Chocolate Mousse Cake Bakealong

For the longest time chocolate cake was my baking nemesis. I could never seem to get it right. Either the cake would be too dry or the icing wouldn’t work, and after many attempts I remember years ago making a vow that I would never try to bake a chocolate cake again.

Well, then my daughter declared chocolate cake to be her favorite so I knew I had to make amends. Thanks to Tessa Huff (Style Sweet CA/The Cake Blog) and this Ghirardelli devils food cake that I have made so many times now I probably could bake it without the recipe, I have found that I can in fact make a good chocolate cake, so when King Arthur Flour posted the 18th Bakealong challenge – Chocolate Mousse Cake – I was super keen to give it a whirl.

Technically the challenge is Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries, but you can plainly see I’ve used strawberries – they are just so much cheaper at the moment, and I didn’t have a birthday or guests coming over to excuse spending $12 on raspberries for this cake. I actually made it as sort of a celebration of the finishing the first week back at school. Hey, any excuse for cake, right?!!

It was a very straight forward bake really – only changes I made to the cake were I used three 8 inch pans and the batter divided into 2 cups each and I added 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to the boiling water. I also used Greek yogurt over buttermilk, because I had more of it to spare.

For the mousse I didn’t use the Instant ClearJel stuff as I’m not sure where I’d find it in Australia – I did refrigerate the mousse before I filled the cake for a couple hours though. The frosting is full butter rather than half shortening because it is horrendously expensive here.

It was a hot day and I still managed to get everything together without it melting apart as I went, so I was pretty impressed given the recipe left me fearing the worst.

Aaron’s comment was that it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. The cake itself was great and I loved the mousse filling, but I must admit that I found the frosting too rich. Think I’ve become so used to Tessa Huff’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Ghirardelli’s Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache that it’s weakened my chocolate frosting tolerance levels.

The strawberries were nice, but I wish I could’ve gotten ahold of raspberries cheaper or had the foresight to go foraging for some wild blackberries instead, because I’ve been really into blackberries lately.

Not that I’m complaining though…this was the perfect way to end a big week!

Classic Challah Bakealong

Once a month, King Arthur Flour hosts a Bakealong encouraging their readers to have a go at a common recipe and post it to Instagram. This month marks their 17th challenge, I’ve participated in well over half of them, and it is challah!

I’ve made challah a few times as part of the Food52 Baking Club, but this recipe was a lot different, definitely easier, with the added challenge of braiding the dough as six strands. So of course, I had to do it.

Basically, you put all the dough ingredients into your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead into a ball.

Then remove it and knead it into a smoother ball and place it in a greased covered container until almost doubled (it took mine twice as long to rise than the recipe suggested).

Then you weigh it into six equal portions, roll them into long ropes and braid them using the technique provided. I watched the video and had to work upside down in order to follow along, but now that I’ve done it once it seems so much simpler than the pictures made it seem.

Brush on the egg wash and bake. And here’s where it took my bread almost 2 hours to cook because one of the elements in our oven died. *crying* It is still yum, still edible of course, but the crumb is nowhere near as nice as it should be and I’m really not happy that I’ve now got to work out what to do without a working oven for the near future. HELP!