There’s something about this time of the year that makes me crave chocolate like nothing else and I’m putting that energy into making lots of desserts that I can share so I don’t over indulge too much! This particular dessert was created for one of my best friends Emily, who’s birthday falls on Christmas eve.
Dark Chocolate and Orange Layer cake:
Makes: 9″ round cake
Time: 3-4 hours + chilling time
- Cake ring
- Digital thermometer
- Palette knife
- Silicon mat
- Chocolate brownie
- Dark chocolate and orange mousse
- Orange chantilly
- Caramelised almonds
- 66 g dark chocolate 70% (broken into small pieces)
- 63g unsalted butter
- 20g chopped almonds
- 25 g quality cocoa powder
- 25 g plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs beaten
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan assisted and line a round 9” spring from tin with baking paper. Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a bain-marie stirring frequently until the mixture is smooth. Take off the heat and add the chopped almonds.
In a separate large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder and then add this to the chocolate mix. Beat the eggs lightly and add into the mix.
Fill your tin with the brownie mix so that it fills the tin by 3cm (the brownie is incredibly rich so you want a thinner layer than what ended up in mine -any spare can be used to make mini brownie cupcakes). Place in the oven for approx. 25-35 mins. I normally like a quite gooey brownie but this needs to be a little firmer as it’s the base of the layer cake. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack.
Chocolate orange mousse:
- 1 orange worth of juice and zest
- 1 sheet of gelatine
- 175g dark chocolate broken into pieces
- 2 eggs (separated)
- 300ml whipping cream
Whisk the whipping cream until it reaches soft peaks. Place the sheet of gelatine in a bowl of cold water until it softens and then remove excess water and put aside. Heat the orange juice/zest lightly in the microwave and then whisk in the gelatine. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie over a simmering saucepan of water, stirring frequently until mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and add the orange juice/zest and gelatine stir until mixture is smooth and glossy. Whisk in the egg yolks and then leave to cool for 5 minutes. Fold in the whipped cream.
Finally whisk your egg whites until they reach stiff peaks and the fold in your chocolate mix gently until fully incorporated. Use immediately.
Orange crème fraiche Chantilly:
- 90ml double cream
- 30ml crème fraiche
- 125g Icing sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
Start off by combining the icing sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over a low/medium heat whisking until fully combined. Then whisk in ½ of the double cream until smooth and bring the heat up to medium. Make sure you keep stirring so the mix doesn’t catch on the bottom of the saucepan. When the mix has thickened and it’s simmering remove from the heat and place in a bowl till it hits room temp.
Whisk the remaining cream and crème fraiche in a chilled bowl until you get to the ribbon stage. Add the orange juice and zest and keep beating, adding the icing sugar gradually. When the mix is ready fold this into the cold cream mix and use
- 125g almonds
- 50g caster sugar
- 20ml water
Start by lightly toasting your almonds in a dry saucepan then set aside and slice into thins. In a new saucepan heat your sugar and water until it reaches 118 degrees. Then add your almonds and stir. Using a silicon spatula spread the almonds on a silicon mat and leave to cool.
- Gently lift out your brownie base from the springform tin and remove the baking paper. Place a cake board (use a little icing to hold it in place).
- Carefully trim the top so you have flat layer.
- Place your cake ring around the brownie and secure tightly with string (if need be).
- The brownie should be moist enough that you can squidge it down a little if you have any gaps in the cake ring.
- Pour your chocolate mousse over the brownie and use a palette knife to ensure a flat later.
- Cover and leave in fridge to set for 2 hours.
- Remove cake ring carefully and then pipe on your chantilly cream and decorate with the caramelised almonds.