Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chocolate Almond Midnight Cake

Last week, I noticed a post in the vegancooking livejournal forum about the Chocolate Almond Midnight cake from The Millenium Cookbook, and it looked and sounded so good (and relatively easy) that I decided I'd have some fun this weekend and try it out myself.

I was actually mildly disappointed with it, especially after reading the rave reviews coming from the person who posted it. It was a decent enough recipe, but it wasn't as amazing as I'd hyped myself up into believing it would be. But take that with a grain of salt--perhaps you will manage to whip it up into something magical and orgasmatronic if you try it yourself.

I don't own springform pans, so it was a bit more of a hassle to put together than it normally would've been (I had a hard time dislodging the mousse mold and had to do a bit of smoothing afterwards to make it look prettier), but it is feasible to do. The cashew crust was good, but I've had better. Cooking the chocolate mousse gave it an interesting texture, but even that wasn't anything to write home about--the chocolate mousse pie recipes I've used have been comparable (if not arguably better). I will admit that I didn't serve it with the mint leaves (and I just used raspberry preserves instead of making my own), so perhaps we can hold those things responsible. But all in all, I don't know that I'd go out of my way to bake it again.

If you do try to tackle it though, I will say this: if you freeze it, it somehow tastes better. Don't ask me why, but it makes the mousse seem creamier and almost like an ice cream pie.

    Cashew Crust:

  • 1/3 c. unsalted cashew nuts

  • 3 T. vegan sugar

  • 3 T. canola oil

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 t. salt

  • Chocolate Mousse:

  • 2 c. (16 oz) chocolate chips

  • 24.6 oz (2 boxes) extra-firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)

  • 3/4 c. vegan sugar

  • 1 t. vanilla extract

  • 1/8 t. sea salt

  • Maple Almond Praline:

  • 1/4 c. maple syrup

  • 1 c. slivered almonds

  • Raspberry Sauce (I just used raspberry preserves because I'm lazy):

  • 2 c. fresh or 10 oz frozen raspberries, thawed

  • 1/4 c. vegan sugar

  • fresh mint leaves


First, preheat the oven to 350F, and oil a 8-inch round springform pan. In a food processor, grind the cashews to a fine meal. Add sucanat, oil, and vanilla, and process again until combined. In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt together, then add the cashew mixture and mix it in (start with a spatula, end with your hands). Press the crust into the pan, and bake 20-25 minutes, or until light brown and dry.
While the crust is baking, melt the chocolate chips. In a blender, combine the tofu, sucanat, vanilla, and salt. Blend until well mixed, then add melted chocolate and blend for 2 minutes, or until very smooth. Once the crust is done, lightly oil the sides of the pan and pour the mousse in. Bake for 35 minutes at 350F, then let cool for 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the inside of the pan (to prevent sticking). Let the mousse cool to the touch, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Unmold just before serving.
While the mousse is baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a saucepan, boil for a minute, then ad almonds and stir constantly until the syrup has completely crystallized and almonds appear dry. (Mine just turned into a sticky, yucky mess, so good luck with that!) Pour the almonds on a baking sheet and let cool.
Next, blend the raspberries and sucanat until smooth, and strain the seeds out. Depending on the mesh size of your strainer, you may have to strain several times to get all/most of the seeds out.
To serve, cut the mousse into 12 pieces. For each slice, pool raspberry sauce on a plate, top with a slice of mousse, then top with praline and mint cut into fine chiffonade (very thin strips). Dust w/ cocoa powder if you like.

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