05/23/2024

Nothing screams fun and extravagance like a tricolour layer cake. Why limit yourself to just one or two layers of colours and flavors when you can have all three at once? Presenting today’s show-stopping cake: the Neapolitan Mousse Cake, inspired by the beloved tricolour Neapolitan ice cream, known for its iconic blend of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors.

Neapolitan ice cream derives its name from the city of Naples in Italy, and its signature tri-colour layers are reminiscent of the Italian flag. The combination of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry has become the most popular trio due to the availability of these ingredients when the ice cream was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants. However, there are other intriguing variations such as chocolate-vanilla-raspberry or pistachio-vanilla-cherry that offer unique flavor profiles.

During our sleepover parties, my friends and I adore indulging in Neapolitan ice cream. As a group of indecisive girls with diverse ice cream preferences, having three flavors in one box is the perfect solution. Furthermore, to conclude our delightful dinner parties, we appreciate the light and airy texture of mousse cakes. That’s why I’ve chosen to create a Neapolitan Mousse Cake for this special occasion. Typically, I prepare this cake a day ahead, allowing ample time for it to set and chill in the fridge. When the time comes, I unveil it, leaving everyone amazed at the end of the party. Although the cake consists of six layers, assembling the mousse layers is remarkably simple. I’ve opted to utilize store-bought Italian sponge fingers as the base for this mousse creation, adding a touch of versatility.


The key ingredient in mousse is double cream, which is whipped until soft peaks form and then folded with other ingredients. Typically, if you’re making individual portions of mousse, there’s no need to add gelatin as the mousse will set nicely in the refrigerator. However, since we’re creating a taller cake today, using gelatin is crucial to ensure the mousse sets properly and provides sturdy support for all the layers. Personally, I prefer using gelatin leaves instead of powder because the powder can sometimes have a strong odor. For vegetarians, you can substitute the gelatin with vege-gel and make sure to follow the recommended vege-gel powder to liquid ratio as instructed on the package.

How To Make Neapolitan Mousse Cake

Tempt Your Taste Buds with Neapolitan Mousse Cake

EQUIPMENT

1 16 cm wide, 9-10 cm high mousse ring or a cake tin with a removable bottom.

INGREDIENTS

A. Chocolate Mousse

4 grams gelatin leaves or powder

20 ml cold water – for soaking the gelatin

90 grams chocolate (minimum 45 – 55% cocoa butter)

60 grams (57 ml) whipping cream or double cream – for melting the chocolate

125 grams (121 ml) whipping cream or double cream (30 – 40% fat) – for whipping

B. Strawberry Mousse

4 grams gelatin leaves or powder

20 ml cold water – for soaking the gelatin

180 grams strawberries

40 grams sugar

10 ml lemon juice (optional)

125 grams (121 ml) whipping cream or double cream (30 – 40% fat)

C. Vanilla Custard Mousse

4 grams gelatin leaves or powder

20 ml cold water – for soaking the gelatin

1 egg yolk (18 – 20 grams)

25 grams sugar

10 grams corn starch or all-purpose flour

125 ml warm whole milk

½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

110 grams whipping cream or double cream (30 – 40% fat)

D. Mousse Base

25 grams ladyfingers/savoiardi (Italian sponge fingers)

100 ml whole milk

VIDEO INSTRUCTION

You can find a detailed recipe with all the specific notes on my YouTube Channel (Savoury Days Kitchen) in both English and Vietnamese. To select your preferred language, click on CC > Setting > Language. You can check out the recipe at this link or watch the video below.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

This Neapolitan cake consists of three layers of mousse, with three layers of soaked ladyfingers serving as the base for each mousse layer. To save time, it’s recommended to prepare the chocolate and strawberry mousse first, followed by the vanilla custard mousse. If you plan to decorate the top of the cake with fresh fruits, it’s best to do so just before serving to ensure optimal appearance and taste.

  1. Line the bottom of the cake tin with greaseproof paper for easy removal later. A taller tin with a 15-16 cm wide bottom is ideal to achieve a visually appealing cake.
  2. Remove the sugar coating from the ladyfingers. Some sugar granules might not blend well with the cake, so removing the sugar is optional to ensure a smooth texture.
  3. Soak the gelatine from parts A and B in cold water. Allow the gelatine to soften for about 10-15 minutes before using.
  4. Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. If strawberries are not in season, frozen ones can be used as well. Blend the strawberries with sugar and lemon juice until smooth. The lemon juice helps maintain the vibrant red color of the strawberries.
  5. Pour the strawberry puree into a saucepan and heat it over high heat, stirring continuously until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and add one portion of the soaked gelatine to the saucepan, stirring to dissolve the gelatine. Transfer the strawberry mixture to a bowl and let it cool at room temperature.

*Note: It’s important to allow the strawberry puree to cool at room temperature rather than in the fridge, as colder temperatures can cause the puree to set into jelly.

  1. In a bowl, combine the chocolate and 60 grams of double cream. Place the bowl with the chocolate over a small pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water to prevent scorching the chocolate. Stir gradually until the chocolate melts completely.
  2. Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the heat. In another bowl, add the remaining portion of soaked gelatine and stir continuously to dissolve the gelatine. Allow the melted gelatine to cool at room temperature.
  3. When the strawberry puree and melted chocolate have almost reached room temperature, begin whipping the cream. Pour the combined cream from parts A and B (250 grams in total) into a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form. It’s recommended to chill the cream in the fridge and take it out just before whipping, as cold cream reaches soft peak faster.
  4. Prepare the chocolate mousse:
    • Add the gelatine mixture from step 7 into the melted chocolate.
    • Add half of the whipped cream to the melted chocolate and gently fold the mixture until smooth and well incorporated.
    • Ensure that the melted chocolate is close to room temperature before combining it with the whipped cream to prevent the chocolate from solidifying in the cold cream.
  5. Briefly soak the ladyfingers in milk for 1-2 seconds per side. The ladyfingers absorb liquid quickly, so it’s important not to leave them in the milk for too long to avoid disintegration. Arrange the soaked ladyfingers to cover the bottom of the cake tin, leaving a small gap at the sides for the mousse to fill. Pour the chocolate mousse into the tin and refrigerate to allow the surface of the first mousse layer to set.
  6. While the chocolate mousse sets, prepare the strawberry mousse. Similar to the chocolate mousse, combine the cooled strawberry puree from step 5 with the remaining whipped cream. Gently fold until the mixture becomes smooth and well incorporated.
  7. Take the tin out of the fridge and soak more ladyfingers. Arrange them on top of the set chocolate mousse layer. Pour the strawberry mousse into the tin, taking care to pour it gently to avoid collapsing the chocolate mousse layer that hasn’t fully set yet.

Leave the tin in the fridge until both layers are completely set. Meanwhile, you can proceed to prepare the vanilla custard mousse.

  1. Soak the gelatine in part C.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Beat until the mixture turns pale yellow. Sift the flour into the saucepan and whisk well.
  3. Gradually pour the warm milk (you can heat it in the microwave or on the stove) into the beaten egg mixture while stirring continuously until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Place the saucepan with the custard mixture over medium heat and stir continuously. Once the mixture starts to thicken and no longer has a raw flour and egg taste, remove it from the heat. Immediately add the soaked gelatine to the custard and stir until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Pass the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps. Place a piece of cling film directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming, and let the custard cool at room temperature.
  5. Once the custard has cooled, whip the cream from part C until soft peaks form. Pour the custard into the whipped cream and fold gently until fully incorporated.

Finally, take the tin out of the fridge, cover the top with soaked ladyfingers, and pour the custard mousse into the tin. Return the tin to the fridge and let it set completely for 2-4 hours.

  1. Remove the cake from the tin. You can use a thin, hot blade (dipped in hot water for about 1 minute) to run along the sides of the cake or use a hairdryer to gently heat the sides of the tin for 30-40 seconds. The heat will melt the gelatine, allowing the mousse cake to separate from the tin. Be cautious not to blow dry the tin for too long, as it may cause the layers to melt and the mousse layers to blend together.
  2. For decoration, you can top the cake with fresh strawberries or other fresh fruits, chocolate, whipped cream, or any desired toppings. Store the cake in the fridge and it is best served fresh or within 2 days.

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