Sunday, 21 July 2013

Chocolate mousse cake and a trip to York

For me, this cake is a wish-list of all the best things baking with chocolate can provide.  Chocolate biscuit base? Yep.  Layer of rich brownie? Yeah, it’s got one of those. Chocolate mousse? Of course! Whippy cream to set it all off? Mai oui...and even some chocolate pigs frolicking on the top!  Somebody pinch me; I must be dreaming.

Now this looks pretty fancy and you do need to organise yourself to get the stages done (with waiting time between them) but there is nothing complicated here at all.  If you can whisk and fold then you can make what is a very sophisticated looking dessert.  Also, in this heatwave, it doesn’t require a lot of oven time.

I kept the brownie all dark chocolate but used a mix of dark and milk chocolate for the mousse, simply because I prefer a less bitter mousse.  But you can tinker and tailor it to your tastebuds!

Often with recipes that use a 23cm tin, I’ll ignore the instruction and use my 20cm tin as I prefer a taller cake.  Don’t try that with this recipe as it is a huge cake even when made in the 23cm tin.  This could happily feed a large gathering for dessert and perhaps even leave you some for the next day...I must admit it is rather rich, even though I feel feeble for saying so.

Mr CC and I had a lovely long weekend in York.  We went there for a daytrip last year and realised that the City needed more than that to discover all the gems it has to offer.  It is a truly historic town with wonderful architecture wherever you look.  Here’s the Minster (I wasn’t drunk, I went for an arty angle to omit the scaffolding around the top of the left hand tower!)

Right that’s the travel guide over with – now to the important stuff!  To visit York is to fall in love with Bettys the famous tea rooms; I use the plural because in York you have big Bettys:

And little Bettys (it hurts me not to use an apostrophe but that’s how it is!)

Being keen to immerse myself in local culture I had to try both.  I had a quick cup of tea and a fat rascal in little Bettys while Mr CC was off looking at trains in the National Railway Museum (I think I got the better of that particular deal!).  I have read much about the legendary fat rascal – a cross between a scone and a rock bun, and the window display only got me more excited:

What I didn’t know is that they are served warm and eaten with butter (it just gets better!)

We visited big Bettys for the formal afternoon tea.  Even the menu was beautiful and in-keeping with the art deco style of the tea room:

The afternoon tea was classic and elegant – no putting savoury herbs in sweet tarts here; rather a lovely selection of tried and tested combinations such as lemon meringue, chocolate and caramel...I wish other afternoon tea venues would take note.

It wasn’t all about Bettys though; we found a lovely little cafe – Bennett’s - right by York Minster (on High Petergate) and thoroughly enjoyed their Yorkshire classics of gingerbread and curd tart.

To prove we didn’t live off cake for the weekend here’s a plate of wholesome goodness from Wackers (on Gillygate), York’s biggest and best loved fish and chip restaurant.  The fish and chips is fried in beef dripping....mmm, beef dripping!


For the base:
300g oreo biscuits – I used one packet normal filling, one packet chocolate filling
150g chocolate digestives – use milk or dark, whichever you prefer (I used milk)
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the cake:
200g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa solids
50ml dark rum
100g unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon fine salt
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50g golden syrup
30g plain flour (this is not a typo – it is only 30g)

For the mousse:
250ml double cream
250g chocolate – I used a mix of dark and milk
4 eggs, separated
30g icing sugar

For decoration:
300ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Chocolate decorations of your choice – I used tiny chocolate pigs!


Line the sides of 23cm round springform tin with baking paper of re-usable silicon liner.

Place the biscuits and butter into the food processor and blitz until you have claggy crumbs.  If you use a processor there is no need to melt the butter.  Alternatively, you can melt the butter and beat the biscuits to crumbs in a plastic bag then mix together.  As the biscuits are chocolate and filled with cream I think the processor is the way to go, if you can.

Press the base into the prepared tin and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Put the base in the oven (straight from the fridge) and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Increase the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Now make the cake layer: place the chocolate, rum, butter and salt into a saucepan and melt over a very gentle heat, stirring often.

When the chocolate has all melted add the sugar and stir rapidly.  At first the mix will look and feel gritty but then you will feel the sugar crystals dissolve even though the mix will still look granular.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the eggs one at a time.

Whisk in the golden syrup.

Whisk in the flour.

Your batter will be very thick and runny – like a brownie batter.

Pour the batter over the biscuit base and cook for 30-35 minutes or until the cake looks baked but still has a little squidge in the centre.

Leave to cool completely – in the tin – on a wire rack.

Now make the mousse layer: heat the cream in a saucepan until it is at scalding point i.e. almost but not quite boiling.

Remove from the heat and place the chocolate, broken into squares, into the cream.  Leave for a couple of minutes before stirring.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes or so before whisking in the egg yolks.  If the mix is too hot the eggs might start to cook and the mix will look ugly.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the icing sugar until they are stiff.

Take a spoon of the whites and whisk into the chocolate mix – this will slacken the chocolate and make it easier to fold in the remaining whites.

Fold together the chocolate and egg whites making sure you stop as soon as they are combined – over folding will knock air out of the mousse.

Spoon over the cake and chill for a minimum of 2 hours but ideally overnight.

On the day of serving whip the cream and icing sugar and spoon into a messy blob on top of the mousse.

Decorate as desired with chocolate.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Gloria Baker said...

what beautiful chocolate cake liok delicious and love your pictures sre amaxing!

Laura Denman said...

After reading your lovely post I'm not sure which I want to do first, visit York or make that cake! It sounds delicious =)

Miss C Flash said...

Looks like you had a great time on York and I love the pic of the fish and chips :-). Your chocolate cake looks delicious, perfect for a chocolaholic like me x

Stuart Vettese said...

The cake looks so delicious - and York looks amazing - hoping to visit friends there soon

Ulla said...

Cake looks so yummy! This goes to my baking list, thanks for sharing the recipe!
I've been to York some 20 yrs ago, I just loved it although I got lost from my friends for a while. I hope go there again one day.

Cakelaw said...

Wow, this cake looks amazing! Though am somewhat ashamed to admit that my favourite part is the chocolate piggies :) I have been to Ypork about 7 years ago and loved it, especially the crooked street.

shri said...

Oh, I feel like rushing off this very minute to make this beautiful cake CC.


wish we had chocolate piggies in kuala lumpur :(

i spend half my time on your site in envy for the supplies you get, sigh.

Jo said...

Wow... now that looks like a chocolate experience and a half! Love your little chocolate piggies roaming around the cream too!

So jealous you visited Bettys! (It upsets me too not to include an apostrophe.) The fat rascal in particular looks amazing.

Kim said...

Wowzer that is one amazing cake! Sounds like you had a great trip - York is beautiful. I went to the Harrogate Betty's and had a fat rascal there but have been wanting to go back for afternoon tea, it looks lovely.

Katie said...

Oh my! That looks sinfully delicious. What a lovely foodie filled day in york too

snowy said...

What a delicious looking cake. Glad you enjoyed the Fat Rascal at Bettys.

Maggie said...

Oh what a fab cake and adorable little piggies too. I love York - did you go on the Ghost Tour? Nice reminder of Bettys Tea Room, it's lovely.

Hettie said...

You have done it again girl. You have made me dribble on my desk! Want that cake NOW!
I am off to York soon. Already looking forward to my teas at Betties (we go to both). We spent our Honeymoon there so it holds a schpecial place for us.

Astral de la Mare said...

Such an amazing looking cake! Total chocolate heaven.

sensibilia said...

Lovely pictures, as ever. I went to Uni in York 40 years ago, and Bettys is just the same, (although I am sure it had an apostrophe then!!) I love going back to visit, and have a ritual itinerary - coffee in Little Bettys after arrival, followed by a visit to M&S, then lunch in big Bettys.

I have enjoyed exactly the same Fat Rascal, (never seen in any other establishment).

I have a recipe, which I cut out of Waitrose Magazine. I haven't tried it, but can pass it on if you would like it.

Lucy said...

This cake looks so incredible - definitely going to bookmark it for a special occasion. I love making fat rascals but I've never tried the orignal Betty's version, I feel a trip is needed urgently!

Sarah-Jane - said...

Lovely - that cheesecake looks to die for.

Jealous too - so badly want to go to Betty's ! x

Hong said...

This is cool!