Triple Chocolate Mousse Cakes

If you are looking for a show-stopping dessert that will impress your dinner guests, look no further! These individual chocolate mousse cakes are rich, decadent and full of chocolatey goodness. The bottom layer is a dense, flourless chocolate cake, with a smooth semisweet chocolate mousse in the middle, and a silky white chocolate mousse to top it of. Tasting all three flavors in one bite is heaven! This dessert definelty takes some effort to make, but it is well worth it. You can even make these the night before to save yourself some time. The original recipe from Cooks Illustrated calls for a springform pan, but I thought they would be more fun as individual cakes, because c’mon, everyone loves to have their very own dessert to call their own! 

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cakes
Yields: 6 individual cakes

Ingredients:
For the bottom layer:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing the pan)
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

For the middle layer:
2 tbsp. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
5 tbsp. hot water
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

For the top layer:
¾ tsp. powdered gelatin
1 tbsp. water
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream

For garnish:
Chocolate curls or cocoa powder

Directions:
To make the bottom layer, grease 6 ramekins with cooking spray. (I also lined the bottoms with a parchment paper circle.) Center a 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.  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 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 1 minute 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 ramekins and smooth the tops with a spatula.

Bake until the cakes have risen, firm around the edges and the centers have just set but is still soft (it should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 8-10 minutes.  If your ramekins are well greased, the cakes should pull away from the sides when it is done. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour.  Run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins, then gently overturn the ramekins onto a plate to release the cakes. (I would suggest assembling the cakes on whatever plate you want to serve it on, since it is difficult to move them after they set.

To make the 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.  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, 30-60 seconds.  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.  

To assemble to cakes, cut 6 pieces of parchment paper that are roughly 12”x5” in size. Wrap each chocolate cake tightly in the parchment collar, and secure with scotch tape. Place the chocolate mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, and gently pipe on top of the cakes. Pipe the mousse until it is equal thickness with the chocolate cake layer. (Be careful to avoid getting any chocolate along the sides of the parlement, or your white chocolate mousse will have stripes of dark chocolate!) Gently smooth the top with a spatula.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand at least 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, 30-60 seconds.  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. Pipe or spoon the white chocolate mousse into the parchment collars, similarly to the dark chocolate mouse. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.  

To serve, gently unwrap the parchment paper and serve garnished with chocolate curls or cocoa powder.

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, November/December 2009, as seen on Annie’s Eats. Individual cake inspiration and technique from Martha Stewart.

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5 Responses to Triple Chocolate Mousse Cakes

  1. Liz says:

    Oh, this would make an incredible Easter dessert! YUM!

  2. Food Lover says:

    Mmmm looks so yummy, I loved how you used paper to shape the dessert so creative 🙂

  3. I want to eat this. RIGHT NOW.

  4. Pure heaven! I made chocolate mousse for the first time a week ago, these cakes will be next.

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