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Serves 8-10 | Prep Time | Cook Time

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Ingredients You'll Need

Chocolate Mousse:
1 cup (250 grams) heavy cream
6 ounces (162 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125 grams) milk
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (130 grams) sugar

Pastry Cream:
½ cup (125 grams) milk
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon (10 grams) cornstarch
2 large egg yolks
½ tablespoon (4.5 grams) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 ½ cups (875 grams) heavy cream

1 9-inch Sacher Cake
1 ½ cups brandy-marinated cherries, drained, liquid reserved


Make the mousse:

Pour the cream in a large bowl and whisk by hand or with a handheld electric mixer until it holds soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Set aside. (If you own two electric mixer bowls, you can whip the cream in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.) Place the chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Pour the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the yolks until the mixture turns a pale yellow. Pour a third of the milk into the yolk mixture and whisk until the mixture is well combined. Lower the heat to low. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and return to the heat. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook the mixture until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon (you should be able to drag your finger over the middle of the spoon and leave a trace), about 3 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the chocolate, and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is cool, becomes very fluffy, and nearly doubles in volume, 10 to 15 minutes. With a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Make the pastry cream:

Line a shallow pan, such as a 9-inch square cake pan or a small baking sheet, with plastic wrap.

Pour the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat as soon as the milk boils, when small bubbles form around the edges of the pan.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl, and whisk in the yolks. Continue whisking until the yolks turn a very pale yellow. Slowly pour a fourth of the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from curdling. Once the milk is well incorporated, return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot with the whisk to prevent lumps from forming, until it becomes very thick and bubbles start popping from the center of the pan for at least 20 seconds. You need to bring it to a boil so that the cornstarch gets activated.

Place 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of the cold brandy that contained the cherries in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the brandy, and let stand 3 minutes.

Remove the pastry cream from the heat, and stir in the gelatin until it is dissolved and well incorporated. Spread the cream in the prepared pan. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and let it cool to room temperature.

Pour the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until the cream holds medium peaks. With a spatula, gently fold a third of it into the pastry cream once it has cooled. Cover and refrigerate the remaining whipped cream for use on the final cake.

Assemble the cake:

Line a round 9-inch cake pan with plastic wrap, and spray it with vegetable cooking spray. Make sure that the plastic wrap is well tucked into the edges of the pan, and leave a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

If necessary, trim the top of the sacher cake with a serrated knife to make it even and flat. Cut it horizontally into two even layers. Brush half of the brandy over each layer.

Place the top layer in the prepared pan, soaked-side up, and spread the chocolate mousse over it. Arrange the cherries evenly over the mousse, so that each cut slice of cake will get some of the fruit. Push the cherries into the mousse so that they are partially covered. Spread the pastry cream over the cherries, and cover with the bottom layer of cake, flipping it so that the flatter, smoother side is on top. Freeze for about 1 hour or up to 1 month (tightly wrapped), until the cake is set.

Remove the cake from the freezer. Gently pull on the plastic wrap to unmold the cake, and invert it onto a serving platter. With a large offset spatula, spread the remaining whipped cream all over the cake. Let it thaw out completely before serving it at room temperature. You can serve it as it, or garnished with chocolate shavings if desired. You can finish the cake about 3 hours before serving.

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