Sometimes you need a little citrus and passion in your life. And cake! 🙂 So here are some amazingly delicious light clouds of yumminess. A slightly over-the-top description? Mais non my cake-eating friend, these delightful entremets totally deserve it! The individual elements are fairly easy with a passionfruit-lemon curd insert set over a crunchy layer of crushed pralines (caramelised almonds) and a soft cushion of genoise sponge soaked in a lemon-lime syrup. This is all envelopped in a fresh fluffy lemon-lime mousse. I thought I’d be tweaking this little experiment but the flavours and textures are so perfectly balanced I’m going bold and giving you the recipe right now, with the reduced use of refined sugar replaced by maple syrup where possible. Hurray! You can make them in silicone rose or dome moulds. If you choose roses the white velvet edible spray really comes in handy! Mostly cocoa butter, it has a neutral flavour and easily produces a cool texture and finish! So hip hip hurray for these white citrus passion mousse cakes! Fully approved by my cake-tester and myself, I’ve been smiling at them for days now, my preciousssses… 🙂
THE RECIPE – for 12 to 15 small cakes
These cakes are an invention based on the theory of entremetism – no, that’s not a real word and yes, cake-making is a science! The concept is mousse combined with contrasting layers of flavour and texture. Your cakes should look simple but pretty. The good news is entremets are easy to assemble if you have appropriate storage space in your freezer. Try organising beforehand to avoid frantic last-minute reorganisation throwing packets of frozen goods around, squeezing them in tight corners and evicting older cakes from large tupperware in a bid for extra space. Yes, that was me.
You can adapt and not use passionfruit if it’s hard to find. It mellows out the lime and lemon nicely so can be replaced by orange juice, which is also tangy-sweet. Instead of almonds use pecans or hazelnuts, or maybe find shop-bought caramelised nuts. These cakes are also a great way to use extra sponge you have languishing in your freezer from previous entremets (cause we all make those weekly, tee hee?). Oh and use green or yellow velours spray if you prefer. Otherwise domes can be finished more cheaply with coloured homemade neutral glaze (easy recipe here). Lots of variations to play with!
Preparation and timing (make over 2 or 3 days)
Day 1 (or eliminate Day 1 and do Day 2 early morning): make genoise sponge layer (30 mins, including baking time), curd (10 mins) and pralines (10 mins). Day 2: put curd in insert moulds (5 mins) and freeze (5 hours), make soaking syrup and brush sponge (10 mins) just before assembling and make the lemon-lime mousse (25 mins) when all the other elements are ready and at hand. Assemble in the moulds (10-15 mins) then freeze overnight. Day 3: remove from the moulds and finish with the velours spray (5-10 minutes). Defrost in fridge 1-2 hours then serve! So about 2 hours or more work spread over 2 or 3 days. Totally worth it. Would do it again… Just leave the housework and make these instead. 🙂
- 2 sets of silicone rose moulds (silikonbackform ROSE SF077 by silikomart) OR 2 sets of Lekué 6 cavities semi-sphere multi cavity baking mold, red (7cm diametre) or use similar moulds PLUS 3 extra small moulds if necessary or small glasses
- 1 mould for the curd inserts (I used silikomart SF013)
- sugar thermometre (preferably probe)
Genoise sponge layer
Make the following quantities with a 30cmx40cm baking tray and use 1/3 to 1/2 of the sponge (or use a tray half the size, around 30cmx20cm and halve the quantities: 40g flour, 10g cornflour, 20g ground almonds, 120g egg (from 2 eggs), 60g caster sugar, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract).
- 80g/2/3 cup cake flour (but not with baking powder) or plain/all-purpose
- 20g/2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 40g/1/3 cup ground almonds
- 230-240g egg (from 4 medium-large eggs)
- 120g/1/2 cup caster/superfine sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
See my genoise sponge recipe here for detailed information and photos. Whisk the flour, cornflour and ground almonds together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the egg and sugar in a large bowl over a bain marie until the mixture has doubled or tripled in volume and is thick. It should not go over 45º celsius (hot to touch, but not so hot so you can keep your little finger in it). Then add the salt and vanilla and whisk until the bottom of the bowl feels cool and the genoise mix is thick and fluffy (it should form a ‘ribbon’ when you let it fall – you can whisk with an electric whisk or pour into your standmixer bowl and whisk on medium-high speed).
Gently fold the flour mixture in two goes with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix or it will flatten out.
Pour the genoise mixture carefully into the middle of your baking sheet and spread with a large offset spatula knife, starting from the centre to the corner, then again from the centre to the other corner until all four corners have some mixture. Then spread along the sides. The idea is to make a flat layer by spreading with as few movements as possible so you don’t overwork the mixture and have it collapsing.
Bake about 8 to 11 minutes (depending on your oven). An inserted skewer should come out clean but don’t overbake or it will be a little dry. As soon as it comes out of the oven take it off the hot baking tray and place to cool on a wire rack so that it stays moist and doesn’t dry out!
With a cutter of diametre 5.8cm/2 and 1/4in cut out 15 rounds (they should be about 4-5mm/1/5in thick so trim if necessary).
Pralines (caramelised almonds)
Make a larger quantity than needed following the pralines recipe in my basics section. Or make the smaller quantity required:
- 60g/scant 1/2 cup almonds, with the skin
- 40g/2/5 cup granulated sugar
- 8g/ml water
To crush them, hit the pralines between sheets of baking paper with a rolling pin. You’ll enjoy that.
Healthier passionfruit-lemon curd inserts
- zest of 1 lemon
- 50g/ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice, 1-2 lemons
- 50g/ml juice of passionfruit (sieved to eliminate the seeds), about 4 pieces
- 60g/ml maple syrup (or honey, or sugar)
- 75g/ml beaten egg yolk (1 x 20g) and 1 egg (55g) mixed with:
- 5g/1 and 2/3 tsp cornflour/cornstarch stirred with 2 teaspoons water
- 40g butter, cut into small cubes
Follow the illustrated recipe below (but with the above quantities and ingredients).
When a little cooler, or the next morning at least 5 hours before you assemble the cakes, spoon the curd into your mould and smooth flat with an offset spatula. Freeze until set. When ready to assemble the cakes, take out of the moulds.
Healthier lemon-lime soaking syrup
- 50g/2 and 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (or 2 and 1/3 tbsp honey or 3 and 1/2 to 4 tbsp granulated sugar)
- 15g/ml water
- 20g/ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 10g/ml freshly-squeezed lime juice
Put all the above ingredients in a small heavy-based saucepan on medium heat and bring just to the boil. Pour into a small clean bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- 4 sheets gelatine (8g)
- 63g/ml freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 62g/ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- a little zest of lemon or lime (optional)
- 125g/2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 50g/ml water
- 2 egg whites (80g in total) from medium-large eggs
- 200ml whipping cream (35%) or double cream
- Cover the gelatine well in cold water for 10 minutes or so to soften.
- Heat the lemon and lime juice (and optional zest) in a small saucepan until almost boiling and take off the heat.
- Squeeze out the water from the gelatine with your hand and add to the juice then whisk to dissolve and combine.
- Pass through a sieve to eliminate any pips, zest or little pieces of gelatine, into a small clean bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature. Don’t let it become too cold and stir occasionally so it doesn’t set.
- Pour your whipping cream in a big bowl and whisk a little until foamy. Place in the fridge to chill.
- Separate the whites from the yolks and place in your standmixer or large metal bowl. The bowl should be very clean and there should be no trace of yolk in the whites (none!).
- Dissolve the sugar in the water in a small heavy-based saucepan on low heat. Then start to boil the syrup on medium-high heat and put in the probe thermometre so you can see when it reaches 115ºC.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites to almost stiff peak.
- When the syrup reaches 115ºC immediately pour it in a thin stream into the bowl of stiff egg whites and whisk at the same time quickly to incorporate it. Make sure the syrup goes in the middle and doesn’t splash and solidify on the sides of the bowl. If there’s a little syrup left in the saucepan don’t scrape it out (leave it there, it’s already too solid to work into the meringue).
- Whisk the meringue until it becomes cold, by hand, an electric whisk or on your standmixer. Whisk to stiff shiny peaks and till the bottom of the bowl feels cold when touched.
- With your whisk or rubber spatula fold in a little lemon juice to loosen the mixture then gently fold in the rest. Scoop and stir gently to combine the meringue and lemon. Don’t overwork or it will flatten.
- Now take your cream out of the fridge and finish whisking to firm soft peak. It shouldn’t be too dry or stand up with a straight peak. It should droop a little.
- Fold into the meringue and lemon mixture. If it looks like it’s not mixing in, just scoop and stir with your whisk gently until everything starts combining to make a nice fluffy white mousse. Continue until there are no lumps but don’t overwork. Immediately put into the moulds, filling half-way or a little more.
Okay, now you’re ready to assemble these little treasures. Finding a washing-up assistant could be helpful at this stage (there are cream-covered bowls and stuff), or have a quick clean-up with some music and a glass of champagne or cava to help you along! 🙂
- Place the curd inserts gently in the middle of the mousse domes or roses.
- Press the curd inserts down a little with your finger then carefully add a little crushed praline. Make sure the praline stays in the middle.
- Brush the sponge discs with the lemon-lime syrup on both sides a few times until nicely soaked (but not falling apart).
- Place a sponge disc gently over the praline layer, making sure it’s centred and doesn’t touch the edge. Press down gently.
- Spoon a little mousse on top and scrape across with a small or large offset spatula to smooth the bottom of the cakes.
- Place in the freezer at least 5 hours, best overnight until really set so the roses come out perfectly.
THE NEXT DAY
Final velvet (or velours) spray and decoration
Here’s a velvet spray video that also shows when you finish with the canister you turn it upside down and spray to clean the nozzle. And here’s a PCB velvet spray video demonstrating how to spray from a distance and go around to cover all the sides (but you don’t usually need to put your can in hot water).
- 1 canister edible white velvet spray (you might not use all of it)
- a little lemon peel, in longer strands
- small gold balls, optional
- edible gold leaf, optional
- Carefully unmould the roses or domes.
- Place on a plate, or directly on baking paper, covering a large surface of the table with paper.
- Shake your canister well and immediately spray following the instructions on the can. Mine says to spray from a distance of 25/30cm so a lot goes around the cake. Move around to cover all the cakes.
- Pure white roses are lovely but you can add gold balls, lemon zest strands and gold leaf.
You now have some lovely little cakes!
Storing and eating
These store perfectly in airtight tupperware in the fridge up to 2 days and in the freezer up to 2 weeks (they’ll be at their best) but also up to 2 months. Eat after defrosting in the fridge about 2 hours. The pralines layer should still be crispy.
The velvet experience
Well once you’ve done it you’ll wonder why you were ever scared of velvet sprays. It’s soooo easy. Looking forward to making more velvet-covered cakes and maybe making my own ‘velvet’ with cocoa butter, which should be less expensive. Does anyone else have some ‘velvet spray experience’ to share or want to try it out?
But now let’s have one last look at these white citrus passion mousse cakes. Yum yum. Do have some! They’re like scrumptiously tangy clouds with a slight crunch.
A fond farewell to you sweet-tangy reader! Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead floating on your own cloud of happiness with some joyful baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x