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Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake with Grand Marnier and Kumquats

Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake with Grand Marnier and Kumquats

So, let's just be upfront about this cake. It's not diet food. It's an indulgence...an oh so delicious indulgence.

The base is a rich, fudgey chocolate cake with a hint of orange, topped with a double layer of Julia Child's sinful chocolate mousse with Grand Marnier and topped with a sweet vanilla whipped cream and kumquats. Could I have made the mousse layer half the size? Of course! But why would I? It's SO good. If three sticks of butter is just too much for you, half the mousse recipe and you will end up with a layer of mousse proportional to the other two layers.

This is actually the first time I made one of Julia Child's recipes. A large portion of the egg whipping must be done by hand over hot then cold water. Man, it was a workout but well worth it! Also, like many mousse recipes, there are raw eggs in the finished product so do your own research and be aware of who you serve this to.

Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake with Grand Marnier and Kumquats

Chocolate Cake Base Layer
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour (150 grams)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse
8 eggs, separated
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup strong coffee
Pinch of salt

Vanilla Whipped Cream
2 cups very cold heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 small carton kumquats

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 10 inch springform cake pan. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer. Beat until creamed together, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, orange extract and coconut oil and beat until combined. With the mixer on low, add 1/4 of the flour mixture. Once incorporated, add 1/4 of the milk and repeat the process until all the flour and milk is incorporated. Lastly, add the boiling water and mix until combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when pushed through the center. Let the cake cool completely before preparing the mousse.

Now for the mousse. Begin by heating a large pot with water until almost simmering. Also prepare a large bowl with ice water. Add the chocolate, coffee and butter to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds then in 10 second increments until melted, stirring in between.* Set aside. Now add the egg yolks and sugar to a stainless steel mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer. Beat until it is light yellow, thick and falls back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Add the orange liqueur and beat until combined. Now bring the stainless steel mixing bowl over to the pot of almost simmering water and hand beat until the mixture is too hot to touch and foamy. I placed a cooling rack over the pot and set the mixing bowl on top of it to make the process easier. Now set the mixing bowl on top of the ice water and hand beat until the mixture is cool and thick like mayonnaise. Beat the slightly cooled chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

Now add the egg whites to another large mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer. Beat until soft peaks form and slowly add the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate egg yolk bowl. Then carefully fold the remainder of the egg whites in.

Loosen the springform of your cooled cake pan and wrap wax paper tightly around the cake. Tighten the pan back up. Now carefully place the chocolate mousse on top of the cake in an even layer. The wax paper will allow the mousse to hold its shape over the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, prepare the whipped cream. Place the cold cream in a large bowl attached to a stand mixer. Whip on medium then high speed until it is almost whipped cream consistency and add the sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until you have whipped cream.

Using a spatula, place the whipped cream on top of the mousse layer of the cake. Cut the kumquats into thin slices, removing any seeds you come across and place on top of the whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

* This is my adaptation. Julia Child's recipe says to Melt the chocolate with the coffee over hot water. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream.

Mousse recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One, by Julia Child, Luisette Bertholl and Simone Beck. Published by Knopf, 1961.

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