Sponge Cake with Rhubarb and Chocolate Mousse
You don’t have to be a master baker to prepare layer cake charlottes with a certain grandeur and schwung. This sponge cake with rhubarb and chocolate mousse can be made in an hour.
I’m generally too sloppy to make a good baker. Baking requires meticulous precision and the difference between success and failure can lie in a few grams more and a few centigrades less.
Still I enjoy making grand layered cakes like Tuscan zuccotto, cassata siciliana and now this sponge cake with rhubarb and chocolate mousse, and they are usually extremely popular with the guinea-pigs I ask to test the result.
For the pan di Spagna sponge cake
160 g sugar
160 g flour
2 tbsp melted butter
A pinch of salt
For the rhubarb compote
500 g rhubarb + 1 rhubarb stalk for raw rhubarb pickles.
250 g sugar
1 star aniseed
1 tsp vanilla powder
3 leaves of gelatine
For the chocolate mousse
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
250 ml double cream
200 g chocolate
Start by making the cake.
With an electric mixer whisk sugar and eggs for at least 10 minutes
Add flour and melted butter to the mixture.
Line a spring pan form ø20 with baking paper and pour the batter in the form.(if you use a larger form the cake will be bigger but not as tall).
Bake the sponge cake at 180 C / 356 F for 25 minutes.
Leave it in a wire rack to cool.
Now prepare the rhubarb compote.
Wash and cut all rhubarb stalks but one in 2 cm pieces.
The last stalk should be cut in pieces, mixed with 100 sugar and pickled raw in the fridge for 12 hours.
Bring the other rhubarb pieces to the boil with a little water and the rest of the sugar.
Add star aniseed and vanilla to the compote, and let it simmer for 20 minutes
Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. squeeze off excess water and mix it with the still hot rhubarb compote. The texture should be fluid but not runny.
Mix egg yolks and sugar well.
Melt the chocolate in a water bath.
Whip the double cream until light and fluffy.
Let the melted chocolate cool a little before you stir it with the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Fold in the whipped cream and leave the chocolate mousse to set.
Divide the sponge cake lengthwise in two circular discs.
Spread rhubarb compote over the bottom disc.
Place the remaining disc on top and decorate with chocolate mousse.
The raw sugared pieces of rhubarb can be used as a finishing touch added right before the sponge cake with rhubarb and chocolate mousse is ready to serve.