Valentine’s day

“Bake with love…”
Manuela Kjeilen

Dark Chocolate Mousse CakeChocolaty, chocolaty, chocolaty, this Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake is a chocolate lovers delight. Make ahead and not very difficult, it’s a lovely cake to make for a special occasion.The instructions might appear a little involved, but once you read them a couple of times, you can see it’s not to difficult. After all, a special occasion cake must have ‘some work’ to make it special!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake So the other day Simi asked on FB…I think valentine’s day dessert is more to feed the blog than the valentine. Seriously, who agrees with me ??? It was quite interesting {and quite predictable too} to see blogs well fed over V Day! It’s been a trend for a few years now. Come V Day and loads of RED pops up across the globe! Such fun to see the creativity.

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake I am quite the same. The blog must be looked after, in turn the love shared with the readers. That the family gets to eat the goodies is just purely coincidental and good fortune IMHO!  I don’t think I could’ve attempted so many different techniques and desserts religiously over the years had it not been for this little blog!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake This cake happened also because of the KitchenAid contest. I spoke about it when I recently shared the Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies recipe. It’s a fun contest, even if only for participation sake, and Ruchira’s been telling us for long to send our entries in. I think I got lazy, until the bakeware arrived. Then the mind began to think.Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte I first thought a Charlotte like the Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte. With strawberries really painting the bazaar red, chocolate seemed a good pairing. So the saviordi went chocolate, and eventually I settled for a dark chocolate mousse filling. The mousse might make for a really nice stand alone mousse dessert too, after you play around with quantities a bit. That seems a likely possibility in the near future.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte The saviordi recipe is based on a basic one I used a while ago when I did a tiramisu from scratch, zabaglione, mascarpone from scratch and all. That was one marathon baking session, and I can’t imagine what possessed me! As compared to that, this cake is an absolute cake walk!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake So go on, try baking this cake someday. Be creative, take a leap of imagination. Do a genoise sponge base if you like, with a liqueur spiked mousse. Maybe a coffee chocolate combination, maybe vanilla orange, or a salted butter caramel swirled in there somehow. The possibilities are infinite, with baking fun galore!

[print_this]Recipe: Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake
your picture

Summary: Chocolaty, chocolaty, chocolaty, this Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake is a chocolate lovers delight. Make ahead and not very difficult, it’s a lovely cake to make for a special occasion. Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour {plus cooling & chilling

  • For the saviordi biscuit base
  •  4 large eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • About 2 tbsp icing sugar, for sifting
  • For the syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • For the dark chocolate mousse
  • 250g dark couverture chocolate {53%}
  • 1 tsbp instant coffee
  • 400ml single cream
  • 1tbsp gelatin sprinkled over 25ml water
  • 100g brown sugar
  • Topping
  • 100g dark couverture chocolate for shards
  • 5-7 strawberries, quartered


  1. For the saviordi biscuit cake base
  2. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 200C. Draw out 3 X 7″ circles on parchment paper.
  3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder twice. Reserve.
  4. In a clean grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually, add the half the brown sugar {3tbsp}, and continue beating until the egg whites form firm peaks, glossy and smooth. Reserve.
  5. In another large bowl, combine the egg yolks, remaining brown sugar and scraped vanilla bean. Whip until pale in color and thick {3-4 minutes}.
  6. With a rubber spatula, gently fold about 1/3rd of the whipped whites into the yolks to lighten them up. Spoon about a half of the remaining whites over the yolk mixture, then sift a half of the flour over the whites. Gently fold until the ingredients are barely combined. Spoon the rest of the whites over the yolk mixture, sift the rest of the flour over the whites, and then fold delicately until combined. {It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in the ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy}.
  7. Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip about ½-inch wide and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 3 X 7″ circles.
  8. Sprinkle half the icing sugar over the saviordi biscuit base and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers or saviordi biscuit base it’s characteristic crispness.
  9. Bake the biscuit base for 12-15 minutes, until they puff up and are firm to touch
  10. Cool for 5 minutes on a cooling rack, and then gently turn over and peel off the parchment. Trim if required into 7″ circles using the dessert ring as your guide. Cool completely. {Can be made a day before.
  11. Syrup
  12. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer gently until sugar dissolves. Take off heat and leave to cool.
  13. Dark chocolate mousse
  14. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and leave until spongy. Place bowl in warm water and leave until the gelatin is clear.
  15. Place the chocolate and 100ml single cream in a large bowl and melt over a double boiler or in microwave until almost melted. Take off heat and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the coffee and gelatin. Leave the chocolate to come to room temperature, stirring on and off
  16. Meanwhile whip the cream with the sugar until medium stiff peaks. Fold 2 tbsp through chocolate to loosen it a bit. Then fold in half very gently, then the rest.
  17. Topping
  18. To make the shards, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Stir until smooth. With an offset spatula {or butter knife} spread a 2-3 inch piece of parchment paper thinly with the melted chocolate. Place another strip of parchment on top and roll tightly into a scroll. Secure and put in the freezer for about 15 minutes {or until required}. unroll over a platter, and use on top of cake. {Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight box in the fridge}
  19. Assemble
  20. Place a &” dessert ring on cake platter, and place a biscuit disc within. Brush liberally with syrup and top with 1/3rd of the chocolate mousse filling. Repeat with remaining discs, finishing with a mousse layer on top.
  21. Cover and chill in fridge overnight.
  22. Gently remove dessert ring {use a warm towel wrapped around outside to help release if required}.
  23. Top with dark chocolate shards and strawberries. Leave out of fridge  for 30 minutes before slicing if it is cold weather. {For summers straight out of the fridge should work well}


Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

 Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic StrawberriesButtermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries … dessert for someone you l♥v, or dessert for someone who loves dessert! Panna cotta, or cooked cream, is one of the quickest Italian desserts you can make. Minimum fuss, quick to make, do ahead and divinely delicious, a winner every single time.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries The tempting option of going a teeny bit healthy on a cream dessert, yet keeping it indulgent, is perhaps worth the bait! I’ve done a Berries & Buttermilk Puddng in the past, so the idea of a buttermilk panna cotta was going to be worth every delicious spoonful! Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries 5 Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries Delightful tangy undertones, a gentle wobbly set cream, smooth vanilla overtures…what more can you ask for? Pretty darned good as it is, you can take it a step higher with luscious red strawberries as topping. Use any seasonal berries for that matter, or fruit like figs too. A salted butter caramel sauce would be really nice as well.

strawberriesIf you have the time, gently simmer strawberries to make a balsamic strawberry topping. And if time is not your friend that day, simply macerate the berries in castor sugar and a dash of lime juice, or maybe just toss them in honey. It adds a nice sweet touch to the fruit while making it shiny and attractive to top the panna cotta.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries The colour contrast weaves a magic spell. What’s not to love about red and white? And what’s not to love about strawberries and cream. AND what’s not to love about make ahead, fuss free dessert? Go on, take the plunge! Spoil those you love on V Day with this gorgeous Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries Oh yes, and make sure you get them to do the dishes! Share some love!!

[print_this]Recipe: Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries  
your picture

Summary: Delightful tangy undertones, a gentle wobbly set cream, smooth, vanilla overtures…what more could you ask for in a Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic. This must be the quickest make ahead dessert ever! It’s a great Valentines Day dessert too.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

  • Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
  • 1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp gelatin
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 300ml low fat cream
  • 150g vanilla sugar {or Castor sugar}
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
  • 450ml cultured buttermilk
  • Balsamic Strawberries
  • 200g strawberries, chopped
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 15ml balsamic vinegar
  • 15ml honey


  1. Panna Cotta
  2. Put the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the geltain over. Leave to soften for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the cream,sugar,  scraped vanilla bean and pod in a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer gently for 5-7 minutes. Do not allow to come to a rolling boil. Stir often.
  4. Take off heat and stir in the buttermilk and softened gelatin. Whisk to blend well, then strain and pour into serving goblets or ramekins.
  5. Chill for 5-6 hours, better overnight.
  6. Top with balsamic strawberries, garnish with fresh mint and serve.
  7. Balsamic strawberries
  8. Gently simmer brown sugar, honey and balsamic vinegar in a small pan until the sugar has melted and is thick and syrupy. 
  9. Take off heat and add lime juice. Mix in the chopped strawberries. Leave to macerate for 10-15 minutes.
  10. If the strawberries leave a lot of liquid, strain the liquid out, and reduce over medium heat. Mix back into the strawberries and then chill until required.


Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

‘The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love, for those you are cooking for.”
Sophia Loren

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal FlorentinesIt’s the 27th, the Daring Bakers time of the month. Really geared up from last months Entermet and imprime experience, the first look at February’s challenge posted had me a little disheartened even though the panna cotta is on top of my list of favourite desserts. After a rejuvenating and very challenging beginning to the year, I warmed up to the idea of a creamy panna cotta pretty soon.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal Florentines

Like every challenge, this one was soon beginning to tempt me into the kitchen. I have to declare my love for panna cotta. I think it’s the most luxuriant and indulgent dessert ever, yet one that comes laden with guilty calories. The calories are the only thing that keep me from making this often, so in many ways I was secretly happy to see the challenge. Dark chocolate espresso panna cottaFate had me make a Dark Chocolate Espresso Panna Cotta last week too…LOL!! As Mallory promised, this was certainly turning out to be a Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February, the month of love!

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta The luxury of a creamy panna cotta, a challenge that wasn’t breathing fire down your throat, made  me want to try something new at  my own pace, which is what I did. Even though I bought cream {read lots of it } I thought quark panna cotta, made with quark, a soft curd cheese I have come to love.Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal FlorentinesGoogling for recipe proportions led me to one that my lovely friend Meeta had done ages ago. My recipe is based roughly on hers. Mine was definitely going to have a fruit pairing because I find that the slight tanginess of quark is complimented beautifully by seasonal fruit.  Planned a strawberry quark panna cotta with a chocolate gelee, but once the pots and pans were out, other thoughts came to my mind. I saw tangerines on my little shrub, and decided to go with a 2 toned panna cotta. Bye bye chocolate, hello tangerine. Orange you glad I chose you?Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta Home made quark is the best thing that happened to me a couple of years ago while doing a featured post for Foodbuzz. I whizzed the quark, strawberries and sugar to a smooth puree; yummy enough to eat at this stage itself. Using 2 flavours meant an overnight wait for one later to set first. For the second layer, I went the citrus way using some  bitter tangerine marmalade I had recently made. Fingers crossed, into the fridge it went. Quark and fruit are a rocking good combination.Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal FlorentinesThe Oatmeal Florentines should have been  a cakewalk, but I missed reading the flour in there. I made half  the recipe. The minute the first tray was into the oven and bubbling like lava, I knew something was wrong. No time to recheck, so I just stirred in some more oats and made the second tray. My cookies were by default gluten free! {A check later revealed I had forgotten to add the plain flour}. These are some delicious cookies, and oh-so-addictive. No time for melted chocolate, meant good old Nutella.

Thank you Mallory for the very Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February, and thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by HERE and check the dreams’ that our other daring folk have stirred up around the globe.

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna CottaStrawberry Vanilla Quark Panna Cotta
200 ml low fat cream
150g quark
200gms strawberries
3 sheets gelatin
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes.
Blend the quark with strawberries and sugar until smooth. Reserve.
Simmer cream and vanilla bean for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the water from  the gelatin sheets and stir into the simmering cream until mixed  through {do not allow to boil}. Remove from heat.
Fold in 2tbsps  of quark mixture into cream, and then mix the entire cream into the  quark until uniform. Divide into 6 serving glasses. Allow to set for 4-6 hours {more if the weather is hot .I tend to use more gelatin in warmer weather.}
Quark Tangerine Vanilla Panna Cotta
200ml low fat cream
1 vanilla bean scraped
zest of 1 orange
2 sheets of gelatin
75gms quark
1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes while you simmer the cream.
Simmer cream, orange zest and vanilla bean for 5 minutes. Squeeze out  the water from the gelatin sheets and stir into the simmering cream  until mixed through. Remove from heat.
Blend the quark with tangerine marmalade until smooth. {Adjust sugar if  required. It will get less sweet once you add the cream to this}
Fold in 2tbsps of quark mixture into cream, and then mix the entire  cream into the quark until uniform. Stir constantly to cool as it will  melt the previously set panna cotta if it is too hot.
Ladle/pour gently into the serving glasses on top of the already set  quark strawberry panna cotta. Leave to set for another 4-6 hours,  preferably overnight.
Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna CottaStrawberry/ Tangerine Gelee
100gms strawberries
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp bitter orange marmalade
Simmer the ingredients until soft and gelly like. Pass  through a sieve, pushing the fruit through to get a clear puree. Cool and ladle on top of the panna cotta.
Candied Tangerines
2-3 tangerines, sliced fine
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. then gently simmer  till the slices become translucent. Remove gently to a parchment paper {reserve the syrup for a lemonade etc}, and bake in low {100C} over for about an hour or two, turning once or twice, until they appear translucent.

Oatmeal FlorentinesNestle Florentine Cookies
Adapted from recipe from the cookbookNestle Classic Recipes
2/3 cup  unsalted butter
2 3/4 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
½ cups Nutella
Preheat oven to 190°C. Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk,  vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the  back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
Peel the cookies from the parchment and place face down on  a wire rack set.
Spread a tablespoon of Nutella on the bottom/flat side of your  cookie, sandwiching another cookie atop the chocolate.
This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine  cookies.{I made half recipe}

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal Florentines

Thank you for stopping by ♥


You still have time to enter my ongoing giveaway for a One-time-use $75 Gift Certificate

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

%d bloggers like this: