AT A GLANCE
These cakes are very rich and decadent, so leave a good hour between courses. They can be made the day before you plan to serve them.
|01||For chocolate shortbread base, preheat oven to 180C. Beat sugar and 160gm butter in an electric mixer until pale, add flour, cocoa, a large pinch of salt and 1½ tsp cold water and beat to combine. Scatter on an oven tray lined with baking paper to 1cm thick, then bake until dry (20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool, then crumble into a bowl. Melt remaining butter in a small saucepan, pour over crumbs and mix to combine. Press into bases of eight 10cm-diameter, 4.5cm-high springform tins and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).|
|02||Meanwhile, for sour cherry jam, cook sour cherries and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until a thick syrup forms (20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool, then strain through a fine sieve. Stir a little syrup into the cherries and set aside. Reserve remaining syrup.|
|03||Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water (4-6 minutes), then set aside to cool slightly. Whisk cream and crème fraîche in an electric mixer until very soft peaks form, then, whisking continuously, quickly add chocolate (see note) and whisk to combine. Spoon half the mousse over shortbread bases, make an indent in each centre with a spoon, spoon 1 tbsp sour cherry jam into each centre, top with remaining mousse, smooth tops and refrigerate until set (2-4 hours).|
|04||Meanwhile, for golden praline, roast almonds on a tray in oven until golden (5-10 minutes). Stir sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then cook without stirring until caramel (10-15 minutes). Add almonds and gold leaf, stir to combine, pour onto an oiled tray and set aside to cool (20-30 minutes). Crush into shards with a rolling pin and store in an airtight container.|
|05||To serve, rub a hot towel around sides of springform tins until chocolate softens around edges, then release sides. Remove from bases, transfer to serving plates, top with extra cherries and syrup and scatter with golden praline.|
Note Frozen sour cherries are available from David Jones food halls. Edible gold leaf is available from select delicatessens and cake decorating shops. When you're adding the chocolate to the cream, it's important that the chocolate isn't too hot or it will melt the cream.