Passionfruit Mousse Cake

I was fortunate enough to be gifted fresh passionfruits from a family friend, and it was actually around that time that I wanted to make a mousse cake with them. Not necessarily a mirror glaze cake, but just a mousse with layers of chiffon cake embedded inside of it. A while ago, I made a black sesame version, and it was delicious. So I wanted to do a similar version to that recipe, but with passionfruit. Regrettably, I should have made this recipe gluten-free and used a gluten-free coconut chiffon cake, but I literally did not think about doing that until the time of me writing this recipe. That being said, this cake is still pretty darn-tooting delicious. The tart passionfruit is accented with a little rum, and is contrasted with a vanilla chiffon cake. I used the passionfruit in its entirety, pulp and seeds and all, to add a fun texture to the mousse, since the seeds are crunchy – and yes, these seeds are 100% edible, unlike the bloody cactus pear seeds that STILL haunt me four years later. In a more fond context, I still remember going to Taiwan with my dad and seeing him eat his weight in fresh passionfruit over there. That was the first time I ever tried one, and I was amazed. It was sweet, sour, crunchy, very juicy, and not quite like anything I ever had before. Since having it in Taiwan, I’ve had passionfruit in quite a few desserts, from macarons to cakes to ice creams.

For the components, we have a vanilla chiffon cake, a rum soak, passionfruit mousse, rum cream, and Passionfruit Inspiration modeling chocolate decorations. I wanted this mousse cake to be light as a cloud. The actual chiffon cake melts in your mouth, the mousse is silky and airy with the occasional crunch of the passionfruit seeds, the rum adds a pleasant spice that compliments the tropical notes of the passionfruit, and the modeling chocolate carries that passionfruit flavor. Passionfruit Inspiration is a passsionfruit flavored white chocolate, made by blending the fresh fruit puree with cocoa butter to form a chocolate-like texture. In the case of this recipe, I used that to make my own modeling chocolate, by mixing it with corn syrup to create a malleable dough, from which then I rolled out and cut into these cute sun-like shapes. I figured that the shapes would add a little movement, but also be a cute homage to the sunny-tropical aesthetic and flavors in the cake! I would admit that one thing I wish I could have added was a passionfruit jelly on top, just to add a darker color of the passionfruit, as a pretty glaze with the seeds, but beyond that, I was pretty happy with the end result. The mousse cake was very much a passionfruit cloud and you could inhale the entire thing without feeling gross or bloated.

For the vanilla chiffon cake:
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with the sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whip the egg yolks and slowly stream in your oil, vanilla, and salt. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk-flour mixture to form your batter. Pour the batter between two lined 5-inch ring molds. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Allow the sponges to cool down before attempting to unmold.

For the soak:
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp rum
a pinch of salt

Mix together. Keep cold until time to assemble.

For the passionfruit mousse:
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pulp from 4 passionfruit
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp milk
1 egg yolk
2/3 cups heavy cream

In a pot, heat up the cornstarch, gelatin, sugar, passionfruit, salt, and milk first while stirring over medium heat. Pour half of the mixture over your egg yolk and stir until combined. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pot and continue mixing over medium heat for another 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool down. In another bowl, whip up the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold the cream through the passionfruit pulp to form your mousse.

For initial assembly:
Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Place down half of your mousse first, then brush one of the cakes with half of the soak. Press the cake into the mousse. Repeat these steps. Freeze the cake for at least 3 hours before attempting to unmold.

For the rum chantilly cream:
1 tsp rum
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
a pinch of salt

In a bowl, whisk everything together until the cream forms stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag. Store in the refrigerator until time to use.

For the Passionfruit Inspiration modeling chocolate:
2oz Passionfruit Inspiration
a pinch of salt
.5oz corn syrup

Melt the ingredients together over a double boiler. Refrigerate your chocolate for 15 minutes and then roll out on a nonstick surface into a thin layer. Cut out your desired shapes.

To garnish:
Gold dragee sprinkles

Pipe the cream in a border on top of the cake. Garnish with your dragee sprinkles and the modeling chocolate to finish.

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