There are two types of days: there are regular days and there are crazed, ravenously ferocious, stressful, chocolate emergency days.
Guess which kind today was.
It all started out when Nemo announced that we would be having Grandma and Grandpa over for dinner. That part was pretty good though. Especially because it meant I could make you a dessert.
After about a five hour brain fart during which I scoured the cupboards for inspiration that wasn't there, I finally decided to fall back on my good old flourless chocolate cake. Because I wanted it.
I needed it.
And maybe I would make a white chocolate mousse to put on top! What better time to make up a recipe for something I've never even attempted before than National Crazed-ravenously-ferocious-stressful-chocolate-emergency Day! But this specific national holiday has a way of clouding my judgement. I didn't understand. How stupid. I was being.
Well, the first bit went okay. I had the cake in the oven, and the mousse was done. I even cooled the cake before putting the mousse on. But that's when the impatience set in.
"Nemo, how long is it going to take for this mousse to set?? Did I not make it thick enough?" I wailed as I opened the freezer for the five trillionth time within the first five minutes.
"Just put it in the fridge and come do something cool with me." Nemo said.
"No." said the crazed-ravenously-ferocious-stressful-chocolate-emergency, "I must do this now."
Because I just haaaad to decorate it really cool. Immediately.
Nemo hovered over my shoulder as I carefully dusted on the cocoa powder. We held our breath as I slowly lifted the paper from the cake.
A faint breath, the prelude to our sighs of relief, sent up a whirlwind of cocoa powder.
"NOOOOOO!!!!!" I gasped, breathing the fine powder into my lungs. We gasped and sputtered until the storm had passed, leaving my creation less than perfect and the unset mousse dripping from the sides.
"MAKE WAY! I'm putting this back in the freezer!" I cried.
"Listen. I'm just gonna get out a piece and take a picture of it so I never have to think about it again." I said, "It's already been in there for like ten minutes on POWER FREEZE. This is as set as it's going to get!"
Let's just say, trying to cut a clean slice of an unset cake without destroying the entire design on the top is... impossible. I sliced and sliced and destroyed and destroyed.
Nemo, hearing my guttural groans of agony, said, "Listen Yam, just take a break and....." she had turned around to see my face planted into a pile smashed cake, my head bobbing up and down as my jaw worked mechanically. I lifted up my head as Nemo's words trailed off.
"Throw this cow pie in the trash." I sobbed, "I'm too fat to live. The kitchen is so messy. My life is over." I rolled onto the floor with the broken crayons and dust bunnies. My sobbing came out as hysterical laughter, because really, I wasn't that sad. I was mostly relieved to be done with it.
An hour later I opened fridge to find a perfectly set mousse on top of a perfectly chocolatey cake. I redusted some cocoa over the top, plucked some mint leaves out of the garden, and cut out a decent slice. And there you have it. Grandma and Grandpa raved. I brushed my teeth. All was well.
White Chocolate Mousse Truffle Cake
Flourless Chocolate Cake:
8 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Set the pan on a cookie sheet and wrap with a couple of wet dishcloths (the wet cloths make it so the outside doesn't cook before the inside is done).
Melt the butter and then add the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, returning to the microwave or stove if you need to to get the chocolate melted. Dissolve the coffee into the warm water and add the vanilla and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar for about five minutes until they are very pale and about doubled in volume. Then sift in the cocoa powder mix until smooth. Slowly add in the chocolate and butter mixture until smooth. Poor into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes.
White Chocolate Mousse:
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening (don't skip this. It really helps the chocolate melt better)
3 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Combine the white chocolate chips, butter, and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Turn down the microwave power to about 80% and cook the chocolate chips for about 30 seconds at a time, stirring well at each interval, until smooth. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water. The water in the pot should not be touching the bottom of the bowl so make sure it's very shallow. Whisk the eggs and sugar mixture for about five minutes over the heat until slightly thickened (if you want to be technical I think it's supposed to be about 150º to kill any bacteria in the eggs). Add in the vanilla and then slowly whisk in the white chocolate mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of the cream and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature. If it separates, just add a little heavy cream at a time and beat until smooth. Whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream in a chilled bowl until peaks form. Whisk in about a third of a cup into the white chocolate mixture and then fold in the rest. Pour over cooled cake and chill for at least one hour. To decorate, sprinkle with cocoa powder or use chocolate leaves. I used one of those paper doily things you're supposed to put cakes on and cut out the middle and then cut some hearts out of paper and arranged them over the mousse before powdering it to make the design. To cut a slice, use a large sharp knife and wet it between each slice.
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