I have always been advised to stop being so “black or white” kind of person. My mom, teachers, all “advised” me try and see that there are also shades of gray in life. I tried listening to them (I swear I did try), but I am still not successful every time. I even drive a gray car, but it does not help, I still want all or nothing for me. I hate compromise, I want it black or white.
Look at this cake, for example, the black is black and imposing, the white stays white and gracious. They do not mix, they do not get gray.
Am I incoherent? Don’t be grayish, say it: yes you are.
For the cake
110 g butter
200g brown sugar
45g cocoa powder
5g baking powder
5g espresso powder (you can use more or less depending on your taste)
2.5g baking soda
250ml warm water
You can use 2 20-22 cm pans for the above amount. I have used a 24×32.5 cm pan for this one and cut out 7.5 cm circles out of it that I have used to make 3- layered mini cakes.
Preheat your oven at 165 degrees Celsius. Butter the pans you plan to use and line their bottom with greased parchment paper.
Cream together the soft butter and the sugar to get a creamy mixture. With your mixer on low speed add the cocoa powder gradually. When the cocoa is properly blended in, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the previously sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda and espresso powder and slowly blend everything while gradually adding the water to the mixture. Divide the batter between your pans and bake for 30-40 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean). Let the cake cool in the pan for a while and then remove it and let cool on a wire rack.
For the mousse
2 egg yolks
2.5 g gelatin
66 g sugar
66 ml water
160 ml heavy cream
Place the water, sugar and vanilla bean in a pan, cover it and bring to boil over medium high heat. When it boils, uncover it, lower the heat and let it cook to 238 F. In the meantime soften the gelatin in some water and whisk the yolks. Place the softened gelatin on a water bath or in the microwave and melt it.
Once the sugar syrup reaches 238 F, remove the bean (you can scrape it later into the mousse), and with the slowly pour the syrup over the yolks while mixing. Next, pour the gelatin over the yolks and continue mixing until the mixture increases the volume, thickens and cools.
Add the whipped cream and carefully fold it into the yolks.
For the syrup
The ratios are up to your taste.
I have used a 9 cm round cutter and made as many circles as I could. I cut each circle in 2. Then I used a round mold to build the mini cakes: placed the first layer, brushed syrup, piped mousse, topped with the 2nd layer and so on. You can leave the minicakes like this, or you can “dress” them up with mousse, chocolate icing or chocolate whipped cream.