Friday, 9 March 2012

Coffee & caramel mousse cake

I first heard about Hidemi Sugino's book "Le goût authentique retrouvé" in 2005 from Keiko, on her blog.  This was before I knew about his shop in Tokyo.  Keiko is such a talented baker and I've been so inspired reading about Keiko's many creations from Le goût authentique retrouvé.  I've always had a special spot for these pretty multi-layered/textured pretty french-style mousse cakes (or simply entrements as some may call it).  Unfortunately, Hidemi Sugino's book is in Japanese and given he hasn't release an English version since the book was first commissioned in 1998, it is unlikely he will ever do so. 

So fast forward seven years to 2012, a few months ago I was researching into a coffee and caramel mousse cake combination and couldn't really find anything good among all the cookbooks and materials I've gathered over the years (unbelievable as it may sound for the number of cookbooks I have).  I knew Hidemi Sugino had one in his book as Keiko blogged about it before.  Its one called Brésilienne that he still offers it  in his patisserie shop.  Japanese-literate or not, I decided I'll get the book first and think more later.  I knew from Keiko that the ingredients were also listed in French, so at the minimum I would be able to understand that bit. 

The book arrived 3 days later and I was so elated to find it containing many recipes for different mousse cakes and they all look so delicious.  There is so much in the book I can't wait to try.  Although its all in Japanese, there are step by step photos accompanying the recipes.  True I couldn't understand the methodology written in Japanese, but based on the ingredients, it wasn't that difficult figuring out on my own what to do with the ingredients.  The step-by-step photos also help.  

So I finally got to try a coffee and caramel mousse combination thanks to Hidemi Sugino.  And I was truly impressed!  The coffee mousse tasted a little bitter on its own, but when paired with the sweet caramel mouse, it was a surprise burst of flavor on the palate.  The coffee biscuit joconde was also very moist given all the cognac syrup that was added to it, and complimented both mousses well.

The cake ring that Hidemi Sugino uses is almost impossible to find - I had to settle on an oval shaped one which made the cake look like a fat version of his tall & slim model.   I could have also done better on the proportion of coffee to caramel mousse so that the 2 layers are of equal height.  Lastly, I believe Hidemi Sugino uses very little gelatin in his recipes so his mousses are very soft and lovely, which was indeed the case when I tried this recipe, but the downside is it may not last a trip out of the house, especially in more hot & humid weathers.  I will most likely increase the proportion of gelatin next time, especially if I know the cake will need to do some travelling.

Its been nothing but gloomy cloudy days in Hong Kong the past week and I was really frustrated trying to find enough natural light to take some of these photos... hopefully they don't look too gloomy to you.

Continue for recipe:

Recipe below makes about 4 mini cakes using oval cake rings, 
adapted from Le goût authentique retrouvé by Hidemi Sugino
(note: methodology below was inferred since I don't read Japanese, so feel free to modify any step you deem appropriate)

Biscuit joconde sans beurre au café:
22g ground almonds
22g icing sugar
1.5g instant coffee 
17g egg yolks
13g egg whites
For the french meringue:
- 44g egg whites
- 26g granulated sugar
20g cake flour
Mousse au café:
120g whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
For the crème anglaise au café:
- 53g milk
- 9g instant coffee
- 27g egg yolks
- 18g granulated sugar
1.8g gelatin sheets
11g cognac
Sirop d'imbibage:
27g sirop à 30°B
13g water
22g cognac 
Mousse au caramel:
For the crème caramel:
- 67g creme fraiche
- 1/10th of a vanilla bean
- 38g granulated sugar
- 22g glucose
120g whipping cream, whipped till soft peaks
For the pâté à bombe:
- 22g sirop à 30°B
- 27g egg yolks
4g gelatin sheets
7g cognac
18g dark chocolate
6g vegetable oil
5 to 6 tsp mirror gel

1. Biscuit joconde sans beurre au café:
Combine almond flour, icing sugar and instant coffee.  Beat in egg yolks and whites one at a time till mixture till completely emulsified and pales. Make french meringue till soft peaks form (do not over beat till stiff peaks).  Fold a bit of the meringue into almond batter.  Fold in cake flour, then remaining meringue.  Spread batter into parchment lined 25 x 20cm cake pan and bake at 230C for 4 to 5 minutes. Once cooled, cut out 8 pieces of joconde with oval cake rings.  

2. Mousse au café:
To make crème anglaise au café, bring milk & coffee to boil, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute.  Whisk egg yolk with sugar till pale yellow. Whisking constantly, pour half of the hot milk into egg mixture to temper it.  Pour tempered mixture back into remaining milk.  Cook, stirring constantly until cream coats back of metal spoon and a finger drawn through leaves a clean stable line.  Remove cream from heat and pour it through a sieve into mixing bowl set over an ice-water bath.  Cover cooled cream with plastic film and refridgerate until chilled.  
Soak gelatin sheets in cold water till it blooms.  Melt gelatin over bain marie and add to crème anglaise au café, mixing well.  Fold in whipped cream.  Fold in cognac. 

3. Sirop d'imbibage: Mix all 3 ingredients together and set aside. 

4. Mousse au caramel:
For the crème caramel, bring creme fraiche & vanilla bean to a boil.  Remove pod.  Boil sugar & glucose till it starts to turn dark amber.  Take if off the heat, pour in cream immediately, whisking continuously till it is well incorporated.  Cool over ice water.
For the pâté à bombe, place sirop à 30°B in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.  Beat yolks slightly in mixer bowl to break them up.  Increase the speed to medium high and slowly pour the hot syrup over the yolks. 
Dissolve the gelatin over bain marie and add it to the pate a bombe. Continue to whisk until the mass is completely cold and airy.  Fold in whipped cream, fold in Cognac.

5. Décor: Melt dark chocolate over bain marie.  Add vegetable oil and mix well. 

6. Assembly: 
Ensure cake rings are well covered at the base with cling wrap.  Pour mousse au café into cake ring till slightly less than half way.  Place 1 piece of joconde into each cake ring on top of the mousse au café.  Leave to set in refridgerator.  Once set, brush half of the sirop d'imbibage on the first layer of joconde.  Pour mousse au caramel on top of the joconde till just slightly short of the top of cake ring.  Place second layer of joconde on top of the mousse au caramel.  Brush remaining sirop d'imbibage on the second layer of joconde.  Wrap top of cake rings with cling wrap and leave to set in refridgerator.  Once set, flip over cake rings so that the mousse au café is at the top.  Brush top with dark chocolate decor and leave to set for a few minutes.  Pour mirror gel over the top, smoothing out with a spatula.  Remove from cake ring.


  1. Oh my gosh, this looks so good!! I love the combination of the mousse and coffee. Yum

  2. I just found your blog, and am browsing to all your beautiful creations. Wow! You really have great talent. I have seen this cake before on some blogs and should really make it one day, it looks very nice.

  3. Hi, what is 27g sirop à 30°B? Is it possible to make it at home? Thanks/Meyan

  4. Hi, lovely blog. For the caramel mousse, when do you add the creme fraiche and caramel mixture to the pâté à bombe and whipping cream?

  5. can i ask...where do you get your mirror gel? are there different types or does it go by a different name? i always admired the glazes used on these entremets because it really adds a touch of class to the cakes, i just can never find out how to make it or where to buy it. i live in the US.



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