Pumpkin Spice Latte & Forest Fruits Mousse Cakes – GBBO Showstopper Challenge (Week 7)

img_5055Week 7! Dessert Week!

Well, this week I learned that if I was on GBBO I would totally be that baker that rocks up one week without having the the time to practice their bake and just completely wings it in the hope that it’ll all be alright but absolutely fluffs it up. Yup.

Having had a particularly busy week at work, and actually having plans on the Saturday, I found myself sitting in my living room drinking my morning coffee on Sunday with not a clue as to what I was going to make.

I mean, obviously I was making 24 mini mousse cakes (as in the latest episode) to the following criteria:

  • must be mini
  • two flavours; 12 of each
  • contain a mousse element
  • contain a cake element
  • mousse seemed to need to be made with both gelatine and egg whites
  • 4 hours

… and I did have somewhat of an idea of what flavours I wanted to include, and the ingredients to do so (Forest Fruits & Pumpkin Spice Latte to be seasonal and on trend)… however, I had no set cake or mousse recipes in place. Pun intended.

img_5087I then frantically put something together (whilst drinking my coffee) that I hoped would work…

It didn’t.

I spent my whole Sunday making what I thought would be 24 mini mousse cakes, but what I ended up with was 24 little puddles of mousse that never set. Can’t say I didn’t see that coming…

fullsizerenderI’d obviously just skimped on the gelatine. You’d think a scientist would be a natural at something that requires finding that precise balance of liquid and setting agent, right? Alas, no. I even roped my poor dad into helping me make little tube moulds out of acetate for my PSL mousse cakes whilst I carried on in the kitchen. Bless him!

Needless to say, I HAD to do it again. Not completely overplanning a bake/recipe is just not me, so I spent my free time at work on Monday researching and devising recipes for what was going to be successful Forest Fruits & PSL mousse cakes.

And it paid off! Thank God!

img_5078img_5042Here’s how I got on (the second time around!)…

img_4972To make both Genoise sponges I started by whisking together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until thick and fluffy and doubled in volume.

img_4976Yeah, like that. (It will hold its form for a few seconds when drizzled.)

Then for the chocolate sponge I sifted in the plain flour, cocoa powder and salt. I folded this in gently to combine, trying to keep in as much air as possible.

For the pumpkin spice sponge I did the exact same, but with the plain flour, salt and spices.

img_4982img_4984I then poured in the melted butter and folded this in too.

I realise I didn’t take any photos of this but…. for the chocolate sponge I spooned the mixture into a lined 9″ square tin, and for the pumpkin spice sponge I spooned the mixture onto a lined baking tray.

I baked these both at 180°C for 10 minutes until the top had begun to colour and a skewer came out clean.

img_4993For the mousses, I started by soaking gelatine leaves in cold water to soften.

I then made the forest fruits puree by placing the fresh berries in a saucepan with some sugar and heating till they had completely broken down. I blitzed this up with an immersion blender, before straining through a sieve to get a smooth puree. I used 500g of mixed berries and this yielded 250ml of puree.

img_5000I squeezed out all the excess water from the gelatine leaves before stirring into the hot berry puree until dissolved. I set this aside to cool slightly. (If it solidifies too much you can just reheat it again.)

img_4999For the pumpkin mousse, I placed the pumpkin puree, instant coffee, spices and some milk (to loosen up the mix) to a saucepan and warmed this through.

img_5001Then, as before, I added the gelatine and stirred into the pumpkin puree until completely dissolved and set aside.

img_4991I then whipped up two batches of double cream by whisking on a high speed until I got soft peaks.

I added the gelatine/berry puree to 1 batch of the whipped double cream and folded till the colour was even.

img_5006I did the same with the pumpkin puree and the other batch of whipped double cream.

img_5007For each mousse I then used 3 egg whites to make a Swiss meringue (this came to just over 100g). I usually use pasteurised egg whites from a carton when making meringue (for that added safety, and the ease of measuring it into a recipe), but I didn’t have any to hand so opted to make a Swiss meringue as it involves gently heating the egg whites.

img_5010I did this by placing the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl and setting on top of a pan of simmering water until the sugar had dissolved.

img_5012I then whisked the mixture till I got a glossy, stiff meringue.

img_5013I added 1 batch of the meringue to the berry/cream mixture, then folded it in until fully incorporated. I did the same for the pumpkin mousse. I set these both aside to cool slightly.

img_5011To construct the forest fruit mousse cakes, I placed the chocolate cake into the bottom of a 9″ square silicone mould (lined with some baking paper to help remove it later!).

img_5016I then spooned on the berry mousse and levelled it off with a knife on top. I left this to set up in the freezer for 30 minutes, before moving to the fridge for the remainder of the time. You could always just fridge it overnight if you’re not doing some crazy GBBO challenge.

img_5020To make the berry jelly, I soaked some gelatine leaves in cold water. I then blitzed up the blackberries and strained through a sieve. (This yielded about 100ml of puree.) I added this to a saucepan with some sugar and let this bubble on a medium heat until the sugar was dissolved.

img_5023Once off the heat, I stirred in some blackberry liqueur to make it up to 200ml. I then added the drained gelatine leaves and stirred in till dissolved.

I let this chill in the fridge till slightly thickened before pouring onto the chilled mousse. I left this in the fridge to set completely.

img_5045img_5076Once set, I cut the square into 12 not-so-mini- rectangles. To serve I dusted half with cocoa powder and placed a raspberry on top.

img_5018For the PSL mousse cakes I cut out 12 circles of cake using a plastic champagne flute (for when you can’t find any of your cutters!). I then placed these in the wells of a silicone muffin tray.

img_5019I spooned the pumpkin mousse into each well so it was completely full, then scraped away the excess. I set these in the freezer for 30 minutes before transferring to the fridge for the rest of the time.

To serve I whipped up some double cream and sugar to stiff peaks, added to a piping bag and piped on top of each mousse cake.

img_5098img_5065

Overall…

How long did it take? I started at 5pm and had completely finished by 8:30pm – so 3hrs 30 minutes!?! I was actually under time?!? This isn’t even taking into account photographing/washing up time, or the fact that I only had space in my freezer for one mousse cake at a time?! I genuinely don’t understand. Maybe I could have used that extra time to add something else?

What worked? Not including my first failed attempt, I was really pleased with the flavours of my second batch of mousse cakes. You could definitely taste what they were supposed to be.

What didn’t work? Well, initially nothing worked; the cakes were too rubbery, the flavours weren’t strong enough, the colours weren’t bright enough, the mousses didn’t set… you name it! However, after altering recipes and my liquid to gelatine ratios, my second attempt was much better! I used a much lighter cake recipe, I was happy with the taste, the colours were bright AND the mousses set!

Things to improve if I were to take this recipe to the tent? I would probably make a thinner chocolate cake, just for appearances. I’d also have used my spare time to make something extra just so they could look prettier!

*****

Pumpkin Spice Latte & Forest Fruits Mousse Cakes – GBBO Showstopper Challenge (Week 7)
Author: Acorns & Custard
Ingredients
  • For the chocolate Genoise sponge:
  • 4 eggs
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 30g unsalted butter, melted
  • For the pumpkin spice Genoise sponge:
  • 4 eggs
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground ginger
  • ¼tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼tsp ground clove
  • 30g unsalted butter, melted
  • For the forest fruits mousse:
  • 500g fresh berries (raspberries & blackberries)
  • 2tbsp caster
  • 300ml double cream
  • 5 gelatine sheets
  • 3 egg whites (roughly 100g)
  • 140g caster sugar
  • For the pumpkin spice latte mousse:
  • 200g pumpkin puree
  • 50ml milk
  • 1tsp instant coffee
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground ginger
  • ¼tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼tsp ground clove
  • 300ml double cream
  • 5 gelatine sheets
  • 3 egg whites (roughly 100g)
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 200ml double cream, for whipping
  • 4tbsp caster sugar
  • For the forest fruit jelly:
  • 150g fresh blackberries
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml Cassis
  • 4 gelatine sheets
Instructions
For the chocolate Genoise sponge:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until pale, thick and bubbly. It will have doubled in volume and should hold its form for a few seconds when drizzled.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa and salt. Fold in gently.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and fold in to combine, keeping in as much air as possible.
  5. Spoon into a lined 9” square tin and bake for 10 minutes until the top begins to colour, and a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Set aside to cool.
  7. Once cool, remove from the tin and place the layer of cake into a 9” square silicone cake mould/tin lined with greaseproof paper.
For the pumpkin spice Genoise sponge:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until pale, thick and bubbly. It will have doubled in volume and should hold its form for a few seconds when drizzled.
  3. Sift in the plain flour, salt, and spices. Fold in gently.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and fold in to combine, keeping in as much air as possible.
  5. Spoon onto a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until the top begins to brown, and a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Set aside to cool.
  7. Once cool, cut out 12 circles of cake to fit into a silicone muffin tray.
For the forest fruits mousse:
  1. Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Place the berries and the 2tbsp of caster sugar into a saucepan and heat on medium till the sugar dissolves and the berries break down completely. Remove from the heat.
  3. Blitz with an immersion blender (or in a heatproof blender) till smooth.
  4. Strain through a sieve. (This yielded 250ml puree.)
  5. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine sheets and add to the warm fruit puree. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside to cool slightly.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the double cream to soft peaks.
  7. Pour the slightly cooled puree into the double cream and fold to combine.
  8. In a separate heatproof bowl, add the egg whites and caster sugar. Place this bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water and stir till the sugar dissolves into the egg whites. Remove from the heat.
  9. Whisk the egg whites till you get stiff peaks.
  10. In batches, add the egg whites to the fruity whipped cream and fold in to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  11. Spoon the mousse on top of the chocolate cake and leave in the freezer to set for 30 minutes, before moving to the fridge.
For the pumpkin spice latte mousse:
  1. Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Place the pumpkin puree, milk and spices into a saucepan and heat on medium till you get a thick puree, and warmed through. Remove from the heat.
  3. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine sheets and add to the warm pumpkin puree. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the double cream to soft peaks.
  5. Pour the slightly cooled puree into the double cream and fold to combine.
  6. In a separate heatproof bowl, add the egg whites and caster sugar. Place this bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water and stir till the sugar dissolves into the egg whites. Remove from the heat.
  7. Whisk the egg whites till you get stiff peaks.
  8. In batches, add the egg whites to the pumpkin whipped cream and fold in to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  9. Spoon the mousse into the muffin tray on top of the pumpkin spice cake. You may need to spread the mixture to make sure it’s even. Leave in the freezer to set for 30 minutes, before moving to the fridge.
  10. Before serving, whisk the 200ml double cream with the 4tbsp caster sugar to stiff peaks. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe onto the individual mousse cakes.
For the forest fruit jelly:
  1. Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Place the blackberries and the 2tbsp of caster sugar into a saucepan and heat on medium till the sugar dissolves and the berries break down completely. Remove from the heat.
  3. Blitz with an immersion blender (or in a heatproof blender) till smooth.
  4. Strain through a sieve. (This yielded 100ml puree.)
  5. Make up to 200ml by adding 100ml of Cassis, or any fruit juice.
  6. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine sheets and add to the warm blackberry puree. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside to room temperature.
  7. Pour onto the frozen berry mousse and leave in the fridge to set completely before cutting.

 

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