A slice of this cake is delightful by itself. To take it up a level, at my restaurant Antares, I serve it with hazelnut meringue, cocoa crumbs and salted caramel.
- 125 g unsalted butter, softened
- 125 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g plain flour, sifted
- 50 g cocoa powder, sifted
Caramel chocolate mousse
- 100 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 45 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 185 ml (¾ cup) double (heavy) cream
- 170 g dark chocolate (about 60% cocoa solids), chopped
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 1 hour for base, overnight for tart
To make the base, place butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream together using electric beaters until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and stir in flour and cocoa to bring together to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a workbench and roll out to 5 mm thick. Using a 20 cm diameter springform cake tin as a guide, cut out a circle from the dough. Press the circle of dough into the base of the lined tin sides with a collar of baking paper tin.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 180°C.
Bake the base for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the chocolate mousse, evenly spread the sugar over the base of a wide shallow saucepan and heat over medium heat. As it begins to liquefy at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently drag the liquefied sugar towards the centre. At this point, keep a close eye on the sugar as it will caramelise quickly and you don’t want to risk burning it. Continue cooking, stirring very gently, until the sugar is melted and caramelised. Continue cooking (the caramel will change color very quickly at this point) until the caramel is a deep amber color, just begins to smoke and has a slight burnt smell.
Remove the caramel from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter, stirring until melted (make sure to stir into the edges of the saucepan with a heatproof spatula to get all the caramel bits). Gradually whisk in the cream, stirring until all the little bits of caramel are completely melted. If there are any hard caramel bits leftover, you can strain the mixture to remove them.
Once the caramel is smooth, stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture is cooled, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggwhites to stiff peaks.
Gently fold one-third of the eggwhite into the chocolate mixture, adding in the sea salt. Fold in the remaining eggwhite until no white streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the prepared baking tin and refrigerate overnight to set.
Remove the cake from the springform cake tin and use a hot knife to cut the cake into slices to serve.