Chocolate Mousse Cake

Total Time:
4 hr
3 hr 30 min
30 min

8 servings

  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 tablespoons melted)
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 18 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-ounce pieces

Grated chocolate, cookie crumbs or chopped nuts for coating the sides of cake, if desired


Lightly coat the insides of 3 9 by 1 1/2-inch cake pans with melted butter. Line each pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat the parchment paper with more melted butter. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place remaining butter and 8 ounces semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Allow to heat for 10 to 12 minutes. remove from the heat, stir until smooth, and hold at room temperature.

Place the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on high until slightly thickened and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.

While the egg yolks are beating, whisk 4 egg whites in a large stainless steel bowl until stiff, but not dry, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the beaten egg yolk mixture. Add a quarter of the beaten egg whites and stir to incorporate, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly, and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes. (During baking, the surface of the cakes will form a crust; this crust will normally collapse when the cakes are removed from the oven.) Invert the cakes onto cake circles, remove the parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


To prepare the dark chocolate cream, heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place the semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap and allow to heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and set aside until needed. Place heavy cream and sugar in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled balloon whip. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a hand whisk to combine 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and completely incorporated. Add the combined whipped cream and chocolate to the remaining whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to fold together.


Heat the heavy cream and the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Place the semisweet chocolate in a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Chill 1 cup of ganache for at least 1 hour. Remaining ganache should be at room temperature

To assemble cake:

Arrange one of the cake layers in a 9-inch springform pan, evenly spread half the filling over the cake and top with the second layer. Add remaining filling and top with the remaining cake layer. Chill 2 hours. Transfer chilled cup of ganache to pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Remove cake from springform pan and coat sides and top with room temperature ganache. Using chilled ganache, decoratively pipe stars on top of cake. If desired, coat sides of cake with grated chocolate, cookie crumbs of chopped nuts.

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Cooking Tips
4.7 23
I came across this recipe several years ago but have made it for only for special occasions. It always gets rave reviews but it is pretty expensive and time consuming as a few posters have written. I too have had trouble with the chocolate seizing when making the filling. I solved the problem by bring the cream to a boil and pouring it over the chocolate as with a ganache then stirring until smooth, then chilling it overnight. When it came to assembling the cake I whipped the mixture using my stand mixer with the balloon wisk to desired consistency. It Turned out very smooth and creamy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
DECADENT! My sister and I worked together to make this for my birthday. I mixed dark chocolate bars with the semi-sweet, as we all like dark. My warning is not to refrigerate the ganache too long. The recipe says "at least an hour", which may be the case. We watched a movie, so it was more like 2 1/2 hours, and that was too long. It was really hard and difficult to do any decorating. Cake didn't end up with the professional look I'd hoped for. Otherwise, I followed recommendations of others -- made sure chocolate was very cool before combining with cream, in particular. No problems. I WILL say that this makes a lot more than 8 servings -- almost twice as many, if you're talking about a reasonable amount considering the richness. My nephews asked for seconds but were unable to finish them, despite being really small. Not something you can make often -- even with two pairs of hands, it was very time intensive and frankly expensive. But it's a fun splurge and very yummy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Decadent! Made this for my boyfriend's birthday with his family. It was a huge hit. I'm not much into baking and thought this recipe would be difficult, but it wasn't, just took my time and read the recipe before getting started. I will be making this again in a couple of weeks. The people at the party informed me that I was the new baker - it was that big of a hit! I was very proud. I followed the recipe exactly but I did not have espresso powder so I actually used fresh coffee grinds and a little bit of coffee I had made and it worked perfectly! Thank you for a wonderful chocolate mousse cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Omg, this cake is awesome! Not hard to make, just really time consuming and requires patience. I'm not sure if my cake comes the way it's supposed to as it's kind of thin and crunchy but it seems to soak in the fat from the mousse and blend in real nice so I don't make a big deal out it. Some people here said the filling curdled but it never happened to me. I think the trick is not to whisk the heavy cream for too long as it does turn into this buttery form, which you don't want to. In my opinion is also important to combine just a little of the whipped cream with chocolate first before adding it to the rest of the whipped cream. The chocolate should be really just somewhat warm - but not too cold so it starts hardening again. I don't use all the mousse and end up with a cup or 1 1/2 cups of leftover but that is just a matter of preference. Same with the ganache - I make only half of what the recipe says.I decorate with strawberries. item not reviewed by moderator and published
his cake is a chocolate lover's dream! -if you want thicker cake layers, use cake mix or double the cake batter recipe -melt the chocolate for the cake layers first and let cool while you butter the pans -I inverted the cakes onto cutting boards -the filling makes a lot...I had a lot left over. Go gentle on the filling.I put too much and it's pretty much all mousse, not much cake at all -for the ganache- let the melted chocolate cool before mixing it with the whipped cream. It will sieze if it's still hot. Stir and stir to let it cool. -You don't need steel bowls, regular bowls are fine. -The ganache was too thin to spread at first, so I let it sit out for quite a while before it was spreadable. You could cool in fridge for a couple mins. -I did not cool it for the 2 hours like it said to before putting the ganache on. Probably about 30 minutes. -Do NOT add any other sugars to this- not even powdered sugar to thicken the ganache. It makes it nearly too sweet. Trust me! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was Amazing! I made it for my husbands birthday and it was definitely a big hit. It took 3 hrs. I used broken up Lindt chocolate bars instead of chips. For the ganache I realized I did'nt have enough chocolate only after I began making the cream and butter so made a mental note to use only half the cream. However, I forgot and poured all the cream on the chocolate which made it way too watery to use. So I whipped in a bunch of confectioners sugar to thicken it a little and dribbled it down the sides all around. I refrigerated some, which thickened it some more and covered the top layer with that. It ended up looking better than a store bought cake. thanks for a wonderful recipe. I will be making this again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is awesome. I have made it twice and my family loves it. It is a lot of work and time but it is worth it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wonderful cake. I had no problems with seizing. Make sure you cover the chocolate tightly before putting it on the heat, and be sure there's no moisture in the pan. It's true that the beating takes less time than the recipe suggests. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Cake is lovely, however cream filling seized and after being whisked to smoothness, once again curdled and reached the point of no return. The timing in this recipe is way off... my KitchenAid got everything done in less than half the time, so beware if you're using a powerful mixer. Don't trust the minutes recommended for electric mixers. Yes, you will be doing a lot of work with this cake... folding batters and fillings and washing lots of dishes. But it seems as if it's worth the work! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is not hard to make, but it's not easy either. It takes some time and some patience but it's worth it. I've made this many times and have had people request it. The recipe for the ganache is wonderful - I've used it for frosting other cakes and also for making truffles. The layers may break as you put them in the springform but that should not be a problem - just arrange them as best you can and keep going. It will not affect how the cake cuts. Use a really good chocolate, follow the directions, have a bit of patience and you will love this. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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