Another friend’s birthday passed, another cake made, eaten and enjoyed. I know I get excited about every cake I write about but this one was truly special and quite different from the usual – cake + frosting deal. Imagine dark chocolate sponge sandwiched together with a light, cloud-like, creamy strawberry mousse, topped with fresh strawberries and cream. Sounds like a dream? It was pretty close to perfection in my opinion and fortunately a snap to make at home.
I made this cake years ago following the recipe from the Chocolate cookbook I have and although I liked it I knew a few changes had to be made to perfect the recipe. Many English baking recipes call for self-rising flour and this cake was no exception. I am not a big fan of self-rising flour as I find it produces cakes that are too heavy and compact. In this particular cake the texture of the dense sponge didn’t match the light and fluffy mousse.
Fortunately I have my trusty chocolate sponge recipe that I swapped for the original and voila…Perfection! Two layers of delicate chocolate cake filled with light and creamy strawberry mousse made that birthday delight irresistible.
Ingredients for the cake:
- Flour -1 3/4 cups
- Cocoa- 3/4 cup
- Sugar- 2 cups
- Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp.
- Baking soda- 1 1/2 tsp.
- Salt- 1 tsp.
- Eggs- 2 large
- Milk- 1 cup
- Oil- 1/2 cup
- Vanilla essence- 2 tsp.
- Strong hot coffee- 3/4 cup
Note: The recipe I used here makes two cake layers or 1 cake layer and a dozen of cupcakes. I made 1 9″ cake and a dozen cupcakes for my kids to enjoy as the cake was for the adult party and I didn’t want them to feel left out.
Preheat your oven to 325 F/160 C and grease your 9″ springform cake pan and line with parchment paper. (Instead of using parchment paper I dusted mine with flour but it was a bit of a mistake as flour shows on the dark sponge. It’s usually not a big deal but because this cake doesn’t get covered with frosting you want the layers to look attractive.)
Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until combined. In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, oil and vanilla essence. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and beat with an electric mixer until well incorporated. Now make your coffee and pour 3/4 cup of it in the ingredients ( enjoy the rest!) and quickly mix everything together. I promise you the cupcakes don’t taste anything like coffee but it is a magic ingredient .
Pour half of the mixture in the prepared pan and level the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minuted or until cake tester/toothpick comes out clean. Le the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife along the sides of a springform pan, release the sides and turn the cake out on the cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile , make the strawberry mousse.
Ingredients for the Mousse:
- Eggs (separated)- 2
- Superfine sugar-4 tbsp.
- Strawberries (processed in a food processor to a pulp)- 3/4 cup
- Gelatine-3 tsp.
- Water-3 tbsp.
- Whipping Cream- 1 cup
- Strawberries (sliced)- 200 gr. for decoration
- Cream 1/2 cup
- Icing sugar-2 tbsp.
- Vanilla- 1/2 tsp.
Beat the egg yolk and sugar until light, then whisk in the processed strawberries. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water in a small bowl and allow to go spongy, then put in the microwave for 30-40 seconds until the gelatine has dissolved. Stir in the mousse.
Whip the cream until holding its shape and fold into the mousse. Whisk the egg whites until standing in soft peaks, then fold in. Let stand in a cool place until starting to set for about 30 minutes.
Cut the cake in 2 layers. Place the first layer back in the springform pan and pour in the mousse and let it set for 2 hour in the refrigerator. Place the top layer directly on the mousse layer and continue chilling for 2 more hours or until ready to serve. Whip the cream and icing sugar and vanilla. Decorate the top of the cake with fresh sliced strawberries and pipe cream rosettes around the edges.
This cake is incredibly light and not overly sweet due to the absence of frosting yet the silky mousse layer makes it feel like a great indulgence. Double win!
Note: Because the eggs in the mousse are not cooked, however tempered by the hot gelatine mixture, I have used free-range and organic eggs to be on the safe side.
Note: The mousse recipe was adapted from Chocolate cookbook by Practical Cooking. I substituted orange for strawberries.