ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake

ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake

This mousse cake is made of mango yoghurt mousse with an insert of mango jelly and caramelized white chocolate fennel cremeux over a fennel seed joconde. Ataulfo mango and fragrant fennel seed make for a refreshing combination!

ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake

I won’t try to pretend otherwise – I find mousse cakes a bit of a hassle. Multiple components, multiple days, and for me, the dreaded glazing step which I always manage to mess up! That being said, the multi-component-over-multiple-days part does mean you can break down a cake into a series of manageable steps over the course of a few days. Keeping that in mind, each individual component is not too much work. This could be a weeknight(s) bake in fact – make and freeze the inserts one evening, bake the cake another, make the mousse and put it all together and freeze it again on a third evening, by which time we may have already reached the weekend to set aside some extra time for glazing.

There is also something to be said for a larger mousse cake – they are less finicky than assembling a fleet of small of small ones and they require less equipment (just two large rings, one for the cake and one for the insert).

ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake
ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake

This is perhaps my favourite mousse cake to date. It has a balance of tart mango yoghurt mousse and mango jelly with a sweet, fragrant fennel seed caramelized white chocolate cremeux. It is also fairly easy to cut and serve! Joconde, a type of almond cake, is one of my favourite bases for mousse cakes as it’s sturdier than a sponge cake and has a softer, moister consistency than a sable base. (Another favourite of mine is a financier – though it is quite a bit richer and sweeter.)

The mirror glaze has a warm, beige tone that suits the colour scheme of the mousse cake rather well. It was completely accidental actually – I used a rather old can of condensed milk which had started to caramelize and turn darker of its own accord. If your condensed milk is not yet a few years old, your mirror glaze will likely turn out paler, though one could always colour it if they wished!

ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake

ataulfo mango & fennel seed mousse cake

  • Servings: 6-inch or 15cm diametre cake
  • Print
A mousse cake can be a bit of a project, but take it one day and one component at a time!


Makes one 6″/15cm diameter mousse cake.

  • mango jelly
  • fennel seed caramelized white chocolate cremeux
  • fennel seed joconde
  • mango yoghurt mousse
  • mirror glaze

Begin by preparing the insert. Place a 12-cm ring over a sheet of parchment paper on a tray that can fit in the freezer (I used a cake pan slightly bigger in diameter). Prepare the mango mousse, pour into the ring, and freeze completely. Prepare the fennel seed cremeux, pour over the jelly and freeze completely.

Meanwhile, bake the fennel seed joconde and set aside.

When ready to assemble the cake, have a 15-cm ring at the ready. This mousse cake is assembled upside down. To have a smooth top surface, I wrapped plastic wrap, stretched until taut and free of wrinkles, over the ring and secured it in place with a rubber band (I find parchment paper tends to wrinkle). Place the ring, plastic side down, on a tray that can fit in the freezer (I used another cake pan slightly bigger in diameter). Trim the joconde into a 14-cm circle.

Prepare the mango yoghurt mousse. Pour about half to 2/3 of it in the large ring. Use a small offset spatula to draw it a bit of the way up the sides of the mold so that when you put in the insert, it will be surrounded by mousse all around the edges.

Use a warm towel to wrap around the sides of the frozen insert to loosen it from the ring. Place over the mousse, jelly side down (be careful while handling it – the jelly freezes solid, but the cremeux is still a bit soft even when frozen). Pour the remaining mango mousse over top. Press the joconde overtop until it is just level with the mousse. Place in the freezer until completely frozen.

When ready to glaze the mousse cake, prepare the mirror glaze. Once it has reached the target temperature of 74-70F, use a warm towel to loosen the frozen mousse cake from the ring. Set the mousse cake on a plastic container so that the excess glaze can drip off of the cake. Pour the glaze overtop until it is dripping down the edges. With one draw of a long spatula, smooth the excess glaze from the top of the cake. Allow the cake to finish dripping and then transfer it to a plate. Let thaw and then serve.

mango jelly insert

  • 180g mango puree (from about 1 1/2 ataulfo mangoes)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin bloomed in a tbsp of water

The mango jelly will form part of the insert. Have a 12-cm diameter ring ready. Place the ring over a sheet of parchment paper on a tray that can fit in the freezer (I used a cake pan slightly bigger in diameter).

Peel and cube the mango, toss with a bit of lemon juice, and puree using an immersion blender. Weigh out 180g.

Bloom the gelatin, melt by microwaving (usually 5-10 seconds does the job), and whisk into the mango puree. Pour into the ring and tap the tray to level out the jelly. Freeze.

fennel seed caramelized white chocolate cremeux

Adapted from this white chocolate cremeux recipe.

  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 80g heavy cream
  • 60g whole milk
  • 33g egg yolks
  • 1/3 tsp of powdered gelatin bloomed in 1-2 tsp water
  • 45g caramelized white chocolate (recipe here)
  • 45g plain white chocolate

This will form the second part of the insert. Use a mortar and pestle to give the fennel seeds a few good grinds to partially crush them.

Warm the cream and milk together until steaming, add the fennel seeds, and set aside for an hour to steep. Pass through a strainer and weigh – add a dash more cream or milk to restore any lost volume.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk to break up. Have the bloomed gelatin ready. Chop the white chocolates and place in another glass bowl. Heat the cream and milk in a small saucepan until steaming. Whisk into the egg yolks to temper, then return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until thickened and the temperature is brought up to 180F (this was a number I saw in a couple of recipes – generally I’m used to heating eggs to 160F, so I brought mine up to 170F).

Immediately remove from the heat and add to the gelatin, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the chopped white chocolate next. Allow to sit for a couple minutes, then whisk until smooth.

Take the mango jelly insert out from the freezer and put the cremeux over top. Tap the pan to level out the cremeux and freeze.

fennel seed joconde

Adapted from Meilleur du Chef. Due to the small quantities, it’s a bit difficult for the standmixer to whip up the egg white, though it got there eventually.

  • 1 egg white
  • 5g granulated sugar
  • 33g almond flour
  • 33g icing sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 10g flour
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 10g butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper.

Place the egg white in the bowl of a standmixer and whisk until frothy. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.

Place the (whole) egg in the bowl and whisk in the almond flour and icing sugar. Beat with the standmixer whisk attachment for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Sift the flour overtop and sprinkle in the ground fennel seeds. Fold in the flour and fennel seeds, followed by the melted butter. Fold in a dollop of the egg whites to lighten, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. It will be a thin cake. Bake until golden, springy, and an inserted toothpick is removed clean, around 5-8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

mango yoghurt mousse 

Adapted from Ricardo.

  • 240g strained mango puree (as I strained the puree, this took about 2 1/2 ataulfo mangoes)
  • 2 tsp gelatin, bloomed in 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 160g whipping cream
  • 120g greek yoghurt

Only prepare the mango mousse when you’re ready to assemble the mousse cake!

Heat the mango puree in a small sauce pan until it begins to bubble. Melt the gelatin in the microwave (10 seconds or less should be enough) and whisk into the mango puree. Add the sugar and taste for sweetness – more or less may be needed depending on your mangoes and desired sweetness level.

Set aside the mango puree to cool until closer to room temperature.

Meanwhile, whip the cream. Once the mango puree has cooled, stir in the greek yoghurt. Stir in a bit of the whipped cream to lighten, then add the remaining cream and fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Use right away.

mirror glaze

Adapted from Chef Iso. Makes around 1 1/2 cups of mirror glaze. As I messed up glazing I didn’t have much extra, but otherwise there would have been quite a bit.

  • 9g powdered gelatin bloomed in 45g water
  • 150g sugar
  • 100g condensed milk
  • 75g water
  • 125g white chocolate, chopped

Bloom gelatin. Boil the sugar, condensed milk and 75g water together, then take off the heat and stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps, then pour over the white chocolate, allowing it to sit and melt. Then, puree with a fully-immersed immersion blender until smooth – this will avoid the introduction of bubbles.

Let cool until it reaches 90-94F, at which point it is ready to be poured.

If you have any leftover, transfer the remaining glaze to a plastic bag, squeeze out all the air and seal tightly. Freeze until you next need it – in the future you just need to reheat it to 90-94C.


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