Culinary Disasters I: Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake

I made a Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse cake for Peter Jai‘s birthday because when we hung out at G-Star’s BBQ I had asked him what his favourite dessert was and that I’d make it for his birthday…. Who knew his birthday was coming up so soon?

With my order in hand, I began perusing many of Epicurious’ recipes.  Peter Jai had mentioned that he wasn’t a fan of either white or dark chocolate so any triple chocolate mousse cake would’ve been out of the question.

Growing up, a Ferrero Rocher would always put a smile to my face.  And have you seen me at a bulk barns in the nuts section?  Enough said!

I ended up deciding on the Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake recipe and embarked on a culinary disaster (er… adventure).

Ok, ok… so it wasn’t a total fail because the cake still tasted amazing – but I get no points on the presentation front.  Also, the recipe had some instructions that I felt were unnecessary.  For example, you are to invert the bottom of a spring foam pan, trace a circle with parchment paper, and lay the parchment paper down before you press in the base of the cake.  Then, when you are done baking the base, you let it sit for 20 minutes to cool, unclamp it and have to remove the parchment paper from the bottom.  I don’t see the need for the parchment paper – if there is butter in the base mix of the cake, why do this extra step?  This step also requires finesse as my cake base broke upon unclamping it.  Gah!

Secondly, the next time I will buy pre-skinned hazelnuts (aka filiberts).  It was just a painful experience trying to rub the skins off myself… Some of them were stuck on like glue!

Mousse Cake prior to Ganache Topping

All in all, the cake was good from a taste perspective.  However, I found that the texture of the mousse was not smooth like the store-bought ones and the edges of the cake were not smooth because bits stuck to the sides of the springfoam pan upon unclamping.  However, I took a spatula to smooth it out, but I still wasn’t pleased with it from a visual perspective.  Also, the cocoa powder I used had started to form clumps, which I didn’t bother to break up which probably also affected the uneven texture of the mousse.  I think the mousse probably did not come out as smoothly because Nutella was used with the recipe.  Next time I may just use actual chocolate instead and see if it results in a smoother mousse.  The ganache was made of bittersweet chocolate and it came out quite velvety.

Anyways… Happy Birthday Peter Jai!

The finished product.