When an occasion calls for a chocolate cake that really dazzles, this teardrop-shaped, chocolate-glazed, chocolate-sponge-and-mousse layer cake is the answer.
- strips of cardboard
- masking tape
Flourless chocolate sponge
- 65 g good-quality dark chocolate
- pinch salt
- 140 g egg yolks (approx. 7)
- 65 g caster (superfine) sugar (A)
- 15 g Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 150 g egg whites (approx. 6)
- pinch cream of tartar
- 65 g caster (superfine) sugar (B)
- 410 ml fresh cream 35% fat (A)
- 130 g fresh strawberries, diced
- 33 ml full cream milk
- 45 ml fresh cream 35% fat (B)
- 120 g egg yolks
- 120 g caster (superfine) sugar
- 182 g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 45 g good-quality milk chocolate, chopped
- 18 g gelatine sheets or 25 g gelatine powder
- 35 ml water
- 175 ml fresh cream 35% fat
- 260 g caster (superfine) sugar
- 90 g Dutch-process cocoa powder
- pink edible flowers
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.
Freezing time: 6 hours 40 minutes
1. To make the flourless chocolate sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the chocolate and salt in the microwave in 30-second increments or on a double boiler until it's fluid and warm to touch (if using a block of chocolate finely chop it first).
2. Whisk the egg yolks with caster sugar (A) in a mixer for approximately 5 minutes or until white and thick then set aside.
3. Gently fold the sieved cocoa powder through the melted chocolate by hand with a flexible spatula.
4. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When you achieve a soft to medium peak, gradually add in the caster sugar (B). Continue whisking for one minute to enable the sugar to dissolve.
5. Stop the mixer and gradually fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture by hand using a flexible spatula. Once combined, place the mixture on the baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. When the sponge is ready, it should have a flexible texture when touch the top.
6. Unmould the sponges and leave on a cooling rack. Once cool, rub a serrated edge knife over the top of the sponge to remove any loose crust.
7. To make the glaze, soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water and, once pliable, gently squeeze the sheets to remove any excess water. Set the sheets aside and leave at room temperature. If using the gelatine powder, sprinkle it over a bowl with 30ml of cold water. Leave at room temperature until needed.
8. Sieve the cocoa powder into a bowl. Mix the water, cream and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the sieved cocoa powder and boil again.
9. Remove from the heat and transfer the glaze to a bowl. Emulsify with a stick blender until the ingredients are fully combined. Add the gelatine and continue to mix.
10. Strain the mixture into a bowl (or a plastic bowl if you are using a microwave to reheat the glaze) and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the glaze. If you are using the glaze on the same day, leave it at room temperature. Use this glaze at 32-35°C maximum.
11. To make the chocolate mousse, place the cream (A) into a bowl with the strawberries and semi-whip to a soft consistency using a whisk (so it has some body but still collapses).
12. Combine the milk and cream (B) together in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
13. Pour the hot milk mixture over the egg yolk mixture and whisk together.
14. Place the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove on low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches Anglaise point (75°C). If you don't have a thermometer, stir with a wooden spoon and to test when it is ready, dip the spoon into the mixture and wipe a line across it with your finger. If the mixture runs over that line, it's not ready, but as soon as the line holds, it's ready.
15. Place the chopped milk and dark chocolate into a bowl and immediately strain the hot mixture over the chocolate. Whisk by hand until combined.
16. Gently fold the semi-whipped cream through the chocolate mixture with a flexible spatula until just combined. The mousse must be used immediately.
17. To assemble the cake, prepare a cardboard template into a teardrop shape using a strip of card measuring approximately 90 cm in circumference x 5 cm high. Adhere the template directly to a lined tray with masking tape. Prepare another teardrop template slightly smaller than the mousse cake template and line the inside with baking paper or acetate.
18. Press the smaller template into the cooled sponge to create 2 teardrop cut-outs. Place one of the sponge cut-outs into the large template that’s adhered to the baking tray.
19. Place a layer of mousse on top of the sponge and use a spoon to push it out to the sides to avoid any air bubbles. Allow to set in the freezer for 40 minutes.
20. Remove from the freezer and place another layer of sponge on top, followed by another layer of mousse. Ensure you fill it to the top and smooth it out using a palette knife or ruler. Freeze for a further 6 hours. Once frozen, demould the cake and place onto a wire rack.
21. Heat the glaze to no higher than 35°C and pour it over the cake, allowing it to drip. Garnish with some pink edible flowers.