Sunday, February 21, 2010

White Chocolate Mousse Cake

I meant to post this entry sooner, but I've been so busy recently that I don't know where all the time goes!

Anyway, as promised, here's a look at my third cake ever! It's the White Chocolate Mousse Cake from Salty's on Alki, a really well known and beloved seafood house in Seattle. I am so in love with this cake! It's one of my favorite desserts!

A significant part of the cake batter consists of egg whites beaten to soft peaks, giving the cake a super light and fluffy texture. The crumb is absolutely perfect! It's covered in white chocolate mousse and white chocolate curls, to finish! The white chocolate mousse is basically fresh whipped cream with melted white chocolate mixed in. It's the most fantastic blend of flavors and textures! It's so delicious and light on the palate that you'll find yourself eating slice after slice! I can never get enough of this cake!

(1) The Fluffy Egg-White Cake

Mix & sift the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Then add the vanilla.

Next, add the flour mixture, alternating with milk...

...until everything is well combined. Set aside.

Now, onto the egg whites! The eggs are supposed to be at room temperature. But if you don't have ones readily available, you can set them in warm water before separating out the whites. Beat until soft peaks form.

Only fold in 1/3 of the egg whites first.

Use a cutting motion from the middle of the bowl, and turning it as you fold.

Gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Don't over mix, or you'll destroy the air whipped into the egg whites and your cake will turn out to be tough and dense. This cake is supposed to be super light and airy.

Ok, now onto the baking part...when I last blogged about the White Velvet Matcha Cake, remember how I talked about the sides browning too quickly and the cake creating a dome in the center? Well, this is how to solve that problem:

You'll need some baking strips. You can find these at any specialty baking store. They are also available on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price. You gotta make sure to get the right sized strips- they come both for 8 inch and 9 inch pans.

So here's how you use them: wet the strips through entirely and then wring out the excess water. Wrap the strips around the pan and you're ready to go! This makes sure that the cake bakes evenly throughout, not browning the edges before the middle is fully done. It will also help with the dome shape. Grease the pan, and bake your cake as usual. I used 9 inch spring form pans and lined the bottom with parchment paper rounds.

Ok, one warning about the baking strips: the first time you use them, you'll think that your kitchen is on fire after about 5 minutes. It produced a super strong stink in my kitchen: like burning rubber. I kept checking on the cake every other minute, worried that the strips had caught on fire. I think it was just because they had never been used before. The second time I used them, the smell was hardly there. So don't be alarmed! hehe.

After I posted about the Matcha cake earlier this week, I received the most wonder email from a reader. She had some pretty fantastic tips for resolving these issues. Here's what she said:

Regarding the dome, the strips work great. But for your fans, they can also save a buck and make their own. Take an old terry towel and cut in strips that are twice the height of the pan. If the pan is 2 inches high, cut the towel in a 4 inch wide strip that is several inches longer than the circumference of the pan. Fold the strip in half lengthwise. Wet and wring out just like the boughten strip. Wrap around the pan and attach with a metal t-pin, safety pin (you don't need to close it) or a metal office binder clip. Works just like the boughten strips. It also helps to lower the oven to 325 when baking.

And if you take a metal flower nail, spray with some Pam, and after you pour the batter, place the nail upside down in the center of the pan. So the top of the flower nail is touching the pan and the nail is sticking up. The strips slow down the baking on the outside edge of the pan, the nail brings more heat into the batter in the center of the pan. Both allow the center to bake at the same time as the edge. When I use the strips, 325 oven, and a flower nail I never have a dome. Nice and flat with no cutting a dome off or having uneven layers.

Wow! I was so amazed by how savvy and creative she was! I never thought to make my own strips! The flower nail tip was pretty cool, wasn't it? I haven't tried it yet, but the next cake I bake, I'll be sure to put it to the test! Flower nails can be found anywhere- even at Michael's. It's the kind you use to pipe buttercream roses. Thanks so much, Denette, for the awesome tips!

(2) The Red Currant Filling

The recipe called for red currant jelly as the filling. Basically all you do is whisk the jelly until it becomes smooth. There's not actually a whole lot of it once you spread it around the cake. The idea is to have a tiny bit of flavor in the center. However, I always wish there was more! I'd double what the recipe calls for, to get a more flavorful cake!

(3) The White Chocolate Curls

The chocolate curls are super easy to make. Be sure to use a high quality white chocolate bar, with real cocoa butter in it. I usually get mine from Whole Foods. All you have to do is take a potato peeler to it. I have a nice red one with a ceramic blade from Sur La Table. It works perfectly on white chocolate.

A great trick to getting perfect curls: warm up the surface of the chocolate first, before curling. Do this by placing the palm of your hand over the bar of chocolate for a few seconds before shaving the chocolate. This will make sure it's soft enough to curl easily, without breaking.

(4) The White Chocolate Mousse

First, melt your white chocolate and make sure it's had ample time to cool down completely.

In an electric mixer, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Yay! I love freshly whipped whip cream!

Pour in the white chocolate..

...and mix until well combined.

If your chocolate is still slightly warm, you'll get chunks of white chocolate in your whipped cream, and it won't be as smooth. It's fine if this happens, it'll still taste just as great!

What you can do is slowly drizzle the melted chocolate in while the mixer is running. This will also reduce the chances of getting clumps. (I find that folding it in by hand usually creates more lumps.)

(5) Putting it all together

Start with the first layer. Spread the red currant jelly evenly.

See how beautifully the sides of the cake turned out to be this time?! =) The baking strips worked like a charm! (Thanks Patricia!) Although, there was still a tad bit of a dome on top that I had to trim down, but it wasn't such a big deal this time. It was a tiiiiiiiiiny dome that probably wouldn't have made a difference if I didn't trim it. But I wanted to get rid of the "brown top" anyway, so I gave it a tiny trim. I will be sure to try the nail thing next time! It sounds so cool! hehe. And wouldn't it be nice to get a completely flat layer?! I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. =)

Anyway, moving on... spread some white chocolate mousse over the red currant layer.

Continue to frost the cake completely, until the entire thing is covered with the white chocolate mousse.

Then top with white chocolate curls to finish!

I didn't mean to do another cake with white chocolate curls. It just so happens that this cake was designed that way. The curls are super forgiving and will cover a lot of flaws. Whipping cream is hard to get smooth anyway, so the curls are perfect. But I really need to do some cakes with "real" decorating, by using a SMB or IMB. That's what I really need to practice!

Remember how I last talked about icing tips that I got from my readers? Well, Denette had something to say about those too:

To use the roller (or viva paper towel technique that is also popular and effective) you need a buttercream that crusts. You have to be able to lightly touch it with your finger and the buttercream won't come off on your finger.

I'm glad she told me this because I was super excited about trying out the roller technique. But as you all know, I don't ever use American buttercream that crusts. So, she saved me from a lot of potential frustration! hehe. I wasn't aware that some techniques don't work on certain buttercreams. See what I mean about being a novice? hehe. =)

Ok, so how did this third one turn out??

Definitely better, since I had the baking strips. But I still had problems with the layers. I didn't weigh out the batter to make sure it was even this time- I should never skip that step!! hehe. because you can see here that my layers weren't even. I put more batter in one pan and less in the other. Also, when I went to trim the top, I didn't trim it entirely flat. And also, I seemed to have trimmed the edges more than the center..? lol. Not sure how I pulled that one off! oh well, this just means that I have to practice more, right? hehe.

As for how it tastes: AMAZING! I brought it to a party and everyone loved it! A lot of people commented on the fact that it was super light and fluffy. Of what little we had left over, people were signing up to take some home!

It truly is a great cake! It's subtly sweet, but has a great flavor at the same time. I hope you will put this on your list of To-Trys, it truly is an amazing cake!

Click HERE for the recipes shown in this entry.


  1. Yay! You made it! Looks delicious! I'm gonna have to get some of those baking strips.

  2. Fantastic job Judy. I love using insulated baking strips - they're available in larger sizes too (wilton - large enough for wedding cake tiers). I always use the flower nail trick for tiers over 9" in diameter - it's a great idea!


  3. PS - you can use the papertowel/roller trick on non-crusting buttercream, but it has to be well chilled (very firm).

    I'm drooling over your photos!!


  4. Me too, butteryum!

    You even make egg whites look pretty. Insane!

  5. Beautiful! Well done! I wonder if someone could tell me how to get the curls on the sides of the cake. I saw a cake somewhere else that had white frosting with crumbs deliberately put all over the sides. It was dramatic, but I did not know how to go about putting it on the sides.

  6. Judy, another awesome cake! Will try soon. Re the pan strips, if the store bought ones aren't big enough to go around a large pan, we were told in the Wilton class to sew on some Velcro fabric fastener - this method worked better than the t-pins or metal pins as there is less chance of burning yourself when you go to remove them and less awkward to install. Also, when you level your cake layers, are you using a serrated long knife and eye-balling the cut line? if so, invest in a metal cake leveler...strange little metal equipment with a wire anchoring both ends - easy to use and not expensive - there are notches on both ends where you can adjust the cake level to cut. I've seen them in several sizes, but for normal size cake, the small size works.

    Just to let you know, I did receive the frosting tip (give-away prize) - haven't made any cupcakes or cakes lately, but I'm sure using it will enhance the presentation of my frosting skills. Thanks again for the treat!

  7. Wow, Judy. This looks amazing! What a great reader you got there. I've heard of a few of those tricks from Rose Levy Beranbaum (author of cake bible)'s blog, but I have yet to try them.

  8. Hi there!
    I opted to bake a weddingcake for a friend of mine, don't think it came out too bad. Used this recipe and added a bit of pizazz, and voila, used it for a weddingcake...
    Excellent recipe, very versatile!
    Nadien Tromp, South Africa.

  9. I really like this kind of information!


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