I think I mentioned, back here, that I gave chocolate up for lent.
Really big fail.
Primarily because I forgot. A lot. I'd be halfway through a brownie and then remember. Or I'd eat something, a few hours would pass and I'd suddenly gasp 'lent!', the chocolate ice cream long since finished.
It's hard to give things up for a religious festival when you don't believe in any of it. Who knew?
So, never one to try and fail lightly, I made a chocolate mousse cake for a little supper party the other day.
I don't think it could have been more chocolatey. To the extent that there was far too much icing on top which set surprisingly hard and meant that slicing it almost required a chisel and hammer. Getting through the chocolate-concrete was a real commitment to eating chocolate.
Thankfully, everyone I fed it to was wholeheartedly committed and it's all gone.
But it was beautiful while it lasted.
The recipe came from Delicious Magazine, but I'll pop my version here as it wasn't the most helpful of recipes... Be warned: lots of chocolate and a lot of whisking.
225 plain chocolate
5 eggs, seperated
150g golden caster sugar
125 butter, softened
142ml pot of double cream
225 dark chocolate
4 more eggs, also seperated
200g plain chocolate
2tbsp icing sugar
Heat the oven to 180C and hunt out a 20cm springform cake tin. They suggest you line the bottom with baking paper, but do not suggest how to get the thing off said paper again once it's cooked (hence my cake staying put on the bottom of the springform tin for serving...) I think paper=optional. It didn't seem to want to stick anyway.
Melt the 225g chocolate in a bain-marie or (if you're me) in the microwave until it's smooth. Pop to one side for a while.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk, then add the butter a little at a time. I found it best to mash the butter with a fork first, then add a forkful at at time. Once it's all combined, pour in the melted chocolate (make sure it hasn't cooled too much and formed one massive lump again) and keep whisking. Then mix in the ground almonds. They don't need whisking.
Put that bowl of chocolatey goodness to one side and find a clean one. Whisk (again) the egg whites in this one 'til they're making soft peaks. Dollop a big spoonful into the chocolate mixture, apparently to 'loosen' it, then add the rest. The recipe says to 'fold' which I always thought was fairly gentle stirring, but you need to be quite firm with it to persuade the egg whites to combine with the chocolate. It will.
Pour into your prepared tin and bake in your prepared oven for about 50 minutes. It'll rise, firm up and crack on the top but will still be a bit gooey in the middle when you poke it with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tin. Mine collapsed a bit when I took it out of the oven but it didn't ruin the general effect. Possibly a result of my being 'firm' earlier...
Once it's cool, cut it in half horizontally. This is hard as it's quite soft in the middle. I found a large knife and the bottom of another sponge tin to slide it on to were the answer. Put the bottom back in the springform tin.
To make the mousse, whip that double cream and melt the next lot of chocolate. Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate and then add the cream. Whisk (more whisking!) the egg whites to (more!) soft peaks and then fold into the rest. It's mousse! Spread it over the bottom of the cake and put the other half back on top. Chill in the fridge over night.
The chocolate icing just needs everything melting together and then pouring over the top of the cake. Like I said, though, I ended up with far too much so possibly don't be so gung-ho with just pouring it on if slicing your cake prettily is important to you.
Enjoy! Boyfriend insisted on serving with MORE CREAM, but most people might find that excessive...
(Oh, and one of my raspberry and elderflower cupcakes was featured on The Cupcake Blog yesterday - how exciting!)