This cake was not easy to make, but with careful planning and enough time it's doable. I made the cake in the morning on day 1, and let it cool until late afternoon. It didn't rise as much as I had hoped, and it also was domed which made it difficult to cut into three layers but I managed to do it, just. The mousse went well and was delicious. I assembled the cake and put it in the fridge overnight to set. The next morning I made the chocolate band. You definitely need to watch it carefully as I let mine set up a bit too much so I couldn't ruffle it as much on the top as I should have without it cracking. Instead of chocolate curls on top, I sprinkled edible gold flakes. As I had made sure to smooth the mousse on top very carefully, it looked great and together with the chocolate band it looked really impressive!
Taste-wise, I'd give the mousse an 8 or 9 as it wasn't very complex in flavour, but the cake itself was a bit dry. There was enough mousse that it didn't really matter, but still, I would've liked it better had the cake been more moist.
I have been making and decorating cakes for a few years but this was the first time i ever made mousse. You really need to set up your work space ahead of time, the cold water bath, the beaters, warm up your eggs, etc. Do as much prep work as possible before starting, otherwise you will be yelling for help at a crucial moment like I did. First try, my eggs wouldn't fluff so I read that you should make the eggs room temp, not get ANY yolk in the whites, etc. I started over and they it was perfect. This was not a simple recipe, but now that I have done it once, I know how to do it and it will seem way easier next time around. This is a great option to do in lieu of chocolate ganache which uses way more actual chocolate and cream and is pricier. I also decorated mine with chocolate curls on the sides, and huge, fresh strawberries on top which I drizzles with chocolate. All that said, this was THE best tasting cake I have ever made. It was the perfect texture, sweetness, presentation, etc. I can't say enough good about it. Highly recommended and well worth trying to figure out how to do it.
I have made this cake a few times using the chocolate curls method to decorate it. It looked beautiful, like from a bakery and my guests loved it. I have also made the mousse seperately to use for other recipes or just to have the mousse which is a good recipe in itself. As some of the other reviewers mentioned I also only cut it into two layers, it was still nice, just not as tall. Three layers looks pretty tricky, but I will give it a try one of these days when I am feeling braver! I have Abigail Dodge's cookbook and always really enjoy her recipes, they are creative and impressive, but not too much for the home baker to manage.
This cake is amazing. Definitely worth the work. I have found if you decorate with a chocolate band with white chocolate curls, using a knife warmed by sink water, slices right through the chocolate and you dont run in to problems with the shattered band.
This cake was indeed impressive and very easy to make, given a little planning. I only cut the cake into 2 layers but after watching the video on this website on how to cut a cake into layers, I'll definitely try 3 layers next time. The mousse itself is delicious, worth making on its own.
OMG... this is the best cake ever. We coat the sides with chopped walnuts and make semi sweet chocolate curls for the top. We also make it with 2 layers (it's easier). Definitely a show stopper.
I've been making this cake for a few years now. It is not a project that one undertakes lightly, but it isn't terribly tricky. The cake is certainly a show-stopper. I have always used the chocolate band and the white-chocolate curls to finish the cake and it makes quite an impression. Add some very tall gold birthday candles and you have a cake to remember. It is rich and delicious and worth the effort and the calories, too. The only difficulty is in the slicing. In my hands, the chocolate band tends to shatter and be kind of a mess by the time it hits the plates. People never seem to mind, though!