Having a cake at home is a like a little holiday! And you definitely don’t need an occasion to make one. This Simple Cake with Ricotta and Chocolate Mousse is easy and tasty, not too rich but full of wonderful flavours!
Recently I read somewhere that the second part of your life begins the moment when you realise you don’t need an occasion to have a cake at home… I totally agree and I think I even recall the moment of my life when I had this realisation: it was after I made the Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake. This cake brought me the sudden discovery that I could eventually make better photography for my blog and I could focus more on layer cake recipes, which are my biggest passion. I’ve made innumerous layer cakes after that one and I have improved my photos as well: so it was a good and liberating realisation for me. However at the current stage of my life I prefer to create an occasion for every cake I make – just because there is always one. This way the cakes will be always special and their photos will recall nice memories.
This Simple Cake with Ricotta and Chocolate Mousse was made to celebrate the simple fact that I so much love baking layer cakes! It is a combination of contrasting tastes: the ricotta frosting inside contains also white chocolate. It is quite different as texture and flavour than the chocolate mousse on the top… And this particular mousse is very, very simple as well. It is made with only two ingredients – melted dark chocolate and water, following the technique of the Spicy Chocolate Mousse. I liked so much this recipe that I decided to try it on a cake. Not surprisingly, the experiment was very successful: this mousse is really smooth and easily can be used as a frosting.
This cake looks exactly as simple as it is. Almost naked, not fancy with unevenly spread chocolate mousse. I wanted it to look as “homemade” as possible and I think I accomplished that look. The decoration is just broken cookies and chocolate and pieces of dried apricots, which I found in my pantry. The main reason to add the apricots was to make a contrast with the rest of the brownish colours 🙂
Simple Cake with Ricotta and Chocolate Mousse
For the cake base:
- 170 g ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 150 g 1 cup self raising flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 90 g ⅓ cup yogurt
- 40 ml ⅕ cup olive oil
For the Ricotta Frosting:
- 150 g 1 cup white chocolate, melted
- 500 g 2 cups fresh ricotta
For the Chocolate Mousse:
- 250 g 2 cups dark chocolate
- 180 ml ¾ cup water
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- Line a 18-20 cm cake pan (7-8 inch) with a circle of baking paper.
- Divide the eggs placing the whites in one large bowl and the yolks into another.
- Beat the yolks together with the sugar until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Add yogurt, vanilla and olive oil and beat few more minutes, until combined. Gradually add the flour, mixing gently with a rubber spatula.
- In another bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the rubber spatula gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the pan and let cool until room temperature before assembling the cake.
- Using a rubber spatula fold the melted chocolate into the ricotta. Mix gently until smooth.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (double boiler). Transfer it into a large mixing bowl and add the water. Place the bowl in a pan full of ice and start whisking energetically with a hand whisk. Continue for about 5 minutes or until the chocolate mousse starts to thicken. Be careful not to overbeat as the structure of the mousse will become grainy (if this happens, melt it again and repeat the whisking).
To assemble the cake:
- Using a serrated knife cut horizontally the base into three layers. Place one layer on a serving plate and evenly spread half of the ricotta frosting on top. Spoon a bit of the chocolate mousse on top (you can do it while it is still liquid for dripping effect). Continue the same process until finishing all cake layers and ricotta frosting. You should still have a good quantity of the chocolate mousse to cover the cake on top and on the sides (unless you want to leave it naked or semi-naked as I did - in this case you can put more between the layers).
- Decorate as desired: I used cookies, chocolate and dried apricots.