This is another post made possible by Sainsbury’s. I was given vouchers in exchange for creating and blogging about this recipe.
Sainsbury’s recently asked their food blogger network to come up with ideas for a Prosecco-based dessert, in time for Christmas.
That’s right – the C word. I don’t like using it any more than you like reading it, but it’s not far off. That thought alone is surely enough to drive anyone to a glass or two of Prosecco.
Now, when the words ‘Christmas’ and ‘dessert’ appear near each other, my first thought is always the lush Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake that I found on A Periodic Table. It’s divine – I’ve made it two years running, and fully intend to do so again this year. So when it came to pitching an idea for a Prosecco dessert, my first thought was ‘mousse’. The next several thoughts were also ‘mousse’. Or, to put it another way, I had one good idea, and that was mousse.
Within ten minutes I was settled on how my finished dessert would be constructed. First, a layer of Prosecco-infused genoise sponge. For the middle layer, a light fruit mousse. On top, almost floating there, a Prosecco mousse, cloud-like in its fluffiness but considerably more delicious. Such grand designs!
I met with a few trials along the way, and the recipe I’ll present here is somewhat tweaked from the one I made – let’s consider this dessert to be in development for the time being. As with any great journey, there are many steps to be taken before you reach your destination (Destination: Cake is going to be the title of my autobiography, I’ve just decided), and I’ve laid them all out here.
Some of this will be used in the Prosecco Mousse recipe, the rest will be set and used as decoration.
- 12g powdered gelatin
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 240ml Prosecco
- 50 – 100g caster sugar (that’s a big range – I’m really saying add sugar to taste)
Whisk the gelatin with the boiling water until dissolved.
Gently heat the Prosecco and sugar in a pot, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the gelatin mixture and leave over the heat for a minute, stirring to incorporate.
Pour mixture into a jug, and set aside for now.
Inspired by a recipe in the Guardian
- 20g unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g plain flour
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease an 8 inch, high-sided, springform cake tin.
Melt the butter, and set aside while you whisk the eggs for what will feel like an eternity. I made the cake using my stand mixer, but you can do it with a hand held mixer, too.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 10 – 12 minutes. The mixture will be pale yellow and very creamy. You’ll know you’re done whisking when the batter is thick enough to leave a trail on the surface for a few seconds after you lift the whisk out. The volume will increase dramatically so make sure to use a big bowl.
Sift the flour in from a height – I usually never sift, but I did for this recipe – and fold in with a spatula, being as gentle as you can. You want to avoid deflating the mix – the air that you whisked in is going to make the sponge light and fluffy. Mix until just combined.
Trickle the melted butter in, down the sides of the bowl – this is a nice, gentle way to add the butter, instead of pouring it over the top and causing yet more air loss. Fold it in until just combined. You get the idea by now: we don’t want to mess around with this batter any more than necessary.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and risen. Remove from oven but leave to cool in the tin.
For drizzling on your Genoise sponge
- 60ml Prosecco
- 1 – 2 tbsp sugar (to taste)
While your sponge is baking, you can make the syrup. Put both ingredients in a small pot, over a medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Boil the mixture, watching carefully, until reduced by half. It won’t thicken a great deal but it will have a more concentrated and less boozy flavour than when you started. Set aside until your cake is ready.
If your cake has domed in the middle, let it cool for at least half an hour before gently releasing and lifting off the springform sides, then level it off with a serrated knife. Replace the tin when you’re done.
Use a skewer to poke some holes in your genoise sponge, and brush or drizzle the syrup over the sponge.
White Chocolate and Fruit Mousse
The mousse I made didn’t contain white chocolate, but the vanilla flavour will complement the rest of the cake, and the chocolate will help keep the mousse firm. The fruit I used was pomegranate. Do you KNOW how difficult it is to get any fruit puree from a pomegranate? Urgh. Next time, lemon curd.
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 200g white chocolate
- 2 tbsp very thick fruit puree, curd or jam (or more, to taste)
- 350ml whipping or double cream
Whisk the gelatin with the boiling water until dissolved. Set aside.
Gently melt the chocolate with 100ml of the cream. Add the gelatin mixture – if the gelatin is really thick and seems like it will be difficult to whisk in evenly, add a little of the cream and chocolate to it to thin it out, before combining fully. Whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Add the fruit puree – lemon, clementine, pear or raspberry would all be lovely. Let cool for ten minutes.
Whip the rest of the cream to stiff peaks. This will be easiest if the cream is cold. Add a big spoonful of the cream to the chocolate mixture, and fold through. This first spoonful loosens up the chocolate so that you don’t lose as much air from your whipped cream by stirring too hard.
Now add the rest of the cream and fold in until there are no streaks.
Make sure your sponge is completely cool, and scrape the mousse on top, smoothing it out so that the next layer has a flat surface to sit on. Put the cake into the fridge while you make the next layer.
A simple mousse using the Prosecco jelly from earlier.
- 400ml whipping or double cream
- 100ml Prosecco jelly mixture, at room temperature
- icing sugar (optional)
Whip the cream to stiff peaks, then fold in the Prosecco jelly mixture. Taste – sift over and fold in some icing sugar if you’d like it to be sweeter.
Spoon this mousse into the cake tin, taking care not to disturb the chocolate layer below, and smooth the surface. Return to the fridge overnight. Fair warning: it is a soft setting mousse, and doesn’t enjoy being out at room temperature for long.
Pour the remaining jelly mixture into a suitable container – a box is fine, or if you have little moulds you can use them. Put in the fridge to set overnight.
Just before serving, take the jelly from the fridge and cut into decorative shapes, or remove from moulds. Remove the cake from the fridge. Carefully – oh so carefully – ease the springform catch open. If the mousse is sticking to the sides and pulling outwards, run a knife round the edges. You can always tidy this up before serving.
Lift the tin off, and decorate the cake with the jelly. Neaten the edges with a sharp knife, if necessary. Slice and serve immediately.