I can’t believe that this Wednesday is the final of GBBO!!! I am however very excited at the prospect of having Stormin Norman back on my screen! I watched this week’s semi-final in a mild state of panic – could my favourite Richard make it through?! How will I cope with only one more episode to go?! And most of all – WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO BAKE!!!! I swear the bakes are all a lot harder this year!
Signature Bake: Baklava
Technical Challenge: Schichttorte
Showstopper Challenge: Entremets
It all looked very technical and involved lots and lots of time and ingredients. I decided to combine elements of two of the challenges: the layered cake idea of the Schichttorte and the use of mousse typically found in Entremets to create a Quadruple Chocolate and Espresso Mousse Layer Cake.
I had an idea of what I’d like it to look like so scrolled through Google images and ended up on Sweet and Savory by Shinee blog and decided to follow this recipe (as well as bookmarking several of her others to make in the future – wowzer can this girl bake! So many scrumptious recipes!!!) I also decided to add a few little decorations of my own – gold leaf and chocolate coffee beans to make it look more like a fancy Entremet, and also as I was going to give it to my lovely dad as his birthday cake (and everyone needs edible gold leaf on their birthday, right?!)
I was really pleased with how my cake turned out! The sponge recipe involved using Greek yoghurt instead of butter which gave it a really nice, light texture, which I’d definitely use again. I also really liked making the chocolate mousse which I’ve never tried before and was surprised at how straightforward it was! I think next time I would add more espresso powder to the cake and mousse as the flavour didn’t come out too strongly, and as Pud Hollywood says “If you say it’s in there you’ve got to taste it!” Together they gave nice definted lairs – LAYERS MARY LAYERS – which looked really cool!
I also used Shinee’s recipe to make the ganache which again was different to how I usually make it, but resulted in the most wonderfully glossy finish which I was thrilled with. I would make double quantities next time to cover the sides of my cake as well as the top, which would hopefully make it look a bit less “homemade”! (My boyfriend always says my cakes look authentically homemade haha which he says is a good thing though I’m pretty sure is just a polite way of saying messy!)
It was really fun using the gold leaf but a bit hard to handle! It’s definitely something that needs practice but at £4 for two tiny sheets it’s not something I can afford to bake with often! It really did add a little special extra to my cake, and this combined with the sponge and mousse stripey layers really did look quite decadent and inviting – perfect for a birthday treat!
So here’s how I did it (warning it’s an American recipe so get those “cups” ready!)
For the cake…
** 2 cups all-purpose flour
** 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
** 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
** 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
** 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
** 1/2 teaspoon salt
** 1/2 cup hot water
** 1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee
** 2 eggs, room temperature
** 1 cup of milk, room temperature
** 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
** 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the mousse…
** 1/2 cup hot water
** 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
** 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso coffee
** 260g dark chocolate
** 2 cups double cream, cold
** 2 tablespoons caster sugar
** 1/3 cup Nutella
For the ganache…
** 173g dark chocolate
** 1/2 cup double cream
** 1 tablespoon softened butter
1) Preheat your oven to 175C and grease two 9-inch round cake pans.
2) Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and then set the mix aside.
3) In a separate bowl mix together the water and coffee powder.
4) In a third bowl mix the eggs, milk, yoghurt and vanilla extract until all combined. Slowly add half of the flour mixture and stir it in, and then add the other half and mix that in to until just combined. Finally add in the espresso water and stir through. You should have quite a thin batter.
5) Pour the batter into your two cake tins and then bake for about 30-35 minutes. Take them out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the tins and then remove from the pans and cool completely.
6) Now it’s time to make the mousse! Start by dissolving the cocoa powder and espresso power in the hot water.
7) Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once all melted and smooth remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
8) Pour the sugar and cream into a mixing bowl and whip with an electric whisk until it forms stiff peaks.
9) Pour the cocoa and espresso mixture into the melted chocolate and then add the Nutella. Add half of the whipped cream and fold it all together. Add the rest of the cream and fold in completely and then pop it in the fridge until the cake has completely cooled.
10) Once your cakes are completely cooled level off the tops with a long serated knife and then slice each cake in half horizontally so you have 4 thin cakes.
11) Let’s get assembling! Place a layer of cake on a board. Spread a good layer of mousse on top and then add another cake layer, then mousse, then cake etc etc. Finish the stack with a thin layer of mousse on top and then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
TOP TIP: Make sure you use the “bottom layer” of cake first – the one which was originally the bottom of the whole cake. It will have a sturdier crust so a good strong basis for the assembled cake.
12) Fast forward 12 hours and it’s time to get ganache-ing! In a small saucepan heat the cream over a low heat until it begins to simmer.
13) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave it to stand for 2 minutes.
14) After 2 minutes stir the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate has completely melted.
15) Add the butter to make your ganache mega shiny, and stir until this has fully melted in too.
TOP TIP: If the mixture cools down too much whilst stirring, and becomes a bit too thick and with unmelted lumps of butter or chocolate, place the bowl over a boiling pan of water for a couple of seconds to warm up again.
16) Spoon the ganache onto the top of your chilled cake. Spread it out into an even layer and spread over the sides too if you wish (and have enough ganache!)
17) Add chocolate coffee beans to the outside circumference of the cake and then add some to the centre of the cake too.
18) Gently brush the top of each bean with a small drop of water and then very carefully add small pieces of gold leaf.
TOP TIP: The gold leaf will stick to absolutely ANYTHING!! Avoid touching it with your hands if you can as it will suck on to the moisture, instead try and use tweezers and a pastry brush.
19) Serve with a spectacular TA DAAAA!!!
I really enjoyed this bake as it involved a lot of fun (and delicious) new techniques. The final product, despite not being as polished as an Entremet should be, still looked pretty decadent and was absolutely scrumptious – the perfect way to wish Curly a happy birthday!
It’s the final episode this week – who are you backing to win? (COME ON RICHARD!!!)
You can check out my other posts in the 2014 GBBO Challenge series below:
**2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 8 – Advanced Dough (Sugar & Cinammon Ring Doughnuts)
**2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 7 – I didn’t bake along with the theme but made a Pizza Birthday Cake instead!
**2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 6 – European Week (Croissants)
** 2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 5 – Pie (Chicken & Chorizo Empanadas)
** 2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 4 – Desserts (Baked Alaska)
** 2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 3 – Bread (Ciabatta)
** 2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 2 – Biscuits (Florentines)
** 2014 GBBO Challenge – Week 1 – Cake (Swiss Roll)
** 2014 GBBO Challenge – The Great British Bake Off is Back