This cake is for a friend of my cousin, Florence. This friend likes chocolate and strawberry. I thought of a chocolate filled and frosted cake immediately and decorate it with strawberries. But I wanted to do something different instead of all chocolate sponge layers, filling and frosting. Strawberry mousse sandwiched in between the chocolate cake layers came to my mind. The tartness and lightness of strawberry mousse with the chocolate frosting seem like the best combination to me.
Florence agreed with my suggestion and I started to get going. Strawberry mousse is made from pure strawberry puree made from scratch (no artificial flavourings at all) and mixed into whipped heavy cream. I got this recipe from my favourite book, The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. The chocolate genoise and chocolate frosting recipes are all adapted from the same book.
I decorated the cake simply with just strawberries at first. It looked a little too plain to me. How can I make it a little more elaborate? Yes, little pearl candies - and I added dust pink pearl candies around the circumference of the cake. Does it look like a cake adorned with jewels now?
I made an extra small heart-shaped cake for my family at the same time. I like chocolate cakes too. But chocolate cake with too rich chocolate frosting is a little too heavy for me (bet you can guess from here I'm not that young anymore ... lol). This cake is perfect for me as the chocolate frosting in between layers is replaced with light strawberry mousse. You can have more of it without feeling the heaviness and sweetness from too much chocolate frosting. Hee ........ But it may not go well with chocoholics. They would prefer the more and richer chocolate, the better.
The cake was finally delivered on a rainy Saturday (Dec 17) afternoon. Besides the rain, MRT broke down again for the third day in a row. Haiz .......... But Florence still managed to get to my place to collect the cake and celebrate her friend's birthday. I'm sure they had a wonderful time singing, chatting and eating.
This cake has a few components. You can make the strawberry puree first and refrigerate it. Next, you can work on the chocolate genoise followed by the strawberry mousse. You can work on the chocolate cream glaze after you have finished assembling the strawberry mousse into the chocolate genoise.
Chocolate genoise (Please see here) *
* I used 60% of the above recipe to yield a 6" round cake.
1 packet (300g) whole strawberries, frozen without sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup strawberry puree, at room temperature
1.5 tsp (4.65g) powdered gelatin
1 cup (232g) heavy cream
3.5 tbsp sugar
Chocolate Cream Glaze
180g bittersweet chocolate *
165g heavy cream
10g Liqueur (Rum or brandy), optional
* Use any bittersweet eating chocolate that you like to eat. 53% chocolate mass will result in the best flavoured glaze. If using higher % chocolate mass, you will need to add more cream. I used Valrhona 64% Manjari chocolate. Therefore, I increased the heavy cream to 190g.
- In a colander suspended over a deep bowl, thaw the strawberries completely. This will take several hours. Press them if necessary, to force out the juice. There should be close to 3/4 cup of juice.
- In a small saucepan, boil the juice until reduced to 1/8 cup (about 30ml). Pour it into a lightly oiled heatproof glass measure.
- In a food processor, puree the leftover thawed strawberries in the colander. You should have about 1/2 cup of puree. Stir in the strawberry syrup from Step 2 above and the lemon juice.
- Refrigerate until to be used.
- In a small heatproof measuring cup, place the gelatin and 1/8 cup of the strawberry puree and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Set the cup in a pan of simmering water for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the gelatin is dissolved.
- Remove the cup and stir the gelatin mixture into the remaining puree. Stir in the sugar. The mixture should now be cool to the touch.
- In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream just until it mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. Add the sweetened puree and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.
- Taste and fold in more sugar if you prefer a sweeter flavour. Use as soon as possible.
Chocolate cream glaze:
- Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the heavy cream to just the boiling point and pour 3/4 of it over the chopped chocolate. Cover for 5 minutes to allow chocolate to melt. Gently stir together until smooth, trying not to create air bubbles.
- Pass through a fine strainer and stir in the optional liqueur and allow to cool until just tepid *.
* At tepid temperature, a small amount of glaze should mound a bit when dropped from a spoon before smoothly disappearing. If glaze is too thick and the mound remains on the surface or if the glaze seems curdled, add some of the warm remaining cream by the teaspoon. If the glaze is too thin, gently stir in a small amount of melted chocolate. When the consistency is correct, use at once or store and reheat.
- Slice the genoise sponge into 3 equal layers.
- Place the first layer to fit inside a cake ring. Brush the cake with some syrup to moisten it.
- Pipe half of the strawberry mousse over the cake layer. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to set the mousse.
- Place the second layer of genoise sponge over the mousse. Brush it with some syrup.
- Pipe the remaining strawberry mousse over the cake layer and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
- Place the third layer of genoise sponge over the mousse. Brush it with some syrup.
- Remove the cake ring.
- Place the cake on a cardboard round of the same size as the cake. Suspend the cake on a rack set on a baking sheet to catch excess glaze.
- Check that the chocolate glaze is of the right consistency. Pour the chocolate glaze over the centre of the cake, allowing the excess to flow down the sides.
- Smooth quickly and evenly with a large metal spatula, moving it lightly back and forth across the top until smooth. If any spots on the sides remain unglazed, use a small metal spatula to lift up some glaze which has fallen onto the baking sheet and apply to uncovered area.
- Lift rack and tap lightly to settle glaze. Lift cake from rack using a broad spatula or pancake turner and set cake on a serving plate.
- Allow cake to set for at least 2 hours at room temperture. Refrigerating the cake will dull the glaze slightly.