Sunday was another neighbor’s birthday and you know me, that is just another excuse to bake something yummy. In all honestly, I actually hadn’t remembered that it was his birthday and was going to make this cake anyway, but now I had an excuse to give it to someone. Because of the currants, it’s got that whole sweet and tart thing going, but mostly it is an overload of whipped cream (not a bad thing!). Because I really suck at actually frosting cakes (much better at cupcakes), I decided to go with the rustic, exposed sides.
For the cake
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the rec currant mousse
2 cups fresh red currants, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin, dissolved in 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cold cream
for the chocolate ganache
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
for the garnish
fresh red currants
chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 2 6-inch round cake pans with baking spray.
In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, ending with the flour.
Fill the cake pans three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the mousse: In a small non-reactive sauce pan, combine 1 cup red currants and lemon juice. As the berries and juice come to a boil, smoosh the berries with the back of a spoon or a potato masher. They should be pretty much falling apart. Let boil for an additional minute. Place a sieve over a bowl and drain the currant-lemon liquid though it. Mash the pulp against the sieve, forcing through as much as you can, without the seeds. Once you think that you have gotten absolutely everything you can, you can discard the mash. Return the liquid to the pot. Add sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the gelatin and bring to a boil one final time. Remove to a bowl and let cool completely (I put mine in the fridge for a few minutes). Once the red currant juice is completely cooled, it should firm up quite a bit, but not quite the consistence of jam. Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold in the currant liquid and the remaining berries, careful not to let the mousse deflate too much. Return to the fridge while you make the ganache.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the
cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Add in tablespoons of butter, one at a time.
To assemble, cut each half of the cakes in half and build your cake with three layers of the red currant mousse. Pour the ganache over the top (if some runs down the sides, that is ok; this is supposed to look rustic!) and decorate with the fresh currants and chocolate sprinkles. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.