I am finally getting around to writing up the recipe that Jan created for Miriam’s Birthday. At our house, my mother’s chocolate mousse has become the standard birthday treat. Jan has made several variations of this creamy dessert, for this one she decided that should would add cherry liqueur.
Jan also decided that this dessert should have cake as well. While she started with a white cake recipe, she eventually changed almost every ingredient and it ended up as more of a yellow cake. She had used cherry liquor in her mousse, so she decided to substitute it for the almond and vanilla extracts in the cake.
Jan had forgotten to put the parchment paper into the pan, so the cake broke apart as she was trying to extract it. Making a virtue of necessity, she cut neat squares of cake that fit our desert bowls and topped them with mousse and sliced cherries. After tasting the cake, we found it a bit dry, but that more cherry liqueur poured on the cake was the perfect solution.
Jan’s Drunken Cherry Chocolate Mousse Cake
Jan’s Cherry Chocolate Mousse
2 pkg. unflavored gelatin
1 cup cane sugar, separate uses
¼ tsp. salt
4 eggs, separated
2 cup Straus whole milk
12 oz. good quality dark chocolate bits
1 Tbs. cherry liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint Straus whipping cream
Jan’s Yellow Cake
1 cup milk at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
3 tsp. cherry liqueur
2¼ cups AP flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 Tbs. cherry liqueur per serving
1 sliced Rainier cherry per serving
Note: Start the mousse in the morning, or night before, because it takes a couple of hours to setup.
1. Mix the gelatin, ½ cup sugar and the salt thoroughly in the top of a double boiler.
Tip: If you do not have a D.B. a metal mixing bowl over a pot of water works fine.
2. Beat together the egg yolks and milk and add them to the gelatin mixture.
3. Add the chocolate bits and cook over the boiling water, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted and well blended.
4. Remove the chocolate from the heat, stir in the cherry liqueur and vanilla.
5. Chill, in the refrigerator, until the sauce is thickened.
6. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.
Tip: Be sure not to get any egg yolk or water in your egg whites or they will not form the meringue properly.
7. Beat the remaining half cup of sugar into the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
8. Fold the meringue into the chocolate mix.
Tip: Folding is not the same as stirring. To fold you take a spatula and gently scoop the mix from the bottom, bring it up and lay it in the top. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the mix is well blended.
9. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and fold it into the mix.
Tip: You may wash and dry the meringue bowl to limit the number of bowls you use.
10. Pour the mousse into a large bowl.
Note: You may, at this point, pour the mousse into individual serving cups or into a decorative serving bowl. We usually use a clear glass, floral, salad bowl.
11. Set the mousse, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.
Tip: Do not disturb the mousse once it has started to set.
12. Chill until firm, 3-4 hours.
13. Preheat oven to 350º F.
14. Lay a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and spray well with Pam.
15. Mix the milk, eggs and liqueur together.
16. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl.
17. Cut in the butter, until the butter pieces are pea-sized or smaller.
18. Add half of the milk mixture and use an electric mixer to blend it well. Add the second half and mix for two minutes.
19. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
20. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
21. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.
22. Slice squares of cake and set them in a dessert bowls.
23. Dribble two teaspoons of liqueur over each piece of cake.
24. Place a good dollop of mousse on top of the cakes.
25. Put the sliced cherries on top and dribble the remaining teaspoons of liqueur over the mousse.
26. Serve—in our case singing “Happy Birthday.”