Friday, January 21, 2011

Michael Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake: French Fridays With Dorie

If there is one thing I know, it's chocolate. (See "My Profile" on right). If there's another thing I know, it's how to bake. No, I'm not "professionally" trained nor do I have the money to do so, but I've been baking since I could hold a spatula. Once I'd even considered opening a small bakery doing cookies, cakes and books. I take baking seriously. Then yesterday happened and I'll reserve the comments that flew from my lips in trying to re-create this Frenchie chocolate specialty in vegan form for "offline".  I'll also not be posting any pictures of my kitchen in the aftermath, as I found myself wiping counters down one last time ten thirty last night (third failed attempt going into the trash).

A bit of history. One of my first vegan experiments involved two chocolate specialties: the brownie, and the chocolate chip cookie. I had to conquer the vegan brownie first, then the vegan chocolate chip cookie. Trust me, there are a ton of recipes for both in the cyberworld claiming: This is The Best Vegan Brownie/Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever! I scoffed at many, biting into the tried recipes with raised eyebrow and usually commenting, Really? That's your BEST attempt? Clearly some palates are different than others.

My journey to the Michael Rostang's mousse cake was a hard fought battle. I ran right out of the gate with the "oil separation" monster (all vegans know exactly what I'm talking about). That's when we get our fancy pants on, put all the substitutions together, think we have done all we could possibly do to create a good combo mix using our egg replacer stuff and begin our baking only to look on in disbelief about fifteen minutes into the baking time to see this sort of glob of stuff forming. Then we cry.

I made three variations of this recipe. I also saw a quite accomplished vegan chocolate mousse cake in my online search in which said baker had received praise from Dorie herself. Just Google it, you'll see the vegan mousse cake I speak of. That was all fine and good, but there was flour, there was maple syrup, and there were other non-Michael Rostang ingredients that entered the picture and I thought, well, I could modify this recipe, but then, I'd be completely making another cake. So I tried sticking with the baking variables in the Dorie recipe as much as I could--not tweeking it with flour and other sorts of vegan binders and lifters--just so I could get that full French eggless, butterless baking experience.

With vegan baking (minus eggs, minus real butter) there is no beating around the bush: it sometimes breaks you (no pun intended). As was the case yesterday. This recipe broke me. I lost my fight. I lost my drive. I even nearly lost my love for chocolate. Stop. No I didn't. But I had had enough of finger tasting, temp taking and cake poking to last me a good long while. My final version that was edible is pictured here. Dr. Thyme and I both proclaimed this as an accomplished and well done desseert. Not a well done mousse cake, but a well done chocolate confection. No rise, no puffy stuff happened, thus no collapse happened. But as a dessert of rich, dense chocolate and yummy somewhat mousse-ish topping. . . we'll take it.
My mousse topping in round one, never really took. My mousse topping for round two, took quite nicely. But this involved such variations from the recipe, it became my own little hand written jewel which I will post here for others at some point in the future. Just know, at this picture taking, I had combined the two mousses and spread this over my somewhat-but-not-quite cake.
Oh, the horror. Attempt number three last night. Tears weren't far away. I'll see you all here next week, same time, same place for my attempt at Dorie's Vegan Chicken B'stilla, Stella!
Please view the other successful chocolate mousse cakes at French Fridays with Dorie!


8 comments:

  1. Oh Kelly. It looks decadent and delicious! I DID look at other posts and I think yours looks just as delicious especially for a vegan cake. Way to go in being persistent and I am looking forward seeing the next one.

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  2. Hi Noelle! Thank you SO much for you kind note and being my little cheerleader here in this very difficult chocolate challenge! Hello everyone stopping by, I'd like you to meet Noelle at: An Opera Singer in the Kitchen!

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  3. Hi Kelly, I didn't check out every single one but I looked at a lot of them. Yours looked better than all the ones I looked at! I'm looking forward to that recipe. I have come up against the oil separation monster many, many times and I have given up trying to veganize baked goods. I'll just bake what you post ;)

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  4. Well, there is still one recipe I keep working on. Lemon Jello Cake. I bought Lieber's Unflavored Jel from Vegan Essentials to use on my next attempt. Have you ever had Lemon Jello Cake? It's probably the cake I made the most before I went vegan. It's been quite a challenge for me, I would appreciate any tips.

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  5. It looks really good. Congrats on finding a way to make it work for you!

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  6. Hi veganhomemaker! Oh boy do I remember. . . and did I LOVE the egg version lemon cake--from the Cake Mix Doctor! I never made one with Jell-o, but I did several with pudding. Mmmmmm. Goooood! It was one of my faves! I made a lemon bundt cake--veganized and posted it some time back. I think I frosted it, too--because I love frosting! I will have to try this vegan jel you mentioned. I know you love cake like I do, so any suggestions YOU have, please share! And, many thanks for your kind note, but this was quite far off from what the cake was "supposed" to look like!

    Hi Ronda! Thanks so much for your note--it did work--as best as I could get it to and will provide us with at least a few nights of dessert and a good chocolate fix!

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  7. You are so funny! I admire you so much for taking on this project and bending all the recipes to your will. Personally, I think yours looks better than my cracked up mess!!

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  8. This looks awesome. Sorry it was so frustrating for you. We love chocolate too. I admit that I don't know all things vegan, but I know many things chocolate. You might want to have a look at my wacky cake. It contains no butter and no eggs. It's cheap, delicious, and perfect. http://tastycheapskate.blogspot.com/2011/01/wacky-cake.html
    I also recently posted some healthier chocolate fare--a chocolate oat muffin--also with no eggs and no butter. http://tastycheapskate.blogspot.com/2011/01/chocolate-oat-muffins.html
    I'd love to know what you think.

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