Plating pretty: Individual Chocolate Key Lime Cakes

Plating pretty: Individual Chocolate Key Lime Cakes

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A friend of mine asked me to create a dessert for a six-course dinner he was serving. Since mine was the last of some very impressive (and somewhat heavy) dishes, I wanted to make something light and fruity. I chose this recipe from Classic Charleston Desserts. Specifically, it’s from the Kiawah Resort. Right off, I’ll tell you that the recipe itself has a few “problems”. Some of the mousse directions are questionable and the assembly directions actually create the cake upside down, if you follow them exactly. The directions here have been modified.

Overall, the cake turned out well and dinner was a success. Well done, Rick!

Chocolate sponge cake 

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch cream of tartar

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.

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Combine the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar and mix with an electric mixer at high speed until batter falls in ribbons.

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Sift the flour and cocoa together and gradually fold into the egg mixture. Be sure to fold thoroughly so there are no pockets of powder hiding in the mix.

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In another bowl, beat the egg whites, 1/3 of the sugar and the cream of tartar until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter gradually. Divide the batter evenly between two pans.

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Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cakes are springy to the touch. Cool on a rack. Once cool, remove the “skin” from both cakes so that each cake is as light as possible. Set aside.

Key Lime Mousse

  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 7 tbsp Key Lime juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water to dissolve. Combine the milk and key lime juice in a small pan and bring to a boil.

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Combine the egg yolks and sugar in another bowl until well combined. Pour a small amount of the heated egg mix into the sugar egg mix to temper the eggs, then pour it all into the saucepan to cook.  Heat to 184 degrees.

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Add the gelatin and stir to dissolve completely. Cool the saucepan in a bowl of ice. (This last bit of instruction is from the recipe book but, better yet, use a bain marie to heat the custard. Mix with an electric mixer until it develops some body before cooling).

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Whip the cream until soft peaks form and fold into the cooled custard.

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Raspberry Mousse

  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup raspberry puree
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Again, sprinkle the gelatin over the water to dissolve. Puree one cup of raspberries and strain to remove the seeds.

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Bring the raspberry puree to a gentle boil in a saucepan. Combine the eggs yolks and sugar in another bowl. Pour a small amount of the heated puree into the egg mix to temper the eggs, then pour it all into the saucepan to cook. Stir gently until it reaches 184 degrees.

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Stir in the gelatin until it’s dissolved. Remove the thickened custard from the stove and let cool completely. Whip the cream in another bowl until soft peaks form and fold into the cooled custard. Set aside.

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Cocoa Sauce

  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar (use half this)
  • pinch of salt

Combine the sugar, water, salt and cocoa in a saucepan and stir until thickened. Again, this is from the recipe book, but half the sugar would do. And you might need to add some Arrowroot or Corn Starch or you’ll be stirring all night. Cool in the refrigerator overnight.

To assemble, lay a layer of cake on parchment paper. Spread the raspberry mousse over the cake thickly and evenly, then layer with the second cake.

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Spread the key lime mousse thickly over the top. Put the cake in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

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When frozen, trim the edges (run a serrated knife under hot water and wipe dry each time). Score the top before cutting so your pieces are even, then cut into even pieces.

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Top with raspberries and serve with the chocolate sauce and espresso. Enjoy!

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