If you want a fresh, light and beautiful mousse cake without the sugar high, try this! Inside the apricot quark mousse there’s a zingy apricot jelly layer. On top there’s a charming citrus bergamot or vanilla quark and natural yoghurt mousse. Both mousses are sweetened with pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar. The lower-gluten genoise sponge layers are made with birch xylitol so sugar free, with a sprinkling of chopped pistachio nuts for a contrasting crunch. Are you intrigued but mentally throwing up your hands thinking ‘OMG all those layers!!!’? Never fear, have a peek at the recipe and you’ll see it’s pretty easy and not so long to make. You can prepare the sponge and jelly a day in advance or more, stored in the freezer! I made this entremets twice last week without suffering from cake-making exhaustion! (honest). The stars and blue cornflowers decoration is optional and you can easily fashion an apricot sun. I’m in love with my invented healthier apricot sunshine mousse cake and it would be great if you could enjoy this guilt-free treat too! So light you need two slices! lol. 🙂
The apricot season here in Barcelona inspired me to create this entremets (layered mousse cake), with healthier ingredients like quark, natural yoghurt and maple syrup. You could probably substitute the quark with natural unsweetened greek yoghurt or sieved creamy ricotta. The soaking syrup contains Grand Marnier orange liqueur, which you can replace with orange juice. The genoise made with xylitol (use erythritol if you prefer) is amazingly light, with a third of the flour replaced by gluten-free cornflour. To be honest the begarmot mousse was added because the other layers were too low in the cake ring. Lol. It’s a perfect addition but feel free to experiment. I think an orange blossom mousse would be delicious too. Also, you can sprinkle pistachios not on the bottom layer of sponge but on top of the mousse as in the first prototype below. Handy to know if you forget to put them in before… (ahem).
The previous day (or before, and freeze): apricot purée (10-15 mins); apricot jelly layer (10 mins); and genoise sponge (20 mins + 20 mins baking). On the day: apricot mousse (20 mins + 20-30 mins waiting time for setting) and Grand Marnier (or orange juice) soaking syrup (5 mins). Bergamot or vanilla mousse (20 mins + 20-30 mins waiting time for setting. Assembly: 10 mins + 30 mins setting of apricot mousse then 30-50 mins setting the bergamot/vanilla mousse layer. Finally spraying top with velours spray (optional): 5 mins. Decoration: 10 mins. ESTIMATED TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes work the previous day plus 1 hour 15 mins or more on the day (with an extra 2 hours or so waiting time between stages for setting).
18cm/7in diametre (and 6cm/2.4in high) cake ring; 6cm/2.4in wide acetate strip. A probe or laser thermometre and small offset metal spatula are useful but not essential.
Apricot purée – for the apricot jelly layer and apricot mousse
- 14-15 apricots (610g/21.5oz) if you sieve your purée OR
- 10-12 apricots (525g/18.5oz) if not sieving the purée
If you sieve your purée you’ll get a slightly clearer and smoother jelly and mousse. But my second prototype was made with unsieved purée and also amazing. To sieve or not to sieve? It’s up to you.
- Place the apricots in a large saucepan of boiling water until the skin gets softer and can peel off more easily. This takes 1-5 minutes (maybe more depending on the apricots).
- Place in a large bowl of ice cold water for a few minutes.
- Slip the skin off the apricots, remove the kernel (stone) and cut in half. If the skin is stubbornly staying on then try peeling with a knife.
- Place in the food processor and whizz to get a purée.
- Optional: press the purée down with the back of a metal tablespoon through a fine sieve (you’ll lose quite a bit of the purée like this, so check you have enough).
- Store in the fridge until needed, in tupperware or a bowl covered in plastic film.
Apricot jelly layer
- 150g/3/4 cup apricot purée
- 20g/1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or 20g/1 and 1/3 tbsp sugar)
- 2 sheets of gelatine (4g)
Follow the instructions below using the ingredients above (the apricot purée replaces the raspberries and the maple syrup replaces the sugar).
Pour the slightly cooled apricot purée into a 16cm/8in diametre container lined with plastic film. Freeze till set then wrap completely in plastic film.
Genoise sponge (lower-gluten)
Quantities are for two 20cm/8in diametre and 5cm/2in high sandwich tins, preferably spring-form with a clip (it’s double what you need so you can store one of your sponges in the freezer for another day!)
- 250g eggs, beaten (5 small eggs or 4 medium-large ones)
- 150g/2/3 cup ground xylitol (grind to somewhere between the texture of caster/superfine sugar and icing sugar) or use caster/superfine sugar
- 83g/2/3 cup + 1 tsp cake or plain/all-purpose flour
- 42g/4 and a half tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, to taste (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C/320°F (fan-assisted convection oven)
- butter and flour your cake tins (place a circle of greaseproof paper at the bottom if using a spring-form clip tin)
For more tips and details please go to my sugar-free genoise sponge instructions here. Whisk the eggs and xylitol over a bain marie until it doubles or triples in volume and reaches the ribbon stage (and a temperature of around 45°C/113°F). Then whisk on the standmixer or by hand to very thick ribbon stage and until the bottom of the bowl feels cold to your hand. Whisk in the salt and vanilla if using. Delicately fold in the flour little by little until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Pour into your cake tins (spread with metal offset spatula or back of a metal tablespoon with the minimum of movements possible). Bake in the middle of the oven 22 to 25 minutes until light golden brown. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Cool 5-10 minutes on a wire rack before passing a butter knife all around the sides to loosen the cake from the tin. Turn the cake tin upside down on the rack and tap till the cake comes out! Wait till the cake cools completely before cutting in half horizontally (rest your bread knife on two DVDs of the right height placed on each side, so you can see-saw up and down to cut evenly). Note: if freezing one of your cakes for later use I recommend you also slice in two before freezing.
Grand marnier (or orange) soaking syrup
- 30g/ml water
- 30g/1 and 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or 30g/2 tbsp sugar)
- 7g/1/2 tablespoon Grand Marnier orange liqueur (or freshly-squeezed orange juice)
Bring the water and maple syrup to the boil in a small heavy-based saucepan. Take off the heat and pour into a small clean bowl. Allow to cool a little then stir in the Grand Marnier or juice. Let it cool to room temperature before assembling the cake.
Apricot quark mousse
- 190-200g/1 cup apricot purée
- 50-60g/2 and 1/2 to 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (or 50-60g/3 and 1/2 to 4 tbsp sugar)
- 3 sheets of gelatine (6g)
- 100g/ml unsweetened quark (I used full-fat but could also try with unsweetened greek yoghurt)
- 80g/ml whipping cream (35%)
Assembly part 1
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
While the apricot mousse is thickening in the fridge, start assembling the cake.
- Cut a 16cm/6in circle in each of your 2 genoise sponge layers. Use the bottom layer (turned upside-down) for the flat top of the cake.
- Line the 18cm/8in cake ring with a strip of acetate. Place on a cake board or plate.
- When the apricot mousse seems less liquid, pipe a little on the cake board all around the edge with the cake ring.
- Brush the bottom genoise sponge layer lightly with the Grand Marnier/orange syrup (in the past I brushed twice till it was quite soaked but this makes for an overly soft sponge that comes apart so I’d recommend going lightly).
- Place the first genoise sponge layer centred on the cake board so it doesn’t touch the cake ring.
- Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of chopped pistachios.
- Pour half the apricot mousse over the sponge and pistachios. If the mousse looks quite runny then immediately place in the freezer to firm up 20 – 40 minutes (make sure it’s properly flat so things don’t slide around). Wipe around the edges if a little weeps out. Don’t worry, it still works and will set.
- Once the mousse looks firm enough to hold it, place the apricot jelly layer on top.
- Cover with the other half of the apricot mousse. Place in the freezer to firm up a little (20-30 mins).
- Brush the second genoise layer with soaking syrup (once or twice all around) then turn upside-down on top of the mousse. Brush the top. Freeze until this firms up (20-30 mins).
- Prepare the bergamot mousse.
Bergamot (or vanilla) quark and yoghurt mousse
- 2 sheets gelatine (4g)
- 63ml/g unsweetened natural yoghurt
- 1/2 egg yolk (10g)
- 40g/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or 40g/2 and 3/4 tbsp sugar)
- 15-20 drops pure bergamot extract (to taste) or 1/2 to 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or orange blossom water, to taste
- 125g/ml unsweetened quark (I used full-fat)
- 63g/ml whipping cream (35%)
Assembly part 2 and decoration
- Pour the bergamot mousse over the apricot mousse. It should come to the top of the cake ring. Spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Freeze until set (takes from 1 to 2 hours).
- Slip the cake ring up and off the mousse cake. Snip the joint of the acetate strip and quickly pull the strip off the cake. It should come off cleanly.
- Optional: you can spray the top with white velvet spray (usually from a distance of around 25cm) as I did.
- Decorate your cake with pieces of apricot cut to make a sunshine (or half-sunshine). You can also add a little gold leaf, gold balls, stars or cornflowers. Be creative. Or leave the cake stunningly plain.
Eating and storing
This cake keeps in the fridge up to 3 or 4 days. You can cut up slices and freeze then eat within 2 weeks (when they’re at their best) or 2 months. Defrost at room temperature 30 mins to 1 hour before eating. Enjoy! You might need two slices of this healthier apricot sunshine mousse cake! 🙂
Apricots, yum yum…
So a fond farewell to you sweet reader! Wishing you a wonderful weekend and week ahead full of sunshine and maybe some healthier cake love! Happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x