This matcha black sesame mousse cake is what I’d call a happy accident. Originally I’d planned to make a black sesame cake with matcha mousse, but the black sesame cake just was not cooperating. (Still in search of a good black sesame sponge cake; I’m all ears if you have one!) After two failed attempts and a dangerously low number of eggs left, I decided to abandon ship and go back to my tried and true sponge cake, this time with a matcha twist.
So then it was on to find a black sesame mousse recipe. My criteria were that it had to use black sesame powder (because that’s all I had) and be pregnant-lady friendly (i.e. no raw eggs); this recipe fit the bill. It worked out beautifully — a nice, pillowy, not-too-sweet mousse with a present sesame flavor.
To add some sweetness and texture, the cake is finished with matcha white chocolate ganache, matcha meringues, and black sesame brittle.
I know there are a lot of steps, but really — it looks more complicated than it actually is. Most steps are easy and don’t take long to complete. The assembly is done Momofuku Milk Bar style, which makes getting the nice crisp layers…wait for it…a piece of cake. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) Cake disasters aside, I honestly enjoyed both making and eating this cake. The matcha + black sesame combo is a classic flavor combo for good reason; and this iteration of it is light and elegant.
A few notes:
- Originally I thought I’d whip up some of the matcha white chocolate ganache for decorations, so I made the ganache using a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream. In the end I didn’t need the whipped ganache; had I known this I’d have gone with a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream for a thicker glaze. Either will work; it just depends on the thickness/look you prefer.
- Some of the elements (cake, meringues, brittle) can be made in advance. I wouldn’t do the meringues and brittle more than a day in advance, though, as they will lose some crispness — especially if the weather is humid.
Matcha Black Sesame Mousse Cake
Makes one 6-inch cake
For the Matcha Sponge
- One recipe of this sponge cake; replace 5g of cake flour with 2 tsp matcha powder
- Simple Syrup
For the Black Sesame Mousse
Recipe from Grace’s Kitchen (make right before you’re ready to fill the cake)
- 150 g whole milk
- 2 Tbsp cream cheese
- 70 g sugar
- 4 tbsp black sesame powder
- 10 g gelatin powder
- 50 gm water
- 300 gm heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks (keep refrigerated)
For the Matcha Meringues
(Adapted from Meringue Girls)
Note: This makes a big batch of meringues, way more than you will need just for decorations. You could easily quarter or halve the recipe; I just made a lot because I was giving some away.
- 300g caster sugar
- 150g egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp matcha powder
For the Black Sesame Brittle
(Recipe from The Little Epicurean)
- 25 grams glucose, or light corn syrup
- 1 tsp water
- 65 grams unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 80 grams granulated sugar
- 50 grams toasted black sesame seeds
For the Matcha White Chocolate Ganache
- 60 g matcha white chocolate, chopped (or plain white chocolate, plus 1/2 tsp matcha powder)
- 30-60 g heavy cream (use up to 60 g if you want a thinner glaze)
- One 6″ x 3″ cake ring (or springform pan with the base removed)
- One 6-inch and one 8-inch cake board
Make the Black Sesame Mousse:
- Mix gelatin powder and water in a small bowl. Set aside to bloom for about 10 minutes.
- Heat milk and cream cheese over medium heat in a small saucepan, whisking to combine smoothly. Add sugar and black sesame powder and mix well with a whisk to make sure the mixture is lump free.
- Heat the gelatin mixture for about 10 seconds in the microwave, or until the gelatin is dissolved.
- Remove the milk mixture from the heat and immediately stir in the gelatin. Allow to cool briefly. Fold in the whipped cream in three additions. Use immediately.
Make the Matcha Meringues:
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Line a small baking tray with baking parchment, pour in the caster sugar and heat it in the oven for 7 minutes (or until the edges crystallize). Heating the sugar helps to create a glossy, stable mixture. Pour the egg whites into a mixer and whisk them slowly, allowing small stabilizing bubbles to form, then increase the speed to high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
- Take the sugar out of the oven, and turn oven down to 210F (leave the door open to help speed this up). With your mixer on full speed, very slowly spoon the hot sugar into the beaten egg whites, making sure the mixture comes back up to stiff peaks after each addition of sugar (don’t add any crystallized bits). Once you have added all the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed until you have a smooth, stiff and glossy mixture. You should continue to whisk for at least 5 minutes once sugar has incorporated. Feel a bit of the mixture between your fingers; if you can still feel the gritty sugar, keep whisking at full speed until it has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, stiff and glossy. Sift in the matcha powder and whisk just until combined.
- Spoon the meringue into a piping bag with the tip cut off. Pipe out your kisses onto your prepared sheets by keeping the bag tight, straight and directly above your baking tray. For decorative purposes, I like to make meringues of different sizes; just keep in mind they’ll finish at different times; so you may want to pipe smaller meringues on one tray and bigger ones on the other.
- Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the meringue bases come cleanly off the parchment paper. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Make the Black Sesame Brittle
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with a Silpat. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine glucose, water, butter and salt. Set over medium heat and cook until butter has melted. Stir as needed to ensure even heating.
- Once mixture is liquid, add sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in sesame seeds. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until sugar is boiling and has turned amber brown. Let cool to room temperature to allow brittle to set and harden. Once cool, use your hands to break up the brittle. Store in an airtight container.
Make the Matcha White Chocolate Ganache
- Place the chopped matcha white chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Warm the cream in the microwave until steaming. (Note: if you’re using matcha powder, sift this into the cream before heating and make sure to whisk so no lumps remain.) Pour evenly over the chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute before stirring to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature until it drizzles off a spoon slowly (you can also stick it in the refrigerator to speed the process up).
Assemble the Matcha Black Sesame Mousse Cake
- Use the pastry ring to cut out 2 six-inch cake rounds. (The rest of the cake is extra; use it to make a trifle or just snack on it.) Wash and dry the pastry ring and line it with acetate. Place on top of a 6-inch cake board on a quarter sheet pan.
- Brush the first cake round with simple syrup and fit it into the bottom of the pastry ring. Pour in half the black sesame mousse. Freeze for 10-15 minutes or until the mousse is set.
- Put the second round of cake on top of the mousse and brush it with simple syrup. Nestle a second round of acetate between the pastry ring and first acetate round.
- Pour the remaining black sesame mousse over the second cake round. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.
- Freeze your cake for at least 20 minutes before applying the matcha white chocolate ganache (this will keep the ganache from melting the mousse). Set the cake on an upturned bowl on a plate or baking sheet (to catch any drips). Remove the pastry ring and acetate. Using a spoon, drizzle the ganache along the edges to create a drip effect, then spread a layer over the top. At this point, you can affix the cake to an eight-inch cake round for easier moving. Refrigerate immediately to set.
- Right before serving, decorate with matcha meringues and black sesame brittle. I also used some crushed up meringues and black sesame seeds. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.