Espresso Pasta & Foam with Chocolate Sponge Cake

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This espresso and chocolate dessert combines three techniques developed by Chef Ferran Adria at el Bulli: gel pasta, foam and 40s microwave sponge cake. With the help of an iSi Whip  and a paper cup, you can easily make the fluffiest sponge cake in just 40 seconds in your microwave!

As we have explained before in the " Black Sesame Sponge Cake and Miso " recipe, the secret of the el Bulli 40 second microwave sponge cake is to make an airy foam batter based on eggs using an iSi Whip and then cook it in a paper cup in a microwave. Unlike traditional cake batters, this one is mostly eggs with some sugar, the flavorful ingredient and a little flour.

40s Microwave Chocolate Sponge Cake

The espresso pasta is made using the technique invented by Ferran Adria of producing a thin film of a jellified liquid using Gellan Gum and then cutting it in stripes using a pasta cutter. This is the same technique we showcased in the " Saffron Tagliatelle of Consomme " recipe. And finally, the espresso foam is made with cream, gelatin and espresso using the iSi Whip.


Espresso Pasta

- 500 ml espresso

- 30 g muscovado sugar

- 40 ml  coffee liqueur

- 5 g gellan gum

Chocolate Sponge Cake

- 180 g dark couverture chocolate

- 3 eggs

- 1 egg yolk

- 130 g powdered sugar

- 50 g wheat flour

- 0.5 g salt

- Non-stick spray

Espresso Foam

- 325 ml espresso

- 75 g muscovado sugar

- 2 gelatin sheets

- 125 ml heavy cream


- iSi Whip Siphon 0.5 L (1 pint)

- 2 N2O charges

- 5 paper cups


Espresso Pasta

1- Add 30 g muscovado sugar and coffee liqueur to 500 ml espresso to taste.

2- Mix in the gellan gum and bring to a boil.

3- Immediately pour onto a tray in a thin layer, then leave to cool. Tilt the tray to get rid of any excess of liquid to obtain a very thin even film of about 1 mm. Do it fast or the liquid will gel before you get rid of the excess. This may require some practice but worst case scenario you may obtain a thicker film which is not so terrible.

4- Allow to gel completely in the flat tray for a few minutes.

5- Cut into 0.5 cm thick strips with a pasta cutter (roller type) to make tagliatelle. If you have patience you can also use a knife and a long ruler to help you get straight cuts.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

1- Melt the dark couverture chocolate over a water bath or in the microwave and allow to cool a little.

2- Mix the eggs and egg yolks together with the confectioner's sugar and salt.

3- Stir in the wheat flour and melted couverture chocolate. Stir to form a smooth mixture.

4- Pass the mixture through the iSi funnel & sieve directly into a 0.5 L iSi Whipper .

5- Screw on 2 iSi cream chargers and shake vigorously each time.

6- Let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 to 4 hours.

Baking the Sponge Cake

1- Prepare the paper cups by cutting 3 small slits on the base of the cups using scissors. This will allow the vapor generated while heating to escape.

Sesame Microwave Sponge Cake -cup-slits

Sesame Microwave Sponge Cake -cup-slits-2

2- Spray the cups with a light coat of non-stick spray to make it easier to release the delicate sponge cake once cooked.

3- Using the iSi Whip siphon, fill about 1/3 of the paper cup with the chocolate foam. Foam will expand significantly when cooked so don’t fill the cup!

4- Place the filled cup in the microwave and cook for 40 seconds at maximum power. You can cook 2 or 3 sponge cakes at a time.

5- Remove from microwave and let it cool at room temperature.

6- With the help of a small spatula, carefully release the sponge cake from the paper cup. Flip the cup and tap the top to release the sponge cake.

Espresso Espuma

1- Soak the gelatin in cold water.

2- Heat 100 ml (3.4 fl.oz) of espresso (to 60 °C or 140 °F)

3- Add 75 g sugar and dissolve.

4- Squeeze out the gelatin and dissolve in the warm espresso.

5- Mix 225 ml of cold espresso together with the heavy cream.

6- Add to the espresso-sugar-gelatin-mixture.

7- Pass through the iSi funnel & sieve directly into a 0.5 L iSi Whipper.

8- Screw on 1 iSi cream charger and shake vigorously.

9- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Assemble and Serve

1- Arrange some espresso pasta on the plate.

2- Break up a sponge cake into irregular pieces and distribute on the plate.

3- Squeeze a couple of dollops of espresso foam on the plate.

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