Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

I had a splendid Valentine’s day this year. My boyfriend took charge of the main meal and my part of the day was to make the dessert. I rarely get the chance to make a special cake, so I searched my favorite blogs, and read my favorite recipe books for the most decadent cake I could find. It didn’t take me too long, I have had this Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake bookmarked from Annie’s Eats Blog since I first saw it way back in May.

The bottom layer of this baby is a flourless chocolate cake, the middle layer is a silky chocolate mousse and the top layer is a beautifully creamy white chocolate mousse. I salivated for hours waiting to eat this cake.

Let’s begin, shall we? To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.  Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps.  Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds.  Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more.

Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan.

To make the second layer, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds.

Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it.

Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand at least 5 minutes to soften.  Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved.

Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken.  Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds.  Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer.  Smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.  (Note: Do NOT cover your pan with plastic wrap unless you are completely sure you can do so without it touching the top of your cake during placement or removal.)

Decorate to your liking. I had a Valentine’s theme so I put shaved semi-sweet chocolate, and heart sprinkles on top.

Eat!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats via Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients:
For the bottom layer:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing the pan)
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

For the middle layer:
2 tbsp. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
5 tbsp. hot water
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

For the top layer:
¾ tsp. powdered gelatin
1 tbsp. water
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream

For garnish:
Chocolate curls or cocoa powder

Directions:
To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps. Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan. (If not making the second layer right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to proceed.)

To make the second layer, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand at least 5 minutes to soften. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours. (Note: Do NOT cover your pan with plastic wrap unless you are completely sure you can do so without it touching the top of your cake during placement or removal. If it does touch the cake, it will smudge the top.)

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Pumpkin Cranberry Granola Bars

Because I have excess pumpkin from my Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, I decided to look over a few of my favorite blogs for some ideas. I came across so many good looking pumpkin recipes (with half of them on Sugar Crafter’s blog) but found this granola bar recipe on The Comfort of Cooking’s blog and thought I could turn this into a healthy snack.

The pumpkin, applesauce and honey flavours burst together in your mouth. When mixed with the rolled oats and cranberries this granola bar becomes the perfect healthy snack!

Let’s get baking. First, preheat your oven and spray your 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. I shouldn’t have used my red bowls to take pictures with….sorry for the ugliness! haha

Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set. Under baked bars are yucky. Yeah, I said it – yucky. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola bars
Adapted loosely from The Comfort of Cooking’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Makes 10-12 granola bars
3 weight watchers points for for 1 of 12 bars

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in cranberries.
5. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set -you don’t want them to be under-baked!
6. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

I feel like I don’t make enough pumpkin recipes. If I do, they are generally made quickly and at night so I can never blog about them! This is why I have chosen to make cookies. After seeing all of the amazing pumpkin baked goods at Christmas time, I knew I had to try to make at least one of them!

These cookies are amazing, and I owe a big thanks to petite kitchenesse for lending this recipe on her blog. The blend of spices is perfectly matched inside of this chewy, moist cookie. Just look inside of that thing…

The only problem?? I only used 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree and now I have almost a whole can left! If you have any suggestions on what I could make with the leftover pumpkin, let me know! I’m looking forward to suggestions!!

Let’s bake. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves and salt in a large bowl.

Beat butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until fluffy. Add pumpkin puree, molasses, and egg and mix until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and beat until a well-blended batter forms. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a bowl with your rolling sugar. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of batter in sugar until well coated and place on sheet. The cookies will spread, so give them a couple inches of room.

Bake 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked. Let them sit on the sheet for a few minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies
Recipe take from petite kitchenesse
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
2 ⅓ cups AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling (if you have it, I recommend turbinado sugar for rolling)
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup molasses
1 egg

Directions:
1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves and salt in a large bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until fluffy. Add pumpkin puree, molasses, and egg and mix until well combined.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and beat until a well-blended batter forms.
4. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or two, if you’d like to prep a second sheet while the first one bakes).
6. Fill a bowl with your rolling sugar. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of batter in sugar until well coated and place on sheet. The cookies will spread, so give them a couple inches of room.
7. Bake 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked. Let them sit on the sheet for a few minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Minit Tapioca. Do it.

When I was a little girl my Nanny always made me special treats. Of course these treats needed to be made over, and over again for them to become favorites of mine, but generally it was the easy things (luckily for Nan) that I began to request.

Minit tapioca is an old favorite of mine. A recipe that I’ve been making and reading from the box since I was a tot. This past Christmas holiday I was rummaging around my Nanny’s cupboards, as usual, when I jumped for joy at finding the box of tapioca. So naturally I made this scrumptious recipe as soon as I got in the door of my apartment, and ate it all. At the first bite, I was immediately brought back to feeling like a kid again. I couldn’t wait for the pudding to cool, so I burnt my mouth, and then I ate the whole pot! I wanted to make this again so my boy could try it, so this time I patiently waited. Waited for him to get home, so we could devour this deliciousness and so I could show him how wonderful these simple recipes can be.

To begin, whisk tapioca, sugar, milk, and egg together in a medium saucepan. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Turn on the heat to medium, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla.

Cool for 20 minutes, stirring at the 10 minute point. The pudding will thicken as it cools.

Serve warm or chilled. I prefer chilled, so I put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!

Minit Tapioca Pudding
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
3 tbsp Minit Tapioca
1/4 cup sugar
2-3/4 cups milk (I used 1%, but a higher percentage of fat would be better)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Whisk tapioca, sugar, milk, and egg together in a medium saucepan. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Turn on the heat to medium, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in vanilla.
4. Cool for 20 minutes, stirring at the 10 minute point. The pudding will thicken as it cools.
5. Serve warm or chilled. I prefer chilled, so I put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.