Autumn flavours rock this cake, with a date fig spice cake enrobed in coffee hazelnut mousse, with a caramel glaze. I had added edible copper sparkles to the glaze but by the time they were served their sparkle disappeared. You can of course also choose to make a square mousse cake and cut it into squares later. In that case, use less glaze – just enough to make a thin layer on top of the mousse.
Make sure you cut the dates and figs finely or the cake may fall apart on cutting.
The recipes have been explained in a bit more detail in their separate recipes.
For the Date Fig Spice Cake:
- 125gr soft butter
- 80gr moist brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 4 tbs hazelnut liqueur (optional)
- 180gr flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1.4th tsp ground cloves
- 1/4th tsp ground cardamom
- 125gr dates, stoned and chopped
- 125gr dried figs, tops off and chopped
For the coffee hazelnut mousse:
- 4 sheets of gelatin (5gr)
- 40gr sugar
- 1 tbs water
- 200gr heavy cream
- 2 tsp espresso powder
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbs hazelnut liqueur
- pinch of salt
- 150gr heavy cream
For the caramel glaze:
- 200gr sugar
- 15gr lemon juice
- 100gr water
- 165gr heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 15gr cornstarch
- 35gr water
- 4 sheets of gelatin
For the gianduia:
- 75gr hazelnuts
- 75gr sugar
- 115gr dark chocolate chips
- 20gr cream
Makes 12 logs
Make the spice cake:
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs one by one, beating well between additions. Beat in the hazelnut liqueur.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, dates and figs.
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet until smooth, taking care not to beat too long or the cake may turn dense.
Scoop the batter in a 20cm prepared cake tin (floured and buttered, or lined with baking paper).
Bake for 30min on 180°C.
Leave to cool, then cut into 12 fingers (cut in quarters, then each quarter in 3 fingers).
Make the coffee mousse:
Soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes.
Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pan and cook until caramelised – do not stir or it will crystallise. Add the cream and stir until the caramel has dissolved.
Combine the egg yolks with the espresso powder. Stir the hot cream slowly into the egg yolks while stirring well.
Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Heat while stirring until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon with a creamy layer that doesn’t flow down when pulling your finger through.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the squeezed out gelatin and hazelnut liqueur. Push some clingfilm on top of the custard. This prevents a skin from forming.
Leave to room temperature but not set. Whip the remaining heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold into the cooled cream.
Divide the mousse over 12 individual moulds. Push a spice cake finger into the mousse. Level the mousse, then place in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
Make the glaze:
Place the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.
Heat the sugar and lemon juice without stirring until it becomes caramel. Stirring will cause it to crystallise.
Add the water, cream, vanilla and salt to the caramel. Stir to dissolve the caramel and bring to a rolling boil.
Combine the cornstarch and water. Stir well, then pour it into the caramel sauce. Bring back to the boil, then turn off the heat.
Squeeze out the gelatin and stir it into the caramel. Leave to cool to 40°C. You can reheat to liquid in brief bursts in the microwave. Make sure you don’t use it over 40°C because it will run off the mousse too quickly and cause the mousse to melt.
Take the mousse cakes out of the moulds and place on a wire rack. Pour the glaze over them. Take the cakes from the rack and place them on a serving tray. Leave to defrost in the fridge.
Make the gianduia:
Puree the hazelnuts and 1/4th of the sugar until becoming a paste.
Add the remaining sugar and the chocolate and blend for 2 minutes, until very smooth.
Blend in the cream briefly to make the mixture pipeable.
Scoop in a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle. Pipe decoration on the logs.