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Chocolate 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.


A close up shot showing the layers of the chocolate mousse cake. A layer of chocolate cake and a thick chocolate mousse is covered with ganahce.

The Best Chocolate Mousse Cake

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.

A white ruffled cake stand with a chocolate mousse cake

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.

An overhead shot of a slice of chocolate cake showing the layer of ganache on top

How to make the no-bake chocolate mousse

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.

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. Chocolate Chips tend to have a coating to prevent them from melting at high temperatures. Whereas a bar will melt down nice and smooth.

  1. Melt the chocolate: combine the chocolate and heavy cream and microwave at 50% powder, stirring occasionally until melted. 
  2. Prepare the gelatin: 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.
  3. Prepare the whipped cream: I have plenty of tips on how to make whipped cream if you need them.
  4. Prepare the filling: 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.
  5. Assemble: Spread the mousse over the cooled cake layer.  

A double layer chocolate mousse cake, with slices missing showing the inside of the cake

Tips to building a chocolate mousse cake

  • The trick to making a mousse cake like this is to use a combination of your 8-inch cake pan (affiliate link) and an 8-inch spring form pan (affiliate link). 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 (affiliate link) tight around your cake layer. 
  • 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.
  • When you use a cake collar, you can also build it directly on a plate, because the acetate sheet helps contain the filling. Just tape the sides up.
  • 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.

A horizontal image of gorgeous slice of chocolate mousse cake on a gold polka dot cake

How to make the chocolate ganache layer 

  • I recommend using 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!

A gorgeous slice of chocolate mousse cake on a gold polka dot cake

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A close up shot showing the layers of the chocolate mousse cake. A layer of chocolate cake and a thick chocolate mousse is covered with ganahce.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 28 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 28 minutes
  • Yield: 10 slices


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 (143g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (59ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (48g) light sour cream
  • 1 cups (140g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (28g) cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons (4.6g) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (157ml) brewed coffee

For the chocolate layer

  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (266ml) heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 4 ounces (113g) dark chocolate
  • ½ cup (65g) powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (48g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (5g) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract

For the ganache

  • 2 ounces (75g) dark chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) heavy whipping cream

For the whipped topping

  • 1 cup (236ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup (65g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (14g) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract


For the cake layer: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then alternate adding half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. 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.
  4. 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: 

  1. Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill while you are preparing the next steps.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. Next, melt the gelatin in the microwave for 5-8 seconds until it turns back to a liquid. Watch it closely!
  5. Stir the liquid gelatin into the melted chocolate and set it aside to cool.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the granulated sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  9. Next add the melted chocolate, beating until it’s completely mixed into the cream cheese, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  10. Lastly, fold in the prepared whipped cream and mix until all ingredients are combined.

To assemble:

  1. 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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.


  • Sour cream: If you need to substitute the sour cream, use nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Coffee: If you need to substitute the coffee, use milk
  • For the chocolate in the mousse and the ganache, I prefer to use a chocolate bar such as Ghirardelli or Bakers Chocolate as opposed to chocolate chips.
  • Make ahead and storage suggestions: The cake can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. Once assembled, this needs to be refrigerated. Keep stored in an airtight container. It’s best served within 2 days.
Nutrition Information:
1 slice
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Mousse Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

40 Responses
  1. Camela

    Made this for my grown son’s birthday dinner. It is delicious! I followed the directions and by breaking it down layer by layer you made it super easy to do. I’m sure this will become my family’s go to special event dessert. It is beautiful as well as delectably delicious.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      I love that Camela, thank you so much! I really try to show how approachable these recipes can be, so this means a lot to hear this! thank you

  2. Wendy P Todd

    Made this for a friends birthday, she absolutely loved it.!!
    Easy to follow directions, for sure I’ll make this amazing cake again.💕

  3. Courtney Thacker

    I made this for my boys 6th birthday and it was amazing! Once the cake layer cooled, I put it in a trifle bowl I felt like it too me a while to make the different sections but it was worth it. The instructions themselves were easy to follow. I will be making this again! Thank you!

  4. Madisson Edling

    Such an amazing recipe! Directions were easy to follow and it turned out perfect! Was the perfect birthday cake for my mom’s 53rd birthday! She was very pleased and we all want it again next year.. or next week! I ended up using semisweet chocolate by mistake, and it made me want to try it with dark chocolate even more! Absolutely delicious!

  5. Carolyn

    I’m not a talented baker but wanted something fancier than brownies to take to a dinner party. I was a little daunted by the recipe, which seemed pretty ambitious for me, but the instructions were great. I stuck to them step by step and the cake turned out so well! People loved it and marveled over how gorgeous and delicious it was. Very special.

  6. Ledys Rodriguez

    This chocolate mousse cake was absolutely delicious! It’s a little time consuming, but so worth it! I received countless compliments, and am sure you will too.

    To be honest, I’ve been successful with each of your recipes that I’ve tried – thank you for sharing with us

  7. Lauren

    This cake is absolutely delicious. I plan to make it this weekend for the second time. I followed the instructions almost to the letter, with the exception of subbing milk for coffee in the cake and baking in a 9-inch cake pan. I didn’t have any experience working with gelatin, but it was very simple. The cake was moist, the mousse was the perfect creamy texture and the whole thing was wonderfully chocolatey.

  8. Cheryl Timmerman

    This looks great! My daughter wants me to make it for her birthday. But, all I have is 9 inch cake pans. Would this recipe work for that? Or would I need to adjust the recipe up somehow?

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