New Year’s Eve is finally here – the weeks of busy making and baking, cooking, eating, visiting and being visited are finally drawing to a close and a New Year will begin, where we will begin it all again. The season of Christmas concerts, airport pickups, Christmas Eve Buffets, Christmas Day feasts, lazy walks and relaxing lunches, a visit to beautiful Mayo in the the West of Ireland to visit friends…. we finally stop, draw breath and look forward to the year to come.
Our Christmas festivities always kick off with out Christmas Eve Buffet get-together. As the kids have got older, we have shifted the family gift giving to Christmas Eve night rather than Christmas morning, where we can all open and share the gifts over a glass of wine and some good food. Some things are now traditional at this meal – the boiled / baked Ham (this year glazed with Honey and Balsamic Vinegar), The Gingerbread House (from Ikea and decorated by M & K this year), some good smoked salmon, Soda bread and this year rather than the Bûche de Noël, we had this fantastic Mary Berry inspired Chocolate Mousse cake, yes, you’ve guessed it, sprayed GOLD! (I promise this is the last time I use the Gold spray for a while!)
I don’t have lots of photos of the prep as I was chatting too much but all I will say is this is super super easy and tastes AMAZING! I would have put fresh raspberries on top and served with fresh cream but Christmas Eve is a bit late to go looking for fresh raspberries so I made a simple frozen berry coulis (three or four handfuls of frozen berries, about three or four dessert spoons of sugar, 50 ml of water, all boiled and simmered for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and serve on the side)
For the chocolate cake
100g/3½oz butter plus extra for greasing
25g/1oz cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
3 tbsp boiling water
100g/3½oz castor sugar
100g/3½oz self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
2 large free-range eggs
(Brandy to brush hot sponge if its for adults only)
For the mousse
300g/11oz plain chocolate (no more than 40-50 per cent cocoa solids), broken into squares
450ml/16fl oz whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease the tin with margarine and line the base and sides with baking paper. You need to line the tin right to the top even though the sponge will not fill it.
- For the chocolate cake, measure the cocoa powder into a large bowl. Pour over the boiling water and mix to a paste with a spatula. Add the rest of the ingredients and the eggs and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the surface with a palette knife. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake feels springy to the touch.
- While the cake is still hot, brush the brandy over the top of the cake if its for an adult only gathering. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Carefully fold in the melted chocolate until smooth and not streaky.
- When the cake has cooled, and while it is still in the tin, spoon the chocolate mousse on top and level with a palette knife. Cover the cake tin with cling film and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, and preferably overnight, until the mousse is firm.
- To serve, carefully remove the cake from the tin and transfer it to a flat plate. Dust the top with cocoa powder, (or spray Gold!) then pile the raspberries if you have them into the centre. Finish with a light dusting of icing sugar AND SPARY GOLD!!! Cut into wedges and serve with pouring cream & the fresh coulis if you haven’t got the raspberries.
Finally, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And thank you for reading, sharing and commenting on the blog this year – LOADS of new ideas for 2015!