Every year (for 30 years – which means before I was even born) we go to our prior neighbors from Jersey the week before Christmas to help decorate their tree. I look forward to this day every year. Aunt Pat always makes bacon wrapped cheese hot dogs in their buns and bacon baked beans. We always bring a (chocolate) dessert.) Over the past few years it has become my job to make the dessert. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with (finding) a delicious new dessert every year.
But, I am not sure I will ever be able to top this dessert though. This Chocolate Mousse cake is rich and decadent and sweet and moist and just perfect! Start with a mousse-like flour-less cake, top with a rich chocolate mousse, and finish the whole thing off with a white chocolate/peanut butter mousse. Throw on some extra chocolate shavings and you are in Cake Heaven!!
This cake looks a lot more difficult than it really is. There is a little bit of time to put into it (but not really – especially considering your end result). Plan to make this the night before you want to serve it and when you serve it be prepared for the “oohs” and “ahhs”. But I do warn you that once you make this cake, it will be hard to top it the next time you want a delicious chocolate dessert.
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
adapted from Annie’s Eats – serves at least 10
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or bittersweet chocolate chips)
- ¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, separated
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 5 Tablespoons hot water
- 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or those baking chips)
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ tsp. powdered gelatin (like Knox)
- 1 Tablespoon) water
- 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1½ cups heavy cream
Chocolate curls or cocoa powder
Bottom Layer - butter (or crisco) the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round for easy removal later. Center rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water (or microwave for 30 second intervals on 1/2 power until combined). Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl to remove any lumps. Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan. (If not making the second layer right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to proceed.)
Second Layer – whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth (or melt in microwave at 1/2 power in 30 second intervals). Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, at least a minute or two. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.
Top Layer – sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes to soften. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, at least a minute or two. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
When refrigerating, do not place Saran on top until it is set to avoid messing with the top. When you are ready to serve, grate (in large curls) some good quality chocolate on top (I forgot this step since I left the chocolate at home when this traveled with me). To serve – carefully cut around the edge of your springform to loosen the edges. Then release the springform and careful remove it. Because of the parchment – it will be a little hard to cut, but it goes pretty well. Serve with a glass of milk or a nice cup of coffee – ENJOY!
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what tradition do you have in your life & does it have a food related to it?
…and all I want for Christmas this year is for you to follow me on Facebook and continue to read my blog & maybe even leave some comments