Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Mousse and Hazelnut Brittle & Sweet Potato Cake

A few weekends ago was my roommate and my friend Carlos' birthday.

Carlos' wife, Aiste who ordered a cake from me last year for her cutest little baby boy's first birthday, ordered a cake for Carlos's suprise birthday party she was planning. I remember I was so grateful last year to hear them rave about the cake afterwards especially because I spent many sweat breaking hours making the large rectangular cake with multiple layers. Now, that all feels like a long long time ago. I still can't believe I made a multi-tiered wedding cake since then!

Aiste wanted the same cake as last time but I wanted to put a little twist to include beautiful strawberries in season rather than raspberries and changing up the frosting a bit to add to the dark chocolatey goodness.

Last time, I used a more dense butter based cake recipe but my formerly mentioned new found love for chiffon cakes continues to shine on this creation. The first layer of the dark chocolate chiffon cake was spred with whipped up dark chocolate ganache. I discovered this whipped up version of the commonly found ganache in the Rose's Heavenly Cakes and found it to be light and fluffy in texture while retaining the same richness. I think this is going to become my go-to chocolate frosting for cupcakes from now on.

The layer of ganache was then generously sprinkled with homemade hazelnut brittle to add some crunchy texture and nutty kick to the chocolate. The second layer of the cake was then brushed with raspberry and strawberry puree and then topped with strawberry mousse and bits of fresh strawberries.

Finally, the cake was covered with more of the whipped dark chocolate ganache and then decorated with dark chocolate covered malt balls and fresh strawberries.

Aiste, thanks for seeking me out again and Carlos, I hope you are enjoying your new job!

Okay, now moving onto my roommate's birthday cake. So as I've mentioned before, it has become a tradition amongst my friends and I to present each other with homemade cakes on birthdays. Last year for my roommate Sandy's birthday, Erin and I thought hard about what kind of a cake to make and decided that it would be fitting to make her an asian inspired one -- a taro cake. So we bought fresh taro, made a mousse using homemade custard cream and whipped cream. The cake turned out a gorgeous purple hue and had a very good flavor but the problem was the gooey, slimey taro texture. Even though Sandy seemed to have enjoyed the cake a lot, I consider this cake a bit of a failure because of the odd texture.

So this year was a chance for redemption. I wanted to stick to the similar asian theme but this time, replacing the taro with sweet potatoes! A sweet potato cake may sound strange, but it's actually very popular in korea and I happen to love anything and everything sweet potato. So this cake choice makes a ton of sense to me. I wanted to make something light and unique for Sandy.

The cake itself was a simple classic genoise lightly brushed with a bit of a hazelnut syrup to add an extra layer of flavor and moistness. In between the four layers of cake was a generous amount of sweet potato mousse made with mashed sweet potato, honey, custard cream infused with vanilla beans and then lightened with whipped cream. I absolutely fell in love with this mousse and I may have slipped in a spoonful(s) of it here and there while making it. It was light, and perfectly sweet with that touch of honey.

Finally, the cake was covered with lightly sweetened whipped cream and adorned with fine cake crumb and chocolate covered malt balls. I accidentally overwhipped the cream for the decoration portion so the piping job was not so great but overall, the cake turned out nice and simple.

The birthday festivity spanned throughout the day beginning with: a surprise picnic at the Shoreline park, a picnic lunch with homemade noodle salad, wraps, sandwiches and snacks, a heated game of croquet on the grass (my first time!), followed by a surprise sushi making lesson at Fuki Sushi where we learned how to make three different types of sushi (the names are slipping my mind at the moment) and then finally the cake celebration back at our house. What an eventful day! Oh and did I mention we love to take jumping photos?

We love you Sandy!


  1. The cake was delicious and thanks for the birthday celebration! =)

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  3. i think that was my favorite cake out of all the ones you've made so far... i do have a predilection for asian cakes :)