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Layered Mousse Cake

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This Layered Mousse Cake is rich and decadent, and worthy of an appearance when you need a special dessert. A group of girlfriends gathered for a holiday luncheon the week before Christmas. Once it was decided we’d surprise one of our friends for her upcoming birthday, I knew I had to make one incredibly special dessert.

I went deep into my archives to retrieve this Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe. Between the guest of honor and my friends, there was nothing but accolades for this lovely mousse dessert.

Layered Mousse Cake on a white ceramic cake plate

Layered Mousse Cake

I’ve made so many chocolate mousses and mousse cakes that I’ve lost count. Every iteration I’ve seen, I’ve tried. This is one, though, that I’ve made more than once. It’s memorable. It’s decadent. It’s a show stopper. There are SO many amazing mousse recipes out in the blogosphere, and I could make a new once each week without a complaint from my family. Well, unless there’s a Brussels sprouts version out there. I don’t think I’ll bother googling that! This White Chocolate Mousse with Frangelico is a family favorite.

My friend, Shelli, has a birthday on the same day as my son, Tom. Two days after Christmas. Lost in the shuffle of the holidays. We were going to make sure she knew we loved her; I made this sublime creation to celebrate her special day. There was swooning after the sampling of this layered mousse cake began. If you need an incredible dessert, this is the one for you!!

Overhead view of a beautiful white chocolate and milk chocolate Layered Mousse Cake on a white cake plate

Tips for Making a Triple Layer Mousse Cake

  • With a layered dessert, a decent springform pan is crucial. Having removable sides helps reveal the gorgeous layers without having to flip your creation out of a traditional cake pan.
  • The bottom layer is baked. The eggs happen to be separated and the whites beaten to make a lighter, cake-like base. Then there are those dreamy chocolate and white chocolate mousse layers. Note that the mousse contains raw eggs and should not be served to small children or anyone with a compromised immune system.
  • In a previous post, I revealed how to make Chocolate Curls. They’re hard to fiddle with on a hot summer’s day, but if you crank up the AC for a bit, I think they’re doable any time of year! It’s worth the effort when making this Layered Mousse Cake.
  • PRO-Tip: When beating egg whites, like for the bottom chocolate souffle cake, the bowl and beaters must be free of all grease or they will not whip properly. If some egg yolk happens to get into your whites, you must toss the eggs as the fat in the yolks will prevent the whites from getting to the proper consistency.
  • Tip #2: To avoid contaminating your egg whites with a speck of yolk, separate your yolk into one clean bowl and then the white into another. For the next egg, separate the egg white into a third bowl and transfer that white to the other bowl of whites only if it does not have any yolk in it.  The yolk can go into the yolk bowl. Repeat using the empty whites bowl for your initial separation as long as no drops of yolk have been introduced.
  • It’s a bit of extra work, but once you’ve accidentally gotten a bit of yolk into a bowl of 6 egg whites, you’ll understand that it’s worth the effort. I’ve done that….more than once!
Layered Mousse Cake on a cake stand

More Decadent Chocolate Desserts You’ll Love!

If your family is full of chocoholics like mine is, you’re always searching for a new chocolate dessert. I have a few tried and true recipes that are perfect for entertaining or holidays. Only a sliver is needed to get your chocolate fix!

This Layered Chocolate Mousse Cake differs from the below recipe as it has TWO layers of chocolate cake, a layer of chocolate mousse and is coated in chocolate ganache!  These Individual Chocolate Souffles are light, luscious and elegant. Who doesn’t love their own individual dessert??? And my Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova always creates conversation as many are not familiar with this scrumptious meringue dessert topped with berries and cream.

I’ve also had my eye on this lovely Chocolate Hazelnut Tart from Taste And See and this Kahlua Chocolate Poke Cake from Life, Love and Sugar. Both look impossible to resist!

To make this decadent 3 layered mousse cake recipe, you’ll need these tools:

Layered Mousse Cake - 3 delicious layers

Layered Mousse Cake

A decadent, 3 layer chocolate mousse cake that will thrill the chocoholics in your life!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Yield 12 servings


Bottom layer:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (plus extra for greasing the pan)
  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Chocolate Mousse Layer:

  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons. hot water
  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

White Chocolate Mousse:

  • ¾ teaspoon powdered gelatin (I use Knox)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups heavy cream

For garnish:

  • Chocolate curls


  1. To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325º. 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.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy. Crumble the brown sugar into the egg whites and mix to incorporate. Continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, a minute or two longer. Using a whisk, mix about a 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 spring-form pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  3. Bake until the center of the cake has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 14-18 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Pour the mousse into the spring-form pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter a few times to remove the air bubbles. Smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe off any mousse that has dripped on the interior of the pan. Refrigerate while preparing the top layer.
  6. 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, stirring occasionally.
  7. Whip the remaining 1 cup of cream until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form. 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.
  8. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired.


Total time does not include chilling time.

Adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 544Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 34gProtein: 6g


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53 comments on “Layered Mousse Cake”

  1. There’s never too many when it comes to chocolate mousse cake. Yours look so decadent and creamy; and how I wish I have a big slice and a fork in front of me.

  2. I am really impressed, Liz. The cake is simply stunning.

  3. I’m not surprised that you found it difficult to choose from all of your chocolate recipes, never mind scrumptious mousses, Liz! This looks absolutely stunning and could easily be pride of place in a beautifully chic patisserie in Paris.
    Happy Delicious New Year to you and your lovely family x

  4. I’m not a big sweet eater but this one is making even me swoon, Liz! Gorgeous as usual!

  5. What a soft cake and beautiful presentation.
    Have a lovely Sunday

  6. Happy New Year Liz! OMG that is one of my favorite cakes, love all the mousse layers. But did you make your own chocolate curls 😉 I bet you can.

  7. That looks fantastic! Definitely a show stopper. Love the chocolate curls on top, very elegant 🙂

  8. I’m so glad to be a part of Sunday Supper and have gotten to know you and all the other bloggers. And, Liz, this cake … OMG! You are so talented.

  9. Just not sure it gets any better than this…layers and layers of chocolate mousse!!!😋

  10. What a wonderful friend you are! That’s one gorgeous cake.

  11. WOW!! This is just gorgeous, Liz!! I wish I could have a piece or two or three right now!

  12. Wow! Triple swoon!!! I love Sunday Suppers for all the reasons you mentioned. Can’t wait to join in after my hiatus;)

  13. Man this mousse cake looks incredible – so light and fluffy and decadent! It’s absolutely beautiful too! 🙂

  14. That is a special cake! Beautiful!

  15. Very impressive cake, what a wonderful friend to make this!!!

  16. Now this is a cake to start off the new year! 🙂 Those layers of mousse are just dreamy!

  17. that is just too tempting, Liz! I love this chocolate mousse cake…. I HAVE TO make one too…

  18. Your chocolate mousse cake with both white and dark varieties would indeed make anyone feel very loved and celebrated =) Beautiful “because” of why you love Sunday Supper, Liz.

  19. Wow, your cake is beautiful Liz, no doubt it was amazing:@)

  20. This mousse looks wonderful! I bet all the ladies loved it!! I know I would have 🙂

  21. Beautiful! I love the layers and the topping. Definitely a showstopper!

  22. This looks absolutely devine.

  23. I am drooling over the cake! It looks sinfully delicious! Pinning!!

  24. Oh my word, that looks good! What a way to kick off the week, Liz!

  25. I’m so wishing it was my birthday and you lived nearby. This mousse cake wouldn’t survive long around me! Love the Sinday Supper Challenge for the month

  26. Oh my goodness, this is some serious deliciousness! Such a stunning dessert!

  27. Thank you, I just found my daughters birthday cake!

  28. This looks so good! What a perfect dessert.

  29. Hi Liz,
    I plan to make this for a party on Saturday. How much of it could I make ahead and how long would it keep? The party is Saturday evening. Ideally, I’d like to make the parts ahead of time and assemble it the morning of the party. Do you think that would work?


  30. Super lovely. I love those beautiful layers of chocolate!!

  31. That is one gorgeous creation! How did you make it to a party or even get it photographed? My crew would have devoured it.

  32. Gorgeous cake, Liz! Very impressive!

  33. Very beautiful cake, Liz! You’re a good friend to make that masterpiece!

  34. It’s a beautiful and most delicious looking cake. Perfect for any party 🙂
    Happy New-Year my friend 🙂

  35. Oh wow! How gorgeous is that? It looks like something you’d buy in a high end pastry shop! Did you have to force yourself to cut into it? (just kidding…I would have been impatient to get the photos taken 🙂 )

  36. I’m not usually much of a fan of mousse but this looks so pretty I think I’d definitely have to try some!

  37. Swooning, drooling, and doing the happy dance are appropriate reactions to this beauty!

  38. Oh my goodness!This is divine, each layer is divine!!I can only imagine how amazing it must taste 🙂

  39. This is a positively gorgeous dessert! My chocolate-addicted husband just glanced at my screen and said “you might want to print that recipe!”

  40. this def IS a showstopper!! Seriously, this cake is stunning and looks sooo incredibly delicious!

  41. Lizzy,
    This is a gorgeous cake. I could eat it until I explode.

  42. this is quite the masterpiece!

  43. This is my go-to cake when I am needing a chocolate fix!

  44. You can never go wrong with chocolate! This cake was delicious and loved by all at my dinner party!

  45. Everyone at my house was so impressed! This was so good!

  46. This decadent dessert was a big hit! Will definitely be making it again in the future!

  47. I can’t decide which layer I love the best but I do know the cake as a whole is magnificent!

  48. This cake looks amazing and I am planning to make it for a party this weekend. You mentioned the eggs being used in the mouse layers in the tips section. But, in the ingredients list and directions for the mouse layers in the recipe, the eggs are not mentioned. Can you please clarify so I do not mess up the recipe. Thank you.

    • Oh, boy, I can see why you were confused, Leigh Anne!! That’s totally an error on my part. The mousses are actually egg free so the tip is really only for the base layer. This is one of my favorite desserts, so hope you enjoy! Thanks for letting me know about my goof up!!

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