My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Cake

"I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert."
~Jason Love

When I was 9,  we went to my grandmother’s house for dinner.  She lamented that she made chocolate mousse for dessert and it flopped.  In my 9 year old brain I pictured an actual moose made of chocolate.  
I'm made of chocolate and I may flop.
Kind of like when my mother would say she was going to a bridal or baby shower and I would picture a gang shower, which, to my horror, actually existed as I would find out that very Summer at girl scout camp.
Ok, so there are boy scouts.  Use your imagination.
Curtis turned 20 yesterday.  Even though he is attending college 17 hours away, we still celebrated his birthday here. It’s our way of keeping him close.  I thought this cake would be fitting, seeing as he lives in Zahm Hall, and moose pride runs deep there. Plus, he loves chocolate (don't worry Curt, I'll freeze a slice for you).
Photo of an actual moose, that Curtis himself took in New Hampshire
Ignats the Moose is the official mascot of Zahm. Legend has it, that in the 1970s, a few residents of Zahm Hall were on a trip in Canada when they came across a ski lodge that was closing. Ignatus, the owner of the lodge gave the men a mounted moose's head for free. They strapped the animal to the roof of their car and drove back to University of Notre Dame. 
This would have been perfect if it didn't include the butt and it was actually a moose.
The dorm immediately accepted its new mascot and it was named "Ignats" in honor of its former owner. Although Zahm residents are referred to as "Zahmbies" and their football team is named The Rabid Bats, the moose is the official symbol of Zahm. 
Soon after the new mascot arrived, Ignats was brought to Notre Dame's Basketball games. A pattern developed when Ignats was brought to a game, the team would win. However, one game, one of the ushers refused to allow Ignats into the arena and the Irish lost the game that night. The basketball coach at the time, Richard "Digger" Phelps, found out about the incident, and made sure from then on that Ignats would be allowed in any basketball game. Today, Ignats is bolted to the basement wall of Zahm in order that Keenan Hall, Zahm's rival dorm, does not steal or vandalize the beloved mascot. 
This cake has history too, not as old as Ignats, but nearly.  It is adapted from a recipe I’ve had since 1984, when I subscribed to McCall’s Cooking School recipe cards during college.  Sort of like the Columbia House Records Club, but for food geeks. Twelve recipe cards with pictures would arrive in the mail once a month and if someone in the dump of an apartment complex I lived in didn’t steal them, I would teach myself all sorts of new cooking techniques.  This is my most treasured cake recipe.  Tried and true and always delicious.  We had a tradition for years in the '90's, where our friends would make buffalo wings and we would bring this cake.  Good times!

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Cake Layers:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups sifted flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk

Mousse Frosting and Filling:
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
14 whole roasted almonds

In a glass bowl over a saucepan with simmering water (do not let bowl touch water) melt chocolate.  When melted, dip round end of almonds in chocolate and place on a piece of wax paper.  Set aside.  Stir 1/2 cup sugar into melted chocolate, then slowly stir in the very hot water, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined.  Cool to lukewarm.  Sift flour with soda and salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour two 9 by 1 1/2-inch round cake pans.  In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Gradually beat in sugar, adding alternately with oil, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of bowl.  At medium speed, add flour mixture alternately with milk.  Begin and end with flour.  With scraper, blend in chocolate.
Turn into pans. Bake 25 minutes, or until surface springs back when gently pressed with finger.  Careful not to overbake!  Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides with knife.  Remove layers; cool on rack.  In medium bowl, combine heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, cocoa, salt and instant coffee granules.  Refrigerate 1/2 hour.  Beat with rotary beaters until stiff.  Refrigerate.  With long, thin bladed knife, split layers in half to make four.
Place layer, split side up on cake plate.  Spread with 2/3 cup mousse filling.  Repeat twice. Top with last layer, cut side down. Spread mousse on top and sides and if desired, fill a pastry bag with the remaining mousse and pipe on decorations.  Place almonds evenly around the top.  Serves 10.


Meagan said...

This cake is as delicious as it looks!!! Confection Perfection!! Thanks for the slice Margaret:)

Amy Ricks said...

Wow! What a beautiful cake! I have been trying to get my mom to make me a cake like that for my birthday for 41 years, with no luck :)

Birthday wishes to your son! Let's hope ND can pull out a victory today. On my way to watch my nieces so my brother and sis-in-law can tailgate and enjoy the game!


Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you Meagan!! Glad you liked it!

Amy, thanks & yes, can't take another heartbreaking loss!

Anonymous said...

Your kid brain cracks me up! I love it! This mousse looks delicious and presents beautifully with all the layers :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you Sarah! It is a my favorite cake. I just checked out your blog. Love it too! Thanks for stopping by!

boogie said...

chocolate mousse is my all time favorite cake! but i have yet to find a good chocolate mousse that compares to mousse i used to eat when i was a child. i must try your recipe!!!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you, it's my favorite too! With this cake, everything works together nicely, cool, moist and chocolaty. I have a chocolate "true mousse" recipe, sans the cake, that is fabulous. I've been making it every Christmas Eve for 20 years. I'll be sharing it probably in November. Stay tuned...

justjoycee said... looks sooo delicious, would definitely try make one for my grand it!!!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you Joyce,
Love your reaction!
I have a hunch you'll like it. :-)
When you make it, let me know how it comes out for you!

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Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Vincent,
I've added my site to your portal.

Kathleen said...

Wow! This looks and sounds amazing!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Kathleen,
It's not hard. The trickiest part is slicing the two layers in half evenly! Other than that, it's a piece of, erm, cake!
(sorry, couldn't resist)

Butter said...

What a great story -Love Ignats. And, that cake looks so delicious! I love a recipe that is held near and dear like this and has been with you for so long. It allows you to really master it, which you obviously have - look at those pitures! They become family heirlooms and part of really great memories.I am sure you get many requests for the Mousse Cake! Thanks for sharing :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Butta! (in my best Boston accent)
I have my fingers crossed for you. Can't wait to hear about your next PFB adventure!

stephchows said...

OMG you had me rolling!! too funny! and that cake MMMMMMM!!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Oh, thanks Steph! You just made my night :-)
p.s. I'm still thinking about those fresh bagels!

Satrupa said...

The cake looks utterly moist, chocolaty and delectable !! I can hardly believe in making such a perfect cake all by myself. Thanks for the lovely recipe .... will gather some courage and try out soon.
Belated B'day wishes to your son !

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a wonderful week ahead !

Cheers n Happy Cooking,

Biren said...

Love all the layers in the cake. Looks really moist and delicious. Happy Birthday to your son!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, my inner chocolate-craving-BEAST just started ROARING! Anytime I have ever been asked what my favorite kind of cake is, I reminisce on a cake I had when I was 10 at a birthday party...a mocha & chocolate mousse cake. It is the only one that sticks out in my memory!! Thanks for sharing :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you, Biren!

@ Sarah, Food evokes powerful memories, doesn't it? Thanks! Now go feed that beast (I'm sure you have a chocolate stash somewhere ;-)...I know I do!)

Anna Johnston said...

This is one of those cakes that makes a girl drool. Loved your Ignats story. You often wonder where those mascot traditions come from..., good to know :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

I like to make people drool. It's my goal in life. Thanks Anna!

Michele said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, and I'm so glad that I discovered yours!

This cake is amazing, and you're a very talented baker.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks so much, Michele!
Good luck with the competition!