Rhubarb-Wrapped Pineapple Mousse Cake

Yields one 8 or 9 inch cake

Source: Mousse and crust recipe from the Sprinkle Bakes book; Rhubarb wrap technique by pastry chef Bernd Siefert

Prep: 1 hour, total time with chilling about 4 hours


1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 tablespoon sugar

Pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, making sure that all the crumbs are well coated with butter. Press evenly into the bottom of an unlined 8 or 9 inch springform pan. If making individual cakes, place 6 pastry rings on individual sheets of plastic wrap. Divide the crust mixture evenly among them and press tight with a flat-bottomed tumbler.

Pineapple mousse

2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin

1/4 cup pineapple juice with pulp

2 cups pineapple puree 

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the pineapple juice. Let stand until the gelatin absorbs the water. Microwave for 10 seconds at full power or until the gelatin has melted into a clear liquid. Gelatin can also e melted in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat.

Combine the fruit puree and sugar; mix well. Pour in the liquid gelatin mixture. Let stand at room temperature until the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.

Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir the fruit puree mixture gently to loosen it. With a large rubber spatula, fold 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream into the fruit puree to relax it. Fold in the remaining cream until blended and there are no longer steaks of fruit visible. 

Pour the mixture over the crust in the spring form pan (or divide between pastry rings) and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

Rhubarb strips

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

6-7 long stalks of rhubarb 

Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat to medium and let stand until the mixture is at a slow simmer. Lay out sheets of double thick paper towels on a large work surface or your kitchen counter.

With a vegetable peeler (Y-shaped or asparagus peeler-type) shave the rhubarb stalks into paper thin strips. Place two to three strips in the simmering water at a time, only allowing them to cook for 20-30 seconds. Lay the cooked rhubarb strips flat on the paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining rhubarb strips. After you're done, the sugar syrup will be bright pink-red. Reserve the syrup for later use.

To decorate the cake, lay the strips on the top of the cake until the surface is completely covered. Trim away the excess with kitchen scissors. The strips should stick naturally, but if they do not, brush them with a little of the reserved sugar syrup. Wrap more stalks around the sides of the cake, beginning with the top so that the strips will cover any ragged edges created during trimming the top. Brush the entire cake with the reserved syrup. Place in the refrigerator to thaw. Cut with a very sharp knife - rhubarb can be very fibrous, so this is a very important step. You may also cut the cake into pieces while frozen and let the slices come to room temperature. Store the cake, covered, in the refrigerator or freezer.