Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mango Mousse Anniversary Cake

In a couple of days my husband and I are going to be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary and I wanted to make something special and different from my normal baked goods of cupcakes. We got married in Hawaii, which I think is the best place on this planet to get married, or at least barefoot on a beach on any tropical island will suffice, and I have always made something tropical for our anniversary. When we left for our wedding we had an early am lay over in San Francisco and like at 7 am we decided to get some breakfast before our flight out to Kauai. There is this cafe at SFO that has all kinds of awesome cakes, pastries, desserts, coffees etc and we decided hey what the hell this is a major celebration and vacation so why not start off with cake for breakfast!!! I got a slice of this amazing mango mousse cake and the hubs got um something else. I can't remember. ha ha. I just remember how heavenly this mango mousse cake was. Mostly mousse and thin layers of a simple sponge cake. Not overly sweet and a nice tang from the mango, one of my favorite fruits. 

So I decided to recreate this cake for our anniversary. My husband is working on the actual day so we decided to celebrate on Saturday ( last night).  The cake by itself is really easy and simple, not many ingredients. I chose a simple genoise, or sponge cake. I think the cake could have been a little better, not exactly what I liked, but maybe it was the recipe I chose to make. It worked with the whole cake put together, but I think if I make a genoise again it wont be this recipe. I used the one from my Williams Sonoma Cake book, from this recipe here. After I had made the cake I looked up other recipes for sponge/foam cakes and genoise cakes. I think there might have been a typo with the Williams Sonoma one since it said to raise the temp of the eggs/sugar mixture to 140 deg F and all the other recipes I had found said to raise to 100 to 104. As I was whisking and watching the temp the eggs seemed to be cooking a little. Scrambled egg cake anyone? Ew. BUT once I had it whipping the texture and color did what it was supposed to according to the directions so I thought it was going to be ok. It was - but not my fave type of cake. A little dry on its own and I baked it less than the directions said to. I also used another recipe from the Williams Sonoma Cake book for directions on cake assembly, the pumpkin mousse cake, which looks really good too and probably a nice alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving time for those of you out there like my self that aren't fans of pie but still love pumpkin in desserts.

I also was trying to figure out recipes for the mango mousse and the mango mirror ( The glassy looking mango gelatin mixture on top of the cake) and was having a hard time finding them not in metric. Apparently this cake is a popular asian/thai cake so most of the recipes don't use standard American measures and I really hate converting because I hate math. I do have a food scale but I am thinking mine isn't as sensitive as it used to be ( it is well worn) so it might be time for an upgrade. So I did find a recipe and I converted it to the best of my abilities and the mousse and mirror came out awesome.

So here we go with my step by step pics.
Mise en place.

The mangoes were keeping the parchment paper flat in my cake pan. But since this was a mango cake I thought it made for a nice visual. ha ha
There is no chemical leavener in a genoise such as baking powder.. The whipping of air into the eggs and sugar is what gives the cake its height. Which isn't much so this is why there are only a few ingredients to measure out.

Whole eggs and sugar in mixing bowl of a stand mixer 

Whisking over a pot of simmering water to get to the right temp ( use a candy thermometer to watch the temp as you whisk)

Notice the color and volume of the eggs and sugar mixture after it had been whisked on high speed for 8 min.  Sift the flour over the mixture and carefully fold in so you don't deflate the air out of the eggs/sugar mixture. Like 10-15 folds each addition of flour
Poured into pan. There is only parchement paper on the bottom of the pan, it is not greased at all. No need. The recipe calls for a 9" x 3" pan but I only had a 9" x 2" and hoped that it wouldn't puff up and out of. It didn't. I think I might have deflated it a little when folding in the flour

Baked til golden brown and cooled in pan until needed for next step

Making the mousse
Whipping the cream first and chilling it until the mango gelatin mixture is ready to be folded in. I thought the mousse could have been a touch sweeter, next time I will add a few tbsp of powdered sugar to the whipped cream.

Softening the gelatin

The gelatin is added to the mango puree

Folding the puree into the whipped cream. The puree sort of sank to the bottom didn't really mix in that well and I noticed it when it was time to add the second layer of mousse so I stirred it better and when you see the cut slice of cake you can see one layer of mousse is slightly lighter than the other.

Cake assembly time

I LOVE my giant cake cutting knife. This cake was pretty thin so laying the knife against the counter was the perfect level to cut it into even halves

Peeling off the parchment on the bottom layer. You can see how thin this cake is

Bottom layer cut side up in a 9" springform pan

Topped with about half the mousse mixture

The other cake layer placed on top and trimmed around the edges so the mousse will fill in the sides

And the rest of the mousse. You can see this layer is slightly more orange since I mixed in the mango puree that had sank to the bottom of the bowl and didn't notice until I went to spread it on the cake the second time
Off to chill in the fridge a few hours to set the mousse

Mango Mirror Making Time

Mango puree, gelatin, sugar and water

The heated and dissolved sugar and gelatin mixture and the mango puree

All mixed together and cooling to room temp

The chilled cake with the mousse nicely set

Straining the mirror through a sieve so its a nice somewhat clear topping. I thought this was  a pretty cool thing to add to the top of the cake. 

I SUCK at piping lettering. But I wanted to add something to the cake being that it is our anniversary and all. I had "3 Years" on it as well but it looked BAD so I took it off. I hope this doesn't end up on Cake Wrecks blog. ha  ha

It really wasn't that bad taking it out of the spring form pan. I had to run a knife around the top to loosen the mirror but the rest slid right out and not too much had to be smoothed out

I overcompensated with sweetening the whipped cream I decorated with more than I normally would have since the mousse and cake weren't very sweet at all. It actually was perfect tasting all together.

I just LOVE the colors of the cake

It looks really neat sliced too and the mousse worked with the cake afterall. I still would make a different recipe if I do make this cake again. It was a touch dry for my taste even with gobs of mousse. The mirror was a neat touch. Both the hubs and I really liked it, great mango flavor and texture.


Classic Genoise Recipe

  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

To make the génoise, preheat an oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar by hand until combined. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Gently whisk until the mixture registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Put the bowl on the mixer and beat with the whisk on high speed until the mixture is pale and almost tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the flour over the egg mixture in 2 additions and carefully fold in with a large rubber spatula. Fold a large dollop into the melted butter, then fold back into the egg mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a work surface. Turn the cake right side up, leaving the parchment paper in place. Cut the cake into 2 equal layers. Put the top layer, cut side up, on a serving plate.

Mango mousse (adapted from Aran's roasted plum mousse)

  2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 packet plus 1 1/2 tsp gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
2 cups mango puree (about 2 -3 mango's or frozen mango thawed and pureed)
 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks. Cover and put it in the fridge.
Soak the gelatine in the water for a few minutes. Meanwhile mix the mango puree with the powdered sugar. Heat the gelatine/water mixture in the microwave until dissolved. I popped it in for 30 seconds at a time and stirred every time. 40 seconds was perfect
Add the gelatine mixture to the mango puree and mix well. Add the mango mixture to the whipped cream until well combined.  Pour half on top of first layer of cake in a springform pan. Place other layer on top of the mousse with edges trimmed 1/2 inch all the way around. Pour the rest of the mousse on top ( there will be a little leftover) and smooth with a spatula. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight covered with foil

Mango mirror

1packet plus 1 1/2 gelatin
150 ml (cold) water
1 ½ oz granulated sugar
4 ½ oz mango puree

Soak the gelatin in about half of the cold water. Meanwhile heat the rest of the water with the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Add the soaked gelatin to the water/sugar mixture. Stir until all the gelatin has dissolved. (Heat gently if the gelatin doesn't dissolve).
Add the gelatine mixture to the mango puree and allow to cool down to room temperature. Pour the mirror through a sieve on top of the chilled mousse. Allow to set in the fridge.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes

After my first attempt at a pomegranate cupcake, ( these ones here), that I thought didn't taste like pomegranate at all, I wanted to try again with a different approach. That and the fact that I still had 5 bottles of the Pom Wonderful juice that the lovely people at Pom Wonderful had sent me and I needed to use them up and not just drink them. ha ha

My friend Steph had made cupcakes with chocolate and pomegranate from a bundt cake recipe she had found on Baking Bites, one of my favorite baking sites, and I almost used that recipe but I really wanted something with more PUNCH to it. So I searched around some more and came across a recipe on one of my absolute favorite blogs, How to Eat A Cupcake ( love her recipes and she is so funny the way she writes) and decided this one was it. I read her comments on the recipe and decided to alter mine a little bit to see if I could get rid of the "gumminess" she said it had from all the water in the recipe. I am not one for using a lot of water in a cake. Water has NO FLAVOR and really doesn't add much to a cake. And the cake had no eggs in it and well I am not a vegan an I think that eggs play an important roll in cake baking for all kinds of reasons. So I added in 2 large eggs and since they measured out to a scant half a cup I reduced the water to a little over half cup so the whole cup of liquid ( well sort of liquid) would still be there and I wouldn't have to change the recipe anywhere else. I hate math.  I also wanted a little something else in case the cake part wasn't very strong with the pomegranate flavor.

So then I thought of what a good filling would be. MOUSSE! I found a recipe for pomegranate mousse online and it totally worked and tasted AMAZING. And now for the frosting..hmmm what to do. I thought since these were a little more elegant I didn't want to do a swirl of frosting but a ganache. Not too sweet either and I love the way the bundt cake looks on How to Eat A Cupcake's blog so I too did a little pom juice glaze drizzled over the top. I should have made it thicker than I did because it sort of disappeared into the ganache not long after I took pics.

Mousse time first. I made this the day before I made the cupcakes so it would set up nicely. I have had troubles in the past with gelatin and some mousse recipes call for raw eggs whites. I am leery of using them and I didn't feel like pasteurizing them  myself. So I subbed meringue powder mixed with water
This works for not only making royal icing but it works to stiffen frostings when added in dry or when mixed with water works like a charm to stiffen mousse

pom juice and gelatin cooling, whipping cream ready to be whipped, I whipped the "egg whites last"

Perfect. Light pink and tasty. Off to the fridge you go

Cupcake time. The recipe calls for vinegar and I JUST SO HAPPENED TO HAVE pomegranate vinegar from Trader Joes. I love that store. Its great for salad dressings and was PERFECT in these cupcakes. 

Mmmm cocoa-ey

Pom juice with the other ingredients. This is a GIANT 8 cup measuring cup so that's why it looks like its not very full

All mixed together. I liked this recipe for the fact that I didn't have to use my stand mixer. Not that I don't love my kitchen aid  ( believe me its my FAVE appliance) but I get lazy and hate cleaning the mixing blades some times. ha ha

Ready for the oven

They smelled chocolaty and pomegranatey when cooling. It was already a lot more promising than my other pomegranate cupcakes. 

I always use my apple corer or a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes but I had seen someone using circle cutters recently for making filling holes in cupcakes and I liked that I had a depth gauge on them. I have been known to push my apple corer a weeeeeee bit too far and blow out bottom of cupcakes. oops. So I got my Ateco circle cutter set out and used the two that were the next two sizes up from the smallest one in the set. I wasn't sure which one I wanted to use. So I experiemented on a couple first

They pushed in great but with such a small lip on the rim I had to be careful twisting and pulling them back out to get a good core. 

the bigger one was too big. That's a lot of cake missing!!

Yummy pomegranate mousse. Yes I tasted it. With a spoon.

 Filled em up

Pu the tops of the cores back on and put them on a plate in the fridge to set up.

I cored out the rest with the smaller of the two cutters. Not all cored that well so I did have to clean out a little with a knife since that fit better than a spoon. Less cake damage that way too

Collected the cupcake "guts" in a bowl. A spoonful of the mousse with some "guts" was soo yummy. Even the hubby agreed.

I piped the mousse in instead of spooning. I didn't feel like being up til midnight. The mousse got a little runny when piped but then after being chilled again they set back up nicely.

My ganache frosting. A mix of bittersweet and semi sweet chocolate. Not because I meant to but because I needed 8 ounces and only had 4 of each. ha

The scary part. Dipping the cupcakes. I was so afraid the tops would fall off in the ganache but luckily none did. Phew.

All ganached up. I chilled these again before drizzilng with the pom juice glaze

For the pom juice I used powdered sugar and a few cap fulls of the pom juice. I should have used less juice. This wasn't as thick as I wanted it to be but didn't realize it until too late

I was hoping the pink would really pop in color on the ganache frosting

Drizzled on using a disposable piping bag with  the very end snipped off so not too much would come out at once

Perfect. Just how I wanted them to look. But then the glaze melted into the cupcakes and got washed out. At least I got a couple good pics first

I can't not take a pic of one cut in half!!

The one that was cored with the bigger cutter. The hubby ate this one. So far all my feedback on these cupcakes have been that they are the best I have made yet. I will gladly take it!! I, myself, LOVED these. They weren't overly sweet, the mousse had a nice tang to it, you could taste the pomegranate in the cake and the ganache was the perfect frosting. The cake was moist and dense and not at all gummy.

Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes 

Adapted from How To Eat A Cupcake

Makes 24 cupcakes
1 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 1 tbsps water, heated to boiling
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs room temp, beaten lightly ( just give em a little spanking!)
2 tablespoons vinegar (not wine vinegar – apple cider or even pomegranate if you can find it
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the center.
2. Place a paper baking cup in each of 24 regular sized muffin cups, spray edges around 
     cups lightly with cooking spray
3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
4. In a large measuring cup, combine pomegranate juice and boiling water.
5. Add oil, beaten eggs, vinegar and vanilla to the pomegranate juice mixture.
6. Pour pomegranat juice mixture in well in center of the flour mixture all at once and whisk just to combine (batter will be lumpy).
7. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups
8. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs
9. Let cool completely before frosting

Pomegranate Mousse Recipe

Pomegranate mousse
  • 3/4 cup POM Wonderful juice
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Clear Gelatin (1 package)
  • 2 egg whites OR 4 tbsp meringue powder mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
In a pot bring to boil POM Wonderful and sugar. Remove from heat.
Dissolve the gelatin according to it’s package and add it to the pomegranate mixture. Add the pomegranate liqueur and stir well. Cool it down till it’s starts to thicken.
In a large bowl whip the cream until firm. Stir little bit of the whipped cream into the cold pomegranate mixture till well combined. Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Whip the egg whites or mernigue powder substitute and fold in. Cover and chill in the fridge.

Ganache Recipe
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces of chocolate ( baking bar or pistoles chopped up NOT chocolate chips)
I prefer using bittersweet or semisweet

Chop up the chocolate and place in to a non reactive bowl like a stainless steel bowl. Heat the cream til it just boils then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 5 min then whisk until the chocolate is all melted and smooth. Let sit out until thickened before dipping. If you chill in fridge it may set up too hard so usually an hour or so at room temp works just fine.