I hope you had a lovely weekend. The weather was so beautiful here that we spent most of our time outdoors. I did manage, however, to finish this mousse cake I had started last week. Here I am once again with meyer lemons, which I cannot get enough of.
This cake was inspired by a yet another childhood memory. Growing up, in the summer time, we used to eat popsicles that were shaped like rocketships. I never really knew whether it was ice cream or sorbet because the texture was somewhere in between, but I do remember the flavors clearly, lemon and chocolate. It had three distinct layers of this unknown frozen texture, topped by a thin layer of dipped, crunchy chocolate top. I cannot remember whether it was “Miko” or “Frigo” who made them, but it was my favorite.
I would say generally, I am not a big fan of fruit and chocolate flavor combinations unless we are talking about citrus, raspberries, passion fruit… Fruits that are tart and sour really balance out chocolate, particularly in recipes that might be overly sweet.
This cake has many components and it might seem like it’s a bit time consuming, but in reality, it is fairly simple. It has a chocolate biscuit or cake base and layers of dark chocolate mousse, meyer lemon cream and milk chocolate cream.
The meyer lemon cream is an adaptation of a lemon emulsion recipe we used to use at work, but with extra butter added to it to make it thicker and hold its shape better. It is painfully delicious.
I also used some of the extra mousse and cream to make these little verrines. Same components, just a different presentation.
adapted from Stephane Glacier’s “Verrines et Petits Gateaux”
makes 2 half sheetpans
285 grams egg yolks
240 grams sugar
275 grams egg whites
2 grams cream of tartar
55 grams sugar
95 grams cocoa powder
135 grams flour
95 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Whip the egg yolks and the sugar to a thick ribbon.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until almost fully whipped. Sprinkle in the sugar and whip until a firm peak forms.
Lighten the egg yolk base with a fourth of the meringue. Sift the dry ingredients into this base and fold gently. Fold in the remainder of the meringue.
Add the melted and cooled butter and fold.
Divide the batter between two half sheetpans lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 375F for about 10 minutes.
Limoncello Simple Syrup
50 grams water
50 grams sugar
limoncello or any liquer to taste (optional)
Cook the sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup cool and then add the liquer, if desired.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
adapted from Florilege Gourmand
2.5 sheets gelatin
40 grams granulated sugar
10 grams glucose
15 grams water
50 grams egg yolks (about 3 medium)
175 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
350 grams heavy cream
Soften the gelatin in cold water.
Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white). Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer. Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 30 grams of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.
Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir 100 grams of whipped cream to temper. Add the pate a bombe. Add in the rest of the whipped cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.
Meyer Lemon Cream
215 grams eggs
75 grams sugar
215 grams meyer lemon juice
Zest of 3 meyer lemons
300 grams butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, juice and zest. Place this bowl over a double boiler and cook while whisking until the custard thickens (about 84C).
Immediately, strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Let the custard cool to about 55C. It will be warm to the touch but not too hot that when we add the butter, it will melt right away. We want to create an emulsion with the butter that’s why the temperature it’s very important.
Once the custard has cooled, start adding the butter and using a hand held immersion mixer or blender, blend the cream. Continue blending until all the butter has been incorporated.
Milk Chocolate Chantilly
adapted from Stephane Glacier’s “Verrines et Petits Gateaux”
250 grams heavy cream
90 grams milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Boil the cream and pour over the milk chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Let this ganache rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then whip it as whipped cream.
Assemble the Cake
Turn over one of the chocolate biscuit sheets. Peel off the parchment paper. Flip it over again and place it on a clean sheet of parchment on a sheetpan.
Make the chocolate mousse right when you are ready to start building the cake. Place a 14″x14″x3″ square frame on top of the chocolate biscuit. Press down so that the frame cuts all the way to the bottom. Save the scraps for something else. This is where we will build the cake.
Soak the cake with the limoncello simple syrup. Spread the chocolate mousse evenly on top of the biscuit. Let this harden in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
In the meantime, make the lemon cream. When the chocolate mousse has harden, spread the lemon cream evenly on top of it. Freeze the cake overnight.
To remove the frame, make sure the cake is frozen so the layers stay intact. Cut around the cake with a knife (close to the edge) and lift the frame up.
Cut the cake when it is semi frozen. Pipe the milk chocolate chantilly over the lemon cream and top with a tempered chocolate rectangle and a macaron.