- 300g butter, softened
- 300g caster sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 300g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 75g sugar
- 110ml coffee
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 300g 72% dark chocolate
- 3 eggs, separated
- 250ml cream
- 25g hazelnuts, crushed (to garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cheesecake tin.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until very light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and mix in the fl our and cocoa powder.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well set. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come away spotlessly clean and dry. I normally reduce the heat after half the cooking time.
4. When the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool in the tin as it will still be quite soft at this stage. Ideally you should have the cake made the day before you require it.
5. For the syrup, add the sugar and water to a saucepan and bring gently to the boil. Allow to boil for 2 or 3 minutes and then turn off the heat allowing the mixture to cool down. When the mixture is cool, add the Highbank Orchard Brandey.
6. To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool a little. Lightly beat the egg yolks and then whisk into the melted chocolate until well combined. The mixture will stiffen immediately at this stage but don’t panic.
7. Whip the cream in a bowl unti l you have achieved soft peaks and then whisk into the chocolate mixture. The cream will soften the mixture down and loosen its consistency.
8. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until very stiff and gently fold them into the chocolate cream mixture. This will add air and lightness to the actual mousse.
9. To assemble, cut the chocolate sponge into three equal pieces. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the sponge with the syrup to moisten it a little. Spread a layer of the chocolate mousse on the first layer of the cake. Repeat this process until the cake is back in its original shape, ensuring that you brush each layer with plenty of stock syrup and press each layer of the cake down with your hand to give an even finish at the end.
10. Spread with the remaining mousse and decorate with some chocolate shards and hazelnuts.
When making the mousse, ensure you have the whipped cream and egg whites ready to go as you need to work quite quickly to ensure you achieve a smooth mousse.