My little princess turned 8 on the 17th of February and both The Lovely Wife and I too the day off. As usual, we woke her up early in the morning and she looked under the bed for her presents. She got quite a stack of pressies that included a 'sew by yourself' Teddy Bear kit, Paint It Magnetic Fridge Tiles, a Lego Mini Figure display box, a small zipper chain that says 'Little Princess', a Lego Mini Figure and a Magic Twisty - a small furry worm like thing that you pull along with a string, also known as a Squirmle. She also got a tiny mini stapler and a set of coloured staples. She likes these kind of things my princess does! We also got her a set of batteries as both she and her brother always run out of batteries for their toy cars and other battery operated toys. I always joke that they'll make me bankrupt from the number of batteries I need to buy!
Like her brother, she has decided she wants dessert cakes for her birthday cake instead of the traditional decorated cakes. She also asked if I could make something new, something that I had never done before and something that would be special. Ah, children these days are so demanding!
Although her birthday fell on a Friday and even though we had taken the day off to celebrate with her, we only held her party on Sunday evening. The reason for this was that her brother, Michael, had to go for a school prefects camp at some place near Morib by the sea. He would be away for two nights and would only be back on Sunday evening. We couldn't very well hold a party for our little princess without Michael could we? So that's why we held the party on Sunday.
Each birthday, for each child, we try and outdo our menu - or at least match the previous year's menu. That simply means that you are always assured of lots of food! This year, we tried to tone it down a little but as usual went slightly overboard.
The menu this year was Barbequed Chicken using the BBQ Ribs recipe, Savoury glutinous rice - otherwise known as Lo Ma Kai, Vegetable Pasties, Spicy Fried Sausages with Anchovies as well as a Guacamole dip with corn chips. I also whipped up a batch of my Brownies which everyone always loves.
For the cake, I made an original Dharm creation. I recently stumbled on to the recipe for a sponge cake from Cakeboss and I had really liked how that turned out. Very spongy and airy and yet fairly dense without holes. This is probably the best sponge cake recipe that I have ever come across and its really quite easy too. I decided I would use a sponge as the base and sandwhich chocolate mousse and caramel mousse in between. Since there were two types of mousse and also double layers of mousse, I decided to call the cake a Chocolate and Caramel Double Mousse Cake!
As I said earlier, the cake itself was quite easy to whip up. The only issue I have with this recipe is that they dont specify the timing. I put it to about 40mins but this would depend a lot on the size of your eggs and well as the pans. This time I baked it in two 9" pans so that I could use my cake ring mould. One of the pans was slightly smaller though so two of the cake layers were smaller. After baking the cakes, I used my cake leveller to cut the cakes into layers but I didn't quite get equal layers as I trimmed the top off the cake too.
The caramel mousse was a first for me but it turned out just as I wanted. Slightly burned flavour of the caramel enhanced with a little dark chocolate to thicken it and then emulsified with cream. The cream was then whipped up to a nice moussey texture.
For the chocolate, I added in a little gelatine to thicken it together with some honey. I usually add egg yolks into my mousse but since I didnt want to have any leftover egg whites, I did it this way instead.
After layering the cake and mousse, I found that I had enough chocolate mousse to cover the sides as well and the mousse seemed to hold enough to swirl round the sides so thats what I did. In total there were 8 layers of cake and mousse!
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter (lightly salted)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
50 g salted butter
300ml whipping cream
2oz Dark Chocolate
300g Whipping Cream
250g Dark Chocolate
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Gelatine
1. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with paddle attachment for 4 minutes. Do not skip this step!
2. Add sugar, and continue beating for another 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and stir on low until just combined.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add to eggs and sugar on low speed until just combined.
4. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter on low heat just until butter is melted. Add to batter, beat just until combined.
5. Pour into two greased and floured 8" round cake pans.
6. Bake at 160C for about 40mins until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling racks and cool completely.
Hint: Cakes are close to being done when you start to smell them.
Melt sugar to make caramel (either dry method or wet method). Add in butter. Then add in the cream a little at a time. Mixture will splatter. Cook till fully incorporate with the cream. Let cool. Whip cream till stiff.
Heat cream till almost to the boil. Pour over chocolate and mix well till incorporated. Mix Gelatine with 1 Tbsp Water and hydrate. Place over a bowl of simmering water and dissolve. Add into the cream mixture together with the honey and allow to cool a little. Whip till thick and creamy.
Using a cake leveller, cut each cake into two layers. Place the bottom into a ring mould. Cover with half the caramel mousse. Place another layer of cake over the caramel mousse and then place in freezer for a short while to firm up. Spread with half the chocolate mousse then cover with another layer of cake. Repeat so that you have cake - caramel mousse-cake - chocolate mousse - cake - caramel mousse - cake chocolate mousse. Remove cake from ring mould and use remaining mousse to cover sides as well. Chill for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.
Garnish with sliced almonds.
The results were pretty damned astounding! The flavour of the caramel complemented the chocolate really, really well. The cake was soft and light and I think if I were to improve on this, I would soak the cake with either a sugar syrup or maybe some alcohol or even some coffee.
Most of the guests had two helpings as did my Little Princess. She gave the cake a super rating and claimed it as one of my finest. The best review however came from The Lovely Wife. She's normally not a mousse cake kind of gal but she simply Loved this cake! She had the leftovers two nights in a row and each time she kept saying how much she enjoyed the cake. My Darling Boy also gave it a thumbs up and proclaimed it one of his favourites!
Not bad at all for an original Dharm creation and for a first try. As I said, the sponge recipe is really my favourite sponge base and I will now use this most of the time for any recipe requiring a sponge cake.
So, another succesful birthday party and another delicious cake to add to my repertoire!
My little Princess was really happy and whenever she is happy, I am happy!
Happy Birthday my Darling Princess!