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I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

March 9, 2011

Dark Chocolate Ganache Covered Mocha Mousse Pastry

Remember my Oreo Peanut Butter Mousse Dessert that I planned to make for my cousin brother's family? Well, I ditched that whole idea. Not because it was not good, but simply because I decided to make something even more sinful. Even more drool-worthy. I mean, peanut butter is good, but chocolate is excellent! So, I traded the Oreo base for a rich chocolate cake and cut it into layers, doused it in a home-made non-alcoholic coffee liqueur and topped it off with dark chocolate ganache. Before you think it sounds so difficult, take a peek at what it looked like in the end.

This is SO worth every minute you spend making it....you will thank yourself that you tried making something on these lines. This was, quite literally, my first best chocolate cake ever. The recipe is a keeper if you think about making just a chocolate cake/cupcakes. And as for the liqueur, mousse and ganache...they just found their way into my cake and livened it up, like props for a great stage performance!

I urge you to go through the entire recipe and pick up all the ingredients before you start. You dont wnat to be half way through and realize you missed out something. No way! Also, Since this recipe is a bit long drawn I would like to break it up into parts, as below:

1 - Baking the Rich Chocolate Cake Base (Make this a day or two prior to when you want to make the pastry and store in refrigerator)
2 - Method to make non-alcoholic coffee liqueur (This and following two items, to be made on the day that you are ready to make the pastry and assemble it together)
3 - Cake assembly
4 - Method to make mocha mousse
5 - Method to make dark chocolate ganache and cover the assembled cake

Get ready for the joy ride. Just don't get bored half way through, for what you see below, is what awaits you!

Roll those sleeves up. Get in!

1 - Baking the Rich Chocolate Cake Base
Like I said earlier, this has been my best super-delicious chocolate cake yet. I've used a chocolate bar instead of cocoa powder, and it certainly adds to the final taste of the cake. Discover for yourself!

IMPORTANT NOTE - If you are going to make the pastry, then you will need a springform pan for better results. If you do not have one don't worry too much, I will guide you through.

1 1/2 Cups All-purpose flour
1 1/4 Cups Tightly packed light or dark brown sugar (Use powdered sugar if you do not have this handy. I suggest brown sugar since the molasses adds to the soft texture and taste of the cake)
1 Cup Unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 Cup (around 180 gms) Chocolate, melted and cooled (I used a semi sweet baking chocolate bar)
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3 Eggs, at room temperature
1 Cup Whole milk
1 1/4 tbsp Vanilla essence
A pinch of salt

Chocolate Melting Techniques
Before I dive into the recipe, I'd like to explain how to melt chocolate. Although a very simple process, I have myself ended up with burned chocolate in the microwave. But after a lot of reading up (and trying, obviously!) I figured out how to get perfectly melted chocolate. Here's how!

Method to melt chocolate in a microwave oven

What you need
1. Microwave safe bowl
2. Chocolate

The process
- Make small pieces of the chocolate and place in a small microwave safe bowl. If you are using chocolate chips/morsels, just place them as is in the microwave safe bowl
- Microwave on low power for 30 seconds
- Stir
- Microwave again for another 20-30 seconds on low power
- Repeat this process until chocolate melts completely

Method to melt chocolate in a double boiler

What you need
1. A large heat resistant bowl. Glass works perfectly. Steel bowls should be fine, too, although I have never tried it
2. A saucepan whose diameter is a wee bit lesser than that of the bowl
3. Chocolate

The process
- Make small pieces of the chocolate and place in a large heat resistant bowl. If you are using chocolate chips/morsels, just place them as in in the bowl
- In a saucepan, pour water and turn on the heat
- Turn off the flame just around the time the water is about to boil
- Place the heat resistant bowl containing the chocolate on top of this saucepan
- Make sure the hot water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and no steam escapes from the sides. This is why the size of the sauce pan should be smaller than that of the bowl
- Continuously stir the chocolate as the heat from the steam of the just-boiled water grazes the bowl
- Stir until chocolate melts completely

Now, that I've bugged you enough about melting chocolate, let me proceed to the method of making this luxuriant chocolate cake.

- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Grease your baking dish/springform pan and set aside
- Break eggs and set aside in another bowl
- Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl twice and set aside
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar
- Toss in the vanilla essence into the creamed butter and sugar
- Now beat this together using  an electric beater on low speed
- Gradually dropping one egg at a time and continue to beat
- Keep the beater on and slowly add the melted chocolate and milk
- Continue beating until all the ingredients are incorporated
- Slowly add the flour/dry mixture keeping your beater running
- Beat until all the ingredients mix well and you have a smooth yet fluffed up batter (about 2 minutes). Do not over do the beating. This batter is thick. Don't panic.
- Slowly pour batter into prepared baking dish using a spatula to spread the thick cake batter
- Place in the pre-heated oven
- Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake
- Cool completely before serving as is or proceed to making the coffee liqueur, mocha mousse and ganache to head towards making the Dark Chocolate Ganache Covered Mocha Mousse Pastry

Again, if you intend making the pastry, I suggest you bake this cake one day (or even two, so the flavours get a lot of time to evolve in the fridge) prior to making the mousse, liqueur and ganache. Secondly, take the cake out of the fridge

If you are serving just the Rich Chocolate Cake....go ahead and eat it after its cooled! Enjoy!

2 - Method to Make Non-alcoholic Coffee Liqueur

I really should not be terming this one as liqueur, because there is no alcohol in it. But, then again, I could not just say coffee-sugar syrup. It just sounds too plain for something so fantastic tasting. In fact, this one is so good, if you have extra just save it up and use it to make your next cup of home-made mocha!

1 Cup Water
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 1/4 tbsp Instant Coffee powder
3/4 Cup Sugar

- In a saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to a boil
- Set aside to cool before use

If you intend making an alcoholic liqueur, all you need to do is add to this mix is a couple spoons of either rum, brandy or vodka.

3 - Cake assembly
Now, before you begin mousse-ing around let's get to assembling the cake. We would be going back and forth between preparing the mousse and assembly of the cake. I'll guide you through, so stay with me!

 - Pull the chocolate cake out of the fridge and place on the turntable. No turntable, no fret. Just use your chapathi rolling stand or an inverted large plate. You can read more about makeshift turntables in my Black Forest Cake recipe.
- Remove the side ring of the springform pan. If you are not using a springform pan, just invert the cake onto a serving plate (as you would when baking any other frosted cake) and follow the steps below.
- Cut the cake horizontally into two layers, placing the top layer upside down on another plate
- Using a spoon, gently pour the prepared coffee liqueur on the lower layer to cover its entire surface area
- Now go ahead and make the mocha mousse

4 - Making the Mocha Mousse
Go back one post on SSTT, and you will see the recipe of a peanut butter mousse dessert. I've used the same concept. No eggs in this one, so its a no-mess mousse. Oh what more can I say, it is so darn easy.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Get to making this mousse only when you are ready to assemble your cake. If you make this ahead of time and place in the fridge, your mousse will set in the bowl you place it in and that's not what we want. We want it to set inside the cake!

Ingredients for the mousse
1 1/4Cups Heavy Cream/Whipping Cream

3/4 Cup Confectioner's Sugar (Powdered sugar)
4 tbsp. Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa powder
2 tsp Instant coffee powder
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 drops Vanilla essence

- Chill the blades of your electric beater in the fridge for a while. You could opt to chill the bowl in which you would make/beat the mousse as well. I did not do so. I just chilled only the blades.
- In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and beat until the mixture forms very, very soft peaks

We get back to assembling the cake at this point
- Place the side ring of the springform back in position. Those of you who are not using a spring form pan, the mousse in itself is not very runny in consistency. So go right ahead and follow the steps below and I'll fill you in on what to do next
- Pour this mousse onto the lower layer of your cake and spread using a spatula to make an even layer of mousse filling for your final pastry
- Place the top later of the cake and douse that with the coffee liqueur such that the entire surface area is covered with the same. For those of you not using a springform pan, I suggest you use a flat spatula and remove any excess mousse that seeps out of the two layers for a smooth finish. You could further opt to use aluminium foil and 'wrap' the sides of the cake. Cut a long piece of the foil, width a little more than the height of your cake/pastry and run it along the sides to that the mousse sets inside. I personally do not see the need for this because this mousse behaves well!
- Place this layered, assembled cake in the fridge for the flavours to get to know each-other for about 4 hours

5 - Making the Dark Chocolate Ganache
This, for those of you who don't know (like me a couple years ago), is nothing but a thick concoction of chocolate and heavy cream. So, do not get intimidated by the word ganache. Just grab the ingredients and make it. I've added a hint of instant coffee powder to heighten the chocolate flavour and of course to go with the entire mocha 'theme', per se.

There are several ways and versions to making ganache. A lot of people even add essences, extracts and other stuff. I thought I'd keep this one simple.

1 1/2 Cups Heavy(whipping) cream
1 1/4 Cups Chocolate chips/morsels
1/2 tsp Instant Coffee Powder

- In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer
- Turn off flame
- Add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips melt
- Add the coffee powder and give a gentle stir to incroporate
- Set aside to cool completely and thicken. You can place it in the fridge for it to cool and thicken faster.

Heading back to cake assembly yet again
This is the fag end of the cake assembly and the bestestestest part. I loved doing it and feeling (oops, seeing!) the chocolate ganache slowly spread like heavenly nectar over the cake. It is a sight worth coming this far for.

- Once, the ganache has cooled fully take the cake out of the fridge and place it over a cooling rack (or just at a height over a plate) with a large sheet of newspaper/kitchen paper towels below
- Take out the springform side ring/foil (if you used any)
- Pour the ganache over the cake, and simultaneously spread using a spatula to cover entire cake. This, people, is bliss. Trust me!
- Once the whole cake is covered, clean up the gooey mess below (you can go ahead and use your tongue) - Slowly and carefully place it back in the fridge for the ganache to set over the cake

I allowed my cake to sit in the fridge until it was almost time to be served. I took it out about 30 minutes before serving. I decorated my pastry with chocolate curls. Get creative and do what you want, or just eat it the way it is. Promptly place back in the fridge after serving.

I'm going to grab the last slice of this pastry and it does'nt feel less than settling down for prayer. Serenity, here I come!


  1. Too lengthy process although the pics look good.

  2. @ Anonymous - Yup its a long process. But, once you get the hang of things its like child's play...and so worth every second spent. Thanks for dropping by! Keep checking back.

  3. @ Krithi - Thank you. It certainly is worth the effort. Try it!

  4. This cake is just dreamy! What a delectable n sinful treat!!!!!

    US Masala

  5. wow...the cake looks really gorgeous,wish I could even taste a slice of it....looks really yumm

  6. Seriously cake looks marvellous, definitely worth to try..

  7. Thanks Aipi and Priya. This happens to be something that I totally made out of my own imagination and with absolutely no reference anywhere. So its really dear to me. And, sure tastes great as well!

  8. @ Prathiba - Thanks! Make yourself one. You'll get the entire cake to eat, instead of just a slice!

  9. whoah! this is sinful!! wondering why i never chanced upon your site before :) good to meet you too Deepti :)

  10. @ Nags - Great to see you here, Nags. I feel honored to get in touch with you as well. Thanks for hopping by and...yeah, we'll stay connected for sure! :)

  11. @ Nags - And as for you not coming across SSTT before...it is simply because I've always remained the small fish in this big ocean.

  12. Hi deepti, quick question I tried making this version of moouse but the whole mixture turned watery suddenly and the next thing I knew was the whipping cream gave away as if it was broken milk, I wonder where I went wrong? Could you please suggest any quick fixes's?

  13. @ Shruthi - Are you sure the quality of cream was good? Was it fresh? Were the blades chilled and the cream cheese softened? These are the only reasons I can think of...because, really, there are so few ingredients in this mousse and all you do is beat them all together until smooth. My doubts are on the cream. You have to use heavy cream/whipping cream and not (already) whipped cream which we get in stores in boxes/aerosol sprays. I know that is what you have mentioned in your comment, but is that what you used, and not whipped cream by oversight?

  14. @ Shruthi - Now, I am confused, too!

    Are you wondering whether you used whipped cream in place of whipping cream ... or did my explanation leave you plain baffled?!?!