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Cashew Gateau With Coffee Cardamom Mousse

Cashew Cake and Coffee Mousse

Thank you all for the very nice birthday wishes for my mother, she truly appreciated the thought. Funny story about birthdays in my family and birthdays phone calls especially: my grandmother had the habit to see whom of her children would call her first to wish her a happy birthday. When I called my mom on Tuesday, I immediately said "I know I am not the first but I am the furthest…that’s got to count!".

Anyways, back to today’s dessert… I can’t plan..Let me rephrase this: I can’t plan to have a distraction free day because we all know that concept never truly works. I had planned yesterday to be a writing day punctuated by a few walks with the dogs, a couple of play breaks with them and the neighbors' kids, no grocery shopping, no baking commitment, no visits, no errands…just me and my thoughts. Ha! I should have checked the weather channel because as soon as I woke up the rain had decided to fall hard and steady, which meant no walks with the dogs, no play time nextdoor. Thus I had two crazy monkeys on my hands who all of a sudden had decided to team up to tear the house apart when I was not looking. I am still laughing when I think about the tricks those two played on me!

It all started when I was sipping my coffee looking at the creek and the rain…and the high tide…tidal creek during high rain equals a big puddle in your yard and a creek boat (think small fishing tin there people….we’re not the yacht type) that threatens to float away. B. went outside to tighten the rope, the dogs followed and found the yard, sorry puddle…and all hell broke lose. They played fetch with each other for thirty minutes and all we could do was watch. Watch them turn from beige to black really…Two bathes and numerous towels later and everybody settled down…a little. By then I had lost my writing mojo and decided to bake instead. At least it was easier to stop their shenanigans with a whisk in my hand than a thought up in the air.

Baking did take place but not in the case of this cake. How can I make a cake without turning the oven on? Recycling….When we did the last Daring Bakers challenge I did the whole batter but baked a 6 inch cake for the challenge and a 8 inch cake that I froze, not really sure of what I would use it for. I got a call from a friend Tuesday morning and told her to come by meet the puppy later that day over coffee and cake. I thawed the cashew gateau and started working on a filling when she called to cancel: her best laid plans got also derailed that day. We reset for the day after (gosh I have never written anything with that much timeline involved!), which turned out great given the way my rainy day was shaping up.

Stained Caramel Window

For the cake I used pastry rings to cut out 4 rounds into the cake and split those minis in half. I used one half at the bottom of each ring, topped them with a simple coffee and cardamom mousse, (you might have extra mousse in which case I recommend you divide it into glasses and eat as is. It is easier to make the full amount and have extra than the opposite. It is really good on its own), one more layer of cake and let them set in the fridge overnight. Wednesday morning I topped each mini cake with a dark chocolate ganache. The inspiration for the caramel stained "glass" panel comes from my grandmother (same one!) who used to say "I don’t care if it rains as long as there is some sun and some colors somewhere". I feel the exact same way but since there was no sun in sight I decided there would be colors then! I go a lucky break of 20 minutes to take some pictures and walk the crazy monkeys. Not too bad a day after all.

Cashew Gateau With Coffee Cardamom Mousse:

Serves 4

For the gateau:
3/4 cups cashew, toasted/skinned
1/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, divided (2Tb & 6 Tb)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
2 lg. egg whites
2 Tb melted butter, cooled

Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 8” X 4” inch round springform pan. Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds. Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process. Set aside.
Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add 8 Tb of sugar. It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step. When finished, the mixture should be ribbony. Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind. Remove and set aside.
Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining 2 Tb of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so. Continue to beat for another ½ minute. Fold the yolk mixture to the whites. Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully. Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter. Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate. With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon. Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cool the cake completely.

For the coffee cardamom mousse:
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp powdered unflavored gelatin, softened in 1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup heavy cream, cold

In a mediu saucepan, bring the coffee, sugar and cardamom to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with hand held beaters with balloon whisks, whipe the cream just until it holds stiff peaks, do not overbeat or it will become grainy and separate. Add a small amount first to the coffee mixture to loosen up the batter, slowly fold the rest of the whipped cream. Do not let it set completely before using it for the cake filling (have your cake baked, cooled, and cut before using)

For the chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (about 6 oz or 180 gr)

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes so that the chocolate starts to melt then slowly stir the cream and chocolate until they come together to make the ganache. Let cool slightly before using it over the cakes.

To assemble:
Cut 4 rounds out of the 8 inch cake and cut each round in half. Using 4 3 inch round pastry rings, place a cake round at the bottom of each ring, top with about 1/4 cup of coffee mousse, top with another cake round and let sit overnight. In the morning, make the ganache. Line a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper, position a cooling rack or a grid over it, position your cake over the grid and slowly pour the ganache over all the cakes to cover the completely. Rap the sheet over the counter top (be gentle, no jumping cakes allowed!), to let the ganache fall evenly. Let them set in the fridge for a couple of hours. You can dust them with a good coat of cocoa powder if desired like I did here.

For the stained glass caramel windows:
250gr sugar (1 cup)
37.5 ml water (35 gr) (2 1/2 Tb)
various food colorings

Line a baking sheet with parchement paper. Drop a few drops of food coloring onto the paper. Do not touch them, sirl them or move them.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water, do not stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel reaches the soft crack stage or 140C – 285F on a candy thermometer (do not let it turn color). Immediately pour over the parchment paper with the food coloring. Take the baking sheet with your hands and move it left to right, right to left to move and swirl the colors. Let set until completely cooled. Break pieces of your desired size to decorate the cakes with.

Cashew Cake And Coffee Mousse

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Fifi Flowers August 14, 2008 um 7:07 am

That is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! WOW WOW… I’m speechless!

nikkita August 14, 2008 um 8:08 am

Ohh thank you for the stained glass caramel tips! The gateau looks unbearably yummy! Truly makes me want to run away from my dieting plans. Helen, can I ask? I’ve grown two sizes too much since I’ve discovered food blogging. How do you stay in shape with all those wonderful things you create? 🙂

Peabody August 14, 2008 um 8:33 am

Is it really caramel if it never makes it to the caramel color? 🙂
I am having pastry school flashbacks. I forgot how cool that looks. I will so be stealing that idea.

Botacook August 14, 2008 um 8:40 am

La recette a l’air délicieuse et ces plaques de sucre sont magnifiques, envoûtantes… 😉

Rachel@fairycakeheaven August 14, 2008 um 8:53 am

ooo cardamom divine!!! This looks fantastic and I love your first picture with the black background! YUM!

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 9:01 am

I am delighted .. simply has left me speechless .. and I with a bag of cardamom unused .. and this wonderful caramel … you’re super fantastic

anadelicias August 14, 2008 um 9:24 am

Cashuew and cardamom!!!! Fantastic!!!
I like the look of your desserts!!!


Michelle Beissel August 14, 2008 um 9:27 am

Superb dessert! And thanks for my introduction to stained-glass candy–what an intriguing technique, which also encapsulates your granny’s great wisdom.

Cannelle Et Vanille August 14, 2008 um 10:09 am

i love freezing scraps, cake layers, anything and then coming up with new desserts. That shows the range of a chef… and let’s not forget how executive chefs love that!… Everytime I read about your dogs and mud, I can’t help but smile. It reminds me of a certain little one!

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 11:04 am

Super beau!!Magnifique!!!

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 11:39 am

J’aime tout dans ce gâteau, il est divin !!! Tu n’aurais pas une version française de la recette par hasard ?

Christy August 14, 2008 um 11:50 am

I’m so drooling right now. I’m having a cup of night tea right now along with a glazed brioche, but how I wish I had your cake in front of me!!

Cakelaw August 14, 2008 um 12:07 pm

The cake looks wonderful – but the showstopper for me is the stained glass caramel – I love it!

Mary August 14, 2008 um 12:13 pm

What pretty little cakes! I love the stained glass sugar! And yes our dog loves to play in mud puddles too. It’s kind of funny.

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 12:14 pm

I really like this colourful stained glass caramel windows ! And a good and optimistic thought from your grandmother !

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 1:00 pm

The stained glass is very pretty! And the mousse should taste like Arabic coffee with the cardamom, my favourite!

LizNoVeggieGirl August 14, 2008 um 1:27 pm

Haha, cute story about your grandmother, with the birthdays! :0)

Helen, I cannot even BEGIN to articulate how exquisite and unique-looking that gateau is – incredible!!

Bridget August 14, 2008 um 1:54 pm

My mouth was watering just reading the title, before the pictures loaded!!! That cake looks incredible…and the stained glass!!! Wow! Really beautiful!

Clumbsy Cookie August 14, 2008 um 2:46 pm

Oh Helen the cake is gorgeous, the sugar work makes it look so cheerful, like your dogs on the mud! It’s beautiful with the cocoa, so perfect. I also freeze so much stuff and like to pull them out and create new thing. I still have half the danish dough…

Maria August 14, 2008 um 3:01 pm

Your cake is outstanding! The stained glass is so unique and beautiful and I am sure the cake is divine in taste! You never fail to amaze me! Thanks again!

cindy* August 14, 2008 um 3:12 pm

awesome helen! it is amazing how best laid plans can be destroyed, yet something wonderful can still come from that.

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 3:52 pm

Now that’s fancy! So beautiful with the stained glass as well.

You can call me anytime over for coffee!

And yes plans get derailed in an instant over here too! Thanks for sharing.

Vera August 14, 2008 um 4:12 pm

Helen, what a beautiful recycling project! I love the stained glass.

PAM August 14, 2008 um 5:00 pm

Love the stained glass deco. I bet it was a challenge with all the humidity in your area! Your cake sounds yummy!

My Sweet & Saucy August 14, 2008 um 5:01 pm

What a great tasting mousse! I love that you always have a such great flavor combos in your desserts!

That Girl August 14, 2008 um 6:14 pm

The stained glass is my favorite part because it’s such a contrast with the dark cake!

Rachel August 14, 2008 um 6:15 pm

I am awed by what I see…truly amazing!!!!

montague August 14, 2008 um 7:14 pm

it looks so beautiful! and i am sure it tastes fantastic too!

Parisbreakfasts August 14, 2008 um 8:16 pm

I can’t even spell it’s that gorgeous! Where do you come up with this stuff?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to everyone in your whole family!
OK there…I’m covered I hope…still in a state of extreme awe over this GATEAUX!!! Never saw anything like it EVER! And I seen alotta cakes believe me.
Love the shenanigens with the hounds.
You forgot to take a before and after picture there though 🙁

NKP August 14, 2008 um 8:25 pm

These are out of this world. You are such a gifted artist.
What kind of pups do you have?

Marija August 14, 2008 um 8:29 pm


Rosa's Yummy Yums August 14, 2008 um 8:48 pm

Mouthwatering and stunning!



Cakebrain August 14, 2008 um 9:56 pm

Oooh! Aaah!
I love the stained glass sugar work! You’ve managed to incorporate some of my very favourite flavours in one gorgeous dessert!

Anonymous August 14, 2008 um 9:58 pm

It’s still beyond me how human hands are capable of things like this. It has Cashews in it as well!

The colour caramel (Colourmel?) is so cool.

Mallory Elise August 14, 2008 um 10:46 pm

i made a cake today too! my candy is more basic though, pooh, i am going to make that candy you made on top someday, i will! c’est toujours les français qui ont la meilleur présentation!

Cynthia August 14, 2008 um 10:51 pm

There is no other like you. Your mastery is awesome.

Alexa August 14, 2008 um 11:01 pm

Your cake belongs in a museum… It’s so artistic and pretty. I love the ingredients you have selected, definitely not rainy day flavors. Very well done! A bientot.

maybelles mom August 15, 2008 um 12:55 am

I have major gingerbread house dreams and I will keep your stained glass in mind.

Half Baked August 15, 2008 um 1:24 am

ok now your showing off;) That stained glass is way beyond cool and on top of the most divine looking gateau… perfection!

MPG August 15, 2008 um 1:45 am

wow! it’s a work of art! i love cashews and this combination sounds divine!

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 1:58 am

Nice work- this sounds like a really delish flavour combo.

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 1:58 am

Nice work- this sounds like a really delish flavour combo.

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 1:58 am

Nice work- this sounds like a really delish flavour combo.

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 2:02 am

What an artisan you are – the most beautiful cake I have seen on the net!

PheMom August 15, 2008 um 3:20 am

That is seriously cool! Aidan would love it and feel like he was getting candy with his cake. I too may have to snag this idea!

Ginny August 15, 2008 um 3:28 am

Gorgeous! as always! I love the rainbow stained glass! 🙂

Petra August 15, 2008 um 7:56 am

I love, really love to read your blog…I am a bit off this sunday from work, better I plan to be a bit off 😉 …and want to try one of your receipes….my husband will like it 😉
warm wishes

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 11:58 am

Playing with Hot sugar again , helen? ;). Love the colors it’s like a sculpture!

LyB August 15, 2008 um 12:49 pm

That cake is literally a work of art. With the different flavors and textures, it sounds and looks so extravagant! Stunning. 🙂

Bonbon Oiseau August 15, 2008 um 1:29 pm

the flavors sound delicious but that beautiful sugar on top is amazingly beautiful!

Manggy August 15, 2008 um 2:07 pm

Beautiful gateau Helen! (I’m pretty sure the stained glass would wilt in 10 minutes in my land… But they do look so beautiful! And I’m glad it doesn’t have something exotic like Isomalt in it!)
Hee, two crazy monkeys… I hope the neighbors don’t read this! 😉

Helene August 15, 2008 um 2:33 pm

SugarChef and Mark: the sugar did not ilt but it did bloom within 20 mintues because of the humidity.

Cookie baker Lynn August 15, 2008 um 3:24 pm

That stained glass is stunning! Wow, you are such an artist. Extra bonus points that it tastes phenomenal, too.

Camille August 15, 2008 um 3:40 pm

Gorgeous "stained glass"…just gorgeous. And, the cake…looks heavenly!

Patricia Scarpin August 15, 2008 um 5:26 pm

That is absolutely beautiful. I love cashew nuts and chocolate together, Helen, they are a wonderful combo. And topped with this work of art… Well, I know I could never resist.

Mike of Mike's Table August 15, 2008 um 6:32 pm

Wow, that is a real beauty of a dessert! I also love the flavor pairing you went with–I don’t think I’ve ever seen the cardamom/coffee combo before

Kajal@aapplemint August 15, 2008 um 6:41 pm

Oh My Gawd Helen that looks bloody delicious ! U wont believe me, i 've got to work on 2 ingredients Cashew n milk chocolate for a very dear friends birthday too, n i’ve been thinking how to pair it up. This just fits the occasion so well. I wish i could taste this, its so wonderfully captivating !

Nic August 15, 2008 um 6:47 pm

You are so creative! It’s beautiful.

lubnakarim06 August 15, 2008 um 6:55 pm

Tempting, awesome, Excellent mousse i have seen ever.

Zoe Francois August 15, 2008 um 8:39 pm

Gorgeous! I’m so jealous that you can do sugar garnish in the summer. Our only hope in the humidity is isomalt, which is lovely, but doesn’t have the flavor of good old fashioned sugar.

Helene August 15, 2008 um 9:12 pm

Zoe:I can’t work with pure sugar decorations either in the summer because we have 95-100F temperatures and over 90% humidity everyday here in SC. I just did it real quick for the picures and it bloomed within 20 minutes. Isomalt is indeed a good alternative.

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 9:24 pm

Helen, do you use liquid or paste food coloring for the colored caramel, or does it matter? Just stunning.

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 9:24 pm

You gave directions for a 10 inch cake but you refer to a 6 and an 8 inch. Did you use the 10 inch recipe & put it the 2 smaller pans?

Anonymous August 15, 2008 um 9:28 pm

Now, those are some STUNNING pictures! Just beautiful… 🙂

Elizabeth August 15, 2008 um 10:37 pm

Wow, it looks absolutely incredible.

Helene August 15, 2008 um 11:31 pm

Anonymous: I corrected the one typo. When I made the Daring Bakers' challenge, I made a 6 inch and a 8 inch. The recipe written here works for a 8 inch.

Helene August 15, 2008 um 11:38 pm

angak: I used liquid coloring, that way both liquids can be swirled around easily.

Ivy August 15, 2008 um 11:58 pm

The stained sugar caramel is out of this world. I am afraid if I try to make it-I will mess it up.

Mansi August 16, 2008 um 5:31 am

I always learn something new when I come to your site! that looks amazing Helen!:)

Mrs.French August 16, 2008 um 5:42 am

shockingly gorgeous my friend.

steph- whisk/spoon August 16, 2008 um 7:12 am

yum–i love recylcing! cool effect with the caramel. also with the cocoa powder…looks like you sprayed on the chocolate.

Lynne Daley August 16, 2008 um 11:37 am

You may have started a fad! I expect to see stained glass decorations everywhere. A brilliant dessert you’ve created

Antonio Tahhan August 16, 2008 um 3:49 pm

the stained glass caramel looks beautiful!!

Garrett August 16, 2008 um 5:03 pm

Wow, that looks amazing, especially given the fact it was a frozen spur-of-the-moment cake. I also love the glass topping. My recipes have definitely been lacking decor, so this simple glass topping would be a wonderful addition – I’m sure I’ll be using it.

Lori August 16, 2008 um 7:43 pm

You never cease to inspire and wow me! I love the stained glass effect. Very dazzling. And the cake, I can feel it in my mouth right now. WOuld love to have a slice with my coffee right now.

Anonymous August 16, 2008 um 8:30 pm

i LOVE LOVE LOVE the stained glass, came home and made it. I didn’t care that I had nothing to put it on, I just wanted to do it! it didn’t come out as lovely as yours, but I am going to try and try again until I am satisfied. Thank you so much for the brilliant (pun intended) idea! – Carrotcakegoddess

Eleganza Strings/ The DeLadurantey Family August 16, 2008 um 9:20 pm

Looks amazing!

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home August 16, 2008 um 9:50 pm

this looks scrumptious! great work!

Gina August 16, 2008 um 10:29 pm

Just beautiful. Both the gateau and the stained glass decor on it!

Deeba PAB August 17, 2008 um 3:31 am

This is screaming STUNNNNNNING!! I loved stained glass anything & I like this stained glass the 'bestest'!! What an absolutely brilliant idea!MY Mom is like that…always wanting to be the first one to call in…LOL!! Beautiful gateau too…I've fallen in love with this post!

Anonymous August 17, 2008 um 5:21 am

it’s very lovely Helen! now that i have a 6″ pan i don’t need more excuse to make cute dessert like this! 🙂

Snooky doodle August 17, 2008 um 2:38 pm

wow these look great. you re really a professional,

Anonymous August 17, 2008 um 4:05 pm

you're truly talented, no doubt about it. mad props for the caramel windows! <3

Carolina August 17, 2008 um 6:25 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous August 18, 2008 um 1:35 am

tartelette! this is an ART piece for sure. great looking cake, sexy looking glass window sugar sheets. i really like it. i’m gonna try and replicate those glass windows some time soon just cause they look so pretty 🙂 love the cake too. great thickness – i love big cakes. x

Anonymous August 18, 2008 um 4:39 am

Your talent never ceases to amaze me. Beautiful work!

Anonymous August 19, 2008 um 8:56 am

Wow! I love the look of this cake but the colores caramel is just amazing…

glamah16 August 22, 2008 um 3:53 pm

Im so using that caramel stained glass technique!

The P & A Food Chronicles August 22, 2008 um 9:12 pm

trully inspiring!!

Anonymous September 9, 2008 um 2:06 pm

Such a beautiful gateau! The stained glass sugar is so pretty–thank-you for giving instructions. I’m looking forward to trying it out soon!

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 12:45 pm

I think the glass caramel windows are fantastic!! Do you have any suggestions on how I could turn them into lollipops after the colors have swirled but before they have hardened??

Unknown August 29, 2009 um 4:54 pm

Hi Tartelette, I just wanted to tell you that I have been eyeing this gateau for a while and I finally tried it and it came out perfect and just delicious!! I love nutty cakes :)).. Thank you for sharing your ideas and recipes.

Unknown August 6, 2010 um 6:29 pm

This is such a beautiful project! Thank you for sharing it with us. I tried to make the stained glass sugar, but the ratio of water to sugar wasn't working at all for me… the sugar never got to the soft crack stage without turning into a crystallized mess… Not sure what the problem was. I ended up using 1 part water to 2 parts sugar (half a cup and 1 cup, respectively), and heating it to the upper end of the soft-crack range, and your technique worked beautifully!

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