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!