Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

A few weeks ago it was my husband's birthday. We always keep it small and simple. He doesn't like a lot of attention on himself, so we usually just do something with the kids and call it good. I generally like to make a special cake and meal. Although this year he requested pizza and cake! The kids were pretty happy with that decision! Since I wasn't making a special, time consuming dinner, I told him I had to make him an extra special cake.

I went through my bookmarks and favorite blogs, looking for chocolate cakes, since that is his favorite. I found a few and gave him some options. This is the cake he chose. I have had it bookmarked for some time, looking for an excuse to make it. I must say (not being a chocolate fan myself), I thought this cake was amazing. Decadent and delicious. I definitely helped myself to another piece or two over the next few days. I had fresh strawberries in the house, so I served the cake with some. They complimented the chocolate very well. This cake is a little time consuming, but it is so worth it. Go make it today and you won't be sorry!


Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

For the bottom layer

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

For the middle layer

  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 5 Tablespoons hot water
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For the top layer

  • 3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For garnish

  • Chocolate curls, cocoa powder or sliced fresh strawberries

Directions

To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325ΒΊ F. 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.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps. Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-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 springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan. (If not making the second layer right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to proceed.)

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.

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 springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, 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 1/2 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, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 1-2 minutes. 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, uncovered, and chill until set, at least 2Β½ hours.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally adapted from Cook's Illustrated, November/December 2009 issue