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It is New Year and my birthday all in one and in a good old tradition we celebrate with a festive home made cake to mark this exceptional occasion. And what a festive cake this one turns out to be – a truly decadent, flavour rich orange chocolate cake to make all the senses feel special, deserving and desired. The recipe calls for a lot of plain chocolate, but I like to diversify by adding additional flavour dimensions to my creations. In this instance for example, I am adding a orange intense Lindt dark chocolate to the cake sponge instead of plain dark chocolate, making the faint orange aroma coming through in a very pleasant, subtle way.
But the desire for decadence does not stop there. The entire chocolate cake is covered in the luscious chocolate mousse, the final decorations of which are further intensified with a rum essence flavour. And if this would not be enough, the cake is decorated with mini Lindt chocolate bombones – very, very deliciously chocolatey indeed. I take one bite and all my wishes have come true!
1. In a large bowl mix together the softened butter, the vanilla sugar essence and the custer suger for several minites until the mixture become pale and light. While continuing whisking add the eggs one at a time. In another bowl mix together the flour, the cocoa powder, the baking powder and soda. Start gradually adding (in three times) the dry ingredients to the soft mixture and whisk until well incorporated.
2. Over a pot with a simmering water, place another pot and melt the chocolate by breaking it into pieces and mixing with the two spoons of milk. Once the chocolate has melted add to the cake mixture and mix well.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Lay two cake forms with baking paper and spread the cake mixture in the two forms evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, check if ready and take out of the oven. Let the cakes rest for two minutes then run a knife over the edge of the cake making sure it could be released by the form easily. Take the cakes out of the forms and let them cool completely.
4. Cut the chocolate into tiny pieces and place in a large bowl. Heat the cream until it starts to simmer and then pour over the cut chocolate. Let is rest for 2 minutes allowing the chocolate to melt then mix everything together until all the chocolate has melted. Let is rest for a while.
5. In the mean time, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Over a pot with simmering water, place another pot and whisk the egg yolks until they become pale and thick. Make sure that the water underneath is not touching the bottom of the upper pot that the water is just simmering lightly. If the temperature is too high there is a risk that the eggs might turn into an omelet. Mix the egg mixture together with the chocolate cream mixture until well combined.
6. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm peaks start to form. Gradually, in three times, add the beaten egg whites to the mousse, folding gently until well combined. Place the mousse in the fridge for 40 min to 1 hour until it becomes sufficiently thick to start assembling the cake.
7. Cut the two cakes in the middle and place all four cake disk on the table top. Take the chocolate mousse out of hte fridge and mix it well together feeling how thick the mousse has set. If still runny, place it back in the fridge and wait for an additional half an hour. If thick and glossy it means that it is ready to assemble the cake.
8. In serving dish or a plate, place one of the four cake sponge disks. With a spatula knife cover the cake top with chocolate mousse. Place the second cake disk and repeat placing a layer of chocolate mouse over a layer of cake. Once done, cover the whole cake with the remaining mouse.
9. Preparing for the final cake decoration, add a few droplets of rum essence to the remaining chocolate mousse for extra flavour. Place a star tip in a piping bag and spoon in the chocolate mousse. Start by decorating the chocolate cake bottom edge either by making chocolate pearls, or any decoration you may desire. On a smooth cake top pipe chocolate rosettes. Place mini Lindt Chocolate bombones on each rosette for an added flair.
10. Place the chocolate cake in the fridge overnight to set completely the chocolate mousse. Leave it out of the fridge for at least half an hour before serving so the chocolate mouse softens a little. If refrigerated the cake would keep up for a week.