Almond Inspiration, blackcurrant and chocolate vegan mousse cake

by Chiara

There’s something special about this cake. It’s not for the shape, not even for the color or the decoration. By the time you read the recipe on my blog, you’ll realize that there will be no animal ingredients. I spent two weeks and I put lots of energy and feeling to make this vegan Almond Inspiration, blackcurrant and chocolate mousse cake that you see in the photo above.
I redid the Araguani 72% dark chocolate and almond cake at least ten times before getting a spongy and tender consistency that it doesn’t crumble and that it has an idyllic chocolate flavor.
Happily, I had no trouble with the Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate and almond crunchy layer on bottom of the chocolate cake, with the silky Manjari 64% dark chocolate ganache and with the smooth blackcurrant crémeux. But I redid the whole cake two times, first because the Almond Inspiration and vanilla mousse didn’t have enough texture, then because the coating didn’t feel right. That was pretty stressful, anyway… But what matters most is that I’ve learned so much from the mistakes and now I can share with you the fine-tuning recipe for a summery, light, perfectly sweet, creamy and chewy vegan mousse cake!

The mousse cake is composed by:

  • Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate and almonds croustillant. This is the crunchy component of the entremet, made with Caraïbe dark chocolate from Valrhona (this chocolate has a delicate flavors of roasted dried fruits, especially almonds), crispy granola and raw almond cream.
  • Araguani 72% dark chocolate and almonds cake. Araguani dark chocolate from Valrhona gives an intense chocolate flavor to the sponge cake. The sponge cake is both moist and fluffy, thanks to the vegan butter and the raw almonds cream (they give suppleness to the batter) and thanks to the combination of baking powder and baking soda (they let the batter rise and they make it soft).
  • Manjari 64% dark chocolate creamy ganache. Manjari dark chocolate from Valrhona pairs well with berries because of its fresh and acidulous notes. The little dose of almond milk and the maple syrup give a smoother and creamier mouth feel to the ganache.
  • Blackcurrant crémeux with a very creamy texture and a fresh taste.
  • Almond Inspiration and vanilla mousse with a fluffy and silky consistency. The Almond Inspiration couverture from Valrhona combines the intense flavor and the natural color of almonds with the smooth texture of cocoa butter. The mousse is thickened with agar agar, a natural gelling agent suitable for vegan diet.
  • Almond Inspiration velvet coating 

If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you! And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts, I’m absolutely willing to respond you as quickly as possible. ♡


Almond Inspiration, blackcurrant and chocolate mousse cake

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Serves: 6-8
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

Vegan butter
150 g grape seed oil (or neutral seed oil)
50 g extra virgin olive oil
55 g cocoa butter
45 g maple syrup grade C (cold from fridge)
⅛ tsp (a pinch) Maldon salt

Araguani 72% dark chocolate and almonds cake
1 flax egg (flaxseed gel)
140 g unsweetened almond milk, to room temperature
6 g apple vinegar
80 g Araguani 72% dark chocolate
100 g soft vegan butter, to room temperature (20-25°C)
96 g type 1 whole wheat flour (150-180 W)
12 g unsweetened cocoa powder 22-24%
6,5 g baking powder
2 g baking soda
⅛ tsp (a pinch) Maldon salt
100 g Dulcita raw cane sugar
24 g raw almonds cream

Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate and almonds croustillant
90 g Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate
75 g raw almonds cream
100 g crunchy granola

Blackcurrant crémeux
164 g blackcurrant puree
9,6 lemon juice
50 g Dulcita raw cane sugar
2 g pectin NH
4,8 g cornstarch
50 g soft vegan butter, to room temperature (20-25°C)

Manjari 64% dark chocolate creamy ganache
70 g soya cream (or vegetable-based cream without hydrogenated fats)
20 g unsweetened almond milk
40 g maple syrup grade C
70 g Manjari 64% dark chocolate
15 g soft vegan butter, to room temperature (20-25°C)

Almond Inspiration and vanilla mousse
150 g unsweetened almond milk
10 g agar agar (powder)
205 g Almond Inspiration couverture
303 g almond whip cream (or vegetable-based whip cream without hydrogenated fats)
2 vanilla beans

Almond Inspiration velvet coating
200 g Almond Inspiration
100 cocoa butter

Assembly and decoration
flexible Almond Inspiration tempered band (12 cm)
edible flowers

Instructions

Vegan butter

  1. Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave to 45-50°C and allow to cool down (35-38°C).
  2. In a measuring cup combine together the olive oil and the grape seed oil and emulsify with a hand blender.
  3. Once the oils are well-blended, slowly pour in the lukewarm and melted cocoa butter, blending continuously with the mixer to obtain a smooth liquid mixture.
  4. Add to wire the maple syrup blending continuously with the mixer. Once you've finished, emulsify the mixture for a minute, then pour into a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface and chill in the fridge for 5-6h or overnight to complete the crystallization, i.e to allow the butter to firm and harden.
  5. After this time, the vegan butter will be pale, firm but a little soft. If you see the maple syrup in the bottom of the baking dish, don't worry, stir the vegan butter (to room temperature) with a spatula so that the mixture is completely uniform. Store the vegan butter in the fridge in an airtight container for a month and a half and use it in any recipe instead of the classic butter.

Araguani 72% dark chocolate and almonds cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Line a baking tray with a 25x20 cm mould, greased and covered with parchment paper.
  2. For the flax egg, in a small bowl combine together 1 Tbs (15 g) flaxseed meal and 3 Tbs (45 g) hot water (it soak the flaxseed meal much faster than the cold water), cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, so that the flaxseed meal absorbs the water and it releases starch molecules which they will make a gel and they will give texture to the sponge cake. After this time, the result should be a sticky mixture with a gelatinous, stretchy consistency.
  3. In the meantime, combine together the almond milk and the apple vinegar in a measuring cup. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave to 50-55°C, then add the soft vegan butter and stir with a spatula to melt the butter. Allow to cool down.
  4. Sift together the type 1 whole wheat flour, the cocoa powder, the baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the salt and Dulcita sugar and mix with a fine whisk.
  5. Once the flax egg is ready, add into the sifted dry ingredients followed by the raw almonds cream, the lukewarm chocolate-butter mix and the almond milk. Mix with the fine whisk just until the wet ingredients are absorbed.
  6. Pour 420 g of batter in the mould (it will advance a little bit of batter) spread it evenly with a palette knife and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cake is puffy and firm (do the toothpick test). Remove the cake from the mould when it is cold, because it has a very soft consistency. I suggest you to put the cake in the freezer for about 1h and then cut it with a 14 cm stainless steel cake ring when the cake is cold but not totally frozen. Wrap it with clingfilm and place in the freezer.

Caraïbe 66% dark chocolate and almonds croustillant

  1. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave to 50-55°C. Add the almonds cream and combine with a spatula. Pour into the bowl of a small food processor or grinder, add the crunchy granola and mix just to break up any large pieces of the granola and to obtain an uniform and grainy mixture.
  2. Spread the croustillant on the base of the frozen cake with a palette knife about 2-3 mm thick. It is necessary to work quickly 'cause the croustillant tends to firm up very soon. Put in freezer. Store the leftover croustillant in an opaque airtight container to room temperature and away from light.

Blackcurrant crémeux

  1. Combine blackcurrant puree, lemon juice and 25 g Dulcita sugar in a saucepan and heat to 40°C.
  2. In a small bowl mix together with a fine whisk the leftover 25 g Dulcita sugar, the pectin NH and the cornstarch and then add to the mix of blackcurrant when it is 40°C. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring with the whisk continuously.
  3. Pour into a baking dish, cover with clingfilm touching the surface and put in the fridge for about 10 minutes, until the crémeux is lukewarm (50°C). Transfer the crémeux into a mixing glass or measuring cup and emulsify  with a hand blender to obtain a smooth consistency. Add the soft vegan butter and emulsify once again.
  4. Pour the crémeux into a 14 cm round silicone mould to 1 cm thick (about 214 g of the crémeux) and freeze for at least 1h.

Manjari 64% dark chocolate creamy ganache

  1. Heat the soya cream, the almond milk and the maple syrup in the microwave without boiling. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave to 50°C.
  2. Pour the hot mixture over the melted chocolate in three times, stirring with a spatula in a circular pattern until the ganache is well combined, smooth and glossy.
  3. Pour the ganache into a mixing glass or a measuring cup and mix with a hand blender to obtain the best and most silky smooth consistency. Allow to cool down to 35-40°C, then add the soft vegan butter and mix again with the hand blender.
  4. Pour the ganache over the frozen blackcurrant crémeux to 1 cm thick (about 180 g of the ganache) and put again in the freezer for about 1h.

Almond Inspiration and vanilla mousse

  1. Melt the Almond Inspiration couverture in the microwave to 45°C.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring the almond milk and agar agar to a rolling boil to activate the agar agar (the agar agar activates to 85-90°C). Stir the mix continuously with a fine whisk. You will notice some bubbles and the mixture will firm slightly.
  3. Pour the almond milk over the melted couverture in one go and stir vigorously with a spatula just to obtain a velvety, glossy cream.
  4. Pour the cream into a mixing glass or a measuring cup and mix with the hand blender to obtain the best and most silky smooth consistency. Pour the cream in a bowl and cool down to 35-40°C. Contrary to the animal gelatin sheets, the agar agar begins to set to 40°C. When I added the whipped almond cream to the Almond Inspiration cream, the agar agar didn't make lumps, anyway. So, I suggest you to fold the whipped cream when the Almond Inspiration cream is 35°C at most and if the mousse makes lumps, there's no other way to strain it through a sieve.
  5. Semi-whip the almond cream with the vanilla seeds and fold it into the lukewarm almond cream. Generally, for the mousse it is important to add the cream when it is semi-whipped and it is not totally firm. In this way, the mousse will be light, soft and silky instead of grainy and with a oily mouth feel.
  6. Transfer the mousse to a disposable piping bag and cut a tip off the end. Pipe the mousse into the Eclipse silicone mould (18 cm) about halfway. Use a teaspoon to spread the mousse up the sides to eliminate any air bubbles and to avoid whitespace. Insert the frozen crémeux-ganache insert (with the crémeux facedown) and press gently and slightly down. Cover the insert with a little more mousse and insert the chocolate cake (with the cake facedown and the croustillant upwards) and press gently and slightly down, to get the mousse to the top of the mould. Remove any excess mousse with a palette knife and freeze for at least 2h.

Almond Inspiration velvet coating

  1. Before starting, it's important to get a cabin to protect surfaces from the chocolate spray. You can buy it online or use a cardboard box/plastic panels.
  2. Melt together the Almond Inspiration couverture and the cocoa butter to 45°C.
  3. Strain the mixture into the spray gun container.
  4. Place the frozen cake on a cooling rack inside the cabin and cover with the spray in a thin and uniform layer.
  5. Place the cake on a plate and put in the fridge to defrost.

Assembly and decoration 

  1. For the Almond Inspiration flexible band it is necessary to temper the Almond Inspiration couverture (you can find here the method). The temper chocolate curve is 40/45°C (melting) - 26/27°C (cooling) - 30/31°C (usage).
  2. Cut the guitar sheet in half lengthwise so it is now 20x60 cm (width x length). Once the chocolate is tempered, pour a line onto one edge of the sheet (on the left side, for example). Place another guitar sheet on top and use a teflon rolling pin or a PVC pipe to roll out the chocolate to the other end of the sheet (on the right side, for example). Spread out the chocolate in a thin and even layer. Allow to set slightly until it is soft to touch but not fully set.
  3. Cut the chocolate into 2x60 cm strips by using a stainless steel expandable dough cutter. Mark approximately 0.5 cm length on either end with a small knife, so the ends of the band are neat. Allow to set for about 5 minutes until the strips are pliable and not fully set.
  4. Peel back gently one guitar sheet. Place a sheet of baking paper on top of the exposed Almond Inspiration couverture and flip the guitar sheet over. Peel back gently the second guitar sheet to release the Almond Inspiration strips.
  5. Wrap one Almond Inspiration strip around a 12 cm cake ring and cut out gently the surplus of the strip with a scissors. Stick the two ends of the strip with a little bit of melted Almond Inspiration couverture. Allow to set completely to room temperature.
  6. Once the Almond Inspiration band is fully crystallized, pull out the cake ring carefully and place the band on top of the mousse. Decorate the band with edible flowers.

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3 Comments

Alex 24 February 2021 - 22:02

I’ve been looking through your posts feeling so inspired by all of your amazing recipes. At the same time I was trying to figure out how to vegan-ize them, so you can understand my happiness at seeing a vegan recipe!! Thank you so much, I am excited to give it a try. Everything looks utterly delicious!

Reply
Ann 22 April 2021 - 11:27

Hey, thank you for this recipe! I have one question – can I switch almond whipped cream for coconut cream (tin type)?

Thank you in advance!

Reply
Chiara 29 April 2021 - 16:57

Hi Ann!
Thanks to you for stopping by, I’m glad to hear you like this recipe 😊 Sure you can! Coconut cream is a great replacement. Let me know if you enjoyed the recipe

Reply

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