February 14, 2014 Leave your thoughts
Oh dear God.
What have I done?!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! (…or any day, for that matter…)
Friends, I have made Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. And it’s gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and nut-free. It also tastes incredible, and it’s not just me: the dozen friends and teachers that received a piece all agreed.
Out of every dessert in the entire world, chocolate mousse is my favorite. I don’t even know how it started, but it’s been my favorite for at least half of my lifetime. Maybe it was inherited from my grandfather, maybe I had it at some French restaurant in my youth…but whatever it was, I was hooked, and I still am to this day.
BAM! The hearts turned to rainbows!
I am sorry for not being sorry for bombarding you with pictures of my beautiful creation. I am really, really proud of these pictures and I must express this fact as many times as possible.
So, anyway, triple chocolate mousse cake? Yeah. I’m not going to lie–this recipe was a lot of work to put together–but oh my gosh, the results were so worth it. The bottom layer is moist, and wonderful in that textual spot between airy and chewy. The middle layer is light, fluffy, and creamy, accented by some extra sweetener to keep things delicate. The top layer is dense, chocolaty, and just a touch bitter–perfect for the dark chocolate lover in your life. It’s the best of all worlds, smashed together in one relatively average-sized cake.
If you’re ready–and have got the ambition to match your enthusiasm–you’ve gotta make this thing, for yourself, for your sweetheart, for your math teacher, for your grandma. I don’t care who it’s for, but it’s worth trying. Give yourself an afternoon, though. An entire afternoon. You’ll thank me later.
Let’s start off with the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 4 ramekins with a circle of parchment paper. Grease each one heavily with coconut oil.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. If you don’t cut out that circle of parchment OR grease your ramekin, your cake will stick and you’ll be throwing quite a lot of money into the trash. Don’t do that. Don’t be that person.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or using just a bowl and a whisk), beat 2 eggs until light and bubbly on top, about 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat 1/4 cup of coconut milk with 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder until the granules are dissolved and the milk is warm to the touch, about 30 seconds to a minute. Set aside.
Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and pour in 3 tablespoons of coconut nectar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract along with the coconut milk/espresso mixture. Mix for a minute more, then pour in 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil.
In a small bowl, sift together 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 1 tablespoon of tapioca powder, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir together with a spoon, then pour into the wet ingredients, 1/2 of the dry mixture at a time.
Once well-mixed, divide the batter evenly among the four ramekins and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for at least 15 minutes, then slide a knife around its edges to loosen the cake from the sides. Carefully remove and let cool for another 10 minutes.
Using a sharp knife, cut directly across the top of each cake to make it flat. Discard the tops, or eat them for breakfast or snack as “muffin tops!” You can also throw them in the food processor to make crumbs for a tart crust or other dessert.
To make these triple chocolate mousse cakes hold together and look pretty, you’re gonna need to make parchment rectangles for collars to encircle the cake bases. Unfortunately, that means I now must impart some geometry on you people.
(On a side note, I took honors geometry last year in school. While my teacher insisted that geometry was ESSENTIAL TO OUR LIVES, this is the first time–outside of my current math class–that I have actually used anything I learned. Heh.)
To figure out how long to make your rectangles, follow this formula: circumference = π * diameter of your ramekin. In case you have erased everything you ever learned about math from your brain, diameter is how long your ramekin is at its longest point. So take a ruler and measure. My ramekins were about 3.5 inches in diameter, so 3.5 * π = 11 inches, approximately. That means I made my rectangles 11 inches long.
If math scares the living daylights out of you, just make your rectangles 10-12 inches long.
Trace 4 3-inch by (whatever your circumference was) rectangles…so, for example, my rectangles were 3 in by 11 in. Cut them out, then wrap each rectangle around each cake. Secure with a piece of tape and set aside. They’ll look like this…
Phew! Let’s casually push math into a dark corner and get started on the first layer of chocolate mousse.
I actually like math. I’m a super-nerd. I know.
Place the bowl of your stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. You’ll need this later.
To begin, separate three eggs–when they’re COLD. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (I did it by hand, but you don’t have to), about 10 minutes, while you let the egg yolks come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, double boiler, or a bowl in the microwave, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate until smooth and no chunks remain. Stir constantly so no chocolate sticks or burns. Once melted, set aside and let come to room temperature, stirring occasionally so it won’t seize up. When the chocolate is warm–not hot–to the touch, fold in the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and set aside. Don’t worry if it seizes up and starts to look like a cake batter–I promise it’ll all work out later.
Remember that bowl you put in the freezer earlier? Don’t forget it! Take it out and pour in the coconut cream from two cans of coconut milk.
Forget how to make coconut cream? Easy: just stick the cans of coconut milk in the fridge for at least two hours (and preferably longer), then open them from the bottom and pour off the “coconut water.” What’s left is your coconut cream, ready to be scraped into the bowl and beaten.
Beat the coconut cream on the highest speed possible until light and airy, about 5 minutes. It should look very much like whipped cream!
Stop the mixer and pour in the chocolate mixture. On medium-low speed, mix everything is well-combined and no flecks of white or brown remain, about 2 minutes.
It actually tastes–and looks–like chocolate mousse. Holy cow.
Using a big spatula, fold in the egg whites that you beat earlier with a pinch of salt. Go VERY slowly and stop as soon as everything is homogeneous–the less you fold, the airier your mousse will be.
In a very gentle manner, scoop half of the chocolate mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip OR a large ziploc bag. Push the mousse to the bottom of the bag and twist the top; cut off about half an inch of the corner if you’re using the ziploc bag.
In a swirling motion, pipe the chocolate mousse into the prepared parchment collars atop the cakes. Do this until your chocolate mousse is about an inch high, then move onto the next cake base. Once you’ve finished, put the cakes in the fridge for at least a half an hour to firm up a bit.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate with 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and let cool down until warm to the touch.
Pour into the remaining chocolate mousse and gently fold to incorporate. This will be your super-duper-extremely-chocolaty layer. Scoop into a clean pastry bag with the same tip as before or ziploc bag, push the mousse to the bottom, and twist the top.
Take the cake bases with the first layer of chocolate mousse out of the fridge. Swirl the next layer of chocolate mousse about an inch high on top of each of the cakes–or until there’s no more mousse left.
Transfer the mousse cakes to the fridge and let harden for AT LEAST two hours, preferably three or four. Let sit out at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before inhaling.
Valentine’s Day: love it or hate it? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!