When I saw that Not Quite Nigella was holding The Ultimate Chocolate Cake Challenge, I knew that I would not be able to resist entering. I also knew exactly which cake I would make. I had girlfriends coming over, it was Halloween, and because this cake needed substantial fridge time before serving, I could make it a day ahead, no worries, leaving me free to supervise trick or treating.
So why did I pick this chocolate cake out of all the chocolate cakes out there? This chocolate cake is the ultimate chocolate cake in my opinion. It is every bit as rich and indulgent as the name suggests, with four layers of chocolate (genoise cake, dark mousse and white mousse and icing). It is also the sort of cake that you only make for people you love. There is no possible way that you could consider making it for anyone you just met or were not very fond of, because it takes a lot of work. Definitely not a one-bowl wonder. But despite the effort required, it is a cake I keep coming back to, because it is so delicious it knocks people sidewards. I have been making this cake for a long time (it pains me to say that I think I first made it in the late 80s - wince wince). I adore it, and it actually improves over a day or two in the fridge, so the leftovers are fought over fiercely. And there will be leftovers - it is far too rich to eat anything more than a dainty slice in a sitting.
Mark Armstrong's Light and Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake
250g egg (after shelling)
50g melted butter
Beat the eggs with an electric beater in a steel bowl, and gradually add the sugar. Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water and continue to beat until the mixture is thick. (I don't have a hand held electric beater, so I used a whisk). Remove bowl from the heat and fold in the flour, cornflour and cocoa which have been sifted together. Carefully fold in the butter and pour mixture into a buttered and floured 25cm spring form tin. Bake at 180C for 30 mins or until cake has pulled away from the edges and is firm in the centre. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.
Dark Chocolate Mousse:
280g dark chocolate
5 eggs, separated
150 ml thickened cream
Melt chocolate over hot water. Do not let water boil or touch the bowl containing the chocolate. Stir well. Beat the egg yolks until they are thick and creamy, and pour onto the warm chocolate. Beat well to smooth the mixture. Cool. Beat cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the egg whites whipped until they hold stiff peaks.
White Chocolate Mousse:
125g white chocolate
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups thickened cream
2 tbls coarsely grated white chocolate
Place the 125g white chocolate in a steel bowl over hot water until it is half melted. Add the sugar then stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove form the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold chocolate mixture and grated chocolate into the cream.
To assemble the cake:
Return the genoise cake to the springform cake tin. Pour in the dark chocolate mousse and set it in the fridge while you make the white mousse. Pour the white mousse on top and allow to set in the fridge for 24 hours. Release the springform and ice the mousse cake with the rich chocolate icing. Refrigerate until serving and store in the fridge.
200g dark chocolate
160 ml cream, warmed
Chocolate coated coffee beans
Melt chocolate and butter over warm water until the chocolate is just dissolved. Ad the cream and mix quickly to get a glossy and smooth mixture. Allow to cool and thicken to a spreadable consistency. Decorate the cake with chocolate coated coffee beans.
The last slice......