Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Thanksgiving is for show stoppers. Generally the show stopper is the big bird on the table but this year I wanted to put a lot of effort into crafting my dessert. When I came across this elegant number on America’s Test Kitchen I knew it was the one.

The layers effortlessly build on each other to create a fantastical chocolate splendor.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

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3 slices for me

Look at those layers

Bottom Layer

  • 6tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 3/4teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4large eggs, separated
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/3cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps

Middle Layer

  • 2tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 5tablespoons hot water
  • 7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
  • 1tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8teaspoon table salt

Top Layer

  • 3/4teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1tablespoon water
  • 6ounces white chocolate chips (see note)
  • 1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
  • Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional (see note)

1. FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 91/2-inch springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.

2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through. Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.

3. Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan.

4. FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER: Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.

5. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

6. Whisk cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer.

7. FOR THE TOP LAYER: In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in medium bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).

8. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.

9. TO SERVE: If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa. Run thin knife between cake and side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.

 

When you’re avocados are saying “Eat me now”: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avocado and Chocolate are just about my two favorite things. I eat both almost everyday… but never together. Until now. A friend brought over a bag of local avocados and I’m sure many of you feel the same when I talk about the anxiety of using an avocado at exactly the right moment.

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This image captures the sentiment perfectly. My mom gave me a good tip to put them in the fridge as soon as they’re ripe and that will buy you an extra couple of days. REALLY the fridge? Who would have thought of that. Clearly not me.

Let’s get to the good stuff – I was faced with all these ripe avocados and thought to myself

“Guacamole? No, I’ll eat the whole bag of chips.”

“Avocado toast? That’s so 2013.”

“With chocolate? That’s weird, but hey, so am I.” Hence, AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE. Silky and smooth, this dessert concept may frighten you, but I assure you that the mere purpose of the avocado is to add that soft velvety texture. Try it, you won’t be missing the guac.

Eñoy!

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AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Serves 4 to 6

2 ripe avocados (I’ve used Hass and Florida and they both rocked)

8 oz bittersweet chocolate (can also use vegan chocolate to make this a completely vegan dessert)

1/2 cup coconut milk (pour right from the can)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons amber (dark) agave syrup

1 teaspoon sea salt

Optional toppings could include: graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, berries, nuts

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt chocolate with coconut milk in a bowl over boiling water. Stir frequently.

2. In a food processor add remaining ingredients. Add chocolate mixture once it is cooled.

3. Blend until there are no avocado chunks remaining.

4. Chill and serve

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Halloween Costume + CAKE!

For Halloween I made a chocolate bundt cake with my new bundt pan. I chose the recipe because of the way it looked so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of taste, but DAMN was I wrong. This cake was moist and rich and went great with ice cream or a glass of milk. This one is going into my book of keepers.
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***Updated with recipe:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups dutch process cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup sour milk
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a bundt pan and dust the inside with cocoa powder, set aside.
Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.
In a mixer on low add the milk, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla one at a time. mix until everything is incorporated. Then, with the mixer still on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Once all of the flour mixture is added, mix the batter for a full four minutes on medium speed.
Then, pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Then, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

My hubs dressed up as Guy Fieri and I went as Clockwork Orange. DINERS DRIVE-INS AND DIVES! was the only thing he said all night.
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Your pound cake just got turned up a notch

I had the rare occasion of having buttermilk on hand, thanks to this cookie recipe here, so I thought I’d run with a few more recipes that utilized the decadent dairy product. In the spirit of using everything I could from my cupboard I also considered this sophisticated dutch-processed cocoa powder my mom sent me.

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I went with a Marble Buttermilk Pound Cake with Chocolate Sauce which was a life saver when it came to the 6pm meeting I had that day.

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Makes one 9 x 5 loaf

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup cocoa powder

For the chocolate frosting:
2/3 cup of heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour the loaf pan. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light lemon-colored and fluffy, about 5 minutes. While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Add 1/3 of the flour to the batter and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat.  Add another 1/3 of the flour, and beat, and then the last of the buttermilk and beat.  Finally, beat in the last 1/3 of the flour. Transfer roughly 1/2 of the batter to a separate bowl. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of hot tap water until smooth. Add this chocolate mixture to the remaining batter.  Beat to incorporate.

Beginning with the vanilla mixture, place four spoonfuls of batter into the pan, spacing them far enough apart so that you can create a checkerboard when you add the chocolate batter.  Add the chocolate batter into the empty spaces to fill the bottom of the pan in a checkerboard pattern.

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Repeat with the second layer, alternating the vanilla and chocolate batter. (See notes, above) Using the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect. (See notes, above.)Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.  The cake is done when it has browned slightly and a cake tester comes our clean when inserted into the middle.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold and let cool completely.

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Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat, and add chopped chocolate and corn syrup.  Let sit until chocolate is melted and then stir gently to combine.  Let cool slightly until ganache has thickened to a pourable consistency.Place the cake on a serving platter.  Pour the ganache over the cake and spread lightly as needed.  Allow it to drip down the sides here and there.

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“Top 5 Cookie”: Red Velvet Black & White

“Top 5” he said. My husband, the “cookie connoisseur” said these Red Velvet Black & White cookies were in the all time Top 5 that I’ve made for him. I’d really have to agree. They are soft and moist like red velvet cake and are accompanied by a decadent chocolate topping and a rich cream cheese frosting. They were also described as a “muffin top with icing” that sounded pretty accurate to me.

I brought a dozen to my office to prevent us from eating the full batch ourselves, and my co-workers were raving. I’m still getting high fives after the fact.

The blogger I tweaked this recipe from, Joy The Baker, brought these to a cookie swap with INA GARTEN HERSELF! So you know she was bringing her A-game.

Find recipe in my recipe box here.

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