oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Butter and flour a 4-cup (948 ml) stainless steel bowl (8 x 3 inches) (20 x 8
cm). Set aside while you make the cake.
Genoise Cake: In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the
paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on high
speed for about five minutes, or until pale, thick and fluffy. (When you
slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow
ribbons.) Sift half the flour
over the egg mixture and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula, just
until the flour is incorporated. Sift the remaining flour into the
batter and fold in.
Pour the batter into
the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Bake for 50 - 55 minutes
or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool and then remove from pan.
Note: You can make the
cake several days in advance. Just wrap the cake in plastic wrap, place it
back into the bowl, and refrigerate until ready to continue the recipe. A
cake that is made several days in advance will soak up more of the soaking syrup
than a cake that is used the same day as it is made.
For the Soaking Syrup:
In a measuring cup combine the orange juice, Grand Marnier, and enough sugar to
make it sweet enough to suit your taste.
Using a large serrated knife,
cut the genoise into three equal layers. Cut off the hard crusty top of
the genoise as it will not absorb the soaking syrup. Set aside while you
make the chocolate mousse.
For Chocolate Mousse:
Before whipping the cream, place the bowl and whisk in the freezer or fridge for
about 15-30 minutes until they are very cold. Meanwhile melt the chopped
chocolate in a saucepan over a pan of simmering water (or double boiler).
Remove from heat and let cool until the chocolate is at room temperature.
Whip the heavy whipping cream
until soft peaks form.
Note: The tricky part of
this recipe is to fold the cream into the chocolate without the chocolate
seizing and the chocolate mousse, instead of being smooth, has small bits of
hard chocolate in it. If this happens it is still useable but the mousse
will not have that smooth texture. So make sure the melted chocolate is at
room temperature before you add the cream. (Seizing of the chocolate happens
when the temperature of the chocolate and the cream are not close enough.)
Now, with a spatula, quickly
fold a little of the cream into the chocolate. Doing this step quickly
helps to avoid the chocolate seizing. Once a little cream has been added,
quickly fold in about half of the cream. Then fold in the rest.
To Assemble the Cake:
Take the bowl you baked the cake in and line it with plastic wrap, making sure
the plastic wrap overlaps the top of the bowl. Place the top rounded piece
of the cake into the bottom of the bowl. Using a pastry brush, soak the
genoise with the soaking syrup. (The amount of soaking syrup the cake will
absorb (anywhere from say 3-6 tablespoons) will depend on how old the cake is
i.e. a cake that is a few days old will absorb more syrup than a freshly baked
cake.) Spoon about 1/3 of the chocolate mousse onto the soaked top layer
of the cake. Place the next layer of the cake on top of the mousse and
brush the layer with some of the soaking syrup. Spoon the rest of the
chocolate mousse on top of the cake layer. Cover the mousse with the last
layer of cake and brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup. Lightly
press down on the cake and cover the assembled cake with plastic wrap and
refrigerate several hours, or even overnight before covering with the ganache.
For the Ganache: Place the
chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside.
Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate
and allow to stand for a few minutes so the chocolate melts.
Gently stir with a whisk until smooth. If
using, add the liqueur.
Remove the cake from the
refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and turn the cake, domed side up, onto
a cake circle and place on a wire rack. Lift off the bowl and plastic
wrap. Put the wire rack onto a baking sheet to catch any drips. Pour the ganache
over the cake, making sure you are covering all the sides of the cake with the
ganache. If there are any bare spots on the sides of
the cake, scoop up a little of the leftover ganache and cover the bare spots.
Once the cake is covered with the ganache, using a large spatula, remove the
cake from the wire rack and place on a serving plate. At this point you
can decorate the cake with truffles and/or berries, if desired.
Refrigerate the cake until serving. The cake be completely assembled the
day before serving.
Leftover ganache can be strained to
remove any crumbs and used to make truffles.