Mum's Birthday!

I remember when we were younger and mum always used to make birthday cakes for Alex and I. She did heaps of cool things, one year we had a Barbie cake (where the skirt is the cake and you stick a Barbie in the top!), another year we had a pancake party and heaps more of course! But then we started getting into buying the cakes because it ended up being much easier and stress-free! We usually get all of our birthday cakes for our family from Moore Wilson's now (we're all particularly fond of the Duchess cake...) because they do really good cakes. This year however, I really wanted to bake mum a cake myself for her birthday. She said she didn't want any fruit, just chocolate so I was trying to think of what I could do. I was considering trying to replicate a Duchess cake so I googled to try and find a recipe, but apparently they only exist at Moore Wilson's! But, I did come across a recipe that looked nearly as good and I could make it in advance and freeze it. Since it ticked both of the boxes, I decided to give it a try and it was fantastic! If you want something more that just a basic cake for a birthday, or if you don't want to have to ice a cake, or if you want to make it in advance, then this cake it for you! Be warned, it does take a fair bit of time, just because you have to chill and bake things etc., but it's actually surprisingly easy. So maybe this could be your next go-to birthday cake?

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

250g chocolate bits
4 eggs, separated at room temperature (keep both parts though!!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4t salt
1t vanilla essence
115g butter

250g dark/semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups cream
1t gelatin or 1 gelatin sheet, softened in 2-3T cool water

200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups cream
1t gelatin or 1 gelatin sheet, softened in 2-3T cool water

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20-25cm springform cake tin. Melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave on a low heat, or in a double boiler/bowl over a pot of simmering water. When it's nearly all melted, stir until no lumps remain. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with about 1/3 of the sugar. Start beating on a slow speed and gradually increase the speed until the egg whites look fluffy. Add the remaining sugar, salt and vanilla and continue to beat until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is shiny and nearly at the soft-peak stage. Then, using a whisk, stir the soft butter into the melted chocolate until completely incorporated. Then whisk in the egg yolks. (I didn't read the recipe properly before starting and had to use 8 eggs as I threw away the egg yolks!! :O) Fold half of the meringue into the chocolate mixture using a whisk. Fold the remaining meringue in with a rubber spatula, making sure the mix the heavier batter at the bottom of the bowl. Gently fold until no streaks remain. Now fill a large casserole/baking dish about 2-3cm full with hot water to be a water bath for the cake. You must also wrap the springform tin in aluminium foil, do 2-3 layers so water will seep in while the cake bakes. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and then place the tin in the water bath. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 26-28 minutes. The top will be shiny and a skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. As it cools, it will sink and lose some of its volume, that's fine. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour and then run a knife around the edge of the tin and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the bottom of the pan and baking paper and then replace the ring of the springform tin around the cake. This will be the mold for the mousses.

Chocolate Mousse:
Put the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream mixture gently, until smooth. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, heat it briefly on low in the microwave and continue to stir until melted. While the chocolate is melting, soften the gelatin in a small dish with the cool water. Once it has softened, heat it on low heat in the microwave and stir to dissolve. When the gelatin mixture is completely free of lumps, stir it into the melted chocolate (I know it's got water, but it actually works!). Whip the remaining cream, making sure not to overwhip it. The chocolate mixture must be free of lumps and around 25°C so that the chocolate doesn't set, but the cream won't just melt. Add about half of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and fold in with a whisk. Fold in the remaining half with a rubber spatula once the first half in whisked in. When the chocolate and cream are evenly blended, pour the mousse over the top of the cooled cake in the ring. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Return the cake to the refrigerator whilst you make the white mousse.

White Chocolate Mousse:
Repeat the directions for the chocolate mousse, but using the white chocolate. Pour the white mousse over the top of the chocolate mousse and return to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours before serving. It can also be frozen for up to several weeks, just let it defrost in the fridge for around 5 hours before serving.


  1. Anonymous3/2/13 16:13

    This was fabulous - thank you Chloe. Mum x