To tell the truth, I’ve never cared about Valentine’s Day too much. I dislike all the commercial hype that makes men feel like a failure if they don’t come through with something big. I hate the crowded restaurants, overpriced flowers, and all the pressure surrounding it.
My man knows I’m not into sappy cards, and I kill plants with a mere look (can I claim that as my superpower?) So he doesn’t need to bother going to Hallmark and can save a pot of mini-roses by leaving them at the store instead of bringing them home. Even though nothing is really expected, chocolate is always welcome 🙂
All that being said, I’m glad I have the special someone to boycott Valentine’s Day with. Every year I’m reminded of just how lucky I am. Even if only for said reminder, and the opportunity to step into the kitchen and make something new and yummy, I say the sentimental Hallmark holiday is worth it.
So let’s celebrate. Let’s make food. Because food is LOVE, after all.
Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 70 g (2.5 oz..) white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 80 g (3 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 5 g (2 teaspoons) of Knox unflavored gelatin
- 50 ml (¼ cup) water
- 250 g (8 oz.) raspberries, fresh or frozen
- 40 g (1.5 oz.) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 9.5 g (4 teaspoons) of Knox unflavored gelatin
- 140 ml (4.7 oz.) water, divided
- 2 sachets vanilla sugar, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 70 g (2.5 oz.) white sugar
- 472 ml (1 pint) heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 10-inch (26 cm) silicone heart pan or springform pan, and butter/flour the sides.
- In a bowl, mix flour with baking powder and set aside.
- Beat whole eggs with sugar and vanilla until thick and light yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Add hot water and continue beating for another 2 – 3 minutes.
- With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. The batter should look fluffy and aerated. Pour into a pan, smooth out, and bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in a pan for couple of minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
- When the cake is cool, return it into a washed pan, and place a heart shaped pancake/egg mold in the center. Set aside.
- Make the raspberry mousse: Cook the raspberries with the powdered sugar in a pan for about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly and puree in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
- Combine gelatin with water, let stand for 5 minutes to bloom. When the gelatin absorbs the water, heat it in a water bath until it dissolves, stirring constantly. (Be careful not to cook it, it needs to be hot, but not boiling.) Set aside and let cool until lukewarm.
- While the gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Stir the lukewarm gelatin mixture into the raspberry puree. When the raspberry gelatin mixture isn’t warm anymore, but hasn’t started to gel yet, gently fold in 2 – 3 tablespoons of whipped cream.
- Spoon the raspberry mousse into the heart mold, smooth out. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. (I chilled overnight, and continued on the next day.)
- When the raspberry heart is set, run a hot knife around the edges of the mold, and remove the mold. Put the cake in the freezer while you make the vanilla mousse.
- Vanilla mousse: Sprinkle gelatin over 70 ml of water, let bloom for couple of minutes.
- In a small pan, combine sugar in the other 70 ml of water; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves completely. Take off heat, and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir to combine, and let cool until just lukewarm.
- While the gelatin sugar syrup is cooling, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Take the cake out of the freezer.
- Pour the barely lukewarm gelatin mixture into the whipped cream, stir to combine (mixture will be pourable – that’s exactly what we need.) Pour the vanilla mousse into the pan, taking care when pouring around the raspberry heart. Because the white mixture is liquid, it should distribute evenly and smooth out on its own.
- Put the cake in the fridge again, and chill for at least 4 hours, before inverting it on a serving platter. Chill until serving time.
The quantities listed are enough for a 3-layered cake made in a 9-inch round springform pan. For the heart cake in the picture, I used roughly half of the raspberry mousse and had vanilla mousse left over as well, so I just put the rest in alternating layers into glasses.
When making a 9-inch round cake, prepare the cake base as listed in the recipe. Bloom the gelatin and dissolve it in the hot sugar syrup. Then measure the sugar-gelatin syrup, and divide it into two equal parts. Whip 236 ml (½ pint) of heavy cream with 1 vanilla sugar/1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until soft peaks form, and combine it with 1 half of the lukewarm gelatin-sugar syrup. Pour onto a cake in the pan, and put in the fridge to firm (about 15 minutes should be enough). Spoon the raspberry mousse on a first white layer, chill until firm again (the raspberry mousse was firming up more slowly, so you’ll probably need to wait longer). For the last layer, whip the other 236 ml (½ pint) of cream with 1 vanilla sugar/1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until soft peaks form, and combine it with the other half of lukewarm gelatin-sugar syrup. (The gelatin-sugar syrup will firm up while you’re waiting for the raspberry mousse to gel, but don’t worry – you can easily liquefy it again over a pot of hot water. Just stir it constantly while you warm it and be careful not to boil it.) Pour the last white layer on a firmed up raspberry mousse, and chill for at least 4 hours before running a knife around the cake in the pan and inverting it onto a cake stand.