Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse Gateau with Cranberry Sauce and Candied and Segmented Oranges

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Ingredients:

Chocolate Sponge

  • 6 Eggs (yolk and white separated)
  • 125g Sugar
  • 100g Brown Sugar
  • 125g All Purpose Flour (sifted)
  • 25g Cocoa Powder (sifted)
  • 7g Baking Powder (sifted)
  • 2g Salt
  • 25g Unsalted Butter
  • 1tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 60ml Coffee

Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse

  • 250g Dark Chocolate (minimum 70%, cut into small pieces)
  • 50g Unsalted Butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 9 Egg Yolks
  • 3 Oranges (zest finely grated, and juiced)
  • 225g Sugar
  • 500ml Heavy Cream (well chilled)
  • 50ml Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or Cointreau)
  • 2g salt

Cranberry Sauce

  • 300g Cranberries (washed)
  • 150g Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lemon (Zest finely grated and juiced)
  • 150ml Water

Garnish 

  • 1 Packet Candied Orange Slices
  • 2 Oranges (zest finely grated, rind and pith removed, flesh segmented)
  • 75g Dark Chocolate
  • 1 Bunch Mint (washed, and leaves picked)

Instructions:

Chocolate Sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease a sheet pan (18inch x 13inch) all over with butter, and line the base of the sheet pan with non-stick parchment paper and apply another coating of butter on top.
  3. Pour your flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl and stir until well combined.  Set aside.
  4. In a bowl of a stand mixer, add your egg whites, salt and vinegar and whisk under medium high speed for 1-2mins until foamy.  Add half your sugar, and continue whisking for approximately 5-6mins on high speed until you’ve reached stiff peaks and the meringue becomes glossy.  Using a rubber spatula, remove your meringue mixture from the stand mixer bowl and set it aside in another bowl.
  5. Add your egg yolks, and brown sugar into your stand mixer bowl and whisk under medium speed for 2-3mins until thoroughly combined and foamy.
  6. Add all your dry ingredients into your egg yolk mixture a third at a time.  Between each interval of your dry ingredients, add half your coffee to your egg yolk mixture.  Whisk under low speed until just combined, and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula before each new addition of wet and dry ingredients.
  7. Add 1/3 of your meringue into your chocolate and egg mixture and fold it in until well combined, before gently folding in the remaining 2/3 of your meringue.
  8. Pour your cake mixture into your baking sheet and spread it evenly across the surface.  Place it in the oven and bake for approximately 20mins until cooked.
  9. When ready, remove and set aside.

Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse

  1. Place all your chocolate and butter into a bowl, and place on top of a pan of simmering water.  Make sure the bowl isn’t in direct contact with the simmering water.  Cook until the chocolate and butter has melted and completely dissolved.
  2. Place the sugar and fresh orange juice into a pan and cook under medium high heat until it boils and reaches 250°F.  The consistency should be thick and syrupy.
  3. While you’re making your orange sugar syrup, place your egg yolks, salt and vinegar into a bowl for a stand mixer.  As soon as the orange syrup reaches 250°F, turn on the machine and start whisking your eggs under medium speed for 1min, turn down the speed to low and pour your hot orange syrup into the egg yolk mixture in a slow thin steady stream until it is all incorporated.  When you’ve finished adding all your orange syrup, turn up the speed and let it run under medium high speed until the temperature of your egg mixture cools to room temperature.
  4. In a clean bowl, vigorously whisk the heavy cream until nearly quadruples in volume and reaches stiff peaks.  It should hold it’s shape when you lift it up with a whisk.
  5. Gently mix the chocolate and whipped cream together until fully mixed and homogeneous.  Gently fold the egg yolk and orange mix into the chocolate mix, first by adding ¼ of the mix and than the ¾.  Finish by adding your orange liqueur and orange zest to the chocolate mousse mix.
  6. When ready, remove and set aside.

Cranberry Sauce

  1. Add your cranberries, lemon zest and juice, brown sugar and water to a pan and cook under medium high heat until it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10-15mins.
  2. When your cranberries are broken down and finished cooking, pour your cranberry mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Pass through a sift to remove and lumps.
  4. Reserve and set aside.

Assemble

  1. Remove your chocolate sponge from your sheet pan.  Using a stainless steel rectangular ring mold (width 6 inches, length 13 inches and height 2 inches) as a guide, cut out two rectangular sheets of your cake.
  2. Cover one side of each of your rectangular molds with cling film.  Invert your mold so that the cling film is facing the bottom.  Place your cake sheet inside of your mold lined with cling film on the bottom.
  3. Pour 4-5tbsp of your cranberry sauce on top of each of your individual cake sheets, spreading it evenly across the entire surface.  The remaining cranberry sauce is reserved and used as garnish.
  4. Pour your dark chocolate and orange mousse on top of your cake, filling it right to the top of your rectangular molds.  Spread the chocolate and orange mousse evenly and smooth out the surface.
  5. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill and set for 4-6hours until your chocolate and orange mousse is set firm.
  6. Remove your cakes from the fridge and place on a heat proof serving tray or shallow dish.  Remove the cling film attached to the bottom of your molds and cakes.  Using a blowtorch, quickly torch all four sides of your rectangular molds and carefully lift up the molds to release your cakes.
  7. Finely grate your dark chocolate over the surface of your cakes.  Decorate the top with your candied orange slices.  Pour your cranberry sauce around your cake and garnish with orange segments and mint leaves.

Notes:

  • This was a special holiday dessert I prepared for another dinner party I was in attendance.  It’s an absolute showstopper.  It great both visually and taste wise.
  • This recipe is actually for two cakes and not one.  But the cakes can be kept and held in the freezer without any issues.
  • I know on first glance this recipe is quite long and can seem difficult to tackle, but I assure you it’s not that difficult.  It just takes a bit of time, but you can split it up to make it less daunting.  For example, you can prepare the sponge cake and cranberry sauce the day before and the day after make the chocolate mousse before assembling it together.
  • What’s good about this recipe is that it can be made ahead and kept frozen for up to a month without any worries.  In the scenario that you do freeze it, cover the top of your cakes with more cling film and place in a airtight container or several freezer bags.  When ready to use, take it out of the freezer and into the fridge and allow it to defrost for a couple of days.
  • This is actually an adaptation and upgraded version of a recipe I posted a while back, featuring the same core components and ingredients.      
  • In the scenario you can’t find any candied orange slices at your local shop, you can either omit them completely or substitute them with some fresh orange slices for garnish.

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