White Chocolate & Cardamom Mousse Cake

Urgh. I’ve been on an energy-sapping holiday in Italy. The combination of the scorching sun and unlimited food is putting me in a constant state of lethargy. Everything’s so much effort: stairs, cooking, even lifting fingers to type. Maybe my muscles are finding it difficult to move around the fat that have recently surrounded them… So here’s an old recipe back from culinary school.
I had to make an entremet for my final pastry exam in school. A mousse cake with a sponge, a gel insert, a crisp layer, a glaze, tuile and chocolate decorations on top. Pastry wasn’t my strong point as you can see below: I got the the gel insert all wrong as it was too big and it was too stiff. And there I am unhappy next to some chocolate teddy I made. Boo pastry.

So this was me practicing the mousse of the cake. Should’ve practiced the gel insert, but I practiced the mousse as it was the easier bit. For this recipe, you must must must get good white chocolate. Also, I bought sponge cake but make your own, like get a ladyfinger recipe. You can then soak the sponge in an alcoholic syrup (equal parts water and sugar, bring to the boil, cool and add spirit of choice).  Yum.

Makes one 16cm cake
Store bought sponge cakes cut to size would do or you can go for homemade – homemade lady fingers would do well here.

95g whipping cream
4 cardamom pods, crushed
45g egg yolk
235g white chocolate
2 leaves gelatin
300g whipping cream

Cut the sponge to size — cut out strips to line the inside of the cake ring.  Then with the remaining cut out a disc, or do some patchwork and place them at the bottom of the cake ring on a cake board or plate.  Make sure there are no gaps.

Make the mousse
Place the 95g of cream with the cardamom pods in a small pan over very low heat to infuse.  Infuse for about 10 minutes, don’t let too much of it evaporate.

Put the gelatin leaves in a bowl of ice water.

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler (ie bowl on top of a pan of simmering water where the water doesn’t touch the bowl).

Whisk the yolks in a bowl, then, whilst whisking, pour the hot cream into the yolks in three inclusions, then put it back into the pan over low-medium heat.  Stir with a soft spatula and cook until it thickens to that it coats the back of a spoon.  By then, the gelatin leaves should be softened, squeeze them dry and stir into the mixture.  Stir until all is dissolved.

Pass through a strainer and mix into the chocolate.  When all is incorporate leave to the side to cool.

Whip the 300g of cream to medium peaks.  When the other mixture has cooled down to about 30-35C, fold the cream into it.  Pour into the lined ring, flatten top.  Put in the fridge to set for a few hours.

Carefully remove ring and serve.

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