Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake {gluten-free}

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake
Blond is the supposed fourth flavour of chocolate, created by Valrhona.  The Dulcey bar picks up where white chocolate leaves off with a deeper butterscotch flavour.  According to Valrhona lore it was created by accident after white chocolate was left cooking on the bain marie too long.  Think fancypants Caramac, then forget that immediately as Valrhona turn their nose up at such comparisons.

Blond Chocolate 2
Blond Chocolate 3

You can inhale the indulgence simply by tearing the foil off of this chocolate bar.   I have used it here whipped into a pillowy caramelised mousse sitting abed a soft darkly intense chocolate cake and topped with a cloud of cream.

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake2
Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake3

This chocolate mousse cake has been a long time in the making.  I initially bought my bars of blond chocolate back in October especially to make this cake.  And then, I just never made it.  I was constantly tweaking the recipe, I couldn’t decide how I wanted it to look, what I wanted my base cake to be, what I should top it with.  I was keen to get it right, and after a few false starts I think I have hit upon the perfect way to really show off the dreamy blond chocolate.

This all would have been fine if the cake had been round but it’s Valentines and I thought I’d push the boat out.  I didn’t have a heart shaped cake tin so instead baked the chocolate cake in a round tin then cut it into a heart shape.  The mousse needed a firm structure to set to so I became an arts and craft ninja.  I covered card with parchment paper and wrapped it round the cake, securing it to the bottom of the cake board with masking tape so the mousse wouldn’t leak out whilst it set.  I was as surprised as anyone that it actually worked out.
Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake5

This is really a special occasion cake, the kind that you take your time over.  It’s a perfect dessert cake, designed for long lingering looks across a candlelit dining table.

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake {gluten-free}

Chocolate Cake
Adapted from the cake layer of Martha Stewart’s Mississippi Mud Pie

40g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate
40ml strong coffee, at room temperature
¼ tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
140g caster sugar

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a 18cm springform cake tin.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain marie, then set aside.
  3. Mix the coffee, salt, and vanilla together and set aside.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until light and almost doubled in volume.
  5. Add melted chocolate mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  6. Add coffee mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually increase speed to high and slowly add remaining the rest of the sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
  8. Gently fold in a large spoonful of egg white mixture to chocolate mixture with a metal spoon. Add remaining egg whites a spoon at a time and continue gently folding until they are almost completely combined; do not overmix.
  9. Pour into cake tin and transfer to oven. Bake until cake is set but still jiggles slightly, about 25-30 mins. It may not appear completely cooked.
  10. Cool in the tin. Remove, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  11. Cut the cake into the shape of a heart, then surround with card, covered with parchment to create tall walls around the cake which when you add the mousse on top will hold it in place.

Blond Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Delia Smith’s Chocolate Mousse

200g dulcey chocolate
3 eggs, separated
2 tbsp caster sugar

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, let cool for a couple of mins then stir in the egg yolks.
  2. Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak stage, then add the sugar and carry on whisking until the whites have firmed up a bit more.
  3. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest. Pour the mousse on top of the cooled cake, refrigerate and let set for at least 2 hours.

Chocolate Lace Wrap

200g dark chocolate
Pinch of salt

  1. Melt the chocolate on a bain marie and add the salt.
  2. Measure two lengths of parchment which will fit around each half of the heart.
  3. Pour into a piping bag or a food bag with the corner cut off.
  4. Pipe whatever pattern you choose on the parchment. Place in the freezer for two mins exactly then remove by which time the chocolate should have firmed up so that it is malleable but not stiff.
  5. Immediately but gently wrap the chocolate lace around the cake before the chocolate gets too solid, it should stick to the mousse.

Whipped cream

200ml double cream

  1. Whip the double cream with the sugar to a billowing cloud. Do not overwhip.
  2. Dollop onto the top of the cake.

Chocolate Curls

There will be extra chocolate leftover after you have finished your chocolate lace wrap, scrape it up into curls with the end of a pallet knife and add to the top of the cake.

Happy Valentines everybody. But especially to my three funny valentines.

Cat in a Bag
Little Valentine
Puppy

 

Lemon and Thyme Jelly

Lemon and thyme jelly

I had never made my own jelly before.  My only experience of it up until now had been from childhood or when I was dieting in my early twenties and it was the only dessert allowed.  I have been spoiled by the saccharine sweetness of these packaged cubes.

After trying my hand at jelly two weeks ago I am hooked.  My January drizzle has met its match with these intense fruity delights.  I am entranced by the beauty of the jeweled colours shimmering as the shy sun catches a slight wobble.

Lemon and thyme jelly2

My favourite jelly I have made so far has been these bouncy pots of lemon and thyme.  Bompas and Parr, the fine connoisseurs of all things wobbly explained that the acidity of the pure lemon juice would counteract the gelatine so shots of orange are also needed to help it out.  This does give the jelly a more rounded citrus flavour without losing the desired lemon tang and the thyme adds just a touch of herbal earthiness.

Lemon and thyme jelly4

This week I have been out too many times in the evening, too much wine, too many late nights and early mornings.  I can feel my head quietly pulsing.  As I reach for the refreshing sunshine burst of jelly I can feel my head clearing, the slight sharpness sending an awakening spark down my back and I feel rejuvenation is a mere weekend away.

Lemon and thyme jelly3

Lemon and Thyme Jelly

300ml lemon juice (6-7 large lemons)
200ml orange juice (about 3 oranges)
150g agave nectar or honey
2 sprigs thyme
4 leaves gelatine

  1. In a medium sized saucepan heat the lemon juice, orange juice, agave nectar and the 2 sprigs of thyme until just under boiling.
  2. Remove from the heat and let stand in the saucepan for 1 hour for the thyme to infuse.
  3. Strain the juice and pour back into the saucepan.
  4. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 mins, then squeeze out the excess water.
  5. Add the gelatine to the juice in the saucepan and warm gently until the gelatine melts, do not let boil, it should only take a couple of mins.
  6. Pour into glasses and leave to cool for a couple of hours.
  7. Add a couple of small sprigs of thyme to the tops of the jellies, pressing down slightly to submerge.
  8. Put the jellies in the fridge to set overnight.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

These easy Roasted Aubergine and Courgettes are sprinkled with sumac and tossed with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon before serving. A wonderful vegetable dish which can be eaten hot or as part of a salad buffet.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

This is an excellent standby week night meal which takes moments to prepare. The vegetables don’t even need peeling, just minimal chopping and then 30-40 minutes roasting in the oven.

Aubergines and courgettes are often misunderstood vegetables as they seem difficult to cook correctly. Sometimes with watery or oily results.

However this recipe is so easy and absolutely foolproof that aubergines and courgettes will become your absolute go-to veg choice when you are looking for a quick meal.

courgette and aubergine3

Why this recipe works so brilliantly

  • Minimal prep time so ideal if you need a hands off dinner.
  • The sumac, fresh herbs and lemon balance out the richness of the roasted vegetables.
  • You can make ahead as this dish is just as good eaten at room temperature.
  • Roasted Aubergine and Courgette can accompany a variety of different meals.

If you need more veggie side dishes then why not try:

English Mint Potato Salad
Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine
The Best Homemade Coleslaw

courgette and aubergine

Do you need to salt aubergines?

Yes and no. Years ago aubergines were much more bitter so they required salting to make them more palatable. The bitterness has been bred out of them now though so there is no more need to salt for that purpose. However, aubergines do soak up a lot of oil when cooking so salting them prior to cooking helps the aubergine to absorb less oil.

I’m happy to report though that there is no need to salt the aubergines in this recipe. We are looking for speed here.

TIP:  If you feel the end result is too oily then you can pat the vegetables dry with clean kitchen paper before tossing with the herbs and lemon.

What is Sumac?

Sumac is popular in middle eastern cooking. It has a tart lemony flavour. Lovely sprinkled over salads, grilled meats or vegetables.

Here it adds a tanginess to the roasted vegetables, cutting through the richness of the olive oil.

How to Roast Aubergine and Courgette

There is minimal prep involved here.

  1. Cut each vegetable into 8 wedges, by slicing in half width ways, then cutting the halves length ways twice.
  2. Toss in the olive oil, sumac and salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30-40 minutes (depending on how large your vegetables were to begin with).
  4. Finally toss with the fresh herbs and lemon.

Roasted aubergine and courgette2

What to serve with Roasted Aubergine and Courgette

  • Lamb Kebabs
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Toss through with pasta for a vegan main dish
  • Serve drizzled with garlicky yoghurt
  • Take to a pot luck for a healthy veggie option

If you make this Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

These easy Roasted Aubergine and Courgettes are sprinkled with sumac and tossed with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon before serving. A wonderful vegetable dish which can be eaten hot or as part of a salad buffet.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 210kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 courgettes
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sumac
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 10 g mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 10 g coriander leaves roughly chopped
  • 10 g parsley leaves roughly chopped
  • Wedge of lemon

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
  • Prepare the courgette and aubergine by slicing off the stems. Cut each one in half width ways. Halve each again lengthways and then cut into 16 wedges in total.
  • Place the wedges on a baking tray then toss with the olive oil, sumac and salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes, checking halfway through to give a good mix around.
  • Once the aubergine and courgette are soft, lightly browned and slightly crispy at the corners then remove from the oven.
  • Sprinkle over the fresh herbs, mixing together with a squeeze of lemon.

Notes

  • Cut aubergine browns quickly so don’t leave it hanging around the kitchen after you have turned it into wedges.
  • You can enjoy this dish hot from the oven or cooled and served at room temperature.
  • Lovely served with grilled lamb or chicken or tossed through pasta for a vegan option.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 821mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 734IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in 2014, but was updated in August of 2019 to make the recipe instructions clearer as well as nutritional information and expert tips.