Spiced Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

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chocolate_mousse_cake

Dense, dark chocolate orange mousse cake topped with a spiced white chocolate layer

Chocolate is one of my favourite ingredients to bake with. Whether it’s chunked and studded through cookies, stirred into the smoothest mousse, melted over ice cream or baked into a dense, fudgy cake, chocolate is an ingredient reliable enough to be called on for comfort, yet versatile enough to always be exciting.

While chocolate and cocoa regularly make an appearance in my shopping basket, it’s rare that I’ll buy a bar to simply eat on its own. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and combining chocolate with other ingredients, making it into more of a meal or occasion than a snack straight from the packet. However there are two major exceptions to this rule when I (and a pretty a large percentage of the UK population) can’t seem to help but over indulge: Christmas and Easter.

chocolate_mousse_cake

Orange lends a citrus sweetness while cocoa nibs add crunch

This Easter just gone, Carnivorous Boyfriend and I spent the long weekend with his family in Yorkshire. On the way up, we stopped off at my parents’ house to say hello and to pick up a bag of chocolate based treats. I can’t remember an Easter when I haven’t received some sort of amazing chocolate from my Mum and Dad. When we were little it was all about Easter egg hunts in the garden, but as we got older, and didn’t always spend Easter at home, my Mum would still find ingenious ways to indulge in this seasonal sillyness. I can remember her packing eggs in and amongst the clothes in my brother’s suitcase before he went away one weekend, and, on one particularly memorable occasion, into my beach bag when we were on holiday in a hot country. Of course I didn’t know she’d done this until I discovered a sarong sticky with melted chocolate later that afternoon, but I can’t complain: it takes a lot of love to transport Easter eggs half way around the world like that.

In the seven years I’ve been with Carnivorous Boyfriend, I’ve discovered that his Mum is also a fiend for Easter eggs, but in a slightly different way. Like mine, she loves the excuse to spoil her nearest and dearest with chocolate at Easter, but rather than hiding it in unexpected places, her party trick is to eat and replace it several times over. She’ll readily admit to having eaten the back half of each of her three children’s Easter eggs on several occasions, leaving the rounded front of the egg on display in the box so nothing looks amiss, and apparently one year she bought and replaced their presents three or four times in as many weeks. In other words, she likes her Easter chocolate.

chocolate_mousse_cake

Cinnamon & ginger add an extra dimension to this cake

Having heard these stories, and knowing full well that chocolate would be consumed in copious quantities that weekend, my parents had gone all out at Hotel Chocolat, buying us an incredible giant egg filled with chocolate truffles as well as various little boxes of exciting Easter goodies. One of these was an unassming little packet of Choc Cross Buns, six mini milk chocolate cups filled with spiced vanilla mousse which tasted divine. Suffice to say they didn’t survive further than the M25 part of our journey, but while they only lasted a few minutes in our mouths, I couldn’t get the thought of making a lovely light, spiced mousse out of my head.

This Friday just gone we went round to my parents for dinner, and, as usual, I’d offered to bring something sweet. Having waxed lyrical about the Choc Cross Buns, but with none left for them to try, I decided to use them as inspiration for an altogether more deluxe dessert. The result is this spiced chocolate orange mousse cake, loosely inspired by both these chocolates and Easter spice in general. At first I considered incorporating mixed peel into the base, but decided I didn’t really want coarsely chopped fruit interrupting the smoothness of my dense, dark chocolate mousse cake. Instead it’s flavoured with orange and a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, then topped off with a light white chocolate and ginger mousse. Where the bottom layer is dark and fudgy, the top is soft and sweet, sprinkled with a few bittersweet cocoa nibs for added contrast of texture.

chocolate_mousse_cake

Cocoa nibs provide a crunchy contrast to the creamy white chocolate mousse

For some it might seem a bit too soon to be eating chocolate after the Easter overload. For everyone else – Easter egg stealing Mums included – I hope this recipe will fulfil all your wildest chocolate dreams. It did mine.

Spiced Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

For the dark chocolate orange layer
(adapted from this recipe)
Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate*
160g golden caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
Pinch salt
1tbsp ground almonds
3 medium free range eggs
1/2 – 1 tsp orange essence, to taste*
1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon, to taste*
Grated nutmeg, to taste*

*The inspiration for these flavours comes from Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate bar, so you could also substitute this for the dark chocolate, and omit the starred ingredients.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 18cm round spring form cake tin with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate, sugar and butter in a bain marie over a low heat, add the pinch of salt and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk together the ground almonds and eggs.

Stir the orange essence and spice (if using) into the cooled chocolate mixture, then fold in the egg mixture. It will all thicken slightly.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20 minutes, checking after about 18 depending on the heat of your oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. Don’t worry that it doesn’t rise very much – the cake should be dense and thin.

For the spiced white chocolate mousse layer (adapted from the Green & Blacks Chocolate Recipes)
Ingredients:

200g good quality white chocolate, chopped
2 leaves gelatine
300ml double cream
3 large egg yolks
100g icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2tbsp milk
Cocoa nibs, to serve

Method: 

Melt the white chocolate in a bain marie over a low heat. Warm 4 tablespoons of the double cream gently in a small saucepan and dissolve the gelatine in this.

Whisk together the egg yolks, icing sugar and ginger until thick and creamy, then add the gelatine mixture, white chocolate and milk, stirring to combine.

Whip the remaining double cream then fold into your chocolate mixture. Pour this white chocolate mousse over the cooled dark chocolate cake and put in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, release the tin and carefully peel back the lining paper. If the edges look a little ragged, use a palette knife dipped in boiling water to smooth. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs and serve.

38 RESPONSES TO Spiced Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

  1. Ooh I also got some choc cross buns and thought they were lovely! What a great idea to make them on a bigger scale! This looks wonderful, I love the contrast in textures and colours. I can’t quite believe the story about eating and replacing the easter eggs several times over – that’s crazy! Then again I’m not really a chocoholic, so I can’t relate…

  2. That looks utterly amazing – chocolate and orange is one of my favourites. The nibs really add something too. where do you get your nibs? I’ve never ever seen any and I thought it best to ask you since you’re also from the UK… Anyway, thanks for a gorgeous cake!

  3. This looks and sounds delicious. I love the photos by the way, the colours are gorgeous together.

  4. I love chocolate and orange in any combination and really love all the different textures in this cake. Boyfriend and I decided that we were going to ask our families not to give us any chocolate this Easter as we are still working our way through our Christmas stash but I’m really starting to regret that now!

  5. This cake is exceptional – what a beautifully presented delicious creation :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  6. What a heavenly and tempting recipe. I could happily eat this at any time of the day. Love the two tone colours and the flavours are inspired! x

    • Elly – since I posted this a lot of people have come out of the woodwork to say that they, or people they know, do the same with chocolate eggs at Easter so she’s not alone!

      Frugal Feeding – I got my nibs from the Rabot Estate shop in Borough Market (actually I asked my Dad to buy them for me when he was visiting!) but you can also order them online.

      Choco Nutmeg – thank you :-)

      Kathryn – really? That’s very restrained of you! When I was little I used to eat all my Easter eggs before breakfast then be annoyed that my brother had some saved…I guess some of that attitude has survived into adulthood :-)

      Choc Chip Uru – thank you!

      Laura – thanks!

  7. Oh my, this looks fantastic and I’m not usually a fan of chocolate and orange together! And hehe your boyf’s mum sounds so cute nibbling bits out of the eggs :P

  8. I love chocolate and orange…I think that their flavors go so well together. Your cake sounds fantastic!

  9. These sounds really good, I would love to give it a try

  10. Oh yum :) my sister and I love the combination of chocolate and orange ~ I can just imagine it being so delicious! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Susie @ Fold in the Flour -

    This looks gorgeous. I love Maya Gold – I’ve tried it in wicked brownies and it’s fab. Will definitely give this a go. Thanks for sharing:)

  12. This looks SO good – I can’t stop making cinnamon things at the minute and the spice combination in this sounds amazing. Awesome photos too!

    • Lorraine – it still makes me smile thinking about it :-)

      Karen – thank you, chocolate and orange is a gorgeous combination.

      Love For Food – let me know how you get on if you do!

      Daisy – my pleasure, hope you enjoy it!

      Susie – I can imagine it’s gorgeous in brownies too, yum.

      Hungry Hinny – thank you!

  13. That looks so good ! (: Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! Love the combination of orange and chocolate!

  14. Amy -

    Woah this is beautiful and it sounds insanely heavenly. I love seeing what you come up with here, all the combinations of textures and flavors. I also like how you used an old recipe of yours and combined it with some new things to make something completely different. Fun!

  15. Beautiful! I love when a baked good takes inspiration from another confection.

    Like your boyfriend’s, my mother has been known to replace gifts she has eaten. A couple of years ago, we got a Hotel Chocolat shop here in Boston, MA. I’ve tried a couple of things, and they are quite good!

  16. Chocolate is one of my favorite ingredients too! But rarely do I pair it with orange. I love this cake :)

  17. I have only recently discovered the joy of combining chocolate and orange! I love mousse cake and yours look so perfect! yeah, as much as I love chocolate candy bars, I restrain myself from purchasing them as I know that they will be consumed as soon as I pay for them!! Oh what would life be without chocolate?!

    • Lianne – my pleasure, enjoy!

      Amy – it’s so much fun to adapt old recipes, and I love any excuse to incorporate chocolate into my desserts :-)

      Sacha – haha, good to know she’s not the only one!

      Baking Serendipity – do give it a try, the orange and spice is fairly subtle.

      Samology – the world would be a very different place without chocolate!

  18. I had to go and get lunch before I ate the screen! Really yummy :)

    • Ooooh. Ooooh. Moussecake. Chocolate/Orange, you are pushing my biggest buttons here!!! Sounds wonderful.

  19. laythetable -

    This looks damn sexy! Last year the Easter Bunny *cough* my mum *cough* did an Easter Egg trail for me and Mr LTT, it was so much fun!

  20. This looks and sounds amazing! I am a fiend for chocolate orange, and love your introduction of spices. And it’s never too soon to be eating chocolate again in my opinion :D

  21. This cake looks so good. I espcially like the combination of chocolate and oranges, what can be better than putting it all into one cake? Lovely! Beautiful photos you have here.

    • Baker Street – thank you, and do try it!

      Tandy – haha, glad you like it!

      Sarah – it combines a lot of my favourite things too :-)

      Becs – haha, yep, my Dad often channels the Easter bunny too!

      Jennifer – thank you, you’re a girl after my own heart :-)

      Lemon – thank you!

  22. Very funny that my last post is a chocolate mousse cake… not quite as fancy as this (you always make the most amazing combinations), but the satisfaction level of eating something this chocolatey is enormous… for me it was also a perfect excuse to use up some Easter chocolate.

  23. Erin -

    I love baking with chocolate too, but I’m also a huge fan of eating just plain by itself. ;)
    This cake just looks heavenly! Love the spices in it and I imagine it is decadently delicious. :)

  24. I like the two flavors, ver y unique.

  25. Oh my goodness. This looks heavenly! I’ve got to start making more cakes!

    • Nuts About Food – sadly we didn’t have any leftover Easter chocolate this year, but we did spend the weekend with lots of extended family up in Yorkshire so did give quite a bit away!

      Erin – decadently delicious is the perfect description :-)

      Elizabeth – thank you.

      Sylvie – the dark chocolate and spice makes this quite grown up, although the super sweet white chocolate appeals to the big kid in me :-)

      A Taste of Madness – everyone should make more cakes :-)

  26. Wow – just beautiful! Love the addition of the spices to make it more unusual.

  27. Recently I made a Cake Party and this cake was one huuge hit. Everyone just loved it. Although it was so rich and we had summer temperatures like 40C it was gone in a second..
    great recipe!

    • Cake Boule – the spices really do add something, although I think it would be delicious just a plain white and dark chocolate too.

      Love Affair – ah, so pleased you enjoyed it!

  28. It’s in the fridge! I’ve tasted the cake layer because I cut the top off to make it even before putting the mousse layer on and it’s amazing!!! Can’t wait to try it to night at Christmas dinner.

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