I know I’m always complaining about being old but blimey, my youngest was 15 yesterday. The Dude is mahoosive and has turned into a handsome, kind and funny teenager who is American Football mad and a bit of a gym obsessive. We’re all immensely proud of him.
As is the tradition at English Towers, he’s been allowed to choose the birthday cakeage. Usually this means they choose the most difficult thing they possibly can and today is no exception. Flicking through my cakey Pinterest pins, the birthday boy opted for a bloody enormous triple layer chocolate mousse cake, but without the white chocolate layer. A mousse cake should be soft and melty, so I decided on a lovely soft flourless chocolate cake as a base layer, then topped with a dark chocolate mousse and then a milk chocolate one. Simples.
One word of warning: sometimes mousse takes a while to set. If you need this cake in the evening, make it in the morning or the night before. If desperation sets in, a blast in the freezer for a half hour will help it along. As you can see from mine, the top layer wasn’t quite set and started to collapse – by the time we’d lit the candles, the Maltesers were sliding down the side of the cake. No matter, we just scoffed it really quick.
For the flourless chocolate cake
This is an easy cake to make and makes a great pudding served with whipped cream. It WILL sink in the middle, but when topped with the mousses of course this doesn’t matter.
As I was trying to build up height I used a smallish (8”) high sided loose-bottomed tin, with the sides lined with cut-to-fit silicone baking sheet. Remember you’re going to add the mousse layers so line the sides quite high. Preheat the oven to 160/gas 3.
125g dark chocolate
3 large free range eggs, separated
125g soft brown sugar
So melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over some hot water. As soon as the water starts to bubble, turn it off and let the butter and chocolate melt gently together.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until they’re really firm.
When the butter and chocolate are melted, stir in the brown sugar, the vanilla extract and the egg yolks, then gently fold in the whisked egg whites.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for about half an hour or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool.
Just thought I’d slip in a pic of my new scales here – I love them. You can find them on Amazon – they’re called Epicurean by Ozeri. Rather lush aren’t they?
For the mousse layers
You only need a thin (ish) layer of mousse. I made my first layer far too thick, so I’ve halved the quantities here.
125ml double cream
150g dark chocolate
2 eggs, separated
So just pop the double cream in a saucepan and break in the chocolate. Put it on a low heat and as soon as the cream is warm enough to melt the chocolate, turn the heat off, continuing to stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Leave to cool a little while you whisk the egg whites. Do check that the cream/chocolate mixture is cool enough (it needs to be lukewarm otherwise it will scramble the eggs) before mixing in the egg yolk.
Then just fold in the whites, again take your time and wait until everything is a uniform colour. Pour the mousse on top of the chocolate cake layer and return to the fridge.
When this layer is set, make another batch of mousse with milk chocolate. Pour VERY gently over the first mousse and allow to set.
To serve, you need to be VERY careful – firstly make sure it’s properly set (ahem) and then balance it on something solid and slowly push the tin down. Decorate if you want, or just ram it into your face.
Happy birthday, Chas. We love you loads xx