A member of Joburg’s Little Cooks Club Culinary Centre for the past three years, 16-year-old Courtney le Roux is a lover of all things pâtisserie. Here, she shows us how to make a decadent chocolate mousse cake with summer berries…
Currently in grade 11 at Edenglen High School, Courtney loves maths and accounting and,while her brainmight be geared towards all things numerical, her heart lies in cooking. This is the reason why Courtney has already been researching which South African culinary school she would like to attend on finishing high school next year. With five certificates from the Little Cooks Club, Courtney is well on her way to establishing her culinary repertoire. Her burgeoning love for baking, especially, began when little: “I would help my gran make Christmas biscuits every year… These moments would just feel right, like everything was in place.” Fast-track to her teenage self, and Courtney has progressed from biscuits to becoming an expert fondant worker and cake baker – one which her community and mom, Caroll’s, work colleagues are only too happy about; even those Banting! “I’d love to own a pâtisserie in Paris one day,” Courtney muses, as she folds together silky, melted chocolate and whipped cream. “On the savoury side, I make an excellent pizza dough and we often have pizzas at home. I could eat my mince and Peppadew pizza every day, followed, of course, by either my cheesecake, milk tart or lemon meringue pie.”
Chocolate mousse cake with summer berries
- 25g cocoa powder, sifted
- 5ml (1 tsp) coffee granules
- 60ml (¼ cup) boiling water
- 2 large eggs
- 100g castor sugar
- 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
- 100ml canola oil
- 100g self-raising flour, sifted
- pinch salt
- 300g dark chocolate, chopped
- 450ml fresh cream
- fresh berries, to decorate
- icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line both the sides and base of a 21cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Place the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the coffee and boiling water. Add the coffee mixture to the cocoa powder and mix to a smooth paste.
Using a hand-held- or free-standing mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil together until pale, 4 minutes. Add the flour, salt and cocoa powder and coffee paste and gently mix by hand until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cake completely, about 1 hour.
When the cake is cool, make the chocolate mousse. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and remove from heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and allow to melt over the hot water. Stir continuously, taking care not to let the chocolate get too hot. Do not melt the chocolate in the microwave as it burns very quickly!
When the chocolate is smooth and melted, whip the cream to soft peaks. Gently fold the chocolate and cream together until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse on top of the cooled cake, while still in the tin, and refrigerate to set, 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, carefully remove the cake from the tin and decorate with fresh berries and a dusting of icing sugar.