Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Bake challenge last week was layers, and I’ve wanted to make this raspberry mousse cake for a long time!

The original recipe calls for white chocolate, and I discovered while making that I had none. I saw a bunch of white chocolate at our local discount grocery store weeks ago and THOUGHT I bought some. It was one of those things I probably picked one up and said to myself, ‘I should buy some of this,’ and promptly put it down for some reason. Tell me I’m not the only person who does that!

So dark chocolate it is for this bake. I really like to use up stuff I already have, and figured dark chocolate + raspberry make a good pair anyway 🙂

The layers are a fabulous vanilla cake – I would seriously use this recipe again just for the cake. Similar to sponge cake in consistency, but softer, more buttery.

Between the cake are layers of raspberry mousse plus a homemade raspberry puree. In the future I would double the puree – it would have made the raspberry flavor really pop.

BTW, if you’ve never made mousse before, it’s really easy. Think of it as a lighter, fluffier pudding. Most recipes use some sort of liquid, like a fruit puree, combined with clear, unflavored gelatin. Add that to homemade whipped cream or something similar. Chill the whole thing and it’s done!

Now that I’ve made this with dark chocolate, I’m really curious as to how it would have turned out with white chocolate instead. Probably sweeter, but I doubt I’ll bake it again just to find out – I’m 100% a dark chocolate fan!

Original recipe here.

Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Pastry Cream

Need a dairy-free dark chocolate pastry cream to fill eclairs, cream puffs, or even a croquembouche? LOOK NO FURTHER!

This recipe was the result of not having enough cow’s milk to make a pastry cream. I had almond milk and as a substitute the results worked quite well! It is likely not quite as “rich” tasting, as almond milk is thinner, but still very yummy. I also like this recipe because it uses cocoa powder instead of melting chocolate, which I don’t always have on hand.

This, BTW, is thicker than a traditional chocolate pudding, on purpose. The sturdiness lends itself well to filling the inside of things. With enough cooling time to firm up, this would totally work in a dairy-free cream pie.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Pastry Cream
A nice firm pastry cream, perfect for the inside of cream puffs, eclairs, or even filling a pie!
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place a fine mesh strainer inside of a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, off the heat, whisk together your dry ingredients: sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine almond milk with egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  4. While whisking, drizzle your milk mixture into the saucepan. Try to get the lumps out the best you can.
  5. Place saucepan on medium high heat. Whisking constantly, cook until boiling. It will start to thicken up considerably. Cook 30 seconds longer while whisking. Remove from heat.
  6. Immediately strain the hot mixture into a bowl. This will remove all the bits of egg, cornstarch clumps, etc. ALTERNATIVE - if you want a cream pie, strain mixture directly into a ready-to-eat pie crust.
  7. Wait 5 minutes and cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap directly on it. This will prevent a "skin" from forming.
  8. Cool 2 hours and use to fill cream puffs, eclairs, or a cream pie.
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Croquembouche a.k.a. Cream Puff Tower

Week 13 bake challenge was Pate a Choux, also known as Cream Puff Pastry. A croquembouche (French for “crunch in the mouth”) is a tower of filled cream puffs, glued in a shape with hot caramel and decorated with thin strands of caramel. Can you believe this is considered a wedding cake in some places?? I had a blast making this and enjoyed the impressiveness of the finished product 🙂

I really needed this baking “win” this week, BTW. The past few days I attempted an orange pie (just meh), as well as lemon sweet rolls (also meh), and then the first batch of chocolate pastry cream was a dud, with zero flavor. So back to the drawing board, and I actually created a dairy-free dark chocolate pastry cream in its place, which is delicious!

For the cream puff pastry, I would recommend this one from King Arthur Flour (can’t seem to go wrong with many of their recipes!). Fill these with a vanilla pastry cream or another flavor; an excellent dark chocolate, dairy-free pastry cream recipe is here 😉

For the caramel glue, I used 2 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup of water boiled on the stove (without stirring, or you’ll crystallize it) until it’s a copper color. Plunge the bottom of the pan into a bowl of cold water to stop the caramel from cooking. Now get to work! Use tongs to dip your puffs and place them in a tower shape, i.e. more on the bottom and progressively fewer as you go up. Use some nonpareils for a different look, or fling strands of hot caramel around. I twirled a few bits of caramel around a cylinder to make some spirals.

A croquembouche is seriously a SHOWSTOPPER (any Great British Baking Show fans out there??) and so fun to just break off a hunk and eat. Enjoy!