Caramel and chocolate have long been popular in desserts, and people of all ages enjoy them. I’ve always been a fan of the combination of caramel and chocolate, and the cake I’d want to show you today is an elegant dessert with perfect combinations of walnuts, caramel, and chocolate.
The cake is a unique and sophisticated blend of numerous ingredients and flavors, including walnut cake on the bottom, semi-smooth chocolate on top, caramel toasted nut cream on the bottom, and mascarpone and coffee mousse on top. The entire cake is finished with a caramel mirror glaze perfect for holiday. I know it seems complicated, but it actually works quite fast and each step is easy to prepare. Enjoy!
For the Walnut Cake
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnuts, ground
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
For the Chocolate Layer
5.5 oz semisweet chocolate
3 tbsp whipping cream
1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp gelatin powder
2 tsp instant coffee
16 0z mascarpone, room temperature
1 1/2 cup whipping cream (35% fat), chilled
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Walnut Caramel Layer
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, for caramel
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp sugar, for mixing with yolks
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted, cut into smaller pieces
5 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
For the Caramel Mirror Glaze
1 tbsp water, for mixing with cornstarch
1 tbsp gelatin powder
3.5 fl oz water
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup cold water, for dissolving gelatin
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice or water
For the walnut cake
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). A greased and parchment-lined 8 1/2 inch (21cm) pan should be used.
Add a sprinkle of salt to the egg whites and whisk until foamy. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the flour and walnuts gently. After pouring the mixture into the prepared pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely before using an 8-inch (20-cm) cake ring to trim the edges.
For the chocolate layer
Melt the chocolate and cream together in a heatproof bowl over a bain-marie. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the walnut cake and chill until it hardens.
For the caramel walnut layer
In a pan, toast the walnuts, stirring regularly. When the mixture has cooled enough, cut it into smaller pieces.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks and 3 tbsp (45g) sugar until smooth and light yellow in color.
In a saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup (70g) sugar and the water. Place over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and the mixture turns a caramel color.
Stir in the butter until it has melted, then add the walnuts and salt. Mix in the combined yolks for up to 1 minute, or until it thickens.
Don’t overcook the food. Allow to cool slightly.
Refrigerate the walnut caramel layer on top of the chocolate until the mascarpone mousse is ready.
For mascarpone mousse
Gelatin should be dissolved in cold water, then added instant coffee and allowed to swell for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the mascarpone cheese until creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar until it is evenly distributed. Pour in the vanilla extract. Place the gelatin in a small saucepan over low heat until it dissolves, then pour it over the mascarpone mixture and stir to blend.
Whip the cream in a separate dish until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture gently.
Place the walnut cake in the center of a parchment paper-lined 9-inch (23-cm) pan or Delicake cakeware, as I did.
Spread the mousse on top of the cake and around the edges. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight, covered.
For caramel mirror glaze
Let gelatin swell for 5 to 10 minutes after dissolving it in 1/4 cup cold water.
Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tbsp water in a small basin and leave away until ready to use.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Heat on low until the sugar melts and turns a caramel color. Combine the water, cream, dissolved cornstarch, and salt in a mixing bowl. Bring to a boil until the sauce has thickened.
Take the pan off the heat and mix in the gelatin.
Allow the glaze to cool to 85F.
Remove the cake from the freezer and defrost the edges with a hair dryer. To collect the excess, remove the cake from the pan and lay it on a rack or a bowl put over a parchment paper coated baking sheet.
Drizzle the glaze over the cake’s top and sides. Remove the drips with an offset spatula and sprinkle chopped walnuts on the bottom of the cake. To defrost the cake and set the frosting, place it on a serving tray and refrigerate for several hours.