Mardi Gras Mango Mousse Cake
The city of New Orleans has a special place in my heart. I had the chance to visit for the first time last fall (2017) when my boyfriend-at-the-time and I took a road trip through the American south. It was easily one of the best trips of my life, especially the portion that we spent in NOLA, and not just because that then-boyfriend became my now-fiancé while we were there; also, because New Orleans is one of the coolest cities on the planet! We checked out old cemeteries, went to one of the best Tiki bars I've ever been to (love that Polynesian Pop!), and ate our weight in beignets, seafood, and other treats.
Sure, we had to leave a day early because a hurricane was threatening to roll through (it was subsequently downgraded to a tropical storm; still), but I can't wait to go back.
Hopefully when I do it'll be around Mardi Gras! Take a look at my step-by-step video tutorial for creating this rad Mardi Gras mask topper using Edible Art Paints by Sweet Sticks, and my trusty Bakerpan Food Coloring Marker in black:
I wasn’t sure how to compose this cake at first; I knew I wanted the Mardi Gras colors (purple, green, and gold) on the outside and on the gum paste topper I painted with Edible Art paints, but what about the inside? I decided to use the opportunity to try an idea I had that would bridge a gap between cake dec and pastry. I have significantly less experience on the pastry side so I was taking a risk, but I’m a cake decorator, damn it! I reach for the stars.
I wanted to make a mousse cake that could hold its own weight and conform to the tall and narrow profile of a contemporary decorated cake (cue uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach). This posed a challenge, as thickly-layered whipped cream doesn’t exactly stand up to much weight, unlike buttercream, which has a bit more substance to it and tends to be layered more thinly.
But look, if the constant fear of impending disaster doesn’t give you a rush, you are most likely not cut out to be a cake decorator, or a baker or a pastry chef for that matter. That fear is a necessary counterpart to the requisite optimism, self confidence, and the belief that you are capable of spinning sugar into magic.
I started with recipes for Mango Cremeux, Chocolate Mousse, and White Chocolate Mousse from pastry wizard Antonio Bachour's book Bachour Chocolate, an incredible resource if you're looking to investigate intermediate pastry, especially entremet-style mousse cakes. A little extra gelatin here, a lowered cream-to-chocolate ratio there, and this cake held up surprisingly well! I only used three genoise cake inserts to help stabilize the whole thing.
I do want to keep tweaking recipes before I put anything out there; there was a bit of rubberiness to the white chocolate mousse that I'll deal with by lowering the gelatin content, etc., etc.
I also re-learned a thing or two about how condensation works photographing this cake. Turns out when you take a frozen block of mousse and ice it with room-temp white chocolate ganache, and then leave it out on a table for a while, it's gonna get some condensation on it. And the more it sits as you run around frantically trying to find your cake-slicing knife, the wetter the cake gets, until it starts to look like it's melting before your very eyes.
But then you take a look at that killer cake slice, and all your worries evaporate. I am SO PUMPED for sky-high mousse cakes!! More to come!
Thanks for reading! This is going to be a post-heavy week, so stay tuned...
Bon Mardi Gras!