A few weeks ago, (Cult)ure threw an Estonian party in honour of one of our editor's Estonian heritage. When said editor pointed us to Nami-Nami, an Estonian food blog, and I found this recipe, it seemed like fate. Oh, little did I know . . . I've added notes throughout, the better to explain the cake of many disasters.
Marbled Blackcurrant and Chocolate Mousse Cake(Uhke šokolaadi-mustsõstratort)
Adapted from the Finnish Pirkka-site.
Chocolate sponge cake:
2 large eggs
75 ml caster sugar (5 Tbsp)
75 ml plain flour (5 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
0.5 tsp baking powder
To moisten the sponge cake:
100 ml (2/5th of a cup) undiluted black currant juice or cordial
Black Currant Mousse:
3 gelatine leaves
220 g black currants (thawed, if frozen)
75 ml (5 Tbsp) caster sugar
200 ml whipping cream
3 Tbsp undiluted black currant juice or cordial
2 gelatine leaves
150 g dark chocolate
200 ml whipping cream
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp cognac or brandy
chocolate-covered almonds or hazelnuts
Line the base of a 25 cm/10-inch springform tin with a parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the cake tin.
Make chocolate sponge:
Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Note: There is no explanation of how pale and fluffy the eggs and sugar should be. I stopped just short of soft peaks. Next time, I should forge on ahead to the soft peak zone.
Mix the dry ingredients, then sift and gently fold into the egg foam.
- I mixed my dry ingredients together first then realized I had added the (granulated, more on caster sugar below) sugar to them instead of the eggs. Disposed off this mix and started again.
Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 175 C/350 F oven for about 15 minutes. Cool in the tin.
- Batter did not fill the tin. It was far too thick to move around much at all, despite my pushing. One section baked without ever reaching the side of the pan.
Leave the cooled cake in the cake tin and brush the sponge with the blackcurrant juice couple of times until you've used up all the juice.
- I was annoyed that Hartman's didn't carry black currant juice the way other grocery stores I normally frequent do (in the international aisle, which Hartman's lacks), so I diluted some homemade elderberry jam instead (elderberry is an acceptable black currant substitute). Anticipate the top of your cake crumbling because of the excessive moisture.
Make the mousse layers:
For both mousse layers, put the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and soak for about 10 minutes.
- Gelatin comes in a powder form here in North America. 2 sheets or leaves is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin. As such, you would need 1 1/2 teaspoons for the black currant mousse and 1 teaspoon for the chocolate mousse. While you can put the leaves in water and then remove them, powdered gelatin must be dissolved in hot water in order to be useful. And that's when things really went wrong.
Melt the dark chocolate. Cool.
Blend the black currants and sugar into a pureé.
- In this case, fresh blackberries became my substitute for black currants.
- Caster sugar is finer than granulated sugar (what you usually purchase/see at coffee shops) but not as fine as confectionery/icing sugar. We call it superfine sugar on these shores. You can create your own by running your granulated sugar around in pestle and mortar or through your food processor. Since you are blending anyway, feel free to just use granulated sugar for this step. I, however, had run out of granulated sugar and used icing sugar instead. I also apparently interpreted "purée" as "runny liquid." Note: a purée is a thick liquid.
For both mousse layers, whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then divide equally between the chocolate and the black currant base (fold in 1/3 of the cream first, to soften the chocolate, then fold in rest of the cream).
Season the chocolate mousse with sugar and vanilla extract.
Take the soaked gelatine leaves out of the water and squeeze them gently to dry.
- Except that I had dissolved the gelatin into hot water, so there was nothing to take out. O, impending doom.
Heat 3 Tbsp of the blackcurrant juice, then stir in three of the lightly squeezed gelatine leaves. Pour the gelatine mixture into the blackcurrant mousse base.
- By this point I had broken down and purchased Ribena, a black currant concentrate popular in England that you dilute with water to make juice. Their ratio is four parts water to one part Ribena.
- 30 seconds in the microwave should do it for heating.
- This is the moment when things went really, really wrong. I had already skipped past purée, and now I poured in several tablespoons of water. What I had did not constitute mousse and would not until it had spent four hours in fridge.
Heat the 3 Tbsp of cognac, add two of the lightly squeezed gelatine leaves. Fold into the chocolate mousse.
- I used brandy because cognac only came in giant $70 bottles that day.
- Chocolate, on the other hand, longed to return to its more solid form after a mere 30 minutes in the fridge.
- This is the part where you learn from my mistake: dissolve the powdered gelatin in the heated cognac or black currant juice. Problem solved!
Using a large spoon, add a spoonful of chocolate and a spoonful of blackcurrant mousse onto the cake base, creating a marbled/spotty look. Do not stir!
- As a result of adding the black currant mousse four hours after I had added the chocolate mousse (I refrigerated in between), I did not achieve a marbled look. I achieved a layered look.
Smooth the top, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to set until the next morning.
- This was actually one of the things that drew me to this recipe. I could make ahead! It's probably really easy when you don't eff it up.
Transfer carefully onto your cake stand and decorate with chocolate.
- Ha! I was too defeated by the twin mousse disasters to bother with the dark chocolate covered almonds waiting patiently in the fridge.
- At the party, people mistook the blackberry mousse for yogurt (actually, it looked a lot like yogurt) and tofu (no idea).
- Then the blackberry mousse melted all over the table.
- At least it was delicious and received a rave from our photographer.
- Somewhere in Nepal, there is a photo of this cake on my best friend's camera. Should I have come to possess said photo, I will surely share it with you.