Jesse just spent two days in our home kitchen perfecting this recipe. Not only was it fun to watch Jesse do his work, but we learned a lot as we went along. Jesse is a culinary graduate in baking -- and he has a magic touch when it comes to cakes. This recipe is perfect for a dinner party. It can be made a few days in advance, and frozen in the cake ring until the day of the party. It will definitely look like you just picked the cake up from your local, professional bakery.
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making the cake
----------Chocolate Almond Mousse Cake--------
3 egg whites
14 ounces of Premium Almond Paste (1-1/2 cups, packed)
12 eggs - separated
10 ounces super fine granulated sugar (1-1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Extract (4x)
4 ounces sifted Farina Di Grano Tenero "00" Flour (3/4 cup)
3 ounces Pernigotti Cocoa Powder (3/4 cup)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
2. In a mixer with a paddle attachment place the "broken-up" almond paste in the mixing bowl, turn mixer on low, and gradually add the 3 egg whites to soften the almond paste. (There should be no lumps in the paste before adding the whites.) Put almond mixture aside.
3. In a clean bowl with whip attachment, whip the 12 yolks with 1/3 cup (3 oz) of the sugar until you reach the "ribbon" stage. Add vanilla.
4. Place almond paste back into the mixing bowl, and gradually add the whipped yolks to the almond paste and mix until combined and smooth. (If you add the yolks too fast, you will get lumps.) Place yolk/paste mixture in a mixing bowl and set aside.
5. In a clean bowl with whip attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam. Gradually add the remaining sugar and whip to stiff peaks.
6. In a clean bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and flour.
7. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture, then fold in the dry ingredients. (Work from the middle of the bowl out, rotating bowl as you fold.)
8. Fill cake pans 3/4 full and bake for about 40 minutes. Cakes are done when they spring back when pressed gently in the center, or when a small knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9. Place cakes on a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely.
10. Take one of the cakes and cut off the top, and then cut cake into three layers horizontally.
(Note: This recipe yields two cakes, but only uses one.)
Simple Syrup Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
Simple Syrup Preparation:
1. Combine the sugar and water in a small stainless steel pot. Heat over medium flame while whisking. Once sugar is dissolved, the syrup is done.
Chocolate Mousse Ingredients:
2 pints heavy cream (3-3/4 cup)
2-1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
162.5 grams (1 cup) Grand Cru Dark Chocolate (Arriba - 72%)
4 Gelatin Sheets (Silver Label Type A)
Chocolate Mousse Preparation:
1. Soak gelatin sheets in about 6 cups of tap water.
2. While gelatin sheets are soaking, place chocolate it in a bowl. (If you are not using couverture feves, chop the chocolate into smaller pieces.) Heat 1/3 of the cream over low heat to just below boiling point (scalding) and pour over the chocolate - whisk until the chocolate is melted and completely smooth. Let cool.
3. While the chocolate is cooling, whip the remaining cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks. Whisk the chocolate into the cream.
4. Remove the gelatin from the water and squeeze out excess water. Melt down the gelatin with a small amount of mousse in a pan over low heat. Once melted, fold gelatin into the mousse.
Cake Assembly Ingredients:
Chocolate Almond Sponge Cake Sliced into three layers (See recipes above)
Simple Syrup (see above)
Chocolate Mousse (See recipe above)
Dark Chocolate Twigs With Mint
Chocolate Covered Cherries with Armagnac
Cake Assembly Instructions:
1. Place cake ring on a small cutting board or platter or pieces of cardboard just larger than the ring. Place first layer of cake into the bottom of a cake ring. (The cake ring is the secret to perfect layer cakes. Available at a good cookware or bakeware store.) Using a pasty brush, soak the top of the cake layer with the simply syrup. Pipe on a layer of mousse, making sure you force mousse into the space between the edge of the cake and the cake ring.
2. Repeat process with the second and third layers of cake ending with a layer of mousse. (there will be excess mousse.)
3. Once you reach the top of the ring, smooth the mousse with an off-set spatula.
4. Freeze cake overnight.
5. Remove cake from freezer and dust cake top with a little cocoa powder.
6. Remove cake from ring by heating the outside of the ring with a blow torch or a hot, damp dish towel. Continue to heat ring until ring slides off the cake.
7. Move cake to presentation plate. Decorate cake by pressing chocolate twigs around the outside of the cake and placing a few chocolate covered cherries on the top. (See picture.)