This is it. The requisite “Valentine’s Day equals chocolate” blog post. Baking for people isn’t a foolproof way to make them love you, so I suggest you only make this cake if you are already happily married and have a date planned.
If your darling cousin is having a baby shower this week, you also have an excuse to make this indulgent gluten-free cake. The first layer is a fudgy chocolate cake made with mostly eggs and melted chocolate. It’s similar to this and this. The second layer is a decadent mousse made with Nutella. (Actually, I used a generic brand of hazelnut spread, so feel free to fudge on this. Jokes.) It was good atop the cake, but man, you could cut half the difficulty of this cake by making the mousse alone and eating it out of little dessert cups.
I garnished the cake with hazelnut pirouline cookies and chocolate-covered espresso beans. The beauty of the cake is that it can be made ahead for minimal fuss on the day you serve it (take a while to firm up in the fridge), but make sure to garnish it just prior to serving. I noticed that the cookies got a little soft even a few hours after placement on the mousse. Raspberries, fresh whipped cream, drizzled chocolate, toasted hazelnuts? Go crazy, mes amis. Oh, and for best slicing results, slice with a a hot knife, dipped in hot water and dried after each cut. A little extra effort, but it looks fab and it’s V Day, so why not?
Golden delicious Midas fudge.
Nutella Mousse Cake
Cake adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Mousse adapted from Table Talk
For the flourless cake layer:
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter
12 oz dark chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey or liqueur of choice
Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9-inch sprinform pan with a parchment round and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Triple wrap the springform in foil and place in a larger pan with high sides.
Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave in a large bowl, stirring at 30-second intervals until melted. Whisk in the eggs and sugar until well combined. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur and then pour the batter into the springform.
Place the two pans in the oven, then fill the outer pan with enough hot water to come up to the top of the batter. Bake 35-40 minutes, until firm to the touch, and then remove from the oven. Let cool in the water bath. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
For the Nutella mousse:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
3 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella (5 oz)
1/2 cup neufchatel cheese, cream cheese or mascarpone (1/4 pound)
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons white sugar
Sprinkle the gelatin over water in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat the gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring, just until gelatin is melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate hazelnut spread until combined and remove from heat.
Beat together neufchatel cheese and chocolate hazelnut mixture by hand in a large bowl. Beat together cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in another large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until just combined, then increase speed to high and beat until cream just holds soft peaks. Whisk one third of the whipped cream into the cheese/hazelnut mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until well combined. Spoon the filling over the chilled flourless cake layer and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
Garnish as desired with cookies and chocolate-covered espresso beans. Raspberries or drizzled chocolate would also be lovely.