Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

(Pardon the poor lighting and picture quality. This was at a very dimly lit restaurant.)

Part 2 of my birthday baking series was actually part 1 of my birthday celebration. But let’s not cry over spilled milk.

I’ve been eying (eyeing? WordPress puts a red squiggly under this latter spelling but.. it looks more right to me than eying. Opinions?) this recipe since I first saw it on Annie’s Eats many moons ago. I admire Annie a great deal. Besides her and Joanne (hi, Joanne!), I don’t know of any other medicine-inclined food bloggers out there. I’m relatively new at this blogging thing so maybe I just haven’t been around the block enough. Please enlighten me if you are or know a food blogger in medical school/residency/etc! I’d love to know!

Back to Annie.

She seems to juggle residency (I’m fairly certain of this fact but can no longer find the post/page where I learned this so I cannot confirm at the time. Correct me if I’m wrong! I love her regardless though so it doesn’t quite matter.) ..

I hate when I start sentences and then go into a multiple-sentence aside.

Back to Annie.

She seems to juggle residency, a marriage, a child, and still cooks and bakes gorgeous dishes after which she takes pictures of said gorgeous dishes! Have you SEEN the birthday parties she throws her little one? I’m not sure how she does it. I barely have time to do one of 10 loads of laundry I’m due for. (I’m not sure how either but I have THAT many clothes. Also, I never seem to NOT have time to buy butter. Strange, but true.)

Back to Annie.

She’s pretty fab. So when I saw this beauty back in May I knew it was something special and I’d have to make it for some day special and someone special.

And that someone special was ME!


I went out and bought the best chocolate I could find (Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, and Guittard) and out of my oven/fridge came this amazing cake of absolute decadence. If I hadn’t shared it with 15 of my nearest and dearest I’m not sure I could have eaten my whole slice! Each layer was richness upon richness upon richness. Essentially, a flourless chocolate cake, a dark chocolate mousse, topped with a white chocolate mousse = heaven in my mouth coating each singular tastebud with chocolate.

In truth, it may have been a bit too rich for some of my friends. But for those who love chocolate, it was fantastic. For me and my birthday, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I know the recipe looks long but it really doesn’t take that long and it’s just wordy descriptions for the most part. Don’t be afraid.

Embrace the chocolate.

Clearly, I did!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
from Annie’s Eats, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated November/December 2009

Makes 1 9″ round cake.

For bottom layer (flourless chocolate cake):

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed

For middle layer (dark chocolate mousse):

  • 2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp hot water
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For top layer (white chocolate mousse):

  • 3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream

  • Cocoa powder or chocolate curls for garnish


For bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan. (I took a note from Annie and lined the pan with parchment. Also, per the comments, if you don’t grease the pan, this layer won’t shrink away from the sides as it did for me and for Annie. This is more of an aesthetic thing so if you don’t care, no worries.) Preheat the oven to 325F and center a rack in the oven.

Combine butter, chocolate, and espresso in a double boiler (large bowl over simmering water). Stir occasionally until smooth then remove from heat to cool a bit, 5 minutes or so. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks and set aside.

In a separate bowl with a stand or hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the bowl, trying to remove all lumps, and beat about 15 seconds or until incorporated. Crumble remaining brown sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of this egg white/sugar mixture with the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg whites in with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour into springform pan, smooth top with a spatula, and bake 14-18 minutes. The cake should be firm around the edges and the center should be set but still soft. Allow to cool on a wire rack completely. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake, covered in plastic wrap, until ready to continue.

For middle layer, whisk cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.

Again, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth and then remove from heat and allow to cool 2-5 minutes.

With a hand or stand mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Then increase the speed to high until soft peaks form. Whisk in 1/3 of this whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Then fold remaining cream with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour mousse over the cooled cake. Tap gently on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles and smooth top with a spatula. Clean up any drips or dribbles on the side of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while making the top layer.

For top layer, place white chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl and allow to soften for at least 5 minutes. Bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Pour this mixture over the white chocolate and let stand for about 1 minute. Then whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the remaining cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Then increase the speed to high and whip to soft peaks. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture to lighten (are you seeing a pattern yet?). Fold in the remaining cream with a rubber spatula until no streak remain. Spoon mousse over the middle layer, smooth the top, and refrigerate at least 2 1/2 hours until set. Don’t cover the pan unless you plan on getting stressed out later by having to fix it.

Garnish with curls or cocoa powder before serving.

My attractive self about to indulge.

Why do I have such scary witch-like fingers?!



  1. This cake looks and sounds like a dream and I don’t know what you’re talking about with the fingers, you look adorbs in all ways 8). Happy bday again!

  2. beautiful picture, and that cake looks incredible!

  3. Joanne Said:

    Aww you look so happy in that picture which makes ME so happy! I am continuously amazed by both Annie and you…I can’t really understand how EITHER of you have time to make such gorgeous dishes. This triple mousse cake rivals my double chocolate layer cake. I think I might need this for MY birthday. although that seems a bit too far off (February). Maybe I can invent some other kind of holiday for which I can make this….

    I came across the post you’re talking about the other day where Annie mentions residency…hmmm. Another med school blogger is Janet of The Tastespace! She’s awesome too. Miss you mucho!!!

  4. hi!This was a really splendid theme!
    I come from milan, I was luck to look for your subject in google
    Also I obtain much in your website really thanks very much i will come again

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