I first came across this recipe in one of the pastry blogs I follow. The first thought that came to my mind when I read the ingredients list was: how odd! From the increasing popularity of Japanese style desserts in Indonesia, the pairing of green tea and red bean is no longer deemed uncommon. Although green tea and chocolate is a tad more adventurous, stronger Asian influences on Western pastry (which resulted in the likes of the green tea opera), have made this combination more familiar. But mixing all three together? I wasn’t so sure.
However, after making the ‘entremet’ itself (the technical French term for a multi-layered mousse cake), this combination surprisingly works really well. Most of the time, to determine whether the recipe is a good one and whether it will work out, I like to see who wrote it. I’m not very familiar with Japanese pastry chefs and the only one I know so far is Hidemi Sugino. So, I did my research. It turns out that Kanae Kobayashi has a pastry shop and a baking school in Kyoto. It’s too bad that I can’t read Japanese, but her creations sure look pretty! This also looks like a good place to try the next time I visit Japan.
Another way to see if an entremet recipe will work well is to see the different ‘textures’ and ‘flavors’ in the cake. The chocolate sponge is sweet and fluffy, while the chocolate ganache is bittersweet and velvety. The chunky red bean is crumbly with an earthy flavor. The green tea mousse is soft, light but slightly bitter. The glaze is sweet and thick. Mix it all together and the resulting product is unique but balanced and delicious. One other thing I like about Japanese recipes, including this one, is that the cake isn’t overly sweet. So if you’re feeling adventurous and looking for something different (and has some time to kill), this is one recipe to try.
From bottom – chocolate sponge cake, chocolate ganache with chunky adzuki red beans, chocolate sponge cake, green tea mousse, green tea glaze
Chocolate, Red Bean and Green Tea Mousse Cake
Note: if you don’t feel like making the cake within 2 days, it’s possible to make it over several days. For the most relaxed time-frame, make the sponge cake on day 1, the ganache and the assembly of the chocolate base on day 2, the mousse on day 3, the glaze on day 4 and the unmolding and final decoration on day 5. Just be sure to freeze it instead of putting it in the fridge.
Chocolate Sponge Cake (Biscuit a Cuillere)
makes 2 layers of 40cm x 30cm
120g egg yolks
20g cocoa powder
240g egg whites
180g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks slightly. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until it forms stiff but not dry peaks. Add the sugar towards the end of the process. Once stiff, add the yolks to the egg whites and whisk on high for two or three seconds, just to incorporate it quickly. Fold in the cocoa-flour mixture gently, taking care not to deflate the batter. Pipe the batter onto a sheet of baking paper that will fit the oven tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until it’s springy to the touch and the bottom is slightly browner. Cool the cake layer over a grill.
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Stir everything until smooth.
Chocolate Ganache with Red Bean
80g bittersweet chocolate (70%)
125ml whipping cream
1 can chunky adzuki bean paste
Heat the cream until boiling and pour over the chopped bittersweet chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
Green Tea Mousse (*start preparing after step 5 of assembly)
160ml whole milk
10g green tea powder
50g caster sugar
6 g gelatin sheets
125ml whipping cream
Soften the gelatin sheets in ice water and set aside. Whisk the green tea powder and caster sugar in a bowl to mix. Heat the milk until it boils, remove from heat and pour over the green tea-sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Add the gelatin to the mixture and whisk vigorously until the gelatin dissolves. Cool the mixture over a bowl of ice to approximately 15-16C (until cold to the touch but still liquid). In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the green tea mixture until combined.
Green Tea Glaze (*start preparing after step 6 of assembly)
50g apricot jelly
7g gelatin sheets
100g whipping cream
40g milk powder
1tsp green tea powder
200g caster sugar
75g glucose (or honey)
Soften the gelatin sheets in ice water and set aside. In a saucepan, heat the whipping cream and milk powder. Once boiling, add the green tea powder and stir until well combined. In another saucepan, place the water, glucose and sugar. Bring the mixture to a 110C. Once it reaches the temperature, remove from heat and add the hot cream and after the softened gelatin. Whisk until well combined. Melt the apricot jelly and add it into the mixture. Cool the glaze and use it when it’s warm to the touch or it coats the back of a spoon.
- Cut the sponge cake to the shape of the cake ring to make two layers.
- Place one layer on the bottom and brush with half of the chocolate syrup.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the first layer and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
- Spread the chunky adzuki red bean evenly into the ganache.
- Cover with the second layer of the sponge cake. Press down to make sure the layers are even and there are no “air gaps”. Brush with the remaining chocolate syrup. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Pour the green tea mousse over the set chocolate base and fill until the rim. Spread the mousse to obtain a smooth surface using a metal spatula. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Pour the glaze over the mousse and smoothen with a metal spatula. Refrigerate overnight.
- Using a hairdryer, unmold the cake from the ring.
- If desired, cut the sides of the cake for a clean and neat finish.
- Decorate as desired. In this case, I used wafer sticks and berries glazed in apricot jelly.