First, there was this version. A true chocolate moose. 1,700 pounds. Over fifteen years old.
His name is Lenny, and he's at a delightful chocolate shop outside of Portland, Maine. The chocolate I sampled definitely made the trip worth it (and yes, it was a chocolate peanut butter cup). Plus, when else will I have the opportunity to see a chocolate moose again?
Second, there was a chocolate mousse version that was a major flop. Deb's recipes never fail me, so I'm sure the mistake was made on my end. It was grainy and clearly off. I'm a firm believer in tasting all the components as I add them together, and I guess I missed one. Time improved the graininess a bit, but in the end I poured the mousse down the garbage disposal.
Then I deleted the pictures. They were just too painful.
This third chocolate mousse definitely was an improvement. It was creamy, almost silky. It screamed chocolate. Despite all the ingredients, it felt surprisingly light and airy.
Finally, I had a chocolate mousse worthy of my mom's birthday cake. I mean, you need a kind of spectacular chocolate mousse if you're planning on putting it on top of an almost flourless chocolate cake and topping it with whipped cream barely kissed with vanilla extract.
The chocolate mousse is delicious on its own, but it's just over-the-top decadent on this cake.
It's the perfect cake for a celebration. Happy Birthday Mom!
Chocolate Mousse Cake
recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen and The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons strong coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups raspberries
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan, and dust with sugar.
In a heavy, large saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool the mixture. Whisk in the sugar, and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the vanilla and salt. Whisk in the flour.
Pour the batter in to the prepared pan. Bake until the cake rises up in the center, about 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake will NOT come out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan. Leave the sides on the springform pan.
Prepare the chocolate mousse: Microwave the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl, whisking often, until melted and smooth. Stir in the coffee, vanilla and salt. Add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
With a mixer, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Continuing to whip the egg whites, slowly add in the sugar until the whites are shiny and form soft peaks.
Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mouse. Gently fold the remaining egg whites in using a rubber spatula.
Whip the heavy cream with a mixture until soft peaks form. Gently fold the heavy cream into the mousse. Spoon the mixture on top of the cake and smooth the top.
Chill the cake for at least 6 hours.
Prepare whipped cream: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form, and pour over the top of the cake. Smooth the whipped cream, and top with raspberries.
Slice and enjoy!