First things first - I have to mention that this cake is not of the greatest quality. It was the first I made after being discharged from hospital, I was still feeling unwell and my medication was making me a bit dippy. But I had to start somewhere - so please forgive the very rough edges, the backwards treble clef, and the uneven spacing between the semi-quavers and rest assured that the cake still tasted good regardless of it's flaws!
Melody Time was another of the Disney Classics that I'd never seen, so yet again I found myself scouring the Internet to find information about it that would give me ideas/inspiration for a desert that would go with the feature. The Internet told me that, like Make Mine Music, Melody is a contemporary version of Fantasia. Since watching it I would disagree - Melody Time is an anthology of charming shorts, that reminded me of watching cartoons on the Disney channel as a child, but I didn't know that before making the cake and watching the movie, so I had to go on what the Internet told me. I had thought of making more whoopie pies (different variations this time) because I loved them so much last time - but then I decided to try something different.
OK, so I did it for Fantasia, but it was great fun! Popping candy is such a great ingredient, and it's really difficult to find desert recipes that use it (other than "and sprinkle some popping candy on top before serving.") Way back when I had the idea to make musical cupcakes for Fantasia I searched for desert recipes that used popping candy, and came across Heston Blumenthal's popping candy cake. Whilst Heston's recipe wasn't what I had in mind for Fantasia, I thought it would make a great cake for Melody Time. (I like to think Heston would approve of my Disney-themed cakes...)
You may have also noticed the Melody Pops in the photo - I threw these in for good measure. I was a bit disappointed that they no longer put a music sheet which explains how to play a nursery rhyme on the lollipop, but I remembered a little bit of Mary Had a little Lamb, and we had a lot of fun playing with them too!
Donald and his popping candy hose pipe...
I found Heston's original recipe here, I changed a few bits (I don't like coffee for starters!) but mostly stayed true to the original recipe. One comment I will make about this recipe is that I found the flavour of the popping candy a little over-powering and I couldn't make my mind up whether it actually went with the chocolate and hazelnut. That's probably my own fault as I used strawberry flavoured popping candy - but as far as I know popping candy is only available in strawberry, cherry and cola flavour, so strawberry seemed the best option. Saying that though, my friend Big Mike thought that the strawberry actually complimented the chocolate, so again it's probably a matter of taste rather than a bad recipe. I don't like Neapolitan ice cream either, so maybe I'm just personally adverse to chocolate and strawberry going together.
Prep time: 30-40 mins Cook time: No cook, but 4 hours refrigeration required Serves: 10-12
For the base:
100g milk chocolate
85g (15 packets) popping candy
2 tsp mixed spice
For the chocolate mousse:
350g dark chocolate
400ml double cream
pinch of salt
50g dark chocolate, melted
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Line a spring form/loose bottom cake tin with greaseproof paper.
- Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes until golden brown. Blend to a paste in a food processor, and then put to one side.
- Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and break the milk chocolate into it. Once the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the mixed spice, popping candy and hazelnut puree.
- Press the popping candy mixture evenly into the base on the lined cake tin and place this in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
- Once the base is almost set, prepare the mousse. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces in a large bowl.
- In a heavy based saucepan, bring 150ml of the cream to the boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate, and stir until all of the chocolate has melted. And a pinch of salt to the mixture, and put it to one side to cool.
- Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks, and then gently fold this into the chocolate mixture until combined.
- Spoon the mixture over the popping candy base and return to the fridge for a further two hours to set.
- Whilst the mousse is setting, prepare the decorations for the top. Melt the dark chocolate and pipe shapes onto some greaseproof paper. I used musical notes, but any shapes would work. Place these in the fridge to set.
- Once the mousse has set, remove both the cake and the decorations from the fridge. Carefully run a hot knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the mousse from the sides, then remove the cake from the pan and place on a serving plate. Gently lift each chocolate shape from the greaseproof paper and place onto the cake, being careful not to handle to chocolate shapes too much as they will melt easily in your hands!
- Keep the cake in the fridge until it is ready to cut into slices and serve. Enjoy! (Melody Pops are optional but recommended!)
Next time - we'll be watching The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and I'll be making the Headless Horseman's flaming pumpkin head!