The party-perfect show-stopping dessert!
Over the holidays we were lucky enough to be invited to lots of friends and family gatherings. I usually make something to contribute to the party table to save the hostess some of the culinary stress so, as anything made with chocolate usually goes down well, I devised this delicious chocolate mousse cake to take along. I wanted something that could be made the day before, still taste great when it was ready to be served and would survive being transported on a two-hour car journey. Chocolate desserts, delicious as they are, often need something to cut the richness so I made a chocolate biscuit base topped with chocolate mousse and a seam of bitter-sweet mandarin marmalade running through it. Think ‘very posh Jaffa cake’! Did it go down well? Let’s put it this way, I almost didn’t get a chance to photograph it!
It will easily serve 12 people and takes about an hour to make plus the overnight chilling time. It could be made and served on the day of course, provided you make it in the morning and leave it to set until later that evening.
- A 20 or 21 cm springform cake tin, base lined with baking parchment, sides lightly buttered
- A saucepan and 3 mixing bowls
- 250g 70% dark chocolate (I used Green & Black’s)
- 2 teaspoons of Gran Marnier (optional but it does add an orangey kick to the mousse)
- 100g icing sugar
- 175g unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 150ml whipping cream
- cocoa powder for dusting
- 125g digestive biscuits
- 50g melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
- 2/3rds of a jar of Bonne Maman brand mandarin marmalade
- I used a little candied orange peel to decorate it that I brought back from Sicily in the summer but you could go plain cocoa dusted or add chocolate curls.
- Blitz the digestive biscuits down to fine crumbs, stir in the ground almonds, cocoa powder and melted butter until it is all thoroughly blended.
- Press the crumb mixture evenly into the base of the lined springform tin taking it up slightly up at the edges and then pop it into the fridge to set.
- To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once melted, remove the saucepan from the heat, whisk in half the icing sugar and the butter. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time but make sure the mixture has cooled down so as not to scramble the eggs. Finally, stir in the Gran Marnier if using. Set the mixture aside.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks start to form. Add the remaining icing sugar and continue to whisk them until they are glossy.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
- Add a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mousse mixture to slacken it off. Gently fold in the rest of the whites so as not to knock the air out, alternating with the whipped cream.
- Take the springform tin out of the fridge. Add about 2/3rds of a jar of the mandarin marmalade on to the biscuit base. Don’t be tempted to add too much or it will ooze out of the sides when you take it out of the tin.
- Pour the mousse into the cake tin, dust with cocoa powder and refrigerate overnight.
- Keep it in the tin until you’re ready to serve it. I transported this in a cool bag and put it in the fridge when we arrived. Don’t forget to take a serving plate unless you know there will be one at your destination.
- To serve, take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes beforehand and carefully release the springform casing. I usually set it on an upturned basin so the outer piece just falls away and I lift the cake away to set it on a serving dish. If the edges look a little scruffy when it comes away, tidy them up with a palette knife.
- I usually slide the cake off the base on to a serving plate and manage to peel the baking parchment away pretty easily. If you don’t feel that confident, you can serve and cut it on the base.
- I don’t think this really needs anything else to accompany it but it could be served with some whipped cream. Enjoy!
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