Monday, April 16, 2012

Chocolate mousse cake (gluten free)... or chocolate mousse


Anybody out there?

Hoooooney, I'm hooooome!

Thought I was eaten by a bear in the mountains? Was snowed in (a concrete possibility given the weather we had over Easter)? Hit by an avalanche?

Sort of.

Snow? No.

Boiled eggs? Yes.

Dye, stickers, baskets? Yes.

Chocolate eggs, bunnies, chicks and any other barnyard animal you can conjure? Yes.

Bathing suits, t-shirts, snow suits, ski boots? Yes.

Diapers, dummies, bibs, baby clothes? Yes.
(no, I am not pregnant, in case you were wondering)

Work? Yes.

More work? Yes.

Kleenex? Yes.

Let's just say that after a few pretty intense and difficult months in the office involving unions and lawyers, we reached a turning point last week. Good for some, better for others, worse for a few unfortunately. It has been tough and it is over now, but it will take a while to get back to normal.

Then I had a lovely but unexpected houseguest staying with us.

Then we left for the mountains and, although really nice, it as usual involved way too many eggs and suitcases.

I came back to the tail of the office drama, and an extra pretty big work project on the side.

And a horrendous cold, the kind you get once every 18 months that leaves you in a wheezing, oozing, coughing, lump on the floor.
Oh and then, minor detail, I had my best friend's baby shower on Saturday.

So, yes, I was hit by an avalanche of sorts.

I still have a bit of a cold, we had a really lovely time in the mountains and I shocked my friend out of her maternity compression socks when a few out-of-towners showed up at her surprise baby shower. And let me add that, even if many of us didn't know each other, we did not need the tahini, peanut butter, Nutella and green curry paste filled diapers or the toilet paper to break the ice.

So all is well that ends well.

Once again, Nigella Lawson saved the day when it came to making some goodies for the shower.

I used her cut-out biscuit recipe to make pink glazed bear and rocking horse shaped cookies.*

I also made her chocolate mousse cake, because you can't put 12 girls in a room and not make something chocolate, right?

I loved this recipe the minute I read it for three reasons:

1) I had tons of Easter chocolate that I was dying to use up.

2) I loved that you can get two desserts out of one recipe: if you bake it with a water bath you get this lovely cake, but if you simply put the chocolate mixture in the fridge to set, it is a luscious chocolate mousse. I went for the cake because for obvious reasons, I didn't want to serve raw eggs.

3) Two of my guests were gluten intolerant and this made for a perfect dessert.

It is quick to prepare and quite forgiving: I overbeat the egg whites and added in the milk chocolate later without a hitch.

* the horses were finished with strawberry sugar a dear friend/family member makes along with a whole range of amazing sugars and salts. She just sent me an incredible sample box and some recipes to try them with, so you will be hearing more of her. People of NYC, I will let you know where you can buy her products asap. They are absolutely out of this world, the most incredible and enticing flavors, colors and combinations you could imagine.

Ingredients (8 servings)
300gr dark chocolate
50gr milk chocolate
175gr butter
8 eggs
200 gr sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Separate egg yolks from whites. If you are using a 23cm springform as suggested by Nigella, line the inside with aluminum foil. I used a round, glass ovenproof dish.

Preheat oven to 180°C/375°F.

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave or double boiler. Beat egg yolks and sugar until the eggs turn pale and creamy. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt and the cooled chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks. Energetically mix a spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and then gently fold in the rest.

Pour the cake batter into the pan, which you will then place into a bigger roasting tin. Boil some water and pour it into the larger tin up to about 2.5cm (roughly an inch). Cook for about 50 minutes, so the outside is dry and cakey but the inside is very moist and mousse-like.

Let cool. If you used a lined springform, very gently peel away the foil after placing the cake on a plate.


  1. The chocolate mousse cake looks really fine and delectable. Cute cut-out cookies.

  2. The strawberry and raspberry sugars look awesome!
    I have the same feeling "oooo anybody out there?" but I have not been as busy as you! I just am a bit off the radar lately, I don't really have any blog posts on the horizon- just kind of getting' through the days...! Sweet baby shower!

    1. The sugars really are amazing. Natural and really interesting combos. Will let you know when she starts selling at farmer's markets. I loved the instagram pic of your belly. It makes sense that you are a little wrapped up in your own world... sounds like nesting to me. ;o)

  3. Ohhhh yum! I would like this both ways!!!
    It sounds like you had a very busy time lately!!! But I am glad it all ended up well! This is the time of the year that I like the least... still very confusing for me to have Easter in autumn! I keep thinking it's spring, but it all looks like it's November... SIGH!
    A big hug!

    1. I think the season reversal is probably the most difficult thing for people who move over the equator. I have some friends whose daughter was born in November in Chile and to them she was a summer baby. Then, when they lived here they had a boy who was born in June so he was a 100% summer baby, only that now they moved back and his birthday is at the peak of winter...

  4. I'm glad you didn't get crushed by an avalanche. :-) I mean, not a real one anyway. I love the hustle-bustle moments when things are going fast and you're being super productive. I think when you're in the zone, you tend to enjoy it and not realize how busy it is until you are done and take a step back!

    Love the Easter pastel colors of the cookies...and that mousse cake looks fabulous!

  5. The pastel color was more for the baby girl soon to come, but you are right, they fit perfectly for Easter too. And I agree, things usually feel busier once you step back and observe. While you are caught up in the whirlwind, it just happens.

  6. Welcome back! This looks like the perfect post Easter treat and I love that you can eat it uncooked too. I just made a chocolate mousse cake too - it's obviously in the air!

  7. I want to make this! It looks deliciously comforting!

  8. God bless Nigella. She's always there when we just feel too busy to be foodies. I'm glad you're walking away from the avalanche :) And the coloured sugar looks amazing! No chances of getting that in Europe, I assume?

    1. I will let you know, but I think not for now. Unless you want to drop by my place...

  9. Gorgeous cake. Great inspiration for baby showers- book marking right away- thank you!

    1. Thanks! It is perfect for a last minute dessert for your dinner party (considering you can skip the baking).

  10. Oh how perfect. Missed you! My best friend is having her first baby in October, and I can't wait to throw her party. Thank you for sharing with me! I hope you are having a blessed day.

    1. I am sure you will be baking up a myriad of goodies!

  11. Wow this is beautiful....makes me crave for some. Lovely ideas on baby shower.

  12. Wow you have been so busy! The cookies and the mousse cake are delicious. Love the colours too and yes you're right, chocolate is absolutely necessary!

  13. Thank you, my dearest friend! The party was amazing and the cake was absolutely delicious! I am lucky to have such a good friend!

  14. The cake looks incredible!!! Can't go wrong with chocolate cake, yum!

  15. What great looking cookies. Love how beautifully you iced them. And what a great cake! You have been so busy with your baking! xx


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