• Iced VoVo mousse cake (Billie Justice Thomson)Source: Billie Justice Thomson

This is a baking marathon, not a sprint and choose your mouths wisely once you've brought this epic dessert to life. The combination of coconut and strawberry are a match made in heaven, but throw in some pink Champagne to take this biscuit favourite into ace dessert territory. #BringBackTheClassics

Makes
2

Preparation

3hr

Cooking

1hr
30min

Skill level

Ace
By
Average: 4.6 (24 votes)
Yum

This dessert is not for the faint-hearted and requires a lot of time, care and layering.

The inspiration for this layered dessert comes from my husband’s love for the Aussie biscuit, Iced VoVo. You can make the strawberry liquid insert and sponge in advance and they will keep well frozen but make the mousse last when everything is ready. If you don’t have a spray gun, you can always cover the cakes in desiccated coconut to achieve a similar effect. 

 

Ingredients

Plain sponge

  • 140 g egg yolks
  • 157 g caster sugar
  • 140 g egg whites
  • 95 g plain flour
  • 25 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Strawberry liquid insert

  • 35 g caster sugar
  • 35 g water
  • 270 g strawberry puree (see Notes)
  • 2 g xanthan gum (see Notes)

Coconut and vanilla cream insert

  • 5 g gelatine sheets, silver or gold strength (2 leaves)
  • 150 g sweetened coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways and beans scraped
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 10 g cornflour
  • 35 g egg yolks
  • 150 g thickened cream

Iced VoVo biscuit crunch

  • 250 g Iced VoVo biscuits, crushed
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Pink Champagne mousse

  • 16 g gelatine sheets, silver or gold strength (7 leaves)
  • 250 ml pink Champagne or sparkling rose wine
  • 133 g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways and beans scraped
  • 80 g egg yolks
  • 67 g strawberry puree (see note)
  • 500 ml thickened cream

Strawberry gel

  • 255 g strained strawberry puree
  • 3 g agar agar
  • 43 g caster sugar

Garnishes

  • Iced VoVo biscuits, crushed and sliced, fresh strawberries, desiccated coconut and meringues (storebought or see Notes for recipe below)

Cook's notes

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.

Instructions

You will need to begin this recipe 2 days prior.

Chilling time: 2 days

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly spray two 15 cm cake tins with oil and line the base and sides with baking paper.

2. To make the sponge cake, whisk the egg yolks and 125g sugar in a heatproof bowl place over a saucepan of simmering water until it reaches ribbon stage. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and the remaining 32 g caster sugar until medium peaks form. Fold the flour into the egg yolk mixture then gently fold in the melted butter. Gently fold in the meringue mixture until well combined.

3. Pour the batter into the lined tins and bake for 18 -22 minutes or until a skewer withdraws clean. Set aside to cool.

4. To make the strawberry liquid insert, line two 15 cm cake rings with acetate and wrap the bases with plastic wrap to prevent liquid leaking out of rings. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir until just at boiling point. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

5. Place the cooled sugar syrup, strawberry puree and xanthan gum in a high speed blender until smooth and glossy (about 4 minutes if using a stick blender). Pour into the lined rings and freeze until firm.

6. To make the coconut and vanilla cream insert, soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes or until softened, then drain and squeeze out the water. While the gelatine is soaking, place the coconut milk, vanilla bean, scraped seeds and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk the cornflour and egg yolks together in a separate bowl. Whisking continuously, gradually strain the coconut milk mixture onto the yolks until well combined.

7. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously until thickened or the temperature reaches 85°C. Add the softened gelatine and whisk until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to 30°C.

8. When cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the cream into the cooled custard until well combined. Pour on top of the frozen strawberry liquid insert and return to the freezer to set.

9. To make the Iced VoVo biscuit crunch, line the sides of two 15 cm cake rings with acetate and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until it achieves a rough crumb consistency. Add the cooled butter and blitz until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake rings and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth into a thin layer about 3-5 mm thick. Place in the freezer until firm. 

10. To make the pink Champagne mousse, line two 17 cm cake rings with acetate and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes or until softened, then drain and squeeze out the water. While the gelatine is soaking, place the Champagne, sugar, vanilla beans and scraped seeds in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

11. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk to combine. Whisking continuously, strain the Champagne mixture onto the yolks and mix until well combined. Return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously until thickened or the temperature reaches 85°C. Whisk in the softened gelatine until completely dissolved, then whisk in the strawberry puree. Set aside to cool to 30°C.

12. When cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form, then carefully fold into the cooled Champagne custard. Pour into piping bags. Note: once the mousse is made, you need to work quickly to assemble the layers as the mousse will start to thicken and develop air bubbles.

13. To assemble the cake, line two 17 cm cake rings with acetate and place on a baking paper lined tray. Slice one of the sponge cakes into two layers, ensuring each layer is roughly 1 cm-thick. Reserve the other cake for another use (see Notes).

14. Pipe a generous layer of mousse inside the cake rings, to seal the base of the cake. Then, using a small offset spatula, spread some of the mixture up the sides (this is to ensure that the cake has smooth sides with no gaps). Place a frozen biscuit crumb layer on top of the mousse, applying gentle pressure to allow the mousse to come up the sides.

15. Pipe more mousse on top of the crumb layer and place another sponge layer on top, applying gentle pressure again. Pipe more mousse on top of the sponge cake layer, and place the frozen strawberry and coconut cream insert on top of the mousse (coconut cream layer face down), applying gentle pressure again to allow the mousse to come up the sides and fill any gaps. Finally top with the remaining mousse and smooth the top with a large metal spatula. Return the assembled cakes to the freezer to set overnight.

16. To make the strawberry gel, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stand until cool, then refrigerate to cool completely. Once cooled, use a stick blender to blend until it is creamy. Place into a piping bag or plastic squeeze bottle.

17. To finish, top the cake with meringues, fresh strawberries and piped strawberry gel. Sprinkle crushed Iced VoVo biscuits and desiccated coconut over the top.

The cake is best served after it has defrosted in the fridge for about 4 – 6 hours.

Notes
• Strawberry puree is available from speciality food stores. If you can’t find it, simply thaw 500g frozen strawberries and blitz with a squeeze of lemon juice and 50 g sugar. Push the puree through a fine sieve and discard the seeds.

• You can find xanthan gum and agar agar in health food stores and speciality delicatessens.

• The sponge makes twice as much as you need but I find the recipe works best when made in this quantity. Leftover sponge will keep wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months.

• If making your own meringues, whisk 60g egg whites and 120g caster sugar in a bowl over simmering water, until the mixture reaches 54°C. Remove from the heat and whisk in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form or the bowl is cool to touch. Gently fold in 20 g desiccated coconut. Pipe bitesize “kisses” onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle more desiccated coconut on top and bake at 100°C for 30- 40 minutes. They’re ready if they lift off the baking paper easily with their bases intact.

 

Lead illustration by Billie Justice Thomson.