Monday, July 27, 2009

Mascarpone Mousse Cake

I make, I think, five frostings: buttercream, whipped cream, cream cheese, and chocolate. The thing about buttercream is that it's just sort of heavy. I really only use it to frost wedding cakes, where a perfectly smooth finish is requisite and fondant isn't on the menu. When making a really simple cake, I often just used lightly sweetened whipped cream, which really is so delightful especially when fresh berries are involved. But it has to be frosted and eaten pretty quickly, as whipped cream is really only glorious when freshly whipped. I've got no complaints about the chocolate frosting or the cream cheese - only they don't go with every cake.

Something that goes with practically every cake is this: mascarpone mousse. It's more dense and fluffy than plain whipped cream and has a longer staying power. It handles added fruit well, but also holds its own. I made a sponge cake for a child's birthday recently and filled and frosted it with this mousse and kids loved it (kids really like simple cakes - and it didn't hurt that I decorated it with chocolate swirls and M&Ms).

I've tinkered with different variations on this filling but have settled on just one that is the easiest to prepare with the best texture and flavor. The cake shown above is a sponge cake, soaked with sweetened espresso (hence the Tiramisu appellation), filled with mascarpone mousse, frosted with whipped cream, dusted with Dutched cocoa and decorated with gently toasted sliced almonds. Here's the mousse recipe. Follow the Tiramisu cake link for that recipe.

Mascarpone Mousse
Tirmisu Cake recipe
Makes enough to fill one 9-inch, three layer cake

8 ounces mascarpone
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2-3 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 T dark rum

Measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until thick and fluffy. Resist the temptation to consume the mousse wolf mode.

Use it with fresh berries layered between any yellow or chocolate cake. In an pinch, use it to fill those grocery store individual chocolate cookie crusts, and then top with berries.


Jen G said...

The link to the cake seems to be gone. Can you try reposting. I might attempt. Any altitude tips on this one?

Katie Fairbank said...

thanks for letting me know about the link. i fixed it, so do try it again.

as for altitude, I actually stopped even trying to make sponge or genoise when I lived at 10,000 feet. since both cakes require a perfect balance of air whipped into the eggs, and elusive sugar/flour/leavening ratio I found it way too hard. You might have better luck with my KENTUCKY BUTTER CAKE - or you could just make any white or yellow cake you're already comfortable with and go from there. A third alternative: bake any cake in a shallow sheet pan (no more than 1-inch tall). it will bake quickly and you can cut the big pieces in halves or quarters and use them to make a square or rectangular layer cake. baking in shallow layers works VERY well at altitude.

of course, if all else fails, make the mousse and serve it in champagne flutes with a smattering of berries on top. it will be pretty and delish.