Monday, April 4, 2011

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

This is really and truly an awesome dessert.  I think both Nick and my mouth's were watering from the time I started making this on Saturday until we tasted it a day later.  It is so rich, and it seems so fancy that I can't believe I made it.  Definitely the fanciest thing I've ever made.  And a strawberry was a perfect companion.  This recipe is from Annie's Eats and can be found here (taken from Cooks Illustrated).  Annie also has a nice printer friendly version on her site.

Honestly?  It is not that difficult.  Don't let the recipe freak you out because it is so long.  It is time consuming, and it is expensive to make, depending on what chocolate you use in each layer.  We cheated a little bit to make it a little less expensive to make.  But anybody with access to a spring form pan, a mixer, and a stove could make this.

This recipe calls for 14 oz. of bittersweet chocolate.  I ended up only using 4 oz. and did the rest with semi-sweet chocolate.  If you're not afraid to spend lots of money on a chocolate dessert, then by all means, use all bittersweet!  I'm cheap and I didn't think it could make TOO much of a difference.

**Update - Shopping for another chocolate dessert I found bittersweet chocolate in small morsels instead of bars at a much cheaper price.  I guess it just depends on the store.**

Also, I cannot take credit for the beautiful chocolate curls.  I do not think that I have the patience to do something like that.  Nick is the artist in this house... he took care of the chocolate curls for me.  Thanks to the Pioneer Woman's chocolate curl how-to he knew exactly what to do and was successful!

How about one more yummy picture before the recipe?

White chocolate.
Chocolate mousse.
Chocolate cake.


Triple Chocolate Mousse cake:
Bottom layer: 
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz. semi-sweet baker's chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

Middle layer:
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
5 tbsp. hot water
7 oz. semi-sweet baker's chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Top layer:
3/4 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 tbsp. water
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Chocolate curls, cocoa powder, or fruit.

Bottom layer:
Prepare pan by either buttering sides and bottom or covering bottom with parchment paper.  Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325°.  Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a double boiler.  Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks.  Set aside.

Beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.  Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers (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 a minute more.  If you haven't done this before, be careful not to over beat them.  Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the rest 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 cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft, about 14-18 minutes.  The center should spring back when touched lightly with a finger.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.  Let sit 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 you are ready to proceed).

Middle 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.  Once melted, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.

In a clean bowl whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and whip 30-60 seconds longer, until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted.  Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth.  Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream mixture until no streaks remain.  Pour mousse over the cooled bottom layer and smooth the top.  Tap the cake on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles and wipe the inside of the pan to remove any smears from this layer.  Refrigerate until set, at least 15 minutes.

Top layer:
Put water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin overtop.  Let it stand at least 5 minutes to soften.  Put white chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove the pan from the heat and add gelatin.  Stir until dissolved.  Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth.  I had to put mine in the microwave for a few seconds to finish melting the chocolate.  Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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, about 30-60 seconds.  Using a whisk, mix one-third of the cream  into 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 2 1/2 hours.  

Nick and I added chocolate curls somewhere between 15 -30 minutes after beginning to chill, so that they would set in to the top of the cake.

Serve your cake very cool!

Source: Annie's eats, originally from Cook's Illustrated (November/December 2009)


  1. Thank you for sharing this with the Family!!! It was AWESOME!!!