This chocolate mousse cake is a moist, tender chocolate cake topped with hazelnut chocolate mousse and homemade vanilla whipped cream. Grab your whisks and mixing bowls, and get ready to make some magic.
Easy Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe
This decadent dessert combines rich chocolate cake, silky smooth chocolate mousse, and fluffy homemade whipped cream. The cake itself is my classic chocolate cake. Wonderfully fudgy and perfectly moist, it’s brushed with a hazelnut-flavored liqueur for an extra pop of flavor.
The chocolate mousse that tops the cake is different from your typical mousse. It’s better. I used hazelnut chocolate (perfect next to the hazelnut-flavored liqueur that coats the cake). Silky smooth, rich, but not too rich, and ever so slightly nutty, you’ll have a hard time resisting devouring this mousse before it makes it to the cake. The whole thing is finished with swirls of homemade whipped cream for good measure.
Prepare yourself for a treat, friends. This might be the last chocolate dessert recipe you’ll ever need. It’s sure to win over the hearts and taste buds of the chocolate lovers in your life.
Why You’ll Love This Mousse Dessert
If the name “chocolate mousse cake” doesn’t already have you salivating in anticipation, here are some reasons why you just have to make this obscenely delicious dessert.
- A unique mousse. Classic chocolate mousse is the pinnacle of chocolate desserts, but this recipe takes it to the next level by incorporating hazelnut chocolate into the confection. The hazelnut gives it a buttery, nutty flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of Nutella.
- Texture. The cake itself is moist and wonderfully tender, and the chocolate mousse is silky smooth. It glides over like a dream.
- Well balanced. This cake strikes a perfect balance between rich and not-too-sweet. The chocolate cake is fudgy and decadent, but the use of milk chocolate in the mousse and the addition of whipped cream to the top of the cake does a great job of breaking up that richness just the right amount.
What Is Mousse?
Light, fluffy, creamy, and smooth all at the same time, chocolate mousse is a French dessert that has made a name for itself throughout the world. Typically, it’s made from heavy whipping cream, chocolate, eggs, butter, and sugar all expertly heated and whisked into a rich, silky pudding-like consistency. It’s served chilled, often with chocolate shavings and/or whipped cream.
The mousse in this cake mimics a classic chocolate mousse. It’s not the real deal because it does not contain eggs or butter (I wanted to make it easier on you all). That being said, it still has the irresistible flavor and texture of a classic rendition.
Now it’s time to head on over to the store and grab the following ingredients to make this cake.
- Hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate or plain milk chocolate
- Heavy whipping cream
- Hazelnut-flavored liqueur
How to Make Chocolate Mousse Cake
Here’s a quick look at how to make this fabulous mousse dessert. This is just a basic overview, so be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
For the cake
- Melt the butter and whisk in the vanilla.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Cook the eggs and sugar. Whisk together the eggs and sugar. Heat the mixture in a double broiler over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and beat for 5 minutes.
- Assemble the batter. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in 3 parts. Then fold 1 cup of the cake batter into the warm butter and fold that mixture into the remaining cake batter.
To make the mousse
- Melt the chocolate and make the whipped cream. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler over hot water. Allow it to cool. Beat together heavy cream and salt until soft peaks form.
- Put it all together. Mix the water into the melted chocolate and then fold in the whipped cream.
- Spread the mousse over the cake. Brush the cake with hazelnut liqueur and spread the mousse over the top.
For the whipped vanilla frosting
- Make the whipped cream. Beat the heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar until soft peaks form.
- Decorate the cake. Pipe vanilla frosting around the edges of the cake. Cover and chill overnight.
Helpful Tips for Making A Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality chocolate. The flavor of your cake and mousse will heavily depend on the quality of the chocolate you use.
- Baking the Cake: Don’t overbake the cake. It’s easy to dry out a chocolate cake. Start checking if it’s done a few minutes before the recommended baking time. It’s ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool Completely: Allow the cake to cool completely before you attempt to add the mousse. If it’s still warm, it can cause the mousse to melt, and the layers won’t hold up.
- Mousse Texture: When making the mousse, whip your cream to soft peaks. If it’s too stiff, it can make the mousse texture grainy. Also, make sure the chocolate is not too hot when you mix it with the whipped cream to avoid deflating it.
- Mousse Settling: After applying the mousse layer, let the cake sit in the fridge for a bit to allow the mousse to firm up. This will make the cake more stable and easier to frost.
- Frosting: For the frosting, make sure your heavy cream is very cold. This will make it easier to whip and help it hold its shape. If you want, you can also add a stabilizer such as gelatin or powdered sugar to help maintain its structure.
- Serving: Always serve the cake closer to room temperature. While you should store it in the fridge, take it out about 30 minutes before serving for the best flavor and texture.
- Cutting the Cake: Use a warm knife (dip it in hot water and wipe it dry) to cut the cake. This will give you clean slices that show off the beautiful layers.
- Refrigerator. Store chocolate mousse cake in an airtight cake carrier or wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap. You can use toothpicks to prop the plastic away from the whipped cream to keep it pretty. Sliced it already? Arrange the slices in a single layer in an airtight container. Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Allow the cake to firm up in the freezer for a couple of hours before wrapping it in a double layer of plastic wrap. If you already sliced the cake, store the slices in a single layer in an airtight container. Whole or sliced, store the cake in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge before serving.
More Chocolate Desserts to Try
Whew! I don’t know about you, but all of this talk of mousse cake has gotten me in a chocolate kind of mood. Thank goodness I have a plethora of other chocolate-centric recipes for you to try. Check ’em out:
For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat.
Remove from heat and transfer the butter into a small metal bowl; whisk in the vanilla lightly and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder; whisk until incorporated.
In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until blended.
Pour water in a large skillet and bring to a simmer.
Place the bowl with the egg mixture in the skillet, constantly whisking until egg mixture is lukewarm, about 2 minutes.
Remove bowl from water.
Place the bowl with butter in the same skillet over low heat to keep warm.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg mixture until cool and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
Sift 1/3 of the flour-cocoa mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula.
Fold in the remaining flour-cocoa mixture in 2 more additions.
Fold 1 cup of cake batter into the warm butter; fold until incorporated.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the butter-cake batter mixture into the remaining cake batter.
Transfer the batter to the previously prepared springform pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, and the top of the cake springs back slightly when gently pressed.
Remove from the oven; transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool it completely inside the pan.
Remove the cooled cake from the pan and invert the cake onto the rack; remove the parchment and set the cake aside.
For the Mousse
Pour enough water into a large skillet to reach a depth of 1 inch; bring to a simmer.
Place the chopped chocolate in a metal bowl.
Remove simmering water from the heat and place the bowl with chocolate inside the skillet.
Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Remove the bowl from the water and let the chocolate cool down.
Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream and the salt in another bowl until very soft peaks form.
Whisk 3 tablespoons of water into the melted chocolate.
Slowly pour the whipped cream mixture and fold it into the melted chocolate just until incorporated. Set aside.
Brush the top of the chilled cake with liqueur.
Starting 1-1/2 to 2 inches from the edge of the cake, spread the mousse over the cake. Set aside.
For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting
In your mixer’s bowl, combine chilled heavy whipping cream, vanilla and sugar; beat the mixture on medium-high until soft peaks form.
Pipe vanilla frosting around the empty edges of cake, pipe up to same height as the mousse.
Cover and chill overnight.
Cut and serve.
- Ingredients: Use good quality chocolate.
- Hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate: If you don’t have any or can’t find hazelnut-flavored chocolate, you can also use regular chocolate chips if you’d like.
- Heavy whipping cream: The heavy whipping cream should be cold. Otherwise, it won’t hold volume as well, and you could end up with a flat chocolate mousse.
- Hazelnut-flavored liqueur: Frangelico would be my top pick.
- Baking: Don’t overbake the cake. Check it early.
- Cooling: Let the cake cool before adding mousse.
- Mousse: Whip the cream to soft peaks, and don’t mix it with hot chocolate. Wait for the chocolate to cool.
- Resting: Let the cake set in the fridge.
- Serving: Serve the cake at room temperature.
- Cutting: Use a warm knife for clean slices.
- Storing in the fridge: Put the cake in an airtight container or wrap it twice in plastic wrap. If cut, store slices in a single-layer container. Keep the cake in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Storing in the freezer: Allow the cake to firm up in the freezer for a couple of hours before wrapping it in a double layer of plastic wrap. Store slices or the whole cake in a container. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge before serving.
***Adapted from Bon Appetit ***
Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 295 kcal | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 22 g | Saturated Fat: 14 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 0.1 g | Cholesterol: 86 mg | Sodium: 47 mg | Potassium: 131 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 19 g | Vitamin A: 639 IU | Vitamin C: 0.2 mg | Calcium: 36 mg | Iron: 1 mg | Net Carbs: 22 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.