Popping candy cake

This post is for the Nuffnang Christmas Blogger Challenge – but if you read on, there’s a funky dessert as well. 😀

The challenge for this month is this: “Pick out the best blog post you wrote in 2010, and write a blog post which links to that post and explains why it’s your favourite.”

Looking back over my 2010 posts, my favourite one is definitely this post. Why that one? Well, if you haven’t clicked through yet, it’s my post on The Fat Duck and it’s my favourite because it was the best food experience I’ve had this year.

And I could just tell you why it was my favourite… but where’s the fun in that? Instead I’ve decided to make something that represents the post and the experience. Fittingly, it’s a Heston Blumenthal recipe, and it’s a popping candy cake.

Initially I was just going to recreate Heston’s recipe. But when I went shopping for popping candy (which is not that easy to find, by the way!) I could only pick up what I thought was strawberry flavoured candy. Which got me thinking: instead of having a coffee and chocolate glaze on top, perhaps a strawberry glaze would be better, as it would reference the candy in the base. Which then made me think that perhaps a white chocolate mousse would be better than dark chocolate with the strawberry. And finally that made me change the base, because why bother with hazelnuts if there’s a white chocolate mousse? I decided I wanted a biscuit base, so experimented with using chocolate and biscuit crumbs and popping candy.

So instead of a chocolate popping candy cake, I present a strawberry mousse popping candy cake, inspired by Heston. Just like our meal at The Fat Duck, it’s fun, a bit silly, slightly over the top, but still delicious. The popping candy adds a childish element to what could otherwise be an elegant dessert, but without the candy it’s still delicious and worth making. I don’t normally like white chocolate much, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Oh, and for extra frivolousness, I topped the cake with a rotund bird (a fat duck, for those slow on the uptake!). 😀

Well, that’s my entry into the Nuffnang Christmas Blogger Challenge. Have you got a favourite blog post this year?

Side note: after I opened my popping candy, it turns out the actual candy wasn’t strawberry flavoured at all! An included lollipop was strawberry and the popping candy was just sour! Sheesh!

Strawberry mousse popping candy cake

Adapted from: timesonline.co.uk

Makes 3 mini cakes in bottomless ring moulds that are about 4cm in diameter

For the popping-candy base
40g crushed oreo biscuits (with the cream inside scraped out and discarded)
40g milk chocolate (I used half of this amount and it wasn’t quite enough… so I’ve doubled it for this recipe)
50g popping candy

For the chocolate mousse
175g white chocolate
200ml double cream (I think in Australia, this is thickened cream. I used double cream, but I think thickened cream would be better)
Pinch of salt

For the strawberry glaze
A few tablespoons of good quality strawberry jam. I used Bonne Maman.

To make the base, process the oreos in a food processor until they are fine crumbs (make sure you discard the cream filling inside.) Melt the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering shallow water. Stir in the oreo crumbs and popping candy. Place your ring moulds on a serving dish and gently press in the base mixture to a depth of about 1cm. Refrigerate for an hour, until hard.

To make the mousse, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a metal bowl. Bring 75ml of the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Then pour it over the chopped chocolate and stir it gently until all the chocolate has melted, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t take on a granular texture. Add the salt to taste.

Lightly whip the remaining 125ml cream to soft peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour it over the base in the ring moulds and place into the fridge to set for two hours.

To make the glaze, warm the jam in the microwave until it is slightly runny. Pour over the mousse and return to the fridge until it sets. Make sure you use good thick jam – it’s really important.

To serve, run a hot knife around the inside of the ring before removing the cake.