It's been a while since I have posted any of my cooking/baking forays. Last Saturday I had a dinner party in honor of a co-worker who is leaving. As requested by the group, I made my (Cook's Illustrated's) deep dish pizza and it turned out beautifully. For dessert, I decided to try my hand at making a Chocolate Mousse cake, because it just sounded awesome. And it was.
This recipe needs about 13 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate. Apprently the terms are interchangeable. Something I was not aware of at the time I made the cake. I considered making a grocery store run to buy come chocolate with bittwersweet on the lable, but instead threw caution to the wind and used the Ghiradelli semi-sweet baking bars I had stored away. They worked just fine!
This recipe does not use any flour or tradiational leavening agent. Instead, it uses whipped egg whites - not my favorite method. I've always found that to be a very unstable component. I can never quite manage to "fold" egg whites well enough. I either fold them too much and then render them useless or not enough.
But I folded the melted chocolate and egg whites as gingerly as I could. Cook's Illustrated mentioned to me that they included brown sugar in the egg whites to give them a bit more stamina, so maybe that helped me out this time around? Regardless, the next step to this cake was to bake it in a water bath! The cake needs to bake in an intensely humid environment to form correctly.
Again, this was a first for me. Aside from freaking out that I had not sealed the pan well enough - if you look closely you may be able to make out the 3 layers of tin foil I wrapped around that puppy - the process was a breeze. Mousse cakes take a while to form once they're finished baking so the finished product bares little to resemblance to what comes out of the oven - a tall, puffy cake. It took about 6 hours for the cake to "settle" or deflate and then chill in the refriderator to the correct consistency.
It's a humble little thing really. At first glance it resembles a dry looking brownie, but oh.my.goodness. The rich chocolate flavor it out of this world and the moist, smooth texture is a total surprise. One of my co-workers remarked that it tasted like a $15 dessert you get at a fancy restaraunt. It was so true! My family, after sampling the leftovers, has already requested this cake for Halloween - I'll be on the look out then, for some fun pumpkin faces I can put on it!