just dance in the damn downpour // cassis ombré mousse cake

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Some days I lapse into moments where there’s a thunderstorm imprisoned in my mind and lightning bolts surging through my veins. I can’t sense anything above the chaos of dark thoughts churning and seething – not the sound of a Steinway piano played by angels’ fingertips or the perfume of a vaseful of ivory gardenias. I’m trapped five hundred feet underwater where there’s so little light I might as well be blind, and all I want to do is to crash and

burn,

burn,

burn

so that I can sink no lower.

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I want to hurl a bowling ball at a window and hear the strident shatter of multitudinous glass shards as they fall to the filthy concrete floor, I want to apply layers and layers of charcoal black eyeliner and mascara so thick that traces stubbornly remain several showers later, I want to walk in the middle of rain so deadly torrential that even hundred-year-old trees bow their branches in defeat. I want to flirt with danger, hop on a plane to a destination sixteen hours away, dissolve silently into a crowd of nameless faces.

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I think we all have those days. Days on which your facial muscles ache from a milisecond’s attempt to smile and your vision is blurry from the tears you fought so hard not to shed. Somehow society expects you to wipe those tears off at home – use as many tissues as you want but make sure your eyes are dry as a desert before you go out – and say that you’re fine. Tell the story of your struggles, but end it on a happy note. But sometimes it feels like that darkness will never disappear no matter how much you long for light to replace the shadow, and you know what? I say embrace it.

Dance in the damn downpour and twirl in the thunderstorm.

Because that experience has made you who you are – more complex, more empathetic, pure human.

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Cassis Ombré Mousse Cake

makes a 6 inch cake

For the crust:

140 grams digestive biscuits, crushed finely in a food processor

100 grams unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cassis mousse:

150 grams cream cheese, at room temperature

50 grams sugar

200 grams whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks

5 grams gelatin powder

2 tablespoons water

150 grams cassis puree (or 120 grams, if you prefer a less tart flavour)

For the decoration:

edible flowers

3 grams gelatin powder

4 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon sugar

Make the crust: Stir together the biscuit crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 6 inch round cake pan. Refrigerate until the crust has completely hardened, preferably overnight.

Make the mousse: Place the 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl and evenly sprinkle over the gelatin powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk in the whipped cream. Microwave the gelatin mixture until it has been completely liquified and quickly whisk into the cream cheese mixture until evenly incorporated.

Divide the mixture equally amongst three bowls. Leave one bowl untouched. Between the other two bowls, divide the cassis puree in a 50:100 gram ratio (or a 40:80 gram ratio, for a less tart flavour).

Scrape the pure cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the tart crust. Next, take a few tablespoons of the lighter colored cassis mixture and plop them over the bottom layer. Using the back of a knife or a chopstick, swirl the cassis mixture into the bottom layer. This will help to create a more seamless ombré effect. Pour over the remaining cassis mixture from the second bowl. Take a few tablespoons of the deeper purple cassis mixture and swirl them into the second layer. Pour over the remainder. Smooth the top of the mousse and refrigerate overnight.

Decorate the cake: Place 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Set aside for 3 minutes. In a saucepan, stir the remaining 3 tablespoons of water and sugar together, bring to a boil. Stir in the gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Set the glaze aside until it has cooled slightly.

Arrange the edible flowers on the set surface of the mousse. Gently spoon the glaze over the flowers, taking care not to disturb the arrangement of the flowers. Return the cake to the fridge for a couple hours to set the glaze.

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