Skip to main content

Dessert Palour for Your Consideration, Please?

After graduating from high school, I had the opportunity to become independent by waitressing part-time at a cafe located downtown. It was truely a humbling experience, having to learn everything from scratch. I found out working was tough and wished I could just go back to school but luckily my best friend, who was working there too, kept me sane! That stint was a blessing in disguise, for I earned enough keeps to have the means to eat more 'upscale' and discovered the most wonderful chocolate mousse cake. Of course 'upscale' is relative but at that point in my life, it meant an establishment with someone showing you the table, a place that charged a service fee, oh, just somewhere different from a food court. Don't get me wrong though, I still enjoy eating at food courts, but to be able to go to an upscale restaurant without my parents really meant a lot to me.

The said cake was found at Marche, a French marketplace-type concept chain restaurant, and can still be found there today. The dessert had an ideal ratio of chocolate sponge cake to a slightly bittersweet mousse of just the right consistency. Notice I used "wonderful" and not stronger adjectives like "amazing" or "heavenly" etc. The cake was deliciously good, heck, above average good and consistently good, as I found out after my 5-year hiatus, upon my return from the US. But to bring me to heavenly heights, I need to see the full works. But the presentation, or rather lack-of, was simply a slice of cake onto a plate. But then again, for less than $5 a portion, what can I expect? Anyway, after J and I got together, I introduced him to my favourite mousse and instantly made him a fan too! Ok, I'm drooling as I blog this, so maybe I should make a trip to Marche soon!

Back on topic. February marked two of my long-time friends' birthdays and the usual bunch of us decided to hold a mini celebration for them. Of course, given my track records, yours truely had been requested to make a birthday cake for the occasion. I pondered, just a tad while, and decided to make a chocolate mousse cake. Using the recipe found here, I embarked on the first step towards creating my own signature mousse cake. I did make a few mistakes changes here and there, and unashamingly share those with you folks out there.

I had little time so I decided to prepare the cake in several stages. First the cake. The change was that I replaced 1/3 cup of white flour with cocoa powder to intensify the chocolate flavour. I also baked it for nearly 45 minutes. Everything was going smoothly until I tried to remove the parchment paper off the bottom. I am ashamed to admit, given my experience with the oven, but I failed to butter the parchment paper, which resulted in me having to slice off the paper stuck on the bottom. The cake was a bit too dense, which could be a result of the sugar settling at the bottom. So it became rather cookie-like, instead of a light sponge.

The syrup came next. Nothing really special there except I used rum instead of whisky just because I did not have any at hand.

Then came the mousse. To save time, I wanted to shave the chocolate curls while whipping the cream. Bad move because I had failed to monitor the development of the whipped cream and found that 'Hey, I made butter!' the next time I looked around. Luckily, I had another pack available, but it was a 200 ml pack and in light of lack of time to purchase another, I just went for it. As a result, the mousse could have been heavier than desired. I chilled it overnight before assembling the cake.

Assembling the cake was a challenge. That was the first time I tried layering a cake and managed to slice it into 3 uneven layers. I used the syrup generously, not wanting to waste the alchohol and also an attempt to soften the cookie-like cake a little. After spreading on the mousse, I refrigerated the cake for about 6 hours til I came home before the party. Due to lack of time, I skipped the chocolate bands and chose to throw more chocolate curls all around the sides as well as the top.

The mousse don't seem to hold up very well so it was melting by the time I got to the party. I was frantic that my cake was falling apart and got myself quite stressed. Looking back now, I would just lightly brush on some whisky on the sponge and use the right amount of cream for the mousse. Perhaps, I should have gotten help from a bit of gelatin to extend the holding power. But would I make the recipe again? Not really, since I have another recipe waiting to be tried and tested.

The final deliverance, for me, came after we did the usual birthday routine of gathering people around, sing the birthday song, take pictures, blow candles and finally, cut the cake. The friends oohed and ahhed, 'begging' me to consider opening a dessert palour soon, all the while non-stop spooning more of my love into their mouths. That was good enough to relief any stress from my mousse-making experience and was encouragement for me to press on towards being a better dessert chef.

Maybe soon, my dear friends, real soon.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Towards Weaning.

Since my last post, I have tried to implement a few changes to make things better.  For one, I have decided to stop feeling so stressed about pumping enough milk for A.  Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, after 9 months of pumping without mastitis (blocked ducts yes, mastitis no), I suffered not 1 but 2 episodes of mastitis over 2 consecutive weeks, right boob then left. The supply tanked after the first episode and I decided to take the opportunity to slow things down and gradually wean.  Even though the mental determination was there, it was still affecting me psychologically. I mean, after going through the first few months of suffering through the 3-hourly pumping schedule and building up a decent supply, and then reaching a nice maintenance mode where pumping became easier and a way of life for me, it was hard to let go.

Nonetheless, after the second round, and the supply continued to tank, I thought enough is enough.  Final straw was when the Spectra …

The Wedding Gowns

The Man and I tied the knot on 1.3.14, a popular date because of the homonym when read in Chinese: 一生一世, which literally means, a lifetime, if I am not wrong. Anyway, just for the record, we didn't select the date because of that reason, but on hindsight, it made a very nice coincidence and we won't easily forget our wedding anniversary I suppose. When we got engaged, we went researching for the wedding banquet venue right away (more on that later), and then followed by the wedding gown.  After consulting a few recent brides,  unsolicited input from others, and research on bridal forums, I decided I would like to go ala carte. I also eliminated the Tanjong Pagar bridal studios because I admit I am biased and my mind conjures up an imagery of a typical Tanjong Pagar bride that is wearing a tiara, white gloves, a big poofy ballgown and lots of bling.  I shudder uncontrollably at that thought before and even now that the wedding is over.
Eventually, I visited the following few and…

How do you juggle it all :( ?

I just feel that I don't have enough time - for the husband and  much less for myself!

During the workday, I make sure I try to go home on time so I could spend a couple of hours with A, and put him to bed. Then it's time to have my last pump at about 9pm before I just want to  zone out and crash.  The boy wakes up at least 3 times ever since his last leap when he learnt how to stand. Additionally, he fell really ill for the first time (i.e. antibiotics).  Prior to that, he cries 1-2 times but easily soothed with pacifier or with some milk. Because of these frequent interrupted sleep, the man and I took turns to fall ill as well, and it is difficult to recover. I still have the head colds and occasionally coughing spells.

On weekends, our schedule revolves around family events, and then I try to plan so that A can try to get a nap or 2 as well as to plan our routes throughout the day so I would end up somewhere comfortable to pump when I needed to.  Often the nap part fails,…