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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 were 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 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 in both the mousse layers and 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:

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Layered Mousse Cake - 3 delicious layers

Layered Mousse Cake

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

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 58 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

Total time does not include chilling time.

Adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated.

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