Monday, October 15, 2012

Strawberry Mousse with Joconde Cake

This particular week I felt the need to make something tasty, but be a new project as well.  The mood does not strike all the time, so I did take some time to decide.  This particular recipe has something called stencil paste. In this recipe a design is done on parchment and then a cake batter is spread over the top.

Since this was the first time dealing with this type of medium, I kept it very simple with the stripes.  I am sure with practice designs can become more intricate.  Also, the end result was actually three different assemblies from the same recipe.

Regarding the taste, I really did like the combo of the cold strawberry mousse with the chocolate almond cake.  The ratio of mousse to cake was just right.

Please be sure to read all the recipe completely before starting, especially the tips and notes.  One note is crucial to making your decision on the form of your dessert. If making round cakes, you will need 8 stainless steel 3 inch pastry rings.

Strawberry Mousse with Joconde Cake
adapted from the book Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients/Chocolate stencil paste
1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup flour
3 egg whites, room temp
4 tbs butter, room temp

Ingredients Joconde Sheet Cake
2 tbs melted butter
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Strawberry Mousse
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 cups strawberry puree
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbs unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
8 extra whole strawberries for garnish

The stencil paste will need to be made first.  Prepare a jelly roll pan by greasing the interior and then lining with parchment.  Also, grease the face up side of the parchment.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the confectioners sugar with the butter.  Scrape down the sides occasionally and beat until it becomes smooth and creamy.  Then beat in the egg whites.  The batter may look lumpy at first, but continue to beat until the lumps disappear.

With a wooden spoon, fold in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined.  Take the paste and spread thinly over the parchment paper, covering all corners and sides.  Once all is spread evenly, take the tip of a spatula and remove long strips of chocolate, moving down the shortest length of the pan.  Clean the spatula after every stripe, before starting another.

Once all the stripes are complete, place  pan in the freezer. Then preheat the oven to 450 degrees

For the cake, fill a stand mixer bowl with whole eggs, egg yolk, confectioners sugar and both types of flour. Beat together until smooth, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Set aside
when all is blended.

Fill another bowl with the egg whites and beat until they reach a foamy consistency.  Continue to beat, adding the sugar slowly.  The mixture should turn into a shiny meringue.  Fold this into the almond flour batter until no streaks remain.  Then stir in the melted butter.  Take care not to deflate the egg whites.

Take the pan out of freezer and smooth the batter on top of the stripes, making sure all is even.  Place in oven and bake until top springs back when lightly touched, which is about 5-8 minutes.  Put a sheet of parchment paper ( slightly longer than the jelly roll pan) on a flat, heat tolerant surface. Remove cake and let cool for 3 minutes and then invert onto parchment paper.  Remove top sheet of parchment and let cool completely.

For the strawberry mousse, start by sprinkling and mixing gelatin powder in a bowl with the cold water.  Let stand for about 5 minutes.  It will become spongy.  Set aside.

Blend the strawberry puree with the sugar.  Then heat the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Stir and then pour into the puree.  Let sit for 20 minutes to thicken.

While that is thickening, pour the whipping cream in a bowl and whip until thick and fluffy.  Give the puree a stir at the 20 minute mark.  Blend in 3 tbs of whipping cream. Then fold in the rest of the cream until pink hue is consistent throughout.

To assemble, place pastry rings on a flat plate and line with parchment paper.  Then cut cake strips that are the same inside diameter and about 1 1/2 inch wide.  Be sure to cut so stripes are parallel to the 1/1/2 inch width.  Line the inside of the rings with the cake, stripes facing outward.  Then fill with about 1/2 cup of mousse, which should bring it to a height of about 1/2 inch beyond top edge of cake.
Refrigerate for about an hour.

To serve place cake ring on a small plate, remove steel ring and parchment paper.  Then garnish with one sliced strawberry on top and serve immediately.

Tips and Notes:
1. Cake was not very flexible, so it broke upon trying to line the rings.  I pieced it around but it was more of a box. Based on that, I tried the assembly as a sandwich, which turned out quite nicely.  If I had to do over again, I would make entire sandwich cakes by making two pans of cake and putting mousse between the layers.
2. Getting the thick stencil paste on the parchment was a difficult task, the parchment slid around while I was trying to smooth it out.  This does take some patience.  Also, I used the handle straight end of a measuring spoon to scrape the chocolate off to make stripes.
3. My cake had more of a milky look to the chocolate stripes, next time for a darker contrast I may use a darker cocoa. The recipe never stated which to use.
4. If making sandwiches, leave a overhang of parchment when preparing the bottom layer of cake.  It will need to be lifted out and placed in a cool jelly roll pan instead of being inverted.  Then you can put the mousse on top.  Let set up in fridge before placing cake layer on top.  Then cut in squares, perhaps it can be frozen first before adding the top layer so there is a clean sharp cut.
                          **LAST YEAR: Cinnagrog Pie***