Mini Cakes with a Kick

This is one of my favorite desserts. These individual espresso mousse cakes look amazing when you serve them to your guests. They do take a little time to prepare, but the results make the effort worth it. They can be made into dozens of different shapes by using stainless steel baking rings. Fat Daddio's carries fifteen different shaped rings and hundreds of sizes. I like to keep some round ones handy to use for desserts and savory dishes. 
 
This espresso mousse cake can be made in three steps. It's best to start the day before you plan on serving. Bake the cake first, let cool completely. While the cake cools prepare your mousse and then the creme topping. Let chill overnight. Before removing the rings from the cakes, warm your hands around the ring for a moment. The ring will then slide off.
 
Espresso Mousse Cake
 
Tools Needed
Mixing bowls (Fat Daddio's MIX)
Saucepan
11 x 15" Baking Pan (Fat Daddio's POB)
12 3 x 3" Round Rings (Fat Daddio's RRD-3055)
Half Sheet Pan (Fat Daddio's SP)
Double boiler
Electric mixer
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 
QUICK TIP: Bake the cake one day ahead.
 
Espresso Mousse
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, plus more, shaved, for garnishing
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
 
Creme Anglaise
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks, beaten
 
  1. Prepare the cake:  Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour 11 x 15" baking pan. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour and cocoa.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter with water and oil; bring to boil. Remove from heat and pour over dry ingredients; mix well. Add egg, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla extract; blend thoroughly.
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake approximately 10-15 minutes or until tester or toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  4. Cut 12 round pieces from the prepared cake using the ring mold. Set ring molds on sheet pan. Place each cake in the bottom of the mold. Set aside.
 
  1. Prepare chocolate mousse: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring often, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, espresso powder, 4 tablespoons of the sugar, and ¾ cup of the cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture lightly coats the back of the spatula, 2 to 3 minutes (do not boil). Strain into the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 ¼ cups cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. In 3 additions, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Divide among 12 round ring molds and refrigerate while you are preparing the creme topping.
 
  1. Prepared Creme Anglaise: In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine cream and sugar. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan. Add pod. Bring mixture just to boil (BUT DON'T LET IT BOIL OR IT MAY CURDLE) over medium-low heat. Whisk yolks in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in half of cream. Return mixture to saucepan and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes; strain into bowl. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Add to the top of the ring molds once chilled.
  2. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
     
Recipes adapted from What's Cooking America and Real Simple
 
 For more inspiration, visit our Chocolate board on Pinterest.