Gammy’s “Ice Box Dessert” became our Mom’s “Chocolate Dessert”. This spectacularly easy and delicious mousse deserves, but never gets, a different name. One brother requests it every year for his birthday, the other made it with his wife last weekend as their contribution to a ’60’s themed dinner party. It’s as timeless as it is popular. The original recipe calls for Lady Fingers, but I’ve yet to tackle a gluten free recipe them. Instead I used GF pound cake cut into thin strips – different than the delicate sponge, but just as satisfying.
Gammy & Mom’s Chocolate “Ice Box” Dessert
8 oz. good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
8 oz. good quality milk chocolate
6 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons GF vanilla extract
4 1/2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
One 5 x 9 inch loaf of GF poundcake (prepared or use recipe below)
1 pint of heavy cream, whipped and lightly sweetened with 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar or 1-2 tablespoon of Kahlua.
Note: Read about Kahlua and decide for yourself. This may inform how you use other liquors and alcohol based flavorings.
1. Melt the dark and milk chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.
2. Combine the hot water and espresso powder, add to the melted chocolate, stirring to mix well. If it starts to thicken, set the double boiler over the steaming water to loosen the texture.
3. Separate the eggs into two bowls, at least one that can be fitted to a stand mixer.
4. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thickened and a little lighter in color. Beat in a little of the chocolate mixture, followed by the rest, scraping down as needed.
5. Whip the egg whites until stiff, but not dry.
6. Stir in a little of the chocolate/egg yolk misture. Slowly add the rest, continuing to beat slowly, and scraping down as needed. Using a rubber spatula, make certain to incorporate whatever heavier chocolate has fallen to the bottom of the bowl.
7. Line first the sides, and then the bottom of a glass serving bowl with GF pound cake strips cut 1/4 inch thick. The top of the strips should rise slightly above the side of the. Reserve enough cake strips to make one or two layers as you fill the bowl with mousse.
8. Pour 1/2 (or 1/3 depending on how many layers you’ve planned) of the mousse over the bottom layer of cake. Top with another layer of pound cake, followed by the rest of the mousse. The top layer should be chocolate. Cover and chill for at least three hours and up to 24 hours before serving with whipped cream.
GF Pound Cake
1 cups (6 oz.) GF Flour Mix (your, ours, or Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 scant teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup (5 oz.) light brown sugar
1/4 cup organic vegetable oil (avoid olive and nut oils – too strong a flavor for this cake)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease or spray a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, xantham gum, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the eggs at medium speed until well blended. Slowly add the sugar, whilst beating until the mixture is thickened and lighter in color.
4. Measure the sour cream, milk, oil, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup, whisk to blend.
5. Add the wet and dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternately, finishing with a small portion of the dry ingredients and scraping down as needed.
6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a crack appears in the top and the cake slightly pulls away from the edges.
7. Cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out of the pan. Cool completely before cutting to use for Chocolate Dessert.
Note: the cake can be prepared a day or two ahead, wrapped well and refrigerated.