This Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Torte is a showy torte that is actually easy to accomplish. It’s like the best chocolate covered strawberry you ever ate! A simple French cake, the Reine de Saba, was a favorite base for many of our cakes at the bakery. It is chocolaty, moist and holds up as a base better than any other chocolate cake we made. We would keep these in the freezer and use them as needed.
To get cake layers for the Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake to come out flat without humping in the middle, spray the middle only of your pan. Place parchment on top and spray the middle only. We used this at the bakery and it worked really well. If you spray the sides, or otherwise prepare them, the sides of the cake will rise faster than the middle in the oven. It will then slide down the greased sides of the pan causing the humpy center. By not spraying the sides, the cake will cling to the sides unable to slide down, much like an angel food cake. The center can then catch up with the sides for a flat layer.
We used an unusual method at the bakery of getting the eggs and the chocolate into the batter. The eggs don’t want to easily incorporate into the butter/sugar mixture. By adding one egg, which may not fully incorporate, then the chocolate, then the other egg, it will come together without curdling which is the problem we had originally when we added all the eggs at once. Also, do not let the chocolate become cold, it should be lukewarm but not hot.
The mousse for the Chocolate Srawberry Mousse Cake uses two chocolates, white and semisweet that mellow it out. Bittersweet chocolate can be used if desired but I am in the semisweet camp.
When it comes to the strawberries, try to find ones that are mainly the same size. I know this can be a pain as they pack them by weight and not size. If they are the assorted version, simply cut more of the top off the big ones when removing the stems to achieve strawberries of the same size.
A couple of tips for instant success. If you over whip your cream (like I did) just add a little more cream and mix on low. If it is too liquid, raise the speed on the mixer and whip until it is correct. If it is still over-mixed, add a bit more cream to get the right consistency. A young lady who worked for me discovered this when she over-whipped 12 quarts of cream. Knowing I was not going to be excited about this turn of events, she figured out what to do. This was our go to at the bakery when we over-whipped the cream. The other tip regards the egg whites. For maximum height have them at room temperature, whip them until the whisk of the mixer leaves a trail in them and then add the sugar and continue beating. It is better to under-whip than over-whip both the cream and the egg whites if you are uncertain. Over-whipping will make it difficult to fold everything together smoothly and you will knock out a lot of the air built up in the whipping.
Although this Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Torte looks difficult, do give it a whirl as it is just a matter of steps, all of which are easy.
Reine de Saba Base
1/4 cup flour (35 grams or 1 1/4 ounce)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda4 ounces semisweet chocolate (4 ounces)
1/2 cup butter, softened (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 2/3 ounce)
Spray the center of a 9 inch round pan. Line with parchment circle and spray center only. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler or at half power in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes. Set aside but keep it lukewarm, but not hot.
Cream the butter and sugar on low.
Add one egg, beat well on low and then add the chocolate. Beat to incorporate chocolate completely. Add remaining egg and last the flour mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cool; release, remove parchment and turn right side up.
Finished batter weighs 395 grams or approximately 13 3/4 ounces. The baked layer is 3/4 inch high.
Notes: For a 10″ round or square pan, use 1 1/2 recipes for a 9×13 inch pan double the recipe. Watch the baking time as you don’t want to over-bake these or they will be dry.
9×3 cheesecake pan or a 9×3 springform pan
Reine de Saba layer cooled
2 quarts strawberries, the same size as much as possible
Chocolate Mousse, below
Chocolate Glaze, below
Release the Reine de Saba layer by using a small, flexible, metal spatula. Keeping the spatula pressed against the side of the pan, go around the whole pan. Place a round over the top of the cake pan, turn it upside down and release the layer. Remove the parchment, place the bottom of the pan on the layer and turn it right side up. Place it in the pan.
Cut the stem ends of the strawberries flat. Cut as many strawberries in half vertically as needed to go around the inside edge of the pan.
Fill in the entire pan with whole strawberries. If they are too tall, simply cut more off when stemming them so the strawberries are about the same size.
Make the Chocolate Mousse below and pour it over the strawberries. Rap the pan on the work surface several times while filling to seat the mousse between the strawberries and eliminate any air pockets. When you rap the pan, holes around the side may appear, simply fill them in and level the top.
Place in the refrigerator to set up.
6 tablespoons butter (90 grams or 3 ounces)
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (340 grams)
3 ounces white chocolate (85 grams)
5 egg whites, room temperature (150 grams or 5 1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar (75 grams or 2 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup 40% or heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks
Combine the butter and both chocolates in a large bowl. Place them over a double boiler with simmering water below or microwave them at half power. I used the microwave and it took 3 minutes at half power. You can see by the photo it didn’t look melted. But when whisked it became smooth. If not add a bit more time at half power and whisk again. Set aside but keep it at lukewarm temperature.
Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat on high until the whisk leaves a trail in the whites. Gradually add the sugar. Beat to medium peaks.
Stir 1/4 into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
Place the remainder of the beaten whites and the whipped cream on top. Fold in by placing a rubber spatula in the middle of the bowl, touching the bottom. Scoop the mixture to the edge of the bowl nearest you and turn it over. Turn the bowl slightly and continue this motion until everything is one uniform color. This technique keeps much more air in the mixtures than if you stirred everything together.
Yield: Approximately 890 grams or 2 pounds
2/3 cup 40% or heavy cream
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (140 grams)
Place the cream in a small pan. Heat until very hot and steamy but do not boil. Submerge the chocolate under the hot cream.
Let it sit for a few minutes. Whisk smooth. Do not whisk to vigorously or you will get a lot of air bubbles in the finished glaze.
Pour over the top of the set up mousse. Pick the pan up and rotate it so it covers the entire top.
Chill until set up.
To release the tart a hair blower and large can are needed.
To remove the torte (this is one of the reasons I prefer a cheesecake pan over a springform mold), heat the edge briefly with a hair blower set on high.
Do not overheat or you will melt the mousse. Place the pan on a fat can about double the height of the side of the pan. Grasp the side of the pan and slowly move it down until it clears the bottom of the pan.
Release the bottom of the torte by sliding a metal spatula under the layer. Using two pancake turners, placed between the bottom of the cake and the bottom of the pan on opposite sides of the torte, pick up the torte and transfer it to a serving dish or cardboard round.
Yield: 1 – 9″ Torte, 12 to 16 servings.