Mozart Cake: Step by Step

2005-11-22

For a recent dinner party, I decided to try baking a cake from the book, Desserts by Pierre Hermé by Dorie Greenspan. The recipe was involved, but seemed manageable. Here is a pictorial of the steps:

Mozart Cake (1)Mise en place for the cinnamon dough. The unusual ingredient is the cooked egg yolks, which is an Austrian technique, hence the naming of the cake.
 
Mozart Cake (2)After combining all the ingredients in the mixer, the dough resembles a peanut butter cookie dough. I divided it into three discs, wrapped the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerated them.
 
Mozart Cake (3)This was a very tricky dough to roll out: when it was too cold, it cracked, but as it warmed it required a lot of flour to prevent sticking. It's also very thin, making it a challenge to transfer to the parchment-lined sheet. After baking, the pastry was very fragile. A brief glance was almost enough to make it crumble.
 
Mozart Cake (4)I sautéed small cubes of Granny Smith apples until they developed a crust. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I misread the directions and quadrupled the amount of sugar. Whoops.
 
Mozart Cake (5)For the mousse, I melted chocolate, then whisked in cinnamon-infused whipping cream. The mixture needed to cool to 104°F (the directions actually say this), before egg whites whipped to stiff peaks were added. I left the mixer on too long, so the whites became grainy. The apples were folded in as well.
 
Mozart Cake (6)For assembly, the three cake layers alternated with the chocolate mousse. All of them did not survive the trip between baking sheet and cake ring. Every one broke.
 
Mozart Cake (7)To unmold, I used a hair dryer (the book tells you to do this) to warm the ring. A bit of cocoa powder around the edges, and some thinly sliced apples with a bit of quince jam brushed on top were the prescribed garnish. The directions crack me up: you're supposed to place the cinnamon sticks so that they cross and touch the apples. I dutifully followed suit.
 
Mozart Cake (8)The pastry is very tasty, like a soft shortbread. The trio of chocolate, cinnamon and apple work beautifully together and the overall taste is balanced. Well worth the effort.
 

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