July 28, 2014

Cherry Mousse Chocolate Cake

Let me just start out by saying, this cake is pretty amazing.  Let me also say, you need to devote several hours of your day to making it and then you're still not going to eat it until much later.  It isn't necessarily difficult to make but there are multiple steps involved. 

Of course, the end result is pretty beautiful and very tasty. 

So, here's what I suggest.  Read through all the directions first, and then set aside the appropriate time needed to make it. 

If you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, feel free to use it.  I did notice how the cake does seem more dense after this entire process is over.  I'm sure it's from locking in the moisture once the cake is created and has been frozen/refrigerated. However, the taste is the same as you'd expect from the cake. The mousse is very light, with just a trace of cherry flavor and the chocolate ganache just compliments the entire cake. 

If you're feeling particularly creative and just happen to have some fresh cherries on hand, this would be a fun cake for you to make.  I got to make Italian meringue for the first time with this cake. 

Don't forget, in addition to two round cake pans, you're also going to need a spring form pan.  Definitely a worthwhile cake to make, I think the next time I'll make it it will be for a special occasion.  It's just too pretty to not be oohed and ahhhed over. 

Cherry Mousse Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Baking After Dark
Chocolate Cake recipe from The Pioneer Woman


Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp (heaping) cocoa
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cherry Mousse
  • 10 ounces cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Chocolate Ganache
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) dark chocolate
  • about 2 tsp (10 grams) butter
  • 1 Tbsp (10 grams) honey
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Spray and flour 2 - 8 inch (or 9 inch) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper
  3. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside. 
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and then add the cocoa and mix until smooth, add the water and let boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. 
  5. Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth and it's begun to cool. 
  6. In the dish with the buttermilk, add the 2 beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla extract.  Pour this mixture into the slightly cooled chocolate/flour mixture and stir until smooth. 
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick, then remove from the oven and set aside. 
  8. To make the mousse: In a medium sized bowl, add the sugar to the cherries and let them macerate for 2 minutes. Put the cherries into a blender and puree them until smooth. 
  9. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook until just at a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. When it starts to thicken, turn off the heat. Let cool.
  10. When the cherries are cool - Use a small heat proof bowl to add the water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top, let sit for 5 minutes. Put the dish in the microwave and heat for 20 seconds at 30% cooking power.  Stir.  Microwave again for 20 seconds at 30% power and keep this up until the gelatin is completely dissolved. 
  11. Add the gelatin to the cherry sauce and mix it well.  Refrigerate the mixture until it's needed later on. 
  12. Make an Italian Meringue: Use the bowl of your stand mixer, on low start to whip the egg whites, use the whisk attachment. 
  13. Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 Tbsp of water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Let the mixture boil for 2-3 minutes. 
  14. Move the speed of the mixer up to high and pour the sugar/water mixture into the bowl with the egg whites, be careful not to pour it directly over the moving whisk. Whip the egg whites until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. The egg whites will be fluffy and glossy looking. Move the mixture to another bowl, clean the mixer bowl and place in the freezer so it can be very cold for the next step. 
  15. Make whipped cream: Use the whisk attachment and mix the heavy cream and the sugar in the cold mixer bowl until soft peaks form. 
  16. Fold the Italian Meringue in with the whipped cream, folding by hand to make sure not to lose it's volume. Once incorporated, carefully fold in the cherry mixture into the whipped cream/Meringue mixture.  When completely combined, store in the refrigerator until the next step. 
  17. Remove the cake from the cake pan and place in a spring form pan that is slightly larger.  If you used an 8 inch cake pans use a 9 inch spring form pan, and so on. Place the cake directly in the middle of the pan so there is some space around the edges of the cake. 
  18. Put 1/3 of the whipped cherry mixture on and around the cake.  Level the top.  Place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 
  19. Remove from the freezer and add the second cake to the middle of the pan.  Cover with the remaining whipped cherry mixture and level the top.  Freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
  20. To make the ganache: In a medium sized heat proof bowl, add the chocolate, butter and honey.  Heat the heavy cream just to the point of a boil and then pour over the chocolate mixture. Let sit for 1 minute before stirring with a whisk until smooth. 
  21. Remove the cake from the freezer and gently open the spring form sides to release the cake.  Top with the ganache and decorate with some fresh cherries then refrigerate for an hour before cutting so it can set. 

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