This Chocolate Mousse Cake is a layer of moist chocolate cake with a fluffy chocolate mousse, covered with a rich chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate whipped cream. It’s a totally approachable recipe that will leave you so impressed with yourself.
I don’t know why it took me so long to combine my favorite chocolate cake with my favorite easy chocolate mousse.
I’ve made dozens of brownie mousse cakes but it’s time for brownies to step aside and for chocolate cake to step in.
Seems like a no brainer, right?
Chocolate Mousse Cake never goes out of style.
This Chocolate Mousse Cake is a layer of moist chocolate cake with a fluffy chocolate mousse, covered with a rich chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate whipped cream.
Bring on alllll the chocolate.
I love love love my chocolate cake recipe. It makes fabulous cupcakes, sheet cakes or layers cakes. But until I made this mousse cake, I have never baked it as a single layer.
Turns out a half recipe makes the perfect, thick single layer cake.
When approaching this recipe, just take it layer by layer. First bake the cake, then make the chocolate mousse and once the mousse has set then add the ganache and whipped cream topping.
If you want to know more details about the layer of cake, I’ve covered lots of tips in my post about my Chocolate Cake Recipe.
Tips for making a no-bake chocolate mousse
- You’ll definitely want a high-quality chocolate. It’s best to use a chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips. The bars will melt down smoother than chocolate chips. The same is true for the chocolate ganache.
- Chips tend to have a coating to prevent them from melting at high temperatures. Whereas a bar will melt down nice and smooth.
- Prepare the gelatin first. I used to be intimidated by gelatin but once I understood the concept its actually super easy.
- In a small dish, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over cold water. After a couple minutes it will turn to a gummy solid.
- Heat it in the microwave for about 10 seconds and it will turn back to a liquid.
- If the gelatin has any leftover gummy pieces, be sure to use a toothpick and fish them out. You definitely don’t want to be chewing on that.
- Let it cool for a couple minutes. Then pour it into your melted chocolate.
- Next, prepare a batch of homemade whipped cream. I have plenty of tips on how to make whipped cream if you need them.
- Then mix together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Once that’s is well combined, add in the melted chocolate. Finally, fold in the prepared whipped cream.
- Spread the mousse over the cooled cake layer.
- It might seem like a lot of dishes, and it can be, but if you prepare them in these steps, you won’t need to wash your mixing bowl.
How to build a chocolate mousse cake
- The trick to making a mousse cake like this is to use a combination of your 8-inch cake pan and an 8-inch spring form pan.
- I find a lot of springform pans aren’t tight enough to bake the cake in directly, so I do prefer to use my regular baking pans.
- You might find that your cake layer has shrank a little bit, so tape the cake collar tight around your cake layer.
- If you don’t have an 8-inch springform pan, you can still use your baking pan but I suggest to get a cake collar, plastic wrap or parchment paper if you plan to remove it from the pan. You need to make sure it covers the bottom of the pan if you want to lift it out.
- When you use a cake collar, you can also build it on a plate, because the acetate sheet helps contain the filling. Just tape the sides up.
- I use cake collars for all my no-bake desserts, even in a springform pan because then I can cleanly remove the edges of the pan without concern.
How to make the chocolate ganache layer
- The best recommendation I have for chocolate ganache is to use a 3:1 ratio of heavy cream to chocolate. Microwave the chocolate together with the heavy cream in 30 second increments, stirring as needed.
- Once it’s completely melted stir it until the cream in completely dissolved in the chocolate and it’s nice and smooth.
- Pour the ganache over the mousse layer and spread evenly with an angled spatula.
- The ganache will be thin and pourable at first but as it cools and once refrigerated, it will thicken, but still be easy enough to cut right through.
I believe that anyone can make this recipe! Just take it one step, one layer at a time. The cake itself is pretty simple, as is the mousse. It just takes a few steps to get there. I promise, the results are worth it!
More Cake Recipes you’d love
- No-Bake Chocolate Marshmallow Pie
- No-Bake Chocolate Oreo Mousse Pie
- Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Mocha Cake
- Super Moist Chocolate Cake
- Brownie Bottom Oreo Mousse Pie
- Triple Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake
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This Chocolate mousse cake is a layer of moist chocolate cake with a fluffy chocolate mousse, covered with a rich chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate whipped cream. It’s a totally approachable recipe that will leave you so impressed with yourself.
For the cake:
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup light sour cream
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup brewed coffee
For the chocolate layer
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the ganache
- 2 ounces dark chocolate
- 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the whipped topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the cake layer: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and grease & flour the edges.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color.
- Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
- Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining coffee and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
- Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
- Bake at 350°F for 28-30 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool Completely.
- For the mousse: Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill while you are preparing the next steps.
- Place 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small dish. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water, trying to spread the powder evenly. Allow the gelatin to turn to a solid (about 2-3 minutes)
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time until the chocolate is melted.
- Next, melt the gelatin in the microwave for 5-8 seconds until it turns back to a liquid. Watch it closely!
- Stir the liquid gelatin into the melted chocolate and set it aside to cool.
- Prepare the whipping cream. Pour the remaining heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until the cream starts to thicken to soft peaks. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside.
- Soften the unwrapped cream cheese in the microwave for 15 seconds. Change the mixer to the paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese until it’s completely smooth.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the granulated sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- Next add the melted chocolate, beating until it’s completely mixed into the cream cheese, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Lastly, fold in the prepared whipped cream and mix until all ingredients are combined.
- To assemble: Transfer the cake layer to an 8-inch springform pan, or line your cake pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper along the bottom and up the sides if you want to remove the cake from the pan. Place the cake in the bottom of the pan. Pour the chocolate filling over the chocolate cake, spread evenly and refrigerate until the filling is set, 2-4 hours.
- For the chocolate ganache: In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments and stir until completely combined. Allow to cool.
- Pour the chocolate over top of the mousse layer and spread evenly. Allow the ganache to set a little bit before adding the topping.
- For the Topping:Prepare a second batch of whipped cream following the same instruction of above, adding the cocoa powder together with the powdered sugar and vanilla. Pipe the border using a large open star tip.
- Keep covered and store in the refrigerator.
- For the chocolate in the mousse and the ganache, I prefer to use a chocolate bar such as Ghirardelli or Bakers Chocolate
- Light sour cream is best substituted with nonfat Greek yogurt. Do not omit.
- Coffee should be brewed, and can be substituted with milk if necessary