"A chocolate mousse cake with no flour required. It's such a fabulous dessert – extremely popular with 'students’ at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School and a must-do recipe for children," says chef Blanc.
"The sponge can be made in advance and then kept in the freezer for a day or two. I have used a cake tin with a diameter of 15cm, but simply adapt to fit your favourite tin size."
For the flourless chocolate sponge:
- Butter, for greasing the tin
- 4 medium eggs (preferably organic or free-range)
- 125g caster sugar
- 35g cocoa powder
For the chocolate mousse:
- 160g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 25g cocoa powder
- 1 medium egg yolk (preferably organic or free-range)
- 3tbsp hot water
- 6 medium egg whites (preferably organic or free-range)
- 25g caster sugar
To serve (optional):
- Cocoa powder, for dusting
- Grated dark chocolate
- A handful of pistachio nuts or almonds, chopped and toasted in a dry pan
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½.
- Begin by making the chocolate sponge in a cake tin (preferably a springform one, 15cm diameter). Cut a circle of greaseproof paper to cover the tin's base, and lightly butter the paper on both sides.
- Separate the eggs – yolks in one bowl, whites in another. In a food mixer on full power, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, adding the sugar little by little.
- Take a third of the whisked egg whites and whisk them into the egg yolks. Once incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whisked whites. Now sift and fold in the cocoa powder.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread it evenly with a spatula or palette knife. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the sponge to cool before removing it from the tin. Leave it to cool on a wire rack.
- Clean the cake tin. Carefully remove the paper from the base of the sponge. Now put the cooled sponge back in the ring, ready to have the chocolate mousse mixture poured over it.
- Chop the chocolate into bite-sized pieces and melt them in a large heatproof bowl in a saucepan of gently simmering water. The melted chocolate should be hot to the touch to ensure it is well incorporated in the next stage.
- Sift the cocoa powder into a separate bowl and whisk it with the egg yolk and hot water. Pour this onto the melted chocolate but do not mix.
- Next, whisk the egg whites and sugar to medium peaks. Briskly whisk about a third of the whisked egg whites into the melted chocolate, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Pour the mousse mixture onto the chocolate sponge in the ring. Transfer it to the fridge to set for at least three hours.
- To remove the flourless chocolate mousse cake, heat a palette knife in a bowl of hot water, wipe it with a clean tea towel, and then slide it around the inside of the tin.
- Before serving, decorate with a dusting of cocoa, a sprinkling of grated chocolate and chopped toasted pistachios or almonds, if using.
Simply Raymond: Recipes From Home by Raymond Blanc is published by Headline Home on April 29. Photography by Chris Terry.