Chocolate Chai Mousse Cake (Dairy Free)
Well, friends, I have officially reached the home stretch. My graduate auditions start on Sunday in New York, and things are starting to feel very, very real. Until they’re over, my days will be filled with a lot of mental preparation, meditation, and positive thinking (not to mention, lots of practicing). When all that eventually proves exhausting (which it will), this chocolate cake should be a pretty decent substitute. This recipe was created on an impulse yesterday, when my teacher called me at 2:45 to ask why I wasn’t at my lesson. I had misheard her and written my lesson time down for 3:30, but she had actually told me 2:30. Although it was an honest mistake and I’ve never done that before, I was really frustrated at myself and the situation. Since I was already having a pretty bad day to begin with, I turned to the only remedy I could think of – chocolate. For a chocoholic, bad day + bad luck + chocolate = good day. Always.
For those of you who don’t already know, I am also a tea-holic. I gave up coffee over a year ago, and have found that I’m now so detoxed from caffeine that I’m essentially unable to drink it without feeling sick (you may use your one complimentary eye-roll now). I occasionally have tea in the morning, but I almost always have a cup before bed because I just reeeeeally really love tea. If you’re having a hard time visualizing my obsession, my roommate bought a next-to-the-Keurig organizer for our living room over winter break, and its contents are 90% my tea boxes and 10% K-Cups. Oops. I’ve also been buying teas faster than I can actually use them, so I figured it was time to start using my tea stash creatively.
The last element that went into the creation of this beautiful cake was the container of coconut cream I had in my fridge waiting to be used. Coconut cream is the delectable layer of dense, rich, creamy, coconutty deliciousness that can be found when a can of coconut milk is left to separate in the refrigerator. With a little bit of cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a lot of lactic acid (thanks, biceps!) I turned the cream into a smooth and fluffy mousse, and the Chocolate Chai Mousse Cake was born.
I used a fancy pan that I bought from Ikea to make this cake, because I’ve had it for months and it was just begging to be broken in with something delicious. However, you don’t have to be fancy, and could even make this into a thin layer cake by dividing the batter into two round pans and then putting the mousse in the middle instead. Since you won’t get to see how awesome this pan is in any pictures of the decorated cake, heres a picture of it pre-decorated in all its beauty:
- 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (8 oz.) boiling water
- 1 bag of chai tea (I used Spiced Rooibos Chai from Trader Joe's)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Cream from one can of full-fat coconut milk (leave can in refrigerator upside down for a day or two, then open right side up and scoop out the cream)
- 1/2 tbs cacao powder
- 1 tbs. maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, cacao, coconut sugar, and baking soda.
- Bring 8 oz of water to a boil (I just microwaved a mug with 8 oz. of water for 3 minutes) and let your tea bag steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on the intensity of flavor you want. Once steeped to your liking, remove your tea bag and drop the coconut oil into the hot tea to melt it.
- Once completely melted, pour the tea/oil mixture into your dry ingredients, mix to combine, and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and vanilla and then stir into the cake batter.
- Pour batter into a cake pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the mixture is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
- Combine the coconut cream, cacao, and maple syrup, whisking heavily until fluffy and completely combined.
- If your coconut cream is very solid and you're having a hard time mixing, you may choose to gradually add some of the leftover coconut milk from your can until the mousse is at a satisfactory consistency. Do not put the mousse on the cake until it has cooled completely! Decorate with sprinkles or dust with a little bit of cocoa.