Monday, May 31, 2010

Mango Mousse Espresso Chocolate Cake



  To me, there is something so incredibly refined about a delicate cake with layers of airy genoise, mousse, and jelly.  I tend to associate these types of cakes with the manicured and exquisite displays of Japanese and French bakeries, where desserts just look almost too pretty to touch.  It's as if the desserts themselves are haughty--like, they're turning their proverbial dessert noses up at a little-too-crass, unrefined, and brash American like me who's just not good enough for them.  And yet, just as I futilely wish that I could carry myself with the elegance and grace of Audrey Hepburn (HA!), I've always wished that I could make a perfect little specimen of haughty, sophisticated mousse cake.  And, I think I've finally done it!


I can tell you that it hasn't been an easy road getting here.  I've tried my hand at mousse layer cakes multiple times now, always with some not-so-pretty (though, always tasty!) results.  Alas, even this specimen wasn't entirely perfect--silly old (unsophisticated) me forgot to line my cake molds with parchment paper or plastic, so getting the cakes out of the molds was a bit hairy.  But! it's the closest to complete success that I've gotten thus far (and perhaps as close as a boorish Chinese-Californian can ever hope to get!), and nothing that a thin layer of dark chocolate won't fix. ;-P


The impetus for this particular cake itself came from a typical source: my mom bringing me two gorgeous organic mangoes.  (which, by the way, is apparently my mom's favorite thing on the blog, when I mention that her fruit gifts inspire desserts written about here--hi, mom!)  Of course, like any sane, dessert-obsessed person, I looked at the mangoes and immediately thought, "Now, wouldn't these be stunningly lovely in mousse form?"  Because everyone thinks that--right?  right?  Thinking about it some more, chocolate seemed like the perfect companion to mango mousse.  Lastly, as I was wishing that I had some coffee one night for some late-in-the-school-year late-night paper-writing, I also realized that coffee would round out the flavor profile of this cake perfectly.  Hence, the birth of mango mousse espresso chocolate cake!


So there you have it.  The base: a moist and fluffy chocolate genoise, soaked in espresso syrup.  The middle: a creamy, subtly-flavored, and airy mango mousse (actually, a Bavarian cream if you want to be all technical and stuff), made with fresh mango puree.  The top: a thin layer of espresso jelly--a mixture of bitter coffee and sweet milk to balance out the fruitiness of the mango and the robustness of the bottom chocolate cake layer.  All wrapped up in chocolate.  Now, is that refined enough for you?


(Now, onto my Audrey Hepburn social graces training...)


Read on for recipe...


Mango Mousse Espresso-Chocolate Cake
makes six 3 x 2" round cakes

for cake:
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tspn instant espresso powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
3/4 cup sifted cake flour (75g)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a quarter sheet baking pan with parchment paper and then grease and flour the paper. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate and boiling water. Stirring constantly, cook for five minutes until chocolate thickens into a pudding-like consistency.
3. In a mixer bowl using the whisk beater, whisk together the eggs and sugar on high for five minutes until triple in volume.
4. Fold in the flour to the egg mixture in two parts. Then, fold in the chocolate mixture.
5. Pour the batter immediately into the prepared pan.
6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
7. Line six 3" cake molds with parchment paper or plastic. Cut out six 3" rounds of chocolate cake and place at the bottom of each mold.

for syrup:
1 oz. sugar
2 oz. water
1 oz. Kahlua or Godiva liquor
1 tspn instant espresso powder

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, cover tightly and let cool completely.
2. Once cooled, stir in the liquor and espresso powder.
3. Brush the syrup liberally onto cake rounds.

for mango mousse/Bavarian cream:
2 1/2 tspn gelatin powder
2 Tbspn water
8 3/4 oz. fresh mango puree (250 grams) (about 1 1/2 fresh mango, pureed in the food processor)
3 1/2 oz. sugar (100 grams, or 70 grams sugar + 30 grams vanilla sugar)
8 oz. heavy whipping cream

1. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, heat half of the mango puree with the sugar just until the sugar dissolves. Do not let the mixture boil. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove the puree from heat and stir in the gelatin until the gelatin completely dissolves. Finally, add the remainder of the mango puree. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the cooled mango puree.
4. Immediately pour the mango cream into the prepared cake molds on top of the cakes, smoothing the tops. Refrigerate until set, about an hour or two.

for espresso jelly:
2 tspn gelatin powder
2 Tbspn water
1 cup whole milk
2 tspn instant espresso powder
3 Tbspn sugar (45 grams)

1. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, espresso powder, and sugar just until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil.
3. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the milk mixture from heat and stir in the gelatin until it completely dissolves. Let cool at room temperature.
4. Once the combination has cooled, pour a small layer into each cake mold, on top of the mango cream. Refrigerate until set, about an hour or two.
5. Unmold and serve immediately.


Enjoy!

26 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, that looks divine! I'd love to make such an elegant dessert - I'll have to try my hand at this...

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  2. OMG!! These are just soo perfect and elegant!

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  3. You are incredibly talented! How exactly did you wrap the cakes in chocolate?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, everyone!

    @Jessie: To wrap the cakes with chocolate, I cut strips of parchment paper that were wide enough and long enough to wrap around each cake once. Then, I tempered dark chocolate (or, you can cheat and use chocolate couverture) and spread a thin layer onto each of the pieces of pre-cut parchment paper. Then, just as the chocolate is cooling, you wrap it around the cake and let it cool completely. Finally, once the chocolate has dried, you can peel off the parchment. It takes some practice with timing, but it's pretty simple once you get the hang of it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You always make the most beautiful desserts - these are wonderful and I love the idea of combining chocolate and mangoes, yum!
    Mangoes are very popular here in Brazil.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Audrey Hepburn in a mousse cake. Yes. I like that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yum! Mousse cakes CAN be a huge pain but you've pulled these off beautifully, and they look delicious too!

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  8. hhhmm..Just like a mango float!..sooo yummy!...

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  9. this is by far, one of the most amazing things i've ever seen! I don't think I can pull it off as gracefully as you did, but I'm willing to try, try, try again!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This looks amazing. Almost too wonderful to eat. Now when I look at mangos, I will think of mango mousse!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That mousse makes me hungry. Love the photo on the right - the one with two plates, one with half mousse.

    Love the colors Love the overall color theme there. Brown. And the background and the dark brown textile. It gives a certain mood to that photo.

    thanks for sharing these photos with us.

    Take care,
    Neel.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I recently made this and it is absolutely wonderful. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hellow!

    I love your site,it is a pleasure to visit.

    I have added your site to my site.

    Please link my site to your site.

    Thank you!

    http://choco-food.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  14. seem cool nice cake :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. im planning on making this tomorrow to use up my two mangos i have sitting in my fruit bowl:)
    i was just wondering about the wrapping the cakes in chocolate.
    i have a sugar thermometer but what temperature do you have to get the chocolate to to temper it, i have no clue how to temper chocolate correctly.

    and also. you didnt say how much chocolate to use for the chocolate wrapping so how much do you think i would need?
    thanks alot:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. and also, is there anything else i could use instead of the 3X2" moulds?

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Lauren: sorry for the late reply! I sort of cheated with tempering the chocolate and used chocolate couverture instead, I think. I also can't quite remember how much chocolate I used--sorry, but I don't think it was very much!

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Lauren: sorry for the late reply! I sort of cheated with tempering the chocolate and used chocolate couverture instead, I think. I also can't quite remember how much chocolate I used--sorry, but I don't think it was very much!

    ReplyDelete
  19. im planning on making this tomorrow to use up my two mangos i have sitting in my fruit bowl:)
    i was just wondering about the wrapping the cakes in chocolate.
    i have a sugar thermometer but what temperature do you have to get the chocolate to to temper it, i have no clue how to temper chocolate correctly.

    and also. you didnt say how much chocolate to use for the chocolate wrapping so how much do you think i would need?
    thanks alot:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hellow!

    I love your site,it is a pleasure to visit.

    I have added your site to my site.

    Please link my site to your site.

    Thank you!

    http://choco-food.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. That mousse makes me hungry. Love the photo on the right - the one with two plates, one with half mousse.

    Love the colors Love the overall color theme there. Brown. And the background and the dark brown textile. It gives a certain mood to that photo.

    thanks for sharing these photos with us.

    Take care,
    Neel.

    ReplyDelete
  22. this is by far, one of the most amazing things i've ever seen! I don't think I can pull it off as gracefully as you did, but I'm willing to try, try, try again!

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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