My mom will never admit it, but I believe she secretly loves entertaining large groups of people in our home (I can see the face she's making as she reads this :) Hi Mom!). And from as far back as I can remember most of those entertaining occasions have included a dessert that I've begun to think of as my mom's signature dessert: Chocolate Mousse Cake.
While chocolate mousse cake is not a complicated dessert, easy to make with simple ingredients, its no joke. This beast features 12oz of chocolate, 2 pints of cream and 8 eggs, along with the light, yet decadent, lady fingers. You can't be making this dessert all willy-nilly. This dessert needs a purpose. And as I like to think about dessert: build it and they will come.
Ok, so, I didn't make the cake and then people magically appeared or anything, but I had the idea for the cake and a party presented itself. Sarah, one of Georgia's younger sisters, graduated this weekend from Lafayette and the graduation party was held at our humble Lansdale apartment. The party was great fun, minus the ballons getting stuck in a tree, and I know I'm not alone in having eaten too much.
If you've got a party event coming up and you want to wow people with a simple, decadent dessert, this is the one to try. Thanks Mom!
Chocolate Mousse Cake
48 (6 packages lady fingers)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (reserve 1 oz for topping)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tbs cold water
8 large eggs separated
2 pints heavy whipping cream
**This recipe should be made at least 5 hours to one day in advance of serving**
Start by melting the chocolate with 1/4 cup of sugar and 4 Tbs water over a double boiler (or make-shift double boiler in my case), stirring to distribute heat. When chocolate is shiny and melted, and the sugar/water has incorporated, remove bowl from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
While the chocolate is cooling, line a 10 inch spring form pan with high sides (I used a 9x11 casserole dish, and you can probably use any dish that accommodates 2 quarts) with lady fingers - both around the sides and on the bottom.
*Make sure to use a big bowl - the mixture will increase 3 fold in volume* After chocolate has cooled thoroughly, quickly stir in egg yolks, one at a time until fully incorporated. Then, using a mixer in another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Then carefully fold whites into chocolate mixture. In another bowl, beat the cream until whipped, and then fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
To assemble, pour a third of the chocolate mousse over the lady fingers and spread evenly. Cover the mousse with lady fingers, add another third of the mousse and cover again with lady fingers. Add the final layer of mousse and sprinkle reserved chocolate chips on top. Refrigerate 5 hours to 1 day before serving.
Using my 9x11 pan, I estimate there were about 18 small-to-medium size servings. I'm going to include nutritional information here, but for all of you that would rather not know, now is the time to quick look away. Ok, ready?
Calories (1/18th of a 9x11 pan) 669; Fat 28.7g; Cholesterol 570mg; Sodium 219mg; Total Carbs: 88g; Fiber 2.2g; Protein 17g.