I don’t usually make lots of cakes for Valentine’s Day, but when I saw this recipe at Mother Earth Living for a very different kind of chocolate cake I knew I had to give it a go. As mentioned in earlier posts we have a huge rosemary bush and we all love the taste of this herb, so when I saw it combined with chocolate I knew I had to make it.
As rosemary is also the herb of remembrance, I thought it very fitting for Valentine’s Day.
Although you had to beat the brown sugar and butter together until light and pale in colour, I had to add the eggs to make the creaming easier. Pouring the boiling water over the mix reminded me of self-saucing puddings, but it worked fine, you did have to stir quite a bit to get everything to mix well together.
Once baked the cake looked really great. Although the recipe called for two 8″ cakes I decided to only make one as I didn’t want an enormous torte.
Infusing the rosemary in the cream was great and you could just taste a hint of the herb. Once all the ingredients were mixed together for the mousse, it was time to cover and put it into the fridge to set.
As you can see from the cake pictured above my mousse was still a little soft, but I was able to handle it ok. Although the recipe calls for covering the whole cake in a rosemary buttercream, I decided not to bother. Because I had quite a lot of the mousse I decided to put this on the top of the cake as well as in the middle. I really enjoyed the taste of the cake this way, and because my mousse was a little softer than it should perhaps have been it didn’t really matter.
I did find that there were quite a few steps to this cake, but the end result was really nice, and it has given me “food for thought” regarding using rosemary in more than just savoury dishes.
I hope you enjoy this “twist” on a chocolate cake, and perhaps enjoy it even when Valentine’s Day has passed. ENJOY!!
- 1-1/8 cups sifted cake flour ***
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) 56.7g unsalted butter, soft
- 1-1/8 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1-1/2 large eggs, at room temperature (I used 2 small eggs)
- 1-1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped and melted (40g)
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- Chocolate-rosemary mousse
- 1/8 cup loosely packed rosemary leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup heavy cream - divided
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup water
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted (168g)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (22g)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350˚ (180˚C).
- Grease an 8" round cake pan and line with baking paper, grease and flour.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
- (I found that I had to add the eggs to really get this creamy and light.)
- Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract mixing well and scraping down the sides.
- Add reserved flour mix alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.
- Mix on low just enough to incorporate as over-mixing will make a tough cake.
- Pour boiling water into a cup and add espresso powder to dissolve.
- Add to cake batter and stir by hand until smooth.
- Batter will be very loose.
- Put into prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes, checking with a skewer to make sure the center comes out clean.
- Cool for about 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks.
- Put rosemary and 1/2 cup cream into saucepan and bring to scalding over medium heat.
- Turn off stove and leave to steep for about 30 minutes.
- Whip egg yolks on high until light and fluffy.
- Bring sugar and water to boil in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Boil 1 - 2 minutes until thick and syrupy.
- With beater on medium, gradually pour sugar syrup into egg mixture working quickly so heat does not cook yolks.
- Continue beating at high speed until thick and fluffy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
- Add melted chocolate, butter and vanilla whisking until combined.
- Strain rosemary cream mixture into chocolate base, pressing out excess fluid from rosemary.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Place remaining 1/2 cup of cream into a clean bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
- Fold into chocolate-rosemary base until well combined.
- Cover with plastic and refrigerate several hours, until mousse is extremely firm.
- Note: A firmer mousse will make for much easer cake assembly.
- Split the cake into two halves.
- Cover one half with most of the mousse and place top cake layer on top.
- Cover the top of the cake with the remaining mousse if desired.
- We do not have cake flour in Australia. Use 2 tablespoons of cornflour in a cup measure and top the rest up with plain four.
- You can see the complete torte with 3 layers of cake and covered in rosemary buttercream if you go to the link in the post.