Friday, January 21, 2011
FFWD - Michel Roustang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake
I spread my culinary wings a bit this week with our French Fridays with Dorie recipe and did something I have never done before, I cooked with coffee. While not nearly as big a deal as say making five grain artisanal bread from scratch or a croquembouche, it was a leap for me. I hate coffee. I hate the smell. I hate the bitter flavor. Just hate it. So whenever a recipe calls for coffee, I ignore it or substitute with something else. Even though my beloved Ina Garten goes on and on about how coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate making it taste more chocolately, I wasn't buying it.
So when I saw espresso included in Dorie's recipe, Michel Roustang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake, my first instinct was to leave it out or replace it with hot water. However, this recipe only calls for a handful of the most basic ingredients; chocolate, cream, butter, eggs. It didn't feel right to leave anything out. Next thing I knew, there was a jar of instant espresso in my shopping cart.
The short list of ingredients aside, this recipe confused me. Dorie's recipes are usually crystal clear and that's one of the things I love about them. But this one had three options and in all honesty, they seemed pretty much the same. A chocolate mousse is made and a portion of it is folded into a chocolate cake batter and baked. The remaining mousse is added to the cake and it can be served warm or cold or you can bake it a second time. (I'm getting confused again as I type this.) I read the recipe several times trying to decide which option was the least confusing and kept walking away without making a decision on which option I would make. Chocolate mousse is my favorite dessert and it seemed a bit of a crime to not eat some of it in its original form so I decided I would bake the thin layer of mousse cake and then add the cold mousse to the top. But the mousse looked kind of messy and not very appetizing. In the end, I baked the cake twice using the method that Dorie says she prefers.
After baking once, then again, and cooling overnight, I was excited to taste the cake. I whisked up some whipped cream (by hand) and eagerly cut a slice. The cake is very dense, and really more like a torte. There was a slight difference in texture between the once baked and twice baked layers, but nothing significant. While pretty, there was a bitter flavor that I found a bit disappointing. Was it slightly burnt? Was it the bittersweet chocolate? Or was it the coffee? I noticed that the bitterness mellowed a bit over time and didn't keep me from eating a couple of slices. But overall I was a little disappointed in this recipe. It certainly wasn't bad, but it just wasn't all that I was hoping it would be. It was a big hit with other FFWD members. Check out what they thought, here.