Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

Ok, I am extremely proud of this cake but this is no ordinary cake.  This cake had to meet several requirements to be labeled a "birthday" cake for my mother.  Requirements? Yes and once you read them, you might understand why I am so proud.
Here they are as follows:
1.  Chocolate.  Not a sprinkle or a dusting or a layer of chocolate, the cake must contain at least 90% chocolate.  The other 10% might include some sort of fruit (apricot or passion fruit) or other additional element.
2.  No premade or boxed ingredients.  While this was technically not stated, it never even occurred to my mother that I could have bought a box of Betty Crocker but she knows and EXPECTS more than that.
3.  Rich and Decadent.  A simple chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting would not go over very well. For those that have never met the mother of Fork1, she is the queen of  the patisserie and I have been lucky enough to particpate in quite a few tastings.  Thus, I had a pretty good idea of her likes and dislikes.
5.  No lowfat ingredients or cutting corners of any kind.  This wasnt just a requirement, it was pounded into my planning as I was told by both brothers the seriousness of such a crime.
6. Soft.  After dental work, no chunks or hard ingredients were allowed.  I didnt know the degree of required softness but I figured I could alter any dish to meet my needs.
 So what kind of dessert would fulfull such high expectations?  My first thought: a mousse.  Easy, rich, chocolately, and my mother loved it.  But was that special enough for a birthday? No.  After researching several sites, and recipes, I came across a recipe labeled "My Kind of Chocolate Birthday Cake". Was this site reading my mind?!?! 2 layers of flourless chocolate hazelnut cake with 2 layers of chocolate mousse, all topped with a chocolate ganache. It was PERFECT...well, almost.

 To meet my needed specifications, a few alterations had to be made.  First, the recipe called for chopped hazelnuts, however, to meet requirement 6, I had to grind them.  Overall, they gave the cake a smoother consistency.  Next, while grated orange peel was incorporated into the cake layers, the peel usually doesnt go over very well in my family and it was well...orange, not apricot or passion fruit.  This was easily remedied by adding apricot preserves to the second layer of cake. Now,  it was perfect and I had only 5 1/2 hrs in which to make it.

In the end, it took me all day to make and it took my family only 10 min to inhale.  Did my mom enjoy it?  Well,  after 2 pieces and an empty plate, I would say so.

Dont be intimidated, it really is fairly simple:

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake:

Cake Layers:                                                              
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped                          
1/3 c. dark brown sugar, packed                                 
2 Tbl. unsalted butter 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt                                                    
2 large eggs
2 Tbl. sugar
1 Tbl. flour
1/2 c. hazelnuts, toasted, ground

1/4 c. apricot preserves
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz. bittersweet, chopped
1 1/2 c. chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
5 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 Tbl. light corn syrup
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 Tbl, unsalted butter, chopped, room temp

Hazelnuts/chocolate curls to decorate top

For cake:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 13x9x1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper; butter parchment. Combine first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water; stir until chocolate and butter melt. Remove bowl from over water; stir in salt (mixture will be grainy).
Beat eggs and 2 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until pale, about 6 minutes; fold into chocolate mixture. Fold in flour, then hazelnuts. Spread batter evenly on baking sheet. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 13 minutes (cake will be thin). Transfer pan to rack. Cool cake completely.

For filling:  *Start Here
Combine chocolates in medium metal bowl. Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in small saucepan; pour cream over chocolates and let stand 1 minute. Stir until melted and smooth. Chill mixture until firm, about 2 hours.
Place bowl with chilled chocolate mixture over saucepan of barely simmering water until mixture is partially melted (do not stir), about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from over water; add butter to bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until filling is thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream in another medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into filling.
Cover 14x5-inch cardboard rectangle with foil. Invert cake onto work surface; remove parchment. Cut cake lengthwise in half. Place 1 cake half on foil-covered cardboard. Spread 1/2 cup chocolate filling over. Top with second cake half. 
Heat preserves in a small saucepan, strain and top 2nd cake layer with preserves.
Spoon remaining mousse filling into plastic bag with corner cut. Pipe filling atop cake in side-by-side lengthwise rows, then smooth top. Chill until filling is firm, about 1 hour.
For glaze:
Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add butter; stir until melted. Let stand until barely lukewarm but still pourable, about 20 minutes.
Place cardboard base with cake on rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Spoon glaze over top of cake, allowing glaze to run down sides. Using offset spatula, smooth glaze over sides. Mound chocolate shards or curls over top and sides of cake. Garnish with hazelnuts. Refrigerate until glaze is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

Recipe from Epicurious


Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Looks fabulous!! Very sweet of you to make such a decadent cake for your mother!! Can't wait to try this recipe

Teauna said...

I love love love the combination of Chocolate and Hazelnut! This looks amazing! I'm glad I found you! Visit my blog @ www.fromcupboardtocupboard.blogspot.com
:-) Tea

Fork1 said...

Thanks Tea, this was beyond delicious. If you have the time, its def a must make recipe. I look forward to checking out your site!

Adrienne said...

No freaking way. It's like one giant Nutella log of goodness.

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