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New Year’s Walnut Meringue & Chocolate Mousse Cake with Drunken Plums

Posted By Alina On January 2, 2010 @ 03:44 In Pastry | 45 Comments

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a very happy year 2010. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and an exciting New Year’s party! With lots of delish food and drink, of course :)

I’ve spent ten marvellous days in Slovakia, where I’ve been eating so much that I was about to buy myself that T-shirt with the slogan “Please don’t feed me; I want to be a model” written across the chest. But I’d be lying to myself if I did so: those home-made Slovak foods were irresistible!

And this large and festive cake we made for our New Year’s party in Riga. We wrote the recipe from scratch. Actually we have baked a heavier version of this cake (with 4 layers of sponge cake instead of 2, as you will see from the pictures) because we wanted a really huge one, for 12 persons or so. But even in its lighter variation (as posted below), this is definitely a cake for special occasions. The preparations are quite time-consuming too. But we’re sure your guests will appreciate the result!

A walnut sponge cake serves as a base for this cake; it is topped with chocolate butter mousse and crispy walnut meringues; then comes a thick layer of whipped cream sprinkled with toasted walnuts and dried plums soaked in cognac - pleasantly sharp and fruity. And finally, another walnut sponge cake and a thin layer of glossy chocolate icing. Happy New Year!!

We both agreed however that the chocolate icing we used was a big mistake. Much as I like Dansukker, their chocolate icing turned out below average. Manufacturer’s instructions on the package were lame and they said nothing about the icing never freezing or being soft and sticky forever! There was too much sugar and too much starch in it. Next time we’ll choose another brand or simply melt a bar of dark chocolate!

 

Ingredients

- For sponge cake:
5 eggs, yolks and whites separated and chilled
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup sugar
100g walnuts
1 tsp vanilla sugar

- For meringue:
6 egg whites
450g sugar
220g walnuts
1 ½ tbsp wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar

- For chocolate butter mousse:
6 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
100g dark bitter chocolate
220g butter
1 tsp vanilla sugar

- Other:
120g walnuts
4 tsp sugar
35 dried black plums
30-40ml cognac or rum
350ml whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla sugar
8 tsp caster sugar
1 slice of lemon
Whipping cream stabilizer, amount according to manufacturer’s recommendations
Your favourite icing and décor

Cake diameter: 28 cm

 

Place dried plums into a small bowl, coat them with cognac (rum), stir, cover and set aside.

Dice 120g walnuts and toast them with 4 teaspoons sugar in a non-stick pan for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Mince all remaining walnuts (320g).

Making the meringues (a method I learned while I was in Slovakia)

Take a large saucepan (without lid) and fill about 1/3 of it with water. Bring the water to boil and stack a large bowl on top of the saucepan. The bowl must be heat-resistant and suitable for whipping.

Keep water in the saucepan boiling, so that the steam heats up the bowl. Add 450g sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar into the bowl and, once the bowl is hot, add 6 egg whites. Keep the water boiling. Whip the meringue with a hand mixer until thick and glossy, with stiff peaks. Turn down the heat, remove the bowl and let the meringue cool for approx. 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add 1 ½ tablespoon flour and 220g minced walnuts to meringue. Stir well.

Make round-shaped meringues and place them on a baking surface.

Bake the meringues on a low heat with ventilation mode on, for about an hour, until dry and fragile.

Making the chocolate butter mousse

Melt 100g dark chocolate.

In the same way as you did with the egg whites (in a steamed bowl), beat 6 egg yolks, melted chocolate, 200g caster sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar. Let cool for approx. 15 minutes.

Melt 220g butter. Stir butter into chocolate mix.

Making the sponge cake

Stir together 5 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar, and 2 tablespoons cold water. Stir thoroughly.

Beat 5 egg whites until stiff.

Add 1 cup flour and 100g minced walnuts to the yolk mix, stir well and add in the whipped egg whites in small batches, stirring very gently.

Bake in a round-shaped baking pan (diameter 28cm) on a low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Check the readiness with a toothpick.

Assembly

When all parts of the cake are ready and cooled (you can slightly heat up the chocolate mousse if it’s become too stiff by now), whip the cream with 8 teaspoons caster sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar, and stabilizer. Add a tiny splash of fresh lemon juice before you finish beating the cream.

Carefully cut the sponge cake horizontally into two layers.

Take the first layer and place it in your cake form. This will be the cake base.

Spread chocolate mousse over the sponge cake.

Put meringues on the chocolate mousse. Break them to fill in empty spaces. Stack meringues on each other as they will settle and flatten after chilling.

Gently spread whipped cream over the meringues.

Sprinkle toasted walnuts and diced cognac plums onto the whipped cream.

Finally, place the other layer of sponge cake on top of the cake and cover the cake with chocolate icing. Decorate with your favourite décor.
Chill the cake in the fridge for at least 8 hours.


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