This is a long overdue post of a cake that I made in October for my birthday (of course I had to make my own cake!). It had to be fairly special and not something you could easily get from the shops. I decided to modify the charlotte aux cassis recipe that I made during my basic patisserie course. I had ordered some lychee puree a couple of months ago and have been meaning to experiment with it so this was the perfect opportunity to do so.
The lychee and rose mousse had a subtle and refreshing taste, and was so light that it was too easy not to feel guilty about having a second (or third!) slice. If you don’t have lychee puree you can make your own by whizzing up a can of drained lychee. I would definitely make this again, although I really want to make a passionfruit bavarois or mousse next so watch this space if you’re a fan of passionfruit. This cake is actually very simple to make, but it is a little time consuming as you have to wait for the various elements to set. It really is worth it though for a special occasion and it’s very easy to substitute the flavours with any fruit puree you prefer.
Lychee and rose charlotte with raspberry glacage For the lychee & rose mousse 300g lychee puree 1½ tsp rose water 70ml simple syrup 250ml whipping cream 4½ leaves gelatine (silver grade), or 12g powdered gelatine For the sponge (adapted from KitchenTigress blog) 140g egg whites 60g caster sugar 60g egg yolks 40g cake flour (or plain flour if not available) a pinch of salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 40g sunflower oil (or any other tasteless oil) Natural raspberry flavouring, to taste (optional) Pink food colouring For the imbibage (soaking syrup) 100ml simple syrup ¼ - ½ tsp rose water Chambord liqueur, to taste For the raspberry glacage 50ml raspberry puree 50ml simple syrup 2 leaves gelatine (silver grade), or 6g powdered gelatine 10g glucose For decoration (optional) 50g white chocolate Fresh fruits of your choice
- To prepare the simple syrup, add equal parts water and sugar to a saucepan and bring to the boil briefly to dissolve all the sugar. Set aside to cool. For the whole recipe I use 125g of sugar and 125g of water.
- For the mousse, if you’re using gelatine leaves soak in cold water. Warm the syrup in a small saucepan then add the lychee puree and heat to steaming. Drain the gelatine leaves (if using), add to the warm liquid mixture and stir. If you’re using powdered gelatine, sprinkle over the mixture and whisk to dissolve. Strain into a clean bowl and place in the fridge or in an ice bath. Set aside until setting point is reached (i.e. until you have a soft jelly).
- In the meantime, make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan). Line a baking sheet or Swiss roll tin with baking parchment or a silicone mat. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, oil-free bowl until you have a stable foam then gradually add the sugar in 2-3 inclusions. Keep whisking until you have firm peaks. Add the egg yolks to the meringue in 4 inclusions, whisking on low speed until fully incorporated after each addition. Combine the flour and salt then sift and fold into the egg mixture in 2 inclusions. Finally fold in the vanilla extract and oil.
- Divide the batter equally into two bowls. Add the pink food colouring to the desired colour and raspberry flavouring (if using) to one of the bowls. Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain 8mm or 10mm nozzle with the coloured batter and pipe diagonal lines in the prepared tin, leaving even gaps between the lines for the plain batter. Repeat with the plain batter and fill in the gaps.
- For the base, pipe out a circle slightly wider than the diameter of your mousse ring or springform tin. If you have extra mix, pipe a smaller disc to be inserted as a middle layer.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed. Remove from the tin onto a wire rack to cool, peeling back the parchment only from the sides.
- Measure the height of your mousse ring or springform tin – I use a 7″ round springform tin that is 2.5″ tall. Once the sponge has cooled, cut out two strips from the long edge. The width of the strips should be the height of your tin. If you want the mousse to be visible from the side then make the strips narrower. Line the sides of your ring or tin with the cut strips, trimming the edges so that the two strips of sponge fit snugly around. The ends should join up tightly and you do not want any overlap of sponge. Trim the base sponge and place at the base of your ring/tin, making sure there are no gaps.
- Combine the ingredients for the imbibage or soaking syrup and brush the base and middle layer (if using) with the syrup. You may also very lightly brush the sides, but be careful not to overdo it as it may cause your sponge to stick to the ring/tin.
- Check on your jelly – if it is too set, heat briefly to soften. Whisk to remove lumps.
- Next whip the cream to soft peak. Whisk a small amount of cream into the jelly until smooth, then add back into the remaining cream and gently fold until no white streaks can be seen.
- Carefully pour the mousse into the ring/tin. If you’re using a middle layer of sponge, fill with half of the mousse, place the sponge disc and top with the remaining mousse. Place in the fridge to set.
- Once the mousse is set, prepare the glacage. Bloom the gelatine leaves as before. Heat the simple syrup, glucose and raspberry puree to steaming and remove from the heat. Drain the gelatine leaves and add immediately to the warm liquid, stirring to ensure the gelatine has fully dissolved. Once the glacage has cooled to about 30°C, carefully pour over the set mousse to obtain a smooth, even layer. Any air bubbles can be dissipated using a blowtorch if you have one handy. Place back in the fridge to set.
- Before serving the cake, melt some white chocolate over a bain marie (or in a microwave). Using a cornet (or a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle) pipe any design you like over the surface and decorate with fresh fruits.