This is a recipe I compiled recently for my chocolate loving boyfriend’s birthday: a light chocolate sponge, covered with a thick layer of chocolate orange mousse, topped with rich dark chocolate ganache. So basically, it’s chocolate with chocolate and chocolate – how far wrong can you go with that?
Careful: this cake takes a good three hours to make, as you need to refrigerate the mousse for two hours! (I’ve been caught out by that sort of thing before when I haven’t read the recipe all the way to the end. Suddenly it says “leave overnight” – and you have guests coming in a couple of hours…!)
For the sponge:
- 150g butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 100g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1-2 tbsp milk
For the mousse:
- 150g dark chocolate
- 5 eggs, separated
- grated zest of 1 orange
For the ganache:
- 150g dark chocolate
- 150g cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 22cm cake tin.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa and add to the mixture. Depending on the size of the eggs, you will need one or two tbsp of milk to create a smooth consistency that is just runny enough to slowly ooze off the end of a spatula when you lift it up. Fill the cake tin and bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Set the tin aside, you will need it again later.
While the cake is cooling, you can start preparing the ingredients for the mousse (separate the eggs and grate the orange), but don’t actually start making it until the cake is almost cool, as you will otherwise run into timing issues.
To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in a pan set over hot water. Incorporate the egg yolks, one by one. Mix in the orange zest. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the chocolate mixture. Now place the cake back into the cake tin and cover with the chocolate mousse mixture (at this point the cake needs to be cool). Refrigerate for two hours.
When the mousse has set, make the ganache. Bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Let the cream melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth and glossy. Don’t panic if it looks a bit grainy at first, just carry on stirring. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Take the cake out of the tin and pour the ganache over it, saving a little for the decoration. Start spreading it over the top and around the sides with a palette knife or spatula to create a smooth, shiny effect. You need to be quick, as it sets very quickly. When I made this, I got distracted for a few seconds and then it was already too late, leaving a few wrinkles in my finish. I have since seen that this can be saved by melting the ganache a little with a hair dryer – however, I would be very careful with this, as you don’t want to start melting the mousse, making your cake flow away in all directions…
You can decorate the cake by piping the left over ganache onto it. You could make a garland around the edge, or a flower in the middle, whatever you fancy. I piped my boyfriend’s name on top, in imitation of the Sachertorte (which has the name of the inventor, “Sacher”, piped across it).
And that is pretty much death by chocolate on a plate!