14 April 2007

HHDD#11 White Chocolate Mousse Cake with Little Red Gems (aka pomegranate seeds)

When Helen from Tartelette won the last HHDD by that gorgeous pillow soft cheesecake of hers, I have been itchy to know what theme is she gonna come up with. And surprise! It's mousse! Cheers, Helen!

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of mousse. Previous attempts of mousse have all gone bad. I particular don't like the idea of adding gelatin to the mousse. Somehow it always gives the mousse a grainy rather than silky taste. Plus, mousse always gives me the impression of being thick and heavy. Think dark chocolate mousse. With many many egg yolks. Gosh.

Luckily I came across this recipe. No gelatin. No egg yolks. Simplely by whisking cream and white chocolate together. Almost the perfect mousse for me. It says in the recipe in particular that do not whisk the cream and white chocolate misture for too long. Stop as soon as it's thick enough to be spreaded. Take extra care not to make it grainy! I can taste a bit graininess in my mousse in the end, which was so disappointing that I almost decided I'd never make mousse again. But then the boyfriend, after nibbling on my leftover white chocolate buttons, told me that the chocolate itselft tasted quite rough in the first place. So, again, a big reminder for myself: always buy the best-quality chocolate I can find in the supermarket.

The choice of pomegranate to decorate the cake was easy. I just happen to have one sitting in the pantry. I was a bit surprised to find them a couple of days ago in the fresh food section of the supermarket. I haven't had pomegranate for, seriously, ages. My family used to have two pomegranate trees in the garden. And when it was in season, I always enjoyed the picking and eating under the tree. I still remembered this because I have seen such photos of me standing under the tree, holding a fresh pomegranate, grinning like an idiot. Then we moved out of that house and then my memories of pomegranate faded.

One day the boyfriend, holding a paper like he always does, told me that research has shown that pomegranate can dramatically reduce the chance of getting cancer, prostate cancer in particular. The next thing I know, I was standing in the supermarket, picking the best looking pomegranate. Maybe they are that good. Little red gems, full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. But for me, it is simply the taste of that sourness and sweetness that attracts me the most: a reminder of those carefree childhood days.

So I was experimenting on the cake flavour by adding a tablespoon of pomegranate juice into the cake batter. Result? I could barely taste anything remotely related to pomegranate. I was obviously vague about the idea of juice and essence. :p Anyways... the process of getting juice out of the seeds was really fun. Be careful though, do not wear whites while you are doing this, 'cos any spill (highly likely) will leave a red mark that looks like blood stain for sure. But, I'll definitely try to experiment with this again.

Overall, the cake was a hit. It was light and fluffy, both the sponge cake and the mousse. Definitely great combination.

White chocolate mousse cake with little red gems

Adapted from Gorgeous Cakes of Annie Bell

Mousse and Fruit
400 ml double cream
250g white chocolate, broken into pieces
1 pomegranate, taken seeds out

100 g plain flour
pinch of sea salt
6 large eggs
150 g castor sugar
1 tbsp pomegranate juice

Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Pour half over the chocolate in a bowl, leave for 1-2 minutes to soften, stir until it is almost melted, then pour the rest over and stir until smooth. Leave to cool, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

To make the sponge, preheat the oven to 180C and butter two 23 cm sandwich or deep cake tin with removable bases. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Put the eggs in a bowl and whisk for about 8-10 minutes using an electric mixer until the mixture is almost white and mousse-like. Lightly fold in the flour in two goes. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins, and give them a couple of sharp taps on the worktop to eliminate any large bubbles. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the sponge is light golden, springy to the touch, shrinking from the sides and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cake on the lower shelf may need a few minutes longer. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them. Leave to cool, when the cake will sink a little.

Given the delicacy of the sponge, the cake is best assembled on the plate you want to serve it from. Loosen both sponges using a palette knife and put one on a plate. Using an electric mixer beat the mousse until it forms soft but firm peaks, taking care to stop whisking before it turns grainy. As long as it is thick enought to spread. It will firm up further on cooling. Spread one third of it over the surface of one sponge, sandwich with the second sponge and spread another third over the top. Use the remainder to coat the sides of the cake - you may need a small knife to do the bottom sponge. Clean the edges of the plate with kitchen paper. Chill the cake for a couple of hours for the mousse to set. If keeping it any longer than this, cover with clingfilm at this point.

Just before serving, scatter the pomegranate seeds over the top of the cake. Like a trifle, the cake itself should be served lightly chilled, but the fruit is nicest at room temperature.


Helene said...

I would rename this Glorious Mousse! Looks fantastic! I am so putting this on my ever growing list of to make recipes. Good luck woth the voting!

Anonymous said...

The cake is gorgeous! I had my first-ever pomegranate just last fall - I love your idea of decorating with the juicy seeds.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

the pomegranate adds a exotic touch.they are really good for those with low hemoglobins levels.Not that it has to do anything with this beautiful cake but u can market it as healthy as well !

Barbara said...

The mousse cake looks wonderful Karen. The seeds are a gorgeous colour. Thanks for joining HHDD.

Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

seems you and i were both dreaming of white chocolate and pomegranate - great minds think alike!

Unknown said...

These are a wonderful combination. I like the composition of cake and mousse. Very tempting!

Cheryl said...

the pomegranites do really look like little gems decorating this cake. I think you did an outstanding job.

Kristen said...

Ooh, I've never thought of white chocolate and pomegranate before. It looks fabulous! :)

Dolores said...

I see this appearing on a holiday menu near me next winter! I love the color the seeds add to the overall presentation.

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this