Why not treat yourself to a luscious dessert as a reward for getting home from the snow? Victoria's chocolate, ginger and green tea mousse cake is a delightful pick me up for a wintery day.
All thoughts of January diets can be chucked out of the window on a snow day. You can't survive on lettuce leaves and cabbage soup in temperatures that start with a minus. Be kind to yourself. After traipsing through snow on your way home, turning the front door key with chattering teeth, before stepping into the warm with wet feet and chapped hands (because you forgot your gloves. Again), means it's definitely time for a treat. Snow days are for cuddling up under blankets in front of the fire and turning to the sweeter things in life.
This chocolate, ginger and green tea mousse cake ticks all the right boxes. It's simple enough to make that you'll still have time to play outside and throw snowballs at your friends, and it's pretty enough to garner plenty of appreciative oohs and aahs. Although this isn't an instant pud', if you make it tonight, it will be soothing to know it's in the fridge waiting for you to delve in tomorrow. If that can't get you through a snowy weekend, I don't know what can.
Chocolate, ginger and green tea mousse cake
For the green tea cake
I made a gluten free version, but you can simply swap the rice flour for plain flour if wheat isn't an issue for you.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (325°F fan)/Gas Mark 4. Line a 23 x 33cm/9 x 13inch roulade tray with baking parchment.
3 large eggs
90g caster sugar
20g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp matcha (green tea powder)
90g rice or plain flour
Place the eggs and sugar in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk continuously until the mixture is hot. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk on high speed until the mixture has doubled in volume and is at the ribbon stage: pale, thick and mousse-like, leaving a slowly disappearing trail when you lift the beaters. This can take a good 5 minutes with an electric hand whisk.
Whisk in the melted butter. Sift over the matcha and flour and fold in using a large metal spoon, being careful not to overmix and knock the air out of the batter.
Pour the batter into your prepared tin and gently level it with a palette knife. Pop the cake in the oven to 10 to 15 minutes or until the cake is firm and springy to touch. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack.
For the chocolate and ginger mousse
A classic French chocolate mousse only has two ingredients: eggs and chocolate, but to make the mousse more stable when you take them out of their moulds, I have added butter and cream.
100g good quality dark chocolate
70g unsalted butter
4 tbsp ginger syrup (from a jar of Chinese stem ginger)
2 large eggs, separated
A pinch of salt
60ml double cream
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Once smooth, glossy and fully melted, whisk in the egg yolks and ginger syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture with a large metal spoon. Be careful not to knock the air out of the mousse. In the same bowl as you whisked the egg whites, whisk the cream to soft peaks (there's no need to wash the beaters) and fold the cream into the mousse. Decant into a jug ready for assembling the mousse cakes.
2 balls of stem ginger, finely sliced, plus extra cut into fine matchsticks to decorate their tops.
Grease the inside of 8 ring moulds (4cm x 6cm) with a tasteless oil. I used groundnut, but sunflower oil will be equally good.
Use the oiled rings to cut out a round of cake to fit the base of each mould. Line a tray with baking parchment and place the cake filled ring moulds on to it. Gently press the cake to ensure it is pushed fully down to the base. Top the cakes with some fine slices of ginger before filling the ring moulds with ginger and chocolate mousse, right up to their tops. Place the tray in the fridge for at least six hours or overnight.
Before removing the ring moulds, artfully place a few matchsticks of ginger on top. Place a mousse cake on an eggcup before flashing round the edge with a blowtorch. You should be able to slide the ring mould down off the cake. If you don't have a blowtorch, you can use a hairdryer. Transfer the mousse cake on to a plate using a palette knife and repeat until all of the cakes have been de-moulded.
Which desserts do you turn to when you need cheering up? Does it involve chocolate? Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.