Friday, January 21, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: A Tale of Two (Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse) Cakes

Yay!  It is my first official French Friday with Dorie.  I was also super happy to have my first Friday be not only a dessert Friday, but also a chocolate dessert Friday.

I read the Problems and Questions and was interested to see the issues with leaking, and reading all of that also motivated me to finally measure all of my springform pans.  Whaddya know?  I only have 9-, 9.5-, and 10-inch pans.  (No wonder my Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake was so flat.)  Off to Amazon I went, and with the magic of Prime shipping, I am a proud owner of an 8-inch springform.

Enough of that boring equipment stuff, why is this post called a Tale of Two (Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse) Cakes?  Because I'm a dork.  A doofus.  A someone who uses cooking and baking as stress relief, but this time couldn't bring herself to focus and therefore had some problems.  In essence, I screwed up on the first one.  It was a texture mistake, and I knew it would be edible, yet I wanted to try the cake as it was meant to be baked.  In the process I ended up having the first served the warm method described in the book and the second one will be served in Dorie's preferred way--double-baked and cooled overnight.

For the nitpickies, I used Valhrona 71% Cacao for the chocolate.  I recently got a new over-the-oven microwave (we recently bought a house!) and it has both a melt and a soften feature.  I cannot tell you how AWESOME the soften feature is when I forget to bring my butter to room temperature.  Well, the chocolate subset of the melt button is also AWESOME.  2.5 minutes and my chocolate required about 6 stirs with a wooden spoon to be all melted up and good to go.  Here's what it looked like:
Melted Chocolate, Mmmmmmm.
Then, I got to the "lovely, velvety mix" part, after I added all the sweet and fatty stuff:
Extra sweet and fatty chocolate!
All was well, and I went to whip my egg whites.  I've done this before, about 5,000 times.  My husband's favorite cake is Angel Food.  I've made soufflés and never knew they could fall, but for some apparently apocryphal tales, until probably the 20th time I made one.  As an aside, my brother has this concept that everyone has a "superpower"; that is, an ability at which they never have a problem.  Ever.  His ability?  He can take pictures of himself (you know, that whole holding the camera out as far as you can thing?) and friends and always get everyone in the photo.  For a while, I thought mine was the soufflé thing (see that nice transition?  HA!).  Well, that came crashing down, literally and figuratively.  So, I've realized it's that I don't burn things in the oven.  Ever.  I have literally never burned anything that I've baked, whatever it is.  I've overcooked things, but never ever burned them.

Anyway, back to the task at hand (I think this is why my students try and distract me during class).  I was all freaking out because of reading the P&Q post an the issues people were having with the eggs.  I was already baking it with the springform bottom on, yet for some reason I was sooooo worried about the texture of the egg whites.

All was least at this point:
Frothy, firm beauty
At this point, I should also apologize that all the pics are taken with my phone's camera.

Then, I misread the directions.  Even though it went against everything I know about mixing frothy, firm egg whites into a heavier batter, I still did what I thought the directions said: I mixed some of the chocolatey goodness directly into the egg whites.  And watched them plunge, nay freefall, into only a shadow of their former, cloudy beauty.  J'étais une bécasse.

I was completely and utterly a silly goose because of course the directions did not say to mix the chocolate into the egg whites.  Sheesh!  You mix the egg whites into the chocolate.  So, I went along my merry way and continued to bake the ridiculously flat batter.  I ended up with a perfectly edible, though very thin cake.  And it was really good precisely because it encompasses everything I love about this cookbook: it tastes lovely and it was actually super easy to make.  Basically, the flavor belies the amount of time it takes to make the thing!

So, I went to my local wine bar, had some wine and pizza, and came home to make it the right way.  Here's the comparison pics:
So, I actually almost dropped the one on the left (the "bad" one), on the floor.
That's why it's cracked.

Height difference is immense when you mix it correctly!

There it is!  My Tale of Two Cakes.

Clearly, I just had to compare them.  At breakfast.


  1. Nothing better than two cakes! Welcome to FFwD! :)

  2. Welcome! I'm so glad you had fun!!! I'm wishing right now that I (!) had a second cake... Yours look so yummy!

  3. Thanks for showing the comparison shots! I had a problem with my egg whites too (but unlike you, I can't pinpoint exactly where I went wrong) and I am looking forward to making this again the right way.

  4. Very impressed with your comparison shots!
    Totally jealous of your new kitchen equipment!
    Love the superpower theory! (I'll be contemplating that one!)
    And you've been to Manly?! That's so cool!

  5. I love having an excuse to buy a new piece of kitchen gear! Although, in this case I just went ahead and used my 9" springform ring.

  6. See, now you feel that it was obvious not to put the chocolate into the egg whites, but that certainly wouldn't have been obvious to me, haha. Is that a souffle/cake specific thing? Because Karen De Masco's Bittersweet Chocolate Meringue recipe does call for adding the melted chocolate into the egg whites...but this may explain why mine came out so dense.
    I'm so glad you are making time to do this. :)

  7. Welcome aboard! Thanks for sharing both your success and your less-than-success. I don't even want to think about what atrocities I have accomplished while CWD (cooking while distracted).
    Great post.

  8. Welcome to the group. I wish I'd made two (just for the sake of comparison, honestly).

  9. Thank you so much for the welcome, everyone! I had a lot of fun and am really looking forward to this week's recipe! (I hope it turns out okay the first time since I won't have as much time to re-make it.)

  10. I've put you on my list for the Stylish Blogger Award over on my blog. Feel free to participate as much or as little as you like. Just want to spread some appreciation around to bloggers I enjoy.