Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake

For me there are few things more rewarding than cooking for others, so I was super chuffed when those nice people at farm:shop asked me to start regularly supplying the cafe with my treats. These past few weeks have been a blissful blur of baking chard, smoked cheddar and mushroom quiches with delicate walnut and chive or nigella seed and parmesan crusts, ultra crumbly lavender shortbread, mini keema pies, feta and spinach rolls, artisan popcorn, pretzels and vats of panch phoran chutney. There’s such a buzz about hearing the lovely feedback from the customers and it’s great fun dreaming up new and exciting ways in which to cook up the latest harvest.

When a request for a cake came in, I wanted to make something decadent and “money’s worth” so decided to fox up a classic Green & Blacks’s chocolate marquise recipe. I massively heart the ruthlessly aromatic camphor of cardamom, which like its protean brethren nutmeg; means it’s just as comfortable in a rice pudding as in a biryani and makes it the perfect partner to pretty much anything cocoa based. Crushing those resinous pods to add a subtle twist to sweet dishes is something the Bangladeshi cook has been onto for centuries. As kids we grew up squabbling over clotted bowls of my mother’s legendary Bengali cardamom-infused rice pudding or “payesh”, shandesh (a ricotta, cardamom and pistachio dessert) and rasgullas (which literally means “globes of juice” and takes the form of pistachio curd dumplings soaked in a rose and cardamom syrup).

In this obscenely rich cake (you only need the teeniest slice), the cardamom is a veritable plectrum to the fruity, almost bitter notes of the dark chocolate and lingers gorgeously on the tongue. The separate cakey base and mousse may seem like a total faff, and I won’t lie – they are.  If you really can’t be bothered and you’re in the area, I would recommend getting down to 20 Dalston Lane and treating yourself to what’s left of mine.

Serves 15-20 decadent little slices

INGREDIENTS

For the base

Melted butter for greasing

300g (10 ½ oz) dark chocolate minimum 60% cocoa solids (I used 200g/7oz dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids plus 100g Maya Gold) broken into chunks

165g (5 ½ oz) butter

1 tbsp ground almonds, plus extra for dusting the tin

275g (10oz) caster sugar

A pinch of sea salt

5 large eggs

3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed to powder

For the mousse

250g (9oz) dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids, broken into pieces

100g (3 ½ oz) icing sugar

175g (6oz) unsalted butter

5 large eggs, separated

6 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed to powder

150 ml (1/4 pint) double cream

Cocoa powder to dust

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  • Brush a 23cm (9in) springform tin with high sides and removable base
  • Make the cakey bit by placing the chocolate, cardamom, sugar, butter, and salt in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and amalgamated.
  • Whisk the eggs and add the ground almonds and fold into the chocolate mixture off the heat. Continue to fold until the mixture thickens. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for about 2 hours before starting the mousse.
  • To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over some barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and add half the icing sugar, stir and then whisk in the butter and cardamom. Whisk in the egg yolks on at a time. Set aside.
  • Whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage and add the remaining icing sugar. Keep whisking until glossy. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the melted chocolate mix and carefully mix to blend. Gently fold in the remaining whites, alternating with the whipped cream. You don’t want to over mix or crush out the air bubbles, but you do want it to be well blended. Pour this mousse over the cooled cake base in the cake tine and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, remove the tin from the fridge about 15 minutes before serving. Dip a palette knife in boiling water, dry it and slide around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the tin and then remove the ring. Re-heat the knife in boiling water, dry it and gently smooth the sides of the mousse.
  • Dust generously with cocoa powder and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.

 

 

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24 comments

  1. This looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it x

  2. Ziu

    Wow! Lucky you! I imagine it must feel amazing knowing your goodies are being sold to paying customers and getting all that positive feedback. Lucky people, arent they? :)

  3. Flippin eck! That looks…phwoar.

  4. Soo much chocolate! Love it! :)

  5. Wowzers trousers. Nice work.

  6. Lovely stuff Rej. I’m instantly attracted to any dessert that has cardamom in it for some reason.

  7. This looks like total chocolate overload so of course I love it at first sight. Like the idea of using cardamom as well.

  8. cardamom is just an amazing spice. If you don’t have it in a biryani, it’s not the same and if you don’t have it in a kheer or gulab jamun syrup..just not the same. Such a tiny seed with such a flavour impact. I love cardamom.
    BTW, cake looks sinfully fab.

    Nazneen

    • gastrogeek

      thanks so much Nazneen – and agreed, can’t imagine certain foods without those little green elaichi pods. Have you tried using the bigger, black cardamom pods? They’re very different. Almost over poweringly strong, they make the best biryanis ever (but not so good in a sweet dish).

      • Yes, I have used the black elaichi. mainly in biryanis and pullaos. They are so strong though so most of the time I do without them. I think they work well with a lamb/beef biryani but way too strong for a chicken one. I know they are sometimes used in shami kebabs but once again, I find them a bit bitter and strong. I like my little green pods :). My family is from Hyderabad so it’s in our blood to be able to use every spice imaginable!

        Nazneen

      • gastrogeek

        An excellent point. They certainly do stand up to red meat a lot better don’t they? I quite like the strong flavour myself, but know what you mean about the green ones! I would really love to try one of your pullao recipes, I bet you’ve got some brilliant ones :-)

  9. Wow – sounds like a total bake-o-rama chez Geek. How blissful. Love Cardamon in baking, it’s big with the Scandis too, no? One word for that cake: FIT.

  10. I remember feeling very cocky after using cardamom in a chocolate mousse once and serving it up, felt like I was some kind of culinary genius

    Of course, I got the recipe out of a book, still made me feel special though.

    Yours cake looks laaaaverly

    • gastrogeek

      Well that’s because you ARE a culinary genius! (I’ve seen your supperclub menu and it looks mighty droolsome…)

  11. I just landed on this post and think I’ve arrived in heaven – I could literally dig my spoon into the computer screen right now. That. Looks. Incredible. Will be making this weekend.
    And cardamom is delicious with chocolate – great choice of flavours.

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