Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

Plated Desserts: We make cakes!

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Orange Jam and Segments, and Espresso Buttercream Frosting.

Hi Peeps!

Welcome back to my blog! Again, I apologize for the hiatus. There are reasons I wasn’t able to regularly update my blog, which will become apparent as you follow my blog posts through the end of the AOS culinary program.

But for now, on with the Plated Desserts class.

In one of our classes, our Chef showed us how to put together a layer cake. This is typically a cake that has cake layers interspersed with layers of mousse, frosting (sugar/buttercream/etc), or other kinds of filling, like jam and pieces of fruit.

Here is a cake that has already been started. There is a layer of chocolate chiffon cake on top of a piece of circular cardboard. On top of that, you can see a dollop (a rather large dollop) of espresso buttercream that Chef already mixed together.

You spread the buttercream around with an off-set spatula, and then top it with another layer of cake (here we have vanilla).

Again, you spread the buttercream around the sides, and the top of the cake (if this is the last layer you’re adding). In the above photo, you can also see the large off-set spatula Chef is using to spread the buttercream, and smooth out the top and sides of the cake.

Chef decorated the top of the cake with a ring of buttercream, and then filled in the top with chocolate ganache. (In case you haven’t noticed yet, Chef likes his cakes decadent.)

And now for more: the sides of the cake are decorated with chopped hazelnuts. This is not as easy as it looks, because you have to rotate the cake in one hand while you dab the sides with chopped hazelnuts with the other hand. It is a skill (as are all of these steps) to not drop the cake.

Here is the final product: a beautiful, perfect espresso-chocolate-hazelnut cake.

A slice for the class to try.


Here’s a cake I got to make. Well, I decorated it. It was already made up to this point.


It’s chocolate chiffon filled with white chocolate mousse.


Yes, it’s chocolate whipped cream frosting. Delicious.


I spread it out as smoothly as I can. Not bad for my first cake, right? 😉


After the whole cake is covered, I make a piped decoration on top. We also pre-mark the 10 slices.


Remember these? These are chocolate decorations I made specifically for this cake. They are basically butterfly wings. I place them on the cake so that they create “butterflies”.



And here’s the final product:


I put some white chocolate shavings around the bottom to indicate the white chocolate mousse filling. Awesomeness.

So, I had a lot of fun making cakes, and spreading the luscious buttercream around until it was smooth. Chocolate is obviously my favorite, and here is another way of making a great chocolate cake.


These are chocolate chiffon layers surrounded by large ring molds. You can fill the chocolate mousse into the form, add another cake layer to seal it, and then freeze it until it’s solid.


Large bowl of chocolate mousse. We made one pure chocolate version of the cake, then took some espresso flavoring (instant espresso mixed with coffee) and made a coffee-chocolate mousse. Then we took the last part of the chocolate mousse and added praline to it – this is ground nuts, in our case ground hazelnuts. Delicious!


And, you can also add strawberries for a little extra “something something”, as Chef likes to say.


This is an example of Chef’s superior cake decorating skills. Wow! Those are chocolate roses, by the way. A true Master at work.

All in all a great day of decorating!

~ Carolynn

ps: a classmate is happy with her Black Forest Cake!






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