Chocolate-Whiskey-Tangerine Mousse Cake

My family friend was kind enough to gift me with their homegrown tangerines, something that I look forward to every spring. For this year, I wanted to go back to a project I did years back, which is recreating Lady M desserts in my own way. This time, I went with their Whisky Dark Chocolate cake. The original version consisted of a layer of dark chocolate feuilletine(think crunchy pieces of waffle cone, which in this case, are enrobed in dark chocolate), a dark chocolate sponge cake, milk chocolate-whiskey mousse, whiskey gelee, enrobed in dark chocolate mousse with a dark chocolate glaze, topped with whiskey cream and crystalized orange slices.

For my rendition, I am making essentially two changes. The first is that I subbed out the feuilletine with a whiskey-dark chocolate shortbread. The second is that I used the tangerines in place of oranges, since I have an abundance of them and I figured that this would be the best way to utilize them. I personally love the combination of tangerines with chocolate, while the whiskey adds in these bittersweet and floral notes that brings it all together so nicely, especially in a cake like this! I still went with a milk chocolate mousse and a fudgy chocolate sponge cake for the interior, while the glaze, I opted for a mirror glaze flavored with the tangerines and whiskey, just to tie everything together in a nice, reflective way!

For the whiskey-dark chocolate shortbread:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp black cacao powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp whiskey

Blitz together your ingredients to form a dough. Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface to about 1/8th-inch thickness. Transfer to a lined sheet tray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. While the shortbread is still warm, cut out a 6-inch round. Allow the shortbread to fully cool before transferring to the bottom of a 6-inch ring mold that is lined with an acetate collar.

For the whiskey-milk chocolate mousse:
1/2 tsp gelatin powder
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp whiskey
2 tbsp milk
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Mix the gelatin with water. Transfer the gelatin into a pot and cook down with the whiskey and milk until just dissolved. Melt the milk chocolate either over a double boiler or in the microwave and mix with the whiskey milk while both mixtures are still warm. Fold the heavy cream into the milk chocolate mixture. Pour into a lined 5-inch ring mold and transfer to the freezer. Freeze the mousse solid for the initial assembly.

For the dark chocolate cake:
1 egg white
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp canola oil
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp black cacao powder
zest from 1 tangerine
juice from 1 tangerine

Whip the egg white with sugar until they form into a stiff peaked meringue. Melt the dark chocolate with the canola oil and salt. Sift into that the flour and cacao powder, and mix in the tangerine zest. Take the flour-chocolate mixture off the heat and gently fold in the meringue. Pour into a lined quarter sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool down before punching out a 5-inch round. Brush the round of cake with the tangerine juice.

For the tangerine-cinnamon gelee:
Juice and zest of 3 tangerines
2 tbsp whiskey
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp agar

Heat up all of your ingredients until the agar is dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool down to just above room temperature before pouring into a lined 5-inch ring mold. Freeze until completely set.

For the tangerine-dark chocolate mousse:
Juice and zest of 3 tangerines
1 tsp gelatin powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp black cacao powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

Mix the juice from 1 tangerine into the gelatin powder. Pour that mixture into a pot and reduce down with the zest and juice of the remaining tangerines. Once the gelatin is fully melted, pour in the dark chocolate, cacao powder, and salt. Mix together, off heat, until combined. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool down to room temperature before mixing in the whipped cream.

Initial assembly:
In the 6-inch ring mold with the shortbread base, place down 1 tbsp of the dark chocolate mousse first, spreading it into an even-ish layer(you just need enough to act as a glue between the cake and the shortbread!). Press onto the dark chocolate mousse layer your chocolate cake then place on top of that the milk chocolate mousse and the gelee, keeping them 1/2 an inch away from the edges, centered in the middle of the shortbread. Pour in the rest of the dark chocolate mousse. Transfer to the freezer and freeze solid, about 4 hours, before attempting to unmold.

For the candied tangerines:
1 tangerine
1/2 cup water, in two parts
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cut the tangerine into roughly 1/8th inch-thick slices. Boil the slices in one part of the water for 2 minutes. Then remove the slices, placing them on a sheet tray, and pour out the water. Add more water into the pot with salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer and reduce down to a thick syrup. Lower the heat and place in the orange slices. Stir in the syrup for about 10 minutes, then separate the slices onto a lined sheet tray. Bake at 200 degrees F for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container when not using right away.

For the tangerine-dark chocolate glaze:
Juice and zest of 2 tangerines
2 tbsp gelatin powder
1/2 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1 cup dark chocolate

Mix the gelatin into the tangerine juice. Heat up the gelatin mixture with the zest, milk, and salt. Once the mixture is boiling, add in the dark chocolate. Let the mixture cook on low heat for 1 minute before taking off heat and stirring until combined. Pour through a sieve to remove any lumps and the tangerine zest. Allow the glaze to cool down to 90 degrees F before attempting to use on the cake. To glaze, place the frozen cake on an elevated surface(I use an upside down deli cup on a sheet tray to catch the spare glaze). Pour the glaze onto the cake and allow it to set at room temperature for at least 2 minutes before transferring to the freezer.

For the whiskey cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp whiskey
a pinch of salt

Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe the cream in small dollops on top of the cake. Garnish the top with the candied tangerine slices.

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