Chocolate Mousse Torte
=== SOUR CREAM CAKE ===
1 3/4 cups Cake flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
11 tablespoons Unsalted butter
1 cup Sugar
2 large Egg yolks
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Sour cream
1/2 cup Milk
2 large Egg whites -- whipped to -- very soft peaks
=== ALMOND PRALINE ===
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
2 cups Sliced almonds
=== MOUSSE FILLING ===
8 ounces Semisweet chocolate -- broken small chunks
2 ounces Bitter chocolate -- broken small chunks
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 cups Whipping cream
A chunk of semisweet chocolate -- for making curls
To make the sour cream cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour
an 8- or 9-inch cake pan and set aside.
Sift together the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light
and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks and the vanilla. In a measuring jug,
whisk the sour cream and the milk together until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture
alternately to the creamed butter mixture, ending with the milk mixture. Fold in
the egg whites, then pour into the prepared pan.
Bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or
until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5
minutes, then unmold onto a plate and continue cooling to room temperature. Wrap
with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to finish the cake.
To make the almond praline: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water over low heat. Stir
together until the sugar has melted, then increase the heat to high and bring
the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced almonds with the sugar
syrup and toss until well coated. With a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to a
lightly-oiled baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let
the nuts cool and break them apart. The nuts should remain whole but be coated
with a sugary golden coating.
To make the chocolate mousse: Chill a bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer
in the freezer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt the chocolates over simmering water and stir
in the cinnamon. In the frozen mixing bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks (do not
overbeat). Remove the double boiler insert holding the melted chocolate from the
pan. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate.
Fold the remaining cold cream into the chocolate mixture, 1/4 at a time, mixing
it as little as possible just to get it all incorporated.
When ready to assemble the torte, cut the sour cream cake in half horizontally
with a long sharp knife. Place 1 layer of the cake on a serving plate and spread
a thick layer of mousse on top of it. Sandwich the second layer over the top and
spread a mounded layer of mouse over the top. Spread a layer of mousse around
the edges, covering the cake completely. Gently press the sugared almonds into
the mousse evenly around the edges of the cake. Using a very sharp vegetable
peeler, shave long thick curls of chocolate over the top of the cake and serve