Pascale’s kitchen: Happy birthday to me!

Today, I am lucky to be celebrating both my birthday and my wedding anniversary. This year I have chosen to bake my own birthday cake: a decadent mousse cheesecake!

 RICH CHEESECAKE MOUSSE  (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
RICH CHEESECAKE MOUSSE
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

I love baking. I’ve authored a number of baking cookbooks, and I’ve baked hundreds of birthday cakes over the years in a variety of shapes and flavors, according to the wishes of the birthday boy/girl. Creating quality, professional birthday cakes requires a high level of skill and ability, as well as considerable knowledge in baking and icing techniques. 

Today, I am lucky to be celebrating both my birthday and my wedding anniversary. Most years, my family buys me a cake from one of my favorite bakeries in town. This year, however, I have chosen to bake my own birthday cake: a decadent mousse cheesecake. In addition, I will also be preparing chocolate truffles with walnuts and marzipan, as well as a chocolate and hazelnut cream cake that just melts in your mouth. 

May we all enjoy a year full of joyous birthday celebrations with friends and loved ones. 

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RICH CHEESECAKE MOUSSE 

Use a 22-cm.-diameter pan or 10 mini 9-cm.-diameter pans.

Klik cornflakes base:3 packages Klik cornflakes6 chocolate Petit Beurre cookies, ground2 Tbsp. ground almonds60 gr. butter, melted

 Cake (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Cake (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Cheesecake and white chocolate mousse:4 egg yolks3 Tbsp. powdered sugar1 Tbsp. water½ package (8 gr.) gelatin2 Tbsp. water (40 ml.) for dissolving gelatin200 gr. cream cheese400 gr. 9% white cheese200 gr. white chocolate melted over a bain-marie or in microwaveZest from 1 lemon1-2 drops vanilla extract350 ml. sweet cream2 Tbsp. powdered sugarSurprise inside:½-1 package Klik cookies

White chocolate icing: 150 ml. sweet cream200 gr. white chocolate

Toppings:¼ package Klik cornflakes1 package brown and white Klik ½ package with Klik pop rocks, crumbled

Add the Klik cornflakes, ground Petit Beurre cookies and ground almonds to a bowl and mix. Pour the melted butter on top and mix again. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan(s) and press down to flatten. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set. 

To prepare the cheesecake mousse, whip the egg yolks with an electric beater. Gradually add the powdered sugar and water. Continue whipping until mixture thickens. 

Add the gelatin and water to a bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add the gelatin mixture to the egg yolk mixture.

Mix the cheeses together in a separate bowl. Then, fold ¹⁄3 of the cheese mixture into egg mixture. Fold in the rest of the cheese mixture until mixed well. 

Add the melted white chocolate, lemon zest and vanilla extract. 

In a separate bowl, whip the sweet cream with an electric mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar and keep whipping until cream is thick. Fold the cream into the egg mixture. 

Take the pan(s) out of the fridge and spoon on the cheese mixture. 

Push the “surprise” Klik cookies inside the cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. 

To prepare the icing, pour the cream into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the white chocolate and mix until it’s smooth. Let cool a little. 

Remove the cake(s) from the pan(s) and spread the icing on top. Let icing begin to set, then add the Klik cornflakes around the edges, the brown and white Klik on top, and the crumbled Klik with pop rocks in the center. 

Level of difficulty: Medium.Time: 50 minutes + overnight.Status: Dairy.

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES WITH WALNUTS AND MARZIPAN

Use 6 rectangular ring pans that are 3 cm. x 10 cm.

 Cake  (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Cake (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Truffles: 200 ml. sweet cream150 gr. bittersweet chocolate 70% cocoa100 gr. walnuts, chopped coarsely

Marzipan: 250 gr. almonds1 cup powdered sugar¼ cup syrup1 tsp. orange blossom water

Toppings:Chocolate or white chocolate prepared icing½ cup almonds or hazelnuts½ cup cocoa powder

To prepare the truffles, pour the cream into a pot and heat over a medium-low flame. Bring to a boil, then turn off the flame. Add the chocolate and mix well. Let mixture come to room temperature. 

Add the nuts and mix. Let the mixture set for a few minutes. 

Place the rings on a tray lined with baking paper. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and squeeze out the mixture into the rings so that they are 1 cm. high. Place in the fridge. 

To prepare the marzipan, soak the almonds in boiling water. Once the water has cooled, remove the skin of the almonds. Soak the almonds in cold water for another 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry and grind in a food processor. 

While grinding, add the powdered sugar and slowly add the syrup. Mix well. If necessary, add a little bit more syrup. Add the orange blossom water and mix. 

Roll out the marzipan until it’s 1 cm. thick between two sheets of baking paper that were dusted with powdered sugar. Cut the marzipan into rectangles that are 3 cm. x 10 cm. and place each one on top of the chocolate truffles that were in the fridge. Gently press them down. (Alternatively, instead of rolling out the marzipan, take a bit with your fingers and press it down on top of truffles.) 

Return truffles to the fridge to set for another 2 hours. 

Cover the truffles with icing, add the nuts and sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Level of difficulty: Medium-difficult.Time: 3 hours.Status: Dairy.

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT CREAM CAKE

Note: This cake calls for 8 eggs.Use a 24-cm.- or 26-cm.-diameter springform pan.

Chocolate base: 300 gr. bittersweet chocolate150 gr. butter, cubed1 cup demerara sugar5 large eggs, separated3 egg yolks (from large eggs)1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules1 Tbsp. chocolate liqueur¼ tsp. salt

Hazelnut cream:3 egg whites (from large eggs)¹⁄3 cup sugar2 drops lemon juicePinch of salt100 gr. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces100 gr. roasted hazelnuts, peeled and chopped coarsely2 tsp. corn flour or potato starch

Toppings: 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted2 Tbsp. chocolate shavingsSome chopped hazelnuts

To prepare the chocolate base, melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a bain-marie. 

Separate 5 eggs. Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. 

Whip the butter and gradually add the sugar and the 8 egg yolks. Lower the speed and gradually add the melted chocolate, coffee granules, liqueur and salt. Mix well. 

Fold ¼ of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg mixture and mix well. 

Line a pan with baking paper and grease the sides. Pour in the mixture and flatten. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170° for 20 minutes. Then, increase the temperature to 180° and bake another 10-15 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out dry. The outer layer of the cake should be dry and cracking, and even though the inside of the cake seems like it’s not baked all the way, remove the cake from the oven so it won’t get too dry.

To prepare the hazelnut cream, place 3 egg whites in the clean bowl of an electric mixer and mix on high speed. When stiff peaks form, gradually add the sugar, lemon juice and mix well. 

Fold in the chocolate, hazelnuts and corn flour. Mix well. Cover the cake with the cream and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cream has expanded. Let cool. 

Mix the cocoa powder with the chocolate and sprinkle on top of and sides of cake. Add the chopped nuts on top. 

Level of difficulty: Easy-medium.Time: 1 hour.Status: Dairy, gluten-free.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.