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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.

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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.

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

Description

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.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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.

Notes

  • 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
634
41g
319mg
44g
27g
56g
2.8g
7.8g
130mg
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Mousse Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

44 Responses
    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Min, you can do this but I am don’t have a suggestion for the baking time. I’ve never used pans that small and I don’t know how much batter you’re using per pans. If you are used to baking in the smaller pan, try starting with a baking time you would use for another cake, adjust from there.

  1. Madelaine Adler

    I don’t like how the instructions on this recipe read. The ingredients should read in the order they need to be used, like the 2 tbsp of cream and the 4 oz of chocolate. Then proceed to next step . The cup of whipping cream and the powder sugar. I was using my stand mixer and had to transfer the whipped cream to another bowl while I did the cream cheese part.
    Too many suggestions that are confusing and I’m an experienced baker

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Madelaine, I always appreciate feedback, but as I read your comment, and read the instructions, they are actually listed in the order in which they are used. The heavy cream is listed as “1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (266ml) heavy whipping cream, divided” so that you know exactly how much you need for the recipe instead of listing it twice in the ingredients. The instructions do specify the amount of cream needed in each step, and the stepfor metling the chocolate does come before making the whipped cream. The instructions do call for you to make the whipped cream first and then transfer it to another bowl. By doing this you have the whipped cream already prepared for when it needs to be mixed into the mousse and you don’t need to reclean the bowl before proceeding. If you had to make the whipped cream after the cream cheese mixture, not only would have you take the cream cheese mixture out of the bowl, but you’d have to do the additional step of cleaning the mixing bowl before you do the cream. So I do feel these are written in the most efficient way to move through the step of making the filling.

  2. Kari

    I just finished making this cake for the third year in a row for my boyfriends birthday! It’s our favourite recipe. His favourite chocolate bar is Aero so I substitute that in place of the chocolate in the mousse, whipped topping and ganache and it turns out great each time. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      I have not tried it but I think it should work, as long as you have a pan tall enough, or a cake collar to help support the additional layers before they chill

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