Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
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This triple chocolate mousse cake recipe makes the perfect light dessert. It’s made with a dense chocolate brownie base, cool creamy mousse filling, and topped with rich chocolate ganache.
This mousse cake recipe is inspired by Marcel Desaulniers from The Food Network. It’s similar to my triple Nutella mousse cake but heavier than my strawberry mousse cake.
The chocolate mousse filling adds a cool creamy texture that compliments the dense chocolate cake layer. It’s smooth, velvety, and extraordinarily decadent.
This cake has loads of chocolate from top to bottom. The cool, rich texture makes it great for any special occasion or holiday.
When I came across a chocolate mousse layer cake with ganache on The Food Network, I knew I had to make my own version with one single chocolate cake layer, chocolate filling, and chocolate ganache.
Why this recipe works
- I found I needed to add a little gelatin to the mousse layer in order to keep it sturdy. I didn’t want it to spread and drip over the edges.
- You’ll notice I left the ganache semisweet which balances well with the sweet cake and mousse layers.
- I served this layered chocolate mousse cake with fresh strawberries but I imagine it would be good with whipped cream, ice cream, or other fresh berries.
It truly is a decadent mousse cake and will be a huge hit for any occasion. It came out light, rich, and perfect for Mother’s Day. It’s also great for Valentine’s Day if you have someone special to make it for. Or you could make it for yourself.
What You Need
As the perfect light dessert, this chocolate mousse cake recipe has the right balance of chocolate in each layer. Let’s discuss the ingredients:
- Chocolate: I prefer to use unsweetened chocolate in the base and semisweet chocolate in the mousse and ganache.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter in this recipe to avoid making the cake overly salty in flavor.
- Vanilla: This ingredient adds a sweet, woody flavor to the cake.
- Cocoa Powder: Dutch-processed cocoa powder has a smoother flavor, which I prefer. You can also use natural cocoa.
- Gelatin: This ingredient helps to stabilize the mousse layer.
- Sugar: I use granulated sugar to sweeten this recipe because it dissolves well.
- Heavy Cream: This adds richness to the flavor profile of the cake.
How to make triple chocolate mousse cake
1: Make the brownie base
Start the chocolate mousse cake recipe by making the cake’s base.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare your pan with nonstick spray and parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, add butter and chocolate. Warm on medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Then, whisk in sugar. Set aside to cool slightly. (If it is too warm, it will scramble the eggs.)
- Once cooled, whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture.
- Then, sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into the chocolate mixture. Fold the ingredients in with a spatula until no dry streaks of flour are visible.
- Spread the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Then, bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
- Leave the base in the pan. Set it on a wire rack to cool completely. (You can also cool it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.)
2: Make the mousse
Now, you will craft the cool, creamy mousse that makes up the chocolate mousse cake filling.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Then, let stand for 5 minutes.
- Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
- Then, add ½ cup of cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar to a small saucepan. Bring this mix to a simmer on medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from the heat.
- Add the softened gelatin to the mix and stir until fully dissolved. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Cool to room temperature. Stir the mix occasionally. It is normal for the mixture to thicken slightly.
- Whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. This should take about 30 seconds for it to thicken. Then, increase the speed to high and whip until medium to stiff peaks form, roughly 30 to 60 seconds.
- Then, spread the mousse evenly over the top of the cooled brownie layer. Place it in the fridge while you make the ganache.
Don’t aim for super stiff peaks when whipping the cream, but make sure they are not too soft. If the whipped cream is too soft, the mousse will not set properly. And if it’s too stiff, the final texture will not be silky smooth.
3: Make the ganache
The ganache is like the cherry on top of this delicious chocolate mousse cake recipe.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter on medium-high heat. Remove from heat just before it begins to boil.
- Then, place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate.
- Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then, set aside to cool. The ganache is cooled when it is no longer warm to the touch.
- Once cooled, spread the ganache over the top of the mousse layer. Place in the fridge until set. This will take about 1 hour.
- Remove the sides of the pan. Then, carefully pull the parchment paper away from the cake.
- Transfer the cake to a serving platter. You can garnish it with whipped cream or fresh berries.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. The mousse needs time to set so that is perfect.
Yes, it can! Thaw it in the refrigerator a day before serving. Also, slice it cold but let the slices sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to serving.
A springform pan will certainly make things easier but if you really need to use a regular pan, I suggest freezing the cake before you try to turn it out.
The recipe was developed to fit perfectly into an 8-inch pan that’s 3-inches tall. Using larger pans will cause the layers to be thinner. The bake time for the base layer will also need to be adjusted.
While I’ve personally not tested this recipe with anything other than gelatin, readers have successfully use agar powder. 1 teaspoon of agar and 1 tablespoon of water is said to work perfectly
Jen’s best tips
- You can garnish this chocolate mousse cake recipe with fresh berries (I prefer strawberries!) or whipped cream.
- Make sure to allow the cake to chill for at least 1 hour before slicing or the mousse will squish out.
- While the cake is easier to slice when cold, it tastes best at room temperature. Allow the slices to rest on the counter for 30 minutes prior to serving.
More chocolate cake recipes you’ll love
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Could I make a flourless chocolate cake base? Or does it need the regular cake mix for stability?
I have not tested this with a flourless chocolate cake but if you give it a try, I’d love to know how it turns out.
Hi! If I wanted to make this cake on a Friday but serve on a Sunday, would you recommend freezing and defrosting or keeping it in the fridge the whole time?
The cake will keep well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Any longer than that, it will need to be frozen and thawed.
Wonderful! Thanks so much!!
So I’m currently making this and I’m making the mousse, step 1 has you put 1/2 cup of cream with the chocolate and sugar. Step 2 says pour cream over chocolate. Didn’t we just do that in step 1? So I assumed the other cup of cream in the chocolate mixture that has already melted. Then step 3 says to add the remaining cup of cream to mix with the mixer….so I’m just a little confused between these couple steps. Did I do step 2 wrong when it says to pour cream over chocolate.
Step one says to place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Then warm 1/2 cup cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. You’re not combining the chocolate and cream until step 2. Step 2 says to Remove from the heat add the softened gelatin then pour the warmed cream over the chocolate that you put in the bowl in step one.
Hello! I was wondering if it would work using a sugar replacement? My dad is diabetic but he LOVES chocolate mousse cake! Thank you!
I’ve never made this cake with a sugar replacement so I can’t say for sure it will turn out well.
I’ve made this recipe and wondered if I need to over it with plastic wrap if it’s ready hours before I serve it? Will it dry out?
Yes, cover it with plastic wrap if it’s going to be a while before serving it.
I loved this recipe so rich and thick, some of the people who ate it was not a fan due to them not liking rich chocolate so if you do not like rich dense cakes this recipe isn’t for you
Hi there, I’m currently in the process of baking this amazing cake but I’m a little confused about the original base layer recipe I’ve followed. Is it supposed to come out like a massive fluffy domed cake? Am I supposed to cut the top and make it flat? I also had to keep it for 40 mins for the middle to cook. I followed the recipe to a T.
If it domes up, you can gently press it down with a spoon or bottom of a cup while the cake is still warm.
I am planning to do your original recipe tonight. If I don’t add the coffee, will it still turn out ok?
Yes, it will be fine without instant coffee.
Hi there! I cannot find an 8 inch springform pan to save my life. Can this be done in a 9 inch?
You can make this in a 9-inch pan. Keep in mind the layers will be thinner than pictured and the bake time for the base will need to be adjusted.
I found one in a 3 pack springform pan set at Walmart.
Made this cake with the original cake base, and it was a major major hit so thanks! Comparisons to a cake from one of the local bakeries were made!
I love the original recipe also! So glad you enjoyed the cake.