Searching through my chocolate recipe binder for our Christmas Eve dessert, the inspiration for this luscious Layered Chocolate Cream Torte was found in an old Bon Appetit recipe printed off in 1999.

Of course, there were many tweaks to be made to this chocolate torte. The “mocha” part of the original recipe would put the hubby into a tizzy, so a majority of the instant coffee powder was removed, along with the touch of cinnamon. Pure, unadulterated chocolate was key for the holidays.

Slice of Layered Chocolate Cream Torte with a red handled fork on a white plate

Why You Must Make this Chocolate Mousse Torte

  • This chocolate torte had so many key components that were ideal for a holiday dessert. chocolate cookie crust, Italian meringue, chocolate mousse, and whipped cream. Focusing on the chocolate instead of the mocha made it perfect for my crew!
  • If you love mocha, just up the amount of coffee powder or substitute with instant espresso powder.
  • Layered desserts are always show stoppers so it’s also great for dinner parties or other celebrations.

What Is a Torte?

Good question as I was wondering the same thing. In my opinion, this could easily be called a chocolate mousse cake, but instead, it received the torte moniker.

One source calls a torte a sweet cake or tart. OK, I’d say this layered chocolate cream torte qualifies as a sweet cake. Another (Wikipedia) gave more specifics: A torte is a rich, usually multilayered, cake that is filled with whipped cream, buttercreams, mousses, jams, or fruits. Tortes are commonly baked in a springform pan. It’s rich, multilayered with whipped cream and mousse. Again, I think this dessert is officially a torte or cake, though probably not a tart.

Layered Chocolate Cream Torte on a white ceramic cake plate

Tips for Making a Layered Chocolate Cream Torte

This dessert is a little more advanced than some I have shared. To make the mousse layer, a piping hot sugar syrup (240º to be exact) is drizzled into beaten egg whites to form an Italian meringue. There are definitely easier ways to make a mousse, but the hot syrup helps to kill any potential bacteria in the egg whites. Since this chocolate torte dessert was for Christmas Eve, I went the extra mile.

  • Before you start, separate the eggs and let the egg whites sit at room temperature to take the chill off. Egg whites whip best when at room temperature.
  • PRO-Tip: Pop the bowl for whipping the cream into the freezer. This extra step will help stabilize your whipped cream.
  • Use chocolate bars, like Ghirardelli, for your semisweet chocolate. They will melt much smoother than chocolate chips.
  • PRO-Tip: Adding coffee or espresso powder to chocolate is a wonderful way to intensify the chocolate flavor. Plus, if you add enough, you will have a mocha dessert. Refer to the Epicurious link at the bottom if you’d like more mocha flavoring.
  • Make sure you have a good candy thermometer to make your sugar syrup. You can test it’s accuracy by placing it in pan of boiling water. It should read 100º C or 212º F.
  • Slowly adding this sugar syrup while beating the egg whites make the “uncooked” egg whites safe to eat.
  • Use an offset spatula to smooth the layers. You can also use this tool to run around the perimeter of the cake before releasing it from the springform pan.
  • If you love mocha desserts, head over to Epicurious to see my inspiration, this Layered Mocha Cream Torte!

If you’re a fan of all things mousse, check out my Chocolate Mousse Torte, Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Torte, and Tunnel of Mousse Cake. This Oreo Brookie Mousse Cake looks extraordinary as do these Butterfinger Mousse Cheesecakes!

Slice of Layered Chocolate Cream Torte on a dessert plate

Layered Chocolate Cream Torte

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 12 servings

With a chocolate cookie crust, chocolate mousse and whipped cream, this ethereal dessert is rich and creamy!



  • 9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (I used one package of Nabisco Famous Wafers)
  • 6 tablespoons  butter, melted


  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 5  egg whites
  • 2 ¾ cups whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Add cookies to a food processor. Process until crumbs form. Set aside ¾ cup of the crumbs.
  2. Add melted butter to the remaining crumb mixture and process until well combined
  3. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  4. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
  5. Add chocolate, butter, and coffee powder to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-second increments, stopping and stirring until melted and smooth. 
  6. Set the chocolate mixture aside while preparing the meringue.
  7. Stir ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  8. Increase heat and boil syrup without stirring until the candy thermometer registers 240°, about 4 minutes.
  9. Using a stand or hand mixer beat whites in a large bowl to soft peaks.
  10. Gradually beat the hot syrup into the whites. Continue beating until medium-stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  11. Fold ⅓ of the meringue into the lukewarm chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining meringue. Set chocolate meringue aside.
  12. Place cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large chilled bowl, and beat until firm peaks form.
  13. Fold 1 ½ cups of the whipped cream into the chocolate meringue, forming the chocolate mousse.
  14. Spoon half of the chocolate mousse over the bottom of the crust and spread evenly with an offset spatula.
  15. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the reserved crumbs over the mousse. Spoon half of the remaining whipped cream over the crumbs, and spread evenly. 
  16. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons crumbs. Repeat layering with remaining mousse, crumbs, whipped cream, and crumbs.
  17. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
  18. Run a knife around the pan sides to loosen the torte. Remove pan sides and serve.


Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

When beating egg whites, make sure the beaters and bowl are completely free of grease or egg yolk or they will not whip properly.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 472Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 172mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 6g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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