Chocolate and Mango Semifreddo Cake

Torta semifreddo cioccolato cocco e mango |

This Chocolate and Mango Semifreddo Cake is gluten free and lactose free. It was commissioned to me for a graduation dinner party. Lorenzo graduated with flying colors in mathematical engineering.
Mathematical what? I get headache only by saying it.

I was honored that his parents asked me to prepare a cake for the dinner party. What’s more they only saw my creations on the internet.

The briefing

  • Big (for approx 15 people)
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose free

Given that the weather was still hot I started from the idea of a semifreddo. Maybe dark chocolate which is gluten and lactose free. And something fresh to combine with chocolate, like coconut.
For the glaze I tried at first a chocolate ganache made with lactose free cream, but the dark chocolate was covering up all the other flavors.
Second time around I tried with a neutral glaze but it was too sweet. So I went for a mango gelee instead. I had to try a few times before getting somewhere but I am happy with the result.
And from the feedback I had from the dinner party it seems that it was a success. And as far as I know nobody felt sick.

The final version

  • Chocolate sponge cake (Pan di Spagna), gluten free
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Coconut sorbet
  • Chocolate semifreddo mousse, lactose free
  • Mango gelee
  • Dark chocolate decoration

I must admit that this recipe is not easy, especially for the many preparations and the unusual ingredients. The recipe also requires various tools, such as the ice cream maker to make the coconut sorbet, or the kitchen thermometer to make the pâte à bombe and the Italian meringue.
The ingredients shown here are meant for a 26 cm (10 in) cake ring, whereas the one shown in the picture is a smaller version made with a 20 cm (7.8 in).

Chocolate and Mango Semifreddo Cake

Servings: 10


For the gluten free chocolate sponge cake (Pan di Spagna):

  • 200 g eggs 7 oz
  • 140 g egg yolks 4.9 oz
  • 180 g sugar 6.3 oz
  • 100 g all purpose gluten free flour I used Mix It! Schär (3.5 oz)
  • 60 g potato starch 2.1 oz
  • 30 g cocoa powder unsweetened (1.1 oz)
  • tip of a tsp of powdered vanilla bourbon alternatively vanilla extract

For the coconut sorbet:

  • 360 g coconut drink unsweetened (12.7 oz)
  • 20 g coconut oil 0.7 oz
  • 56 g sugar 1.2 oz
  • 90 g dextrose 3.2 oz
  • 30 g glucose syrup 1.1 oz
  • 1 g guar flour the tip of a tsp
  • 30 g desiccated coconut 1.1 oz

For the lactose free chocolate mousse:

  • For the Pate a bombe:
  • 120 g egg yolks 4.2 oz
  • 25 g water 0.88 oz
  • 50 g sugar 1.8 oz
  • 50 g honey 1.8 oz

For the Italian meringue:

  • 90 g egg whites 3.2 oz
  • 25 g water 0.88 oz
  • 75 g sugar 2.6 oz
  • 75 g glucose syrup 2.6 oz
  • 500 g lactose free fresh cream 17.6 oz
  • 120 g dark chocolate 4.2 oz

For the vanilla syrup:

  • 230 g water 8.1 oz
  • 200 g sugar 7 oz
  • tip of a tsp of powdered vanilla bourbon alternatively vanilla extract

For the mango gelee:

  • 230 g mango puree 8.1 oz
  • 8 g lime juice freshly squeezed (0.3 oz)
  • 15 g dextrose 0.5 oz
  • 20 g glucose syrup 0.7 oz
  • 7 g gelatin sheet about 1 ½ sheet 0.24 oz


Chocolate gluten free sponge cake (Pan di Spagna) for a 24cm pastry ring:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment put the eggs (not the yolks) and the sugar. Beat at high speed until fluffy and light.
  • Add the yolks together with the vanilla bourbon (or extract) and keep beating at high speed for about 13-15 minutes (depending on the temperature of the eggs, colder need more time).
  • Meanwhile sift together twice the gluten free flour, the potato starch and the the cocoa powder.
  • Preheat the oven at 180° C (355° F).
  • After 13-15 minutes the batter will be high and fluffy, and the whisk will leave visible furrows.
  • Turn the speed at minimum and add half of the flours. Pulse at high speed for 1 or 2 seconds. Repeat with the remaining amount of flours. Pulse again to make the batter absorb the solids.
  • Line a oven tray with baking paper. Butter and flour (gluten free) the inside of the pastry ring. Place the ring on the tray and pour the batter inside. Level with a spatula and bake in the preheated oven at 180° C (355° F) for about 24 minutes with the open valve. If your oven doesn't have a valve leave the oven door slightly open using a wooden spoon or a small ball made of aluminum foil.
  • Check the cooking according to your oven: press lightly on the sponge cake with your finger. The cake is ready when it comes back up.
  • Take out of the oven, sprinkle the top with sugar and turn it upside down on a sheet of baking paper. Remove the ring and let it cool off completely.
  • For the coconut sorbet (an ice cream maker is needed):
  • Put all the ingredients in the immersion blender cup and mix thoroughly.
  • Make the sorbet according to the instructions of your ice cream maker.
  • If you own an ice cream maker with the bowl to be refrigerated in the freezer then you will have to refrigerate the mix for at least 3 hours prior to making the sorbet (better overnight).
  • Once ready transfer the sorbet in a 22 cm (8-9 in) silicon round cake pan. Level with the spatula.

For the chocolate semifreddo mousse:

  • Pâte à bombe
  • Put the water with the sugar and honey in a small pot on medium heat. When it reaches 105° C (221° F) start beating the egg yolks with the stand mix fitted with whisk attachment, high speed. Alternatively a handheld mixer can be used.
  • When it reaches 121° C (250° F) drizzle the syrup on the yolks while you keep on beating. Stop the mixer when the pâte à bombe is lukewarm.
  • Italian meringue
  • Like for the pâte à bombe, put a small pot on medium heat with sugar, water and glucose. When the temperature reaches 113° C (235° F) start beating the egg whites in the stand mixer (or handheld mixer) with whisk attachment, high speed. Do not over-beat. They should reach the right consistency as the syrup reaches 121° C (250° F). Remove from heat and drizzle the syrup on the egg whites until the meringue is the right stiffness (medium firm).
  • Assembly of the semifreddo chocolate mousse:
  • Chop the dark chocolate, in a mixer or with a knife, and melt it in the microwave or in a bain-marie. Whip the cream.
  • Assemble the mousse in the following way:
  • Gently fold the melted chocolate into the pâte à bombe. Fold the whipped cream into the mousse.
  • Finally do the same with the Italian meringue.

Assembly of the semifreddo cake:

  • Cut the sponge cake horizontally, therefore obtaining two discs about 2 cm high (0.78 in).
  • Place the 26 cm (10 in) cake ring (height 6cm/2.4in) on a cardboard cake disc.
  • Cover the inside of the ring with pastry tape (or a strip of baking paper).
  • Place the first disc of sponge cake inside and moisten the top with the vanilla syrup.
  • With a pastry bag without the tip pipe a layer of chocolate semifreddo mousse, also filling the gap around the disc.
  • Place the disc of coconut sorbet over the mousse, pressing it down lightly.
  • Cover with some more chocolate mousse.
  • Insert the second disc and moisten with the vanilla syrup.
  • Fill to the top with the remaining chocolate mousse.
  • Level with a long spatula and transfer in the freezer.

For the mango gelee:

  • Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for about 10 minutes.
  • Put sugar, dextrose and glucose syrup in a small pot on medium heat. When the sugars have dissolved add the wrung gelatin and stir.
  • Put the mango puree in the cup of the immersion blender, and add the content of the pot.
  • Mix with the blender at the bottom of the cup, in order not to incorporate air.
  • Once the puree is ready, glaze the cake: pour the mango puree on top of cake and gently rotate to distribute evenly. Place the cake back in the freezer to stabilize it.
  • Once stabilized remove the ring: with the help of a blow torch (or using your hands) heat the side of the ring. Remove carefully. Also remove the pastry tape.
  • Garnish with tempered chocolate and coconut flakes.
Did you try this recipe?Mention @tortaoragione and tag #tortaoragione!

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