Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make this decadent triple decker cake… then eat it.
Last week I made the mistake of asking Jonny what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, thinking he would say something simple like “Oh, maybe just some vanilla cupcakes” or even “Don’t worry about making me a cake. I stopped celebrating birthdays after 35.”
Nope. Without hesitation he responded with “Chocolate mousse cake, please.”
Of course I replied out loud with “Okay, sure. That’ll be fun to make!” while, “Chocolate mousse cake? WTF?!” played on repeat in my mind.
Now, I’m not one to back down from a challenge so I packed up the rugrats and trekked to the store to buy no less than 30 ounces of good quality chocolate and a fair amount of heavy cream.
No, that was not a typo. 30 ounces. Of chocolate. Let’s do this.
Three Layer Chocolate Mousse Cake
(makes one 8″ round cake)
Flourless Chocolate Cake Layer:
10 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chips)
1/2 cup UNSALTED butter
2 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 eggs (separated and at room temperature)
1/3 cup sugar
10 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp unflavored gelatin (Knox brand is gluten free)
2 tbsp cool water
10 ounces good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp Kahlua liquor (OR 2 tsp espresso powder. Both are optional, I just like how coffee and chocolate go so well together)
For the cake layer, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8″ springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap the outside bottom of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil (you’ll need to bake the cake in a water bath and you don’t want it leaking into the pan.)
Melt the first 10 ounces of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in intervals of 30 seconds each, stirring in between, until 75% melted. Remove from the microwave and stir to melt completely. Add the butter and espresso powder and whisk to combine completely. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the room temperature egg whites and half of the sugar. Start mixing on low, gradually increasing speed until the egg whites start to look fluffy. Add the remaining sugar, vanilla and salt, and continue mixing until the sugar has completely dissolved and you’ve reached soft-peak meringue stage.
Using a whisk, mix the room temperature egg yolks into the chocolate/butter mixture. Using the whisk, fold 1/2 of the meringue mixture into the chocolate, then gently fold in the remaining meringue using a rubber spatula. Be sure to incorporate the chocolate batter from the bottom of the bowl, folding gently until no white streaks remain.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, then set the springform into a roasting pan filled around 1/3 of the way with hot water. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven (and gently remove from the water bath) and cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for an hour, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, loosen and invert the cake on to a serving plate (remove the bottom of the springform and the parchment paper) then replace the outer ring from the springform (this will serve as the mold for the next two layers.)
For the mousse layer, place the second 10 ounces of chocolate in a large heat proof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of the heavy cream just to a boil then pour it over the chocolate and stir to melt until smooth and shiny.
In a small bowl, soften the gelatin in the cool water the microwave on low heat for 15 – 20 seconds to dissolve. Stir the gelatin until completely free of lumps then mix it into the chocolate. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream to soft peak stage. Stir the chocolate to be sure it’s free of lumps, then using a whisk, fold in half of the whipped cream. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until evenly blended. Spread the mousse on top of the cake layer and return to the refrigerator while making the ganache.
For the ganache layer, place the last 10 ounces of chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Bring the 3/4 cup heavy cream just to a boil then pour over the chocolate to melt. Add the Kahlua (or espresso powder) and stir to melt completely until smooth and shiny. Pour over the mousse layer and smooth with an offset spatula. Return to the refrigerator and chill to set for 4 – 5 hours.
Before serving, run a sharp knife under hot water then run it along the interior of the springform mold, loosen and remove.
Now, use a sword to slice and serve giant slices of this beast of a cake with fresh whipped cream and raspberries.
Chocolate Beast Cake, you will never defeat me… I will simply eat you.