For days I have anxiously waited to take a bite of this triple layer cake and savour the wonderful marriage of raspberry and chocolate flavors. Why on earth did I wait days, you might wonder, when this cake can certainly be created and ready to eat in one afternoon? Well I had a series of mishaps that turned my yearning to eat cake into a frenzy of desire. It all started four days ago. I successfully baked the first layer of the cake and set it aside to cool. An hour later I went to take a picture of the cooled cake and I bumped my camera and it went crashing to the floor. Nervously I looked through the viewfinder and saw a hazy purple image of my cake. Thinking I had to go buy a new camera, which I couldn't do for a few days, I froze the cake to finish it later.
Two days later my husband picked up the camera to see what was wrong, and it seemed to be working fine. Go figure. So I pulled the cake out of the freezer and started to make the chocolate mousse. I wanted to get pictures of each step of my recipe and I tried to hold my camera in one hand while using my other to fold whipped cream into melted chocolate. I struggled and took too long. My mousse wasn't light and fluffy as it should be. It had little bits of hardened chocolate throughout. Certainly not the mousse I wanted to have in my cake. I poured the rejected mousse into a bowl, which my husband happily took off my hands. He was just as anxious to sink his teeth into the triple layer cake as I was, but was pacified for the time being. I was able to make a perfect batch of chocolate mousse, layer it on top of the cake, take pictures, and get it in the refrigerator before heading off to the pool (had to get my exercise in knowing how many calories I would soon be consuming). I rushed home, whipped up the raspberry mousse, and shot some photos just before the sun went down. I've been trying to use natural light to take my pictures, so I decided to wait to shoot the final photographs until the next day although my mouth was sure watering by this point. Licking the spoon would have to suffice for a little while longer.
I woke up to sun shining brightly in my bedroom, hopped out of bed, and set out to take my pictures. I got the cake from the refrigerator and was elated to see how wonderful it looked. I washed my raspberries and adorned the cake with a heart. It took me a little time to set up my first shot then I grabbed my camera, turned it on, and wanted to cry. A big spot had appeared on the viewfinder which I tried to clean off. That didn't work and it wasn't on the lens either. It must be an internal problem and I couldn't find a solution. O.K., so I had, at that point, relinquished myself to the fact that I would need to purchase a new camera. I could use an upgrade anyway, but my desire to get pictures of this cake had now escalated into obsession. I didn't want to put the cake back in the refrigerator and run to the electronics store, so I aimed my broken camera at the beautiful cake trying to keep the big spot off to one side. I got a few descent shots and decided they would have to do.
My next step was to get a perfect slice of cake to photograph. I thought this would be very simple. Oh, wrong again. I got a sharp knife warm by running it under hot water and made two very clean cuts. I went to lift the cake out of the pan, but couldn't get under the cake. I had forgotten to turn the base of my springform pan upside down and the lip was a 1/4" deep. There was no way to lift a slice neatly out of the pan base keeping the remaining cake intact. As my impatience grew, I decided to forgo having a nice shot of the slice of cake in front of the whole cake. A beautiful shot of a single slice would be fine. Not worrying about how the whole cake would look, I heartlessly cut it in half and scooped out one side. I needed to be able to get a spatula under the other half of the cake in order to remove it cleanly from the pan's base. It took some effort, but I finally got a beautiful slice of cake for my photograph. At this point though, I was so frustrated that I grabbed a spoon and dug into the mutilated portion of the cake. Yes, I know it was still morning, but hey, the cake has eggs, dairy, and fruit in it. Wouldn't that be considered an acceptable breakfast? Oh, as I put the first spoonful in my mouth, I let out a big sigh. My taste buds were so very happy. The waiting had come to an end. With each perfect bite I could taste the rich gooey flourless chocolate cake, the silky smooth chocolate mousse, and the lightly fruity white chocolate raspberry mousse. I stood in the middle of my kitchen eating joyously forgetting the stress of it all. When I had my fill and had licked my spoon clean, I grabbed my camera and got back to the work at hand. I finally got a perfect shot of a slice of this decadent cake. One good picture was enough to make me happy. What do you think, don't you just want to reach in your monitor and grab a slice for yourself?
I'm sure your experience making this dessert will go much more smoothly, at least I hope so. I will admit, that even without all of my mishaps, this recipe is challenging. Each layer of this cake uses different techniques and requires time and effort. It is also not a budget recipe, by any means. You'll use almost 2 pounds of chocolate, 2 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, and 1 1/2 pounds of raspberries. However, I assure you it is worth every penny and every minute of time spent. Each layer of this cake is delicious all on it's own, so if you don't want to create the cake, just make one of the three recipes. Your mouth will definitely thank you!
I made my cake in a heart shaped springform pan, but realize that most people don't own one. Just make your cake in a 9" round springform pan and arrange the raspberries on top of your cake in a heart if you are serving the cake on Valentine's Day. For other occasions, you can alternately top it with whipped cream or shaved chocolates for a beautiful effect. Also, I have a fondness for Peter's Burgundy Semi-Sweet Chocolate, which I use in all my chocolate recipes. If you prefer a more intense and bitter chocolate flavor swap bittersweet chocolate for the semi-sweet. Use chocolate that you enjoy eating out of hand, as you will definitely taste a poor chocolate in this recipe.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9" springform pan or heart shaped springform pan by removing and turning the base upside down, setting it inside the ring, and clamping the pan. Generously grease the sides and base of the pan with butter.
Place chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Prepare a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 1" of water and setting it over low heat on the stove. Set the chocolate filled bowl over the pan and allow the chocolate and butter to melt slowly, stirring often. Remove melted chocolate from stove top and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and egg yolks.
Whisk egg whites and salt until foam forms. Sprinkle in about 1/2 of the brown sugar and whisk until combined. Add the rest of the brown sugar and whisk to soft peaks (pick up the whisk and the eggs should form a peak but flop over.) You can use a stand mixer or handheld mixer for this process if you desire, just don't over beat the eggs or they will become like Styrofoam.
Gently fold 1/3rd of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites being careful to not deflate the egg whites. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. The cake will have risen, the edges will look set, and the center will spring back when touched. Set aside to cool for one hour. Once cooled, the cake will sink down in the center. NOTE: The toothpick test does not work with this cake. Just follow the instructions above. You can see the top of the cake pictured at right is all one color, there are no wet spots (darker areas.) That is what you'll look for.
Chocolate Mousse Layer:
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 egg yolks, room temperature
Whisk whipping cream to soft peaks. Set aside. Melt the chocolate in a large bowl. Click here for detailed instructions. Pour water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved creating a simple syrup. Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Continue to whisk while slowly adding a small amount of simple syrup. Slowly drizzle in the remaining simple syrup continually whisking. Combine eggs with melted chocolate, stirring until well incorporated. Heat chocolate mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds then stir. Add one third of the whipped cream and whisk until well incorporated. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until fluffy. Pour mousse over the chocolate cake layer. Spread evenly over top then refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse:
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
16 ounces frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
Pour water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top and set aside for 5 minutes to bloom. Pour frozen raspberries into the bowl of a food processor and puree. Pour puree into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Allow the raspberry juice to drip into the bowl. Press on the solids to get as much juice out of the puree as possible. Discard solids. Pour raspberry juice into a small saucepan. Add sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring often until the juice reduces to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Put chopped white chocolate into a large bowl. Pour hot juice over chocolate. Allow to sit for 3 minutes. Stir until melted and smooth.
Whisk cream to soft peaks. Whisk 1/3rd of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until light and fluffy. Pour over the chocolate mousse layer and spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Remove from refrigerator. Run a thin knife or offset spatula around the edge of the pan. Release the latch on the pan and carefully remove the metal ring from the cake. Set on a cake stand. (I usually put a dab of frosting or something on the plate to hold the cake in place.) Arrange raspberries in a heart on top of the cake just before serving.
Cake (without raspberry garnish) will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Keep in a cake dome to keep refrigerator smells out. Serves 8-12.
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