 

Cocoa Gavotte

1. Into a medium saucepan, add the water, salt & butter. Place it over a medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, into a medium bowl, add all of the remaining ingredients and whisk them together till smooth.

3. Once the water is boiling, slowly pour it over the bowl of ingredients, whisking constantly to ensure that the mixture is tempered.

4. Once you’ve added all the water, pour the mixture back into the pan, and whisk constantly over a medium heat until it thickens to a custard-like consistency.

5. Place a sheet of cling film over a small baking tray and pour your gavotte mixture on top. Place another sheet of cling film over the top and refrigerate it for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 175C/345F.

7. Onto a tray lined with a silicon mat, take a dollop of the gavotte mixture and create a line of it at the top of your tray. Do the same about half way down your tray. Then, using a palette knife, spread it nice and thin. It needs to be thin (almost opaque) otherwise the texture won’t be correct.

8. Place it into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until crispy (the top might be slightly cracked).

9. Repeat this with a second tray of mixture. 

10. Once baked, allow them to cool for 5 minutes, then snap them into shards ready to decorate. It is best to make these fresh as they will soften the longer they are left. If you make them ahead of time, you can place them back into the oven for 2-3 minutes, to crisp up again. 

11. When ready to serve, remove your mousse cakes from the fridge and use a heat gun/blow torch to gently warm the sides of your mousses and lift off the cake rings.

12. Place your chocolate gavotte shards on top/around the sides of your mousses in whatever design you would like!

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Chocolate Babka

TIER 1

Chocolate Babka

I love the design of this Babka! It’s such a showstopper and so unbelievably tasty. This recipe teaches you the foundations of enriched dough, which we fill with a super easy chocolate filling. It’s just the braiding that requires a bit more brain power, but watch the video and I’ll walk you through it step by step – I promise it’s easier than it looks!

2
BABKAS

Ingredients

For the dough

750g White Bread Flour
150g Caster Sugar
15g Instant Dry Yeast
225g Whole Milk
165g Whole Eggs
9g Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
150g Unsalted Butter, Cold + Cubed

For the chocolate filling

240g Unsalted Butter
160g Caster Sugar
80g Cocoa Powder
Pinch of sea salt flakes

For the egg wash

2 Egg Yolks (35g)
Splash of Water

For the sugar syrup

100g Caster Sugar
100g Water

Special equipment

Stand mixer
2 x 2lb loaf tins

1. Into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk and eggs followed by the strong white bread flour, the sugar, salt and yeast. Lastly, add the vanilla bean paste. Knead together on a medium-low speed (speed 3 on a KitchenAid) for 8 minutes.

2. Next, slowly add the butter a few pieces at a time (waiting 20-30 seconds between each addition), and keep kneading until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated.  This will take about 10-12 minutes. 

3. Once your dough is ready, lift it out of the bowl and shape it into a tight ball. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and lightly grease the top of the dough (I use an oil spray but alternatively, you can put some oil on your hands and gently rub the dough). Cover the surface of the dough directly with cling film, and the top of the bowl. Chill in the fridge overnight (minimum 12 hours).

4. Just before you’re ready to roll your dough, make the chocolate filling. 

5. In a saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat

6. In a separate bowl, add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt

7. Once your butter has melted, pour it over the dry ingredients and whisk until combined

8. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes, stirring with a spatula occasionally until it becomes the consistency of soft butter. It may take longer if your room temperature is a little warmer. To speed it up, just pop it in the fridge and stir every few minutes. 

9. Once your Babka dough has chilled, lightly flour your surface and place the dough on top. Flour the dough and roll it out to roughly 18”x24” (roughly the width of your two loaf tins placed side by side). The dough should be nice and thin.

10. Next, spread your chocolate filling all over the top of the dough, right to the edges.

11. Using your hands, starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log, then place it in the freezer for 10 minutes (you can bend it slightly to make sure it fits!).

12. Once your dough has chilled, cut off any rough ends and then cut the dough lengthways directly down the centre. Next, place one half of the log over the top of the other half in a cross shape. Starting with one side of the cross, braid the dough into a tight plait, then repeat with the other side.

13. Line the bottom of your loaf tins with a piece of parchment paper. Place one of your tins next to the dough, cut the dough to the same length as the tin, then place it in your tin. Repeat with the other tin. You’ll likely have a little dough remaining.

14. Cover the tins with a tea towel and leave to proof for 2 hours. If you’re in a particularly cold kitchen, you can put your tins in the oven and add a small cup of boiling water to the bottom of the oven. Replace this every 30 minutes or so to speed up the proofing process slightly.

15. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F Non- Fan Assisted just before the time is up. 

16. Once your Babkas have proofed, mix together the egg wash ingredients and paint it over the Babkas.

17. Just before adding your Babkas to the oven, add some boiling water to a tray and place this on the bottom shelf of your oven. Add the Babkas to the middle shelf and bake for 60-70 minutes. To check they are cooked in the middle, probe the centre of the Babkas with a digital thermometer – they should be over 90C/195F.

18. Whilst the Babkas are baking, make your sugar syrup. Add the water and sugar to a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it’s gently simmering and all the sugar has dissolved.

19. Once baked, remove the Babkas from the oven and lightly run a knife around the outside of the tins to loosen them. Tip them onto a wire rack and use a pastry brush to soak them in the sugar syrup. Wrap the Babkas in cling film and leave to cool for 1 hour. It’s important to leave them for an hour to allow the middle of the Babkas to completely set.

20. Once cooled, your Babka’s are ready to serve! They’re best eaten straight away (or within a few hours) as they have the tendency to dry out a little, but if you want to serve them later I’d pop them in the oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.

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