French Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling and Vanilla Icing

I've been taking a cake decorating class with my friend Kat.  I've learned some pretty important lessons in class.  The most important of which is that I should stick to cooking and let someone else worry about the pretty.  But, in the process of preparing for this class, I've made a couple of delicious cakes.  This is one of them.  I started with a boxed mix, but jazzed it up by filling it with a chocolate mousse.

Here's what I used for the cake:
1 French Vanilla Cake Mix and all ingredients called for on the package

Here's what I did for the cake:
Make the cake according to directions, baking it in a greased and floured pan.  Remove cake from oven and cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.  Run a knife between the edge of the cake and pan.  Invert the cake pan onto another cooling rack to remove the cake from the pan.  Let cool completely.

Chocolate Mousse recipe slightly adapted from:  Hersey's Chocolate Mousse Filling

Here's what I used for the filling:
1 Tsp Unflavored Gelatin
1 Tbsp Cold Water
2 Tbsp Boiling Water
1 Cup cold Whipping Cream
1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
3 Tbsp Hershey's Cocoa
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Dash of Sugar

Here's what I did for the filling:
1.  Sprinkled gelatin over cold water in small coffee mug.  Let stand several minutes.

2.  Added boiling water to coffee mug.  Stir until dissolved and mixture is clear.

3.  Set coffee mug to the side to side to allow to cool.

4.  Beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla until thickened.

5.  Added the contents of the coffee mug to the chocolate mixture and beat until stiff.

6.  Added a dash of sugar and stirred.

Icing Recipe slightly adapted from:Wilton's

Here's what I used for the icing:
1 Cup Solid Vegetable Shortening (Crisco)
1 Tsp CLEAR Vanilla Extract
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
7-8 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Meringue Powder
Dash of Salt

Here's what I did to make the icing:
1.  Mixed together the vegetable shortening, meringue powder, and powdered sugar.

2.  Mix the vanilla extract into the icing mixture.

3.  Add water and mix into the icing.  Tailor the number of tablespoons of water you use to the consistency of icing that you are looking for.

4.  Add a dash of salt and fully mix into the icing.

Here's what I did to assemble the cake:
1.  Cut fully cooled cake in half.  Removed the top half and placed to the side.

     Hint:  If you plan on filling multiple cakes, you should seriously considering purchasing
      one of these tools.  They make cutting your cake in half ("torting") simple, easy.

2.  Spread the chocolate mousse filling on top of the bottom layer of the cake.

3.  Replaced the top layer of the cake on top of the chocolate mousse.

4.  Iced the cake.

The cake and icing in this cake are very sweet.  The salt in the icing helps tone down the icing so it is a little less sweet.  The icing is also very light and fluffy.  The chocolate mousse, which is a bit bitter, brings the whole cake together, toning down the sweetness of the cake.



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