Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Happy New Year! We made it to 2021 and for this year on New Years Eve I wanted to challenge myself. Chocolate can be so decadent and elegant when it is molded in the correct way. It shows a side of sophistication, grace, and precision which was exactly how I wanted to start my 2021.
I have never worked with chocolate in this way, nor have I ever made a dome cake. To do this you must have a silicone half sphere mold. Many people start by tempering chocolate, pouring it in the mold, scraping off the excess and waiting for it to harden. Once hard you can fill it with about any filling you choose- difference mousses and creams are very popular as are a thin layer of cake. I chose to instead start with my mousse, fill it with a chocolate cream and once unmolded I topped it with a chocolate mirror glaze.
Chocolate Mirror Glaze: https://pin.it/3LbCm4u
Caramel Mousse: https://pin.it/36Qeibe
Dense Brownie: https://pin.it/2hqOmfQ
Ok, I do have to admit, the top does have a few fingerprints. My daughter couldn't wait to eat it and well that happens when you have a toddler. BUT you can see all the different layers which was exactly what I was trying to do!
To achieve this dessert I combined a bunch of recipes, but the technique of how I compiled all the different elements is the same. What is important are the tools that you have and lots of time. Seriously, you need a ton of time.
Let's start with the brownie element, because it was the easiest.
I wanted to have a chewy dense fudgy brownie for the bottom layer that was packed with chocolate but also stable enough that I could use my circle cookie cutters to make each perfect circle.
I used the brownie recipe for the chocolate raspberry mousse cake that I made for my husbands 40th birthday over the summer. We all loved that cake and I remembered how easy it was to put that layer together. It took about 10 minutes to get this prepared and put in the oven. Instead of baking the brownie in a 9 inch pan I poured it evenly onto a sheet pan and baked it for about 13 minutes at 350 degrees. To make it gluten free I used a 1:1 swap of Schär Kuchen & Kekes mix.
The best part about this step is that there are a bunch of odds and ends that just magically get taste tested right away! Best to have a fresh cup of coffee when doing this step. When the brownie is fully cooled you can cut out each circle. Put the whole tray somewhere safe, so no grabby hands can steal any.
Next we have to do the cream filling. I actually did two cream fillings, one chocolate and the other a nougat liqueur filling. Each were delicious, but I should have realized that the nougat liqueur filling would be too similar in color to the caramel mousse. You want elements that differ in color to achieve that 'WOW' effect that you are looking for.
I used the same recipe that is mentioned above for the base. Instead of rum which is what the original recipe calls for, I used a nougat liqueur which is similar to Kahlua. I found it at my local grocery store, Penny, and it was an impulse buy. I just had to try it out!
Here you can see that I also used a mini half sphere silicone mold. This is a must when making these cakes. I bought it on Amazon.de and it came within 2 days. Use a piping bag to fill in the molds and then an offset spatula to remove the excess. Freeze for a few hours to ensure that is really hard. You can also do this step the night before or even first. Once fully frozen they just pop right out of the silicon mold. Seriously SO EASY! I didn't even spray the mold beforehand.
Caramel Mousse Time. This step was a bit more difficult. First you have to make a perfect caramel which can be tricky because it is all about the timing. If you don't cook it long enough you won't have a strong caramel taste. Cook it too long and it can taste burnt.
Your goal is to have a beautiful glossy amber color. The reason this step was a bit hard for me was because the first time I did it; I didn't cook the mixture long enough. It was thin and very light in color. I think I stood over my stove for about 7 minutes stirring until I reached this intense color and consistency.
Once you have whipped your heavy cream you have to gently fold it into the caramel sauce. Of course make sure your caramel sauce is cooled. Otherwise you will melt your whipped cream. This picture was taken after I had already folded in about 2/3 of my whipped cream into the caramel.
Here comes the fun part!
You have to first pipe caramel mousse into the molds filling the half sphere about 85%. Then take a frozen chocolate or nougat liqueur cream and push it through in the middle of the mousse. Top it off with a brownie circle and put a bit of the carmel mouse on top to keep it all together. Use your offset spatula to remove any access. Put it all on a tray and into the freezer for a few hours or over night. (There is one without a brownie... I had extra mousse and creams so I made a bunch more to just have.) Then they will easily pop out just like the cream fillings did before. Remember how I said the mini sphere molds were a must? If the cream is not frozen you cannot push it into the mousse to set. If it is still liquidy then it will not hold its shape and will combine with the mousse not giving you the pretty separation of elements like you intended.
Chocolate Decoration: I did this step a few days before and the chocolate dipped strawberries about 4 hours before we ate the dessert. For both you need tempered chocolate which is chocolate that is melted and then cooled to 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a candy thermometer then I suggest you get one. Too hot and the chocolate will be too thin. Too cool and the chocolate will come out dull looking,
To get the spiral look I took some baking paper (wax paper) and rolled it a bit. So scotch tape does NOT adhere to baking paper. Ugh, this was frustrating. It was almost midnight, my husband was working a night shift, the kids were fast asleep and in a moment of pure genius I raided my older daughter's craft bin and took a glue stick. It worked! After about 20 minutes in the freezer you can carefully take out the wax paper. The chocolate will break and you have to work quickly because the heat from your fingers will start to melt the chocolate. Once done, store decorative pieces in an airtight box and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to plate.
Chocolate Mirror Glaze. I have never done a mirror glaze before and to be honest it really scared me. I put it off for awhile and finally I told myself, I have to try it before 2020 is over.
Ok I had every right to be scared, mostly because there are so many recipes out there. Almost all use gelatin or sucrose and some use heavy cream or sweetened condensed milk. The recipe I used was good but for next time I might try a different one. This recipe made the glaze SO thick. Of course it thickens as it cools, however the recipe says to wait until the temperature of the glaze drops to 88-90 degrees fahrenheit. I found that it was a bit thick to pour onto my molds. I also should have tripled the recipe. You need a ton of glaze since so much of it just falls off.
However I did get the look I wanted and the taste was divine. After I poured on the glaze, I put it all back in the freezer until it was dessert time. I should have taken out the dome cakes at least 30 minutes before serving, but I was impatient as was my family and we ate them about 10 minutes after I took them out of the freezer. Still amazing but definitely too cold! We should have waited. We also had a bit of local wine from the Rheingau here in Germany to send off 2020 and enter 2021.
Except for the French Campagne at the end every bottle was local, coming from a winery no further than 10 miles away from where we live. The middle bottle was a Riesling from 1976 even though it didn't have a label.
The finished product. Topped with an edible gold leaf to give us a bit of sparkle and glam. Happy 2021!