I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Jewish Maternal Guilt, A Lesson

Lesson One: If you're going to be a good Jewish mother, every time you call your child on the phone, you should ask them how they are doing with their weight and exercise regime. Sympathise with how hard it all is, compliment them on a job well done. Then, when you see them, tell them they are looking a bit tired, and a bit sick, and a bit pale and unwell, and offer them "a bisselle chocolade" from your handbag.

If for whatever reason you can't see your child in person (say, for example, they live in Australia) then you can do the chocolate thing by sending your kid a copy of this:

The picture on the front of that magazine has been staring at me for weeks....partially because of the cake, but partially because I have no idea who Paula Deen is, other than an overly made-up and plastic surguried old lady. (Who apparently likes chocolate!) I left the magazine in my bathroom (where, of course, all good reading gets done) and the damn thing has been staring me down every single time I went in there. Finally, a group dinner event gave me the perfect excuse for making this recipe. I cheated a little bit, though - I used my own chocolate cake recipe (because I was baking several kilos worth that day). I did use the official Paula Deen recipe for the mousse and the icing. I also cheated with the topping by buying a box of pre-made Flake garnish rather than grating my own. Lazy, I know. What can I say? All this gym going is tiring me out to much to bother with grating chocolate.

If you've got a favourite chocolate cake recipe, use it. Her recipe strikes me as overly complicated and with way too many ingredients, even though technically it is a "one bowl" recipe. As this is a more difficult cake to put together and takes more time than most, I think it's well worth simplifying the cake part of the procedure.

I also thought the icing recipe was really disgusting. The texture was quite hard, it wasn't very easy to spread, and it was so sweet and sugary it made the local diabetes association hold a protest right outside my kitchen door.

The need to bake three separate cakes, then torte them, is ridiculous in itself. Who has 3 cake pans the exact same size? The idea behind this cake is completely fantastic, though - and the mousse recipe was not only easy but delicious.

So let's recap!

emzeegee's version of Paula Deen's Dreamy Chocolate Mousse Cake

The day before:
Bake your favourite chocolate cake recipe in a 10 inch square or round tin. Make it of generous height, so that the cake mix comes to about 1/4 below the top of the tin (you want a nice high cake for this.) Cool a bit and then chuck it into the freezer.

Make a basic ganache: 1 part heavy cream to 1 part dark chocolate - for this recipe I would do 2 cups of each, which is more than you need, but it keeps well. Bring the cream to the boil. Take off the heat and mix in the chocolate until it all melts (you want to really make sure it's well melted. No lumps!). Pop it into the fridge to cool to spreading consistency.

Make the mousse (recipe below) and chuck it into the fridge.

The day you want to eat it:

Take the cake out of the freezer, and using either an electric knife or a decent bread knife, slice the cake into four even pieces (horizontally.)

Place the bottom piece onto a board/plate. Evenly spread with 1/4 of the mousse. Place a layer of cake on top. Evenly spread with 1/4 of the mousse. Continue until you have no layers left (and please don't be a moron and spread mousse on the very top. Have I taught you nothing?!).

Place in the freezer for an hour to firm. Once frozen, take it out. Slather the ganache all over the top and sides (and try to be neat about it.) Then, using your hands, push the grated chocolate onto the sides and top of the cake. Want to be fancy about it? Only do that on the sides, and leave the top bare, then pipe some ganache rosettes or pile in some chocolate curls (a la Paula.)

Dreamy Chocolate Mousse
Makes about 4½ cups.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
¼ cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl, soften gelatin in 3 tablespoons cold water. Let stand for 2 minutes. Add boiling water, stirring until gelatin dissolves; set aside. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. In a medium bowl, beat cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar mixture, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir in gelatin mixture. Cover and chill for 4 hours.


Christine said...

In case you were still wondering...

Paula Deen started a small catering business in Savannah, GA when she got divorced (mainly lunches for businessmen, I think) that was so popular that she opened a restaurant. She specializes in southern cooking (lots of lard). Her restaurant (called Lady & Sons) was hugely successful and she moved it to a larger spot, wrote a couple cookbooks, appeared on a couple TV shows (including Oprah), and now appears regularly on the Food Network here in the States. You know, basically what you'll be doing in a few years once your business takes off. :)

She's a semi-celebrity chef here, but no reason you would have heard of her way over on the other side of the world.

And that cake looks fabulous.


the baker's wife said...

She looks scarily like a celebrity wife here- Patti Newton. But Patti would never let herself get so grey!