Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pomegranate

Have you ever started to write a sentence in a card then completely lose your train of thought? It happens to me all the time. In fact it happened to me this weekend. I was signing a card for my friends wedding and for some reason I started a sentence with “after”. I’m still not sure where I meant to go with that. I do know that what I ended up writing might not have made much sense, I got myself all flustered. So Steph, if you’re reading this, I meant to say I love you and I’m so happy for you.

chocolate mousse cake with pomegranate overhead The wedding had me in a celebratory mood the following day. Celebrations to me mean cake, and the best cake I can think of is my mom’s famous chocolate cake. Family members have left their sick beds for a slice of that cake. I would to share the actual recipe with you, but my mom honestly can’t say what the recipe is. It’s been altered and modified so many times it only exists in her mind. I can tell you it’s chocolate cake spiked with Kahlua, with layers of ganache and whipped cream. I based this cake on that but made it my own. I used a chocolate genoise baked in a jelly roll pan, and filled it with chocolate mousse and whipped cream.  I think chocolate can always use a little fruit, so I topped the cake with pomegranate seeds. And, of course, I spiked the cake layers with Kahlua.

 

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pomegranate

For the Chocolate Genoise

  •  1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a 15 by 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment, then grease the parchment.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa together. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Place the bowl over and pot  with 1 inch of simmering water and whisk until the eggs reach a temperature of 130 F, about 4 minutes depending on the size of the bowl and pot. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using an electric mixer (hand held or standing) beat the eggs until the have tripled in volume are back to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
  5. Fold the flour into the eggs in three additions. Stir a spoonful of the batter into the butter, then fold the butter into the batter gently. The batter will deflate a little at this point.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet, then bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the center springs back when touched.

For the Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  1. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the cinnamon once melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk till double in volume and the colour has lightened. Mix into melted chocolate. Refrigerate while whipping the egg whites.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
  4. Take a small amount of the egg whites and mix it into the chocolate to thin the chocolate, then fold the chocolate into the egg whites.
  5. Set aside.
For the Cream
  • 1 cups35% cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  1. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks. Add the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
For the Kahlua Syrup
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1 cups water
  1. In a saucepan bring sugar and water to boil. Remove from the heat, let cool, then add the Kahlua.
To assemble
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  1. Slice the cake into three 5 by 10 inch slices. Place the bottom layer on the serving plate. Soak with 1/3 of the Kahlua syrup, then top with the chocolate mousse. Place another layer of cake on top of the chocolate mousse. Soak that layer with 1/2 of the remaining Kahlua syrup. Top that layer with half of the whipped cream. Place the final layer of cake on top of the whipped cream layer. Soak with remaining Kahlua syrup. Top with the remaining whipped cream, then decorate with the pomegranate seeds.
  2. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the cake to set.
Enjoy!

 

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Kaffeeklatsch

Last Sunday Janice and I participated in an culinary event I will not soon forget; Kaffeeklatsch at Laloux.

Kaffeeklastch is an event created by Michelle Marek, pastry chef at Laloux. For a small fixed fee we got the choice of a pastry and a petit four, with coffee from Cafe Myriade. In the past all of the pastries at Kaffeeklatsch were made by Marek, but this time Stéphanie Labelle of Pâtisserie Rhubarbe also provide some incredible treats for us to try.

I don’t usually do restaurant reviews; I’m too busy eating to take pictures. These pastries were so pretty I had to take some pictures of them. The light at Laloux is incredible. The bistro has huge windows along the sides and front that stream light through in such a pretty way.

Because of nut allergies, our choices were limited, but we were still very pleased. Janice chose the Religieuse à la Rhubarbe (above) while I had the Tarte à la Rhubarbe (below). Religieuse are similar to cream puffs, but stacked. In this case they were filled with a rhubarb cream and came with a rhubarb compote. The cream was the perfect sweet/tart combination, and the compote added an extra kick of rhubarb. Labelle’s pastry is also incredible; it’s not like a typical choux pastry. I’d love to know how she makes it. My mom and discussed a few options, some experimenting will be done.

The Tarte was also wonderful. It had a frangipane like filling, which complimented the rhubarb  very nicely. Again there was a great sweet tart balance. I’m going to try to replicate this myself too, although I doubt I can come close to this.

The pastries were followed by petit fours. Janice order rum balls, while I had the chocolate raspberry linzer cookie. Since these were petit we didn’t share them, but I can tell you the linzer was very good; it had a hint of cinnamon. Janice really enjoyed the rum ball.

We were there with a few other Montreal foodies, including Mayssam, Katerine, and Andrea. After watching them order everything (I mean everything) on the menu, we decided a little more pastry wouldn’t hurt. So we split the Sachertorte. Sachertorte is an Austrian chocolate torte. The slice I had was dense and moist, and Marek did an incredible job.

If that wasn’t enough, we took more pastries to go. We both chose the strudel and religieuse. Unfortunately, the strudel is full of walnuts so I didn’t get to try it, but my parents loved it.

All in all it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon. I’m already dreaming of the next Kaffeeklatsch!

A Surprise Birthday Cake

I recently changed departments at work. My old department would collect a dollar from every employee on Friday’s and use the money to buy birthday cakes from Premiere Moisson. My new department does not. The switch from a cake department to a non-cake department hasn’t been easy. I often find myself craving a piece of Opera cake. Or chocolate mousse raspberry cake, which I will try to reproduce at home one day.

I have therefore decided to introduce cake to my new coworkers. Today is my bosses birthday, and I will be bringing a birthday cake to the office tomorrow to celebrate. I checked with Genevieve, and she thinks the department will sing Happy Birthday to her. I won’t, but since I’m making the cake I think that’s ok.


I decided to go with a classic, chocolate cake with chocolate icing, to be sure that everyone will like it. I used the same recipe as the last birthday cake I made, mostly because I didn’t have time to look for a new recipe. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any drama though! I decided to make the cake in a 9 by 3 inch spring form pan instead of baking it in two separate pans. My goal was to limit the domming effect that led to the lopsidedness last time. Bad idea.  About two minutes after I put the cake in the oven, it smelled like something was burning. At first I thought maybe some of the milk from the icing (recipe below) had landed on one of my stove burners. I looked but everything seemed fine. Then I opened the oven. The pan was leaking. Thankfully it was a slow leak and some of the batter had landed directly on the element so the smell of burning alerted me to the impending disaster. I pulled the cake out of the oven, poured the batter into two regular 9 inch pans, set the timer and walked away. Thirty minutes later the timer went off. I opened the oven and discovered two completely uncooked cakes. I had turned the oven off when I pulled the springform pan out and never turned it back on again. So I turned on the oven, reset the timer and tried to bake the cake for the third time.

Third time is the charm!

I won’ t repost the recipe for the cake, as you can find it here, and the only change I made was to soak it in a little Kahlua.

I will however post the buttercream recipe. The buttercream is divine. The recommended to me by Janice, who has the answer to all of my baking questions. She described it as tasting like chocolate milk, but I think its more like hot chocolate. It’s a pastry cream based buttercream, and is incredibly easy to make. If you’ve never made a pastry cream before, be careful not to curdle the eggs.

Chocolate Buttercream

Yields about 4 cups.

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lb butter (4 sticks)
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and cocoa together with a wooden spoon.
  2. Bring milk and 1 1/2 cup sugar to boil in a large sauce pot over medium high heat.
  3. Once boiled, add a small amount of milk to the egg mixture, stir to combine. This will temper the eggs to avoid curdling. Slowly add the rest of the milk mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Return milk and egg mixture to sauce pot over medium heat. Mix constantly but slowly for 2-4 minutes, until you see large bubbles come up. At that point mix quickly for 45 seconds to 1 minute. The pastry cream should have increased in volume and become quite thick.
  5. Whisk the pastry cream with an electric mixer for 5 to 10 minutes to cool.
  6. Once cooled, add the butter 1 tbsp at a time, thoroughly incorporating after each addition.
  7. Add the melted chocolate, whisk till well combined.

I’ll try to get a picture of a slice at the office tomorrow.