Tag Archives: mousse

Recipe: Fierce Strawberries (and tentacle cake)

A while back, one of my Professors welcomed me back from long service leave with a copy of Deceptive Desserts: A Lady’s Guide to Baking Bad, by Christine McConnell.  I was particularly taken by her recipe for Screamberries, and my brother and I originally had evil plans to make this as a birthday cake for Elisabeth’s first birthday (just think of the photos!), but for some reason (possibly because my mother was appalled?) we decided to make the orange and banana cakes instead.

Well, this year, what with one thing and another, it became practical to have my brother’s birthday party and my niece’s both on the same day.  Obviously, this necessitated two cakes, and when I asked my brother what he wanted for this cake, the answer was ‘tentacles’.

So that was easy, then.

I made a few modifications to McConnell’s recipe.  Vanilla mousse seemed boring, so I filled the waffle cups half with vegan chocolate mousse and half with berry mousse.  Stabilised whipped cream seemed like way too much like hard work for a relatively small result, so I didn’t do that.  And my first batch of waffle cones weren’t great, so I had to make another double batch in the hour between getting back from cantoring in Middle Park and leaving for birthday shenanigans in Canterbury.  So I signally failed to follow the instructions and just dumped everything in together.  I can’t claim that they were brilliant waffle cups, but they were fresh and they did the job.

And really, who cared about the waffle cups?  The mousse was delicious, and really, we were all here for the strawberries and the tentacles, right?

Incidentally, you can make this recipe in advance and take the components in separate boxes to wherever you are going, at which point it takes about ten minutes to put together.

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Recipe: Apricot Mousse, or possibly cold soufflé – a reconstruction

Happy Easter! I have heard the words ‘Christ is Risen’ in at least twelve languages, and have learned how having faith in the Resurrection is quite a lot like barracking for the Melbourne Demons, except that one’s hopes are more likely to be fulfilled in the former case.  (Apparently, our minister has been a Melbourne supporter since the mid-sixties.  During that time, Melbourne has won precisely zero premierships, and is mostly found holding up the ladder, or, as my father would have it, ‘lulling you into a false sense of security which may well turn out to be a true one…’).

Also, I finally got to sing a descant, so now I really feel like it’s Easter.  You can’t have a resurrection unless you spend serious time above the stave, that’s what I always say.  It’s possible that my doctrine is a little suspect…

My family used to have a big get together every Easter, with roast lamb and all the trimmings, followed by some sort of spectacular dessert, always provided by my Oma.  The year I was ten or so, she produced this amazing cold apricot soufflé, a beautiful, light, pale orange concoction, made even more exciting to my ten year old mind by the little Easter Eggs decorating it.


I’m not sure why this recipe, of all the recipes Oma ever made, stayed with me, but it did.  And, of course, I have no idea what the recipe was.  I had hoped it would be in Margaret Fulton (I have found a number of Oma’s recipes, suitably adapted, in the pages of my Margaret Fulton cookbook), but the only apricot soufflé in her pages was a baked one – not ideal for when one is expecting guests, really.  I did, however, have a recipe for Apple Nougat Soufflé in a Family Circle cookbook from my childhood, and the combination of whipped cream, egg-whites and gelatine sounded about right for the effect I remember. (No, this recipe is not vegan.  Not even a little bit.  Sorry.  In fact, this might well be the least allergy-friendly recipe I’ve ever done – oh no, wait, it *is* gluten free, so that’s something!)

So it was just a matter of changing a lot of flavours.  And some of the method.  And… well, you know by now what I’m like with recipes.  The result is not Oma’s soufflé – I don’t think Oma would have used orange flower water, and she certainly wouldn’t have used peach schnapps or made a praline garnish – but it is light and fluffy and apricot-flavoured, and it does have little pastel Easter eggs on top.  The spirit is right, even if the actuality is a little altered.

(We lit candles at the service today for those who were no longer with us, and were told of the Latin American tradition of saying ‘presente’ as the names of the dead were read out, to indicate that they were still with us.  This is a tradition I like very much, and I hope it will be continued.  But for me, Oma is far closer to me in the making of this soufflé than in the lighting of a candle.  Presente!)


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1 1/2 cups of dried apricots
90 g butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon honey1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup peach schnapps
3 tsp gelatine
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp orange flower water
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup cream
small chocolate eggs in foil

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Recipe: Pasilla Chilli Chocolate Cakes with Hot Chilli Ganache and Smokey Chilli Mousse (incredibly allergy-friendly)

These cupcakes are a bit of a shock to the system.  I freely admit to being a chilli wimp, but even I thought the original pasilla chilli cupcakes were a bit too mild. 

So I decided to spice them up with an injection of hot chilli ganache to the centre.  And then I decided to add a chipotle chilli mousse, which was the point at which I discovered that I could only eat a few bites of them before reaching chilli overload.

My chilli-head friends, however, fell on these cupcakes with cries of joy, and since there is something to be said for the notion that if one is going to make a chocolate chilli cupcake, one might as well make sure that the cupcake packs a good strong punch of both, these cupcakes should do the trick.  Please bear in mind, though, that the amounts of chilli are very much suggestions, and somewhat vague ones at that – I’m operating rather from memory here. 

For anyone who is interested, the main cake recipe is slightly adapted from my Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes for Everyone from a couple of months back, and the amazing chocolate and tofu mousse is adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, though adding chilli to it was entirely my idea…

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For the cakes:

1 1/3 cup rice milk
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (if you don’t have a mix, use 2/3 cups brown rice flour, 1/3 cup each of white rice flour and potato starch, 40 ml tapioca starch and 3/4 tsp xanthum gum.  Or use plain flour if gluten isn’t an issue for you)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda
3/4 tsp ground pasilla chilli
1/4 tsp ground red chilli
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

For the filling:

150 ml rice cream or rice milk
100 g dark chocolate
1/4 tsp red chilli, or to taste

For the mousse:

250 g silken tofu
40 ml rice milk
20 ml maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground chipotle chilli
225 g dark chocolate

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