Maverick Life


Tannie Maria’s Love Advice and Recipe Column: Mechanic’s Chocolate Mousse Cake

Tannie Maria’s Love Advice and Recipe Column: Mechanic’s Chocolate Mousse Cake
Cake and Image: Leigh and Gus Schroenn.

Sally Andrew is the author of a series of Tannie Maria murder mysteries set in the Klein Karoo. In this monthly column, Daily Maverick collaborates with the (fictional) Karoo Gazette to share some of Tannie Maria’s stories, letters and recipes.

Oh, Tannie Maria, the email said.

Thank you so much, the braai went really well. You were right, the bread was easy to make and she was very impressed. She said I was a very good cook. Haha.

Sorry about writing an email instead of a letter but this is an emergency. I wish there was someone else I could ask, but I can’t, and I need help.

We, you know, did it, together. And we have done it now three times. It’s amazing being so close and breathing her smell and there is no need for words. We feel so good together. Too good. The problem is I get so excited it’s all over for me in two minutes and she doesn’t always get a chance to, you know…

Is there medical treatment for me?

Karel, the mechanic (in need of brakes) 

Jessie’s phone rang: “I’m Your Man”. She answered it with a smile and went outside to talk.

I tried to think of some advice for Karel. But what did I know about good sex? I’ve always imagined it would be something like a really good cake. That gave me an idea. I wrote:

Here is a way you could slow yourself down. Memorise a good recipe, then say it inside your head if you are getting overexcited. This should distract you enough to make it last longer, but still keep your mind on something delicious.

Taking it slow. Image: Bowen Boshier

Then I gave him a recipe for a chocolate cake. Not the one I made for Kannemeyer. But a fluffy chocolate mousse cake, made with dark chocolate. The recipe required a long time to beat the eggs and sugar to make them very thick and frothy, and the cake was topped with cream and berries.

Cake and image: Jacqueline Rossouw



240g dark chocolate
½ cup butter (125 g)
1 t vanilla extract
4 eggs
¼ cup castor sugar
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 orange 

Image: Monika Frankiewicz, Otwarte

Melt the chocolate, butter and vanilla extract in a double-boiler. I put the ingredients in a small saucepan rested over a pot of boiled water (off the heat).

Beat the eggs, sugar and salt until very thick and silky. This will take at least 5 minutes with an electric beater on high speed. This is very important and must not be rushed. The mixture will get thick and foamy, about five times its original volume.

Add the orange zest and then gently fold in the melted chocolate butter.

Pour the batter into a lined and greased 23 cm spring-form cake tin and bake at 160 ºC for 35-45 minutes or until the top of the cake begins to crack. 

Leave in the tin to cool, then take out of the tin and fill the hollow bit on top with whipped cream and berries or nuts.

Image: Monika Frankiewicz



The dark chocolate here has about 35% to 40% cocoa solids. Do not use very dark chocolate or chocolate with more than 45% cocoa solids or your cake will be dry, bitter and heavy. 

This cake may look a little flat, but this is so you can fill the middle with delicious whipped cream and berries or nuts, or even poached kaalgatperskes (nectarines). DM/ML

This letter and Tannie Maria’s recipe are an excerpt from Recipes for Love and Murder. You can buy Sally Andrew’s books here.

Recipes for Love and Murder, A Tannie Maria Mystery. By Sally Andrew

Note from author, Sally Andrew:

Tova Luck (cake-creator from last month’s Venus Cake column) made a glorious video of her ‘Chocolate Cake’ song, with cream and berries:

Swimming in the sea with your cake is not in Tannie Maria’s recipe, but you are welcome to give it a try. Big thanks to my Facebook friends for taking on the challenge of baking and photographing the mousse cake at short notice.

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