Sometimes I need a number of reasons to bake a cake, not just any cake but a truly decadent one — a special occasion cake that incorporates delicious ingredients like: raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, almond meal, vanilla beans, coconut and strawberries.
My initial inspiration was to create something beautiful for Mother’s Day, something that I would make for my mother if she were to come over for tea this weekend. She loves my cakes more than anything else I make. I’m glad that at least she can see this and add it to our ever-growing list of things to do when we see each other next.
But as I said, it takes more than one occasion to create a new recipe and since there was also a very special birthday here this week, I felt I had all the excuses I needed to go all out.
Happy Mother’s Day Pamela!
White chocolate mousse torte with strawberries
This cake takes a couple of steps, I suggest making the chocolate almond cake the day before. It’s also important that the torte has a couple of hours in the fridge before you serve it.
I used agar powder as it dissolves faster than the flakes, but flakes are fine and I’ve given amounts to use in the recipe. Please see notes on using agar below.
The cake part of this torte is based on a recipe by Myra Kornfeld. Her book The Voluptuous Vegan is one of the best vegan cookbooks out there.
I know the sides of the torte are not perfect; this is because cakes shrink when they bake and when you pour the mousse layer in it fills any gaps.
In my case, the mousse leaked out of the bottom too! Make sure you have a spring form pan that fits together well. You could test this by filling with water and seeing if any leaks out.
Chocolate almond cake
2 cups whole spelt flour, I used Shiloh Farms sprouted spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup almond meal
½ cup raw cacao powder, or good cacao powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
1 ½ cups pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a 9 inch spring form cake pan with parchment paper, lightly oil the inside and set aside.
Sift spelt flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Add almond meal and stir well. In another bowl combine cacao powder and boiling water and whisk until dissolved. Add in olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, vanilla, almond extract and salt, whisk until emulsified. Pour into flour mixture and stir to combine, try not to over mix. Pour batter into cake pan and place in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
White chocolate mousse layers
1 can coconut milk (1 2/3 cup)
3 cups rice milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons agar powder, or 2 tablespoons agar flakes
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved
1/8th teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon filtered water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 oz raw cacao butter
In a medium sized saucepan whisk together coconut milk, rice milk, maple syrup, agar, vanilla bean seeds and pod and salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking every couple of minutes. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes, if you are using agar flakes simmer until they are completely dissolved. This is when I test a small amount to see if it sets well, see note below.
Stir arrowroot and slowly pour into simmering liquid, whisking constantly until mixture returns to a simmer. It should be the consistency of thick cream. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cacao butter. Cover pot for a couple of minutes to allow cacao butter to melt and then whisk again. Set mixture aside to cool for 30 minutes.
Pour into a blender and blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Cover and set aside while you cut the cake.
1. Remove sides of springform pan from the cake and wash off any batter that has stuck to the sides, dry and set aside.
2. Place a flat plate, bottom side up on top of cake and flip cake upside down.
3. Remove bottom of cake pan and gently peel off parchment paper. Keep bottom of pan handy, as you will use it again.
4. Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally.
5. Insert a tart pan base (or other super thin and flat plate) through the center of cake, lift off the top half (which was the bottom of cake) and set aside.
6. Slide the bottom (which was the top of cake) onto the original bottom of spring form pan (so the cut side is facing up) and reattach sides. Place on a plate in case your pan leaks.
7. Pour 2 ½ cups of white chocolate mixture over bottom of cake and place in the fridge for 20 minutes or until firm.
8. Remove from fridge and slowly slide the other half of cake onto the mousse layer.
9. Pour remaining white chocolate mixture over the cake layer. You should have enough to fill it all the way to the top.
10. Carefully place in the fridge and chill for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Top with strawberries just before serving.
Please ignore the step numbers in these photos…I was trying to be fancy and ended up confusing myself!
1 pound fresh strawberries, cut in ¼’s
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple sugar
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, allow to sit for a few minutes before topping cake.
Whenever I cook with agar, I always test the liquid I’ve dissolved it in for firmness before finishing the dessert. You want it to set and be able to hold up when sliced, but you also want it to melt in your mouth and be creamy and light. Too much agar creates an unpleasant hard texture and too little leaves you with a runny custard. Since agar is a natural ingredient, it will vary from batch to batch.
To test; Once you have simmered the agar in the liquid (here it’s coconut milk and rice milk) for required amount of time, spoon a small amount into a small dish and place in the freezer for a few minutes. Once it’s cool, not frozen, see if when you slice it, it still holds together. Taste it and see if it melts in your mouth; you shouldn’t have to chew it. If it’s very firm add a little more liquid and test again. Remember that when you add the arrowroot, it will add some creaminess to the texture once it sets.
Prinatable recipe here