Chocolate mousse is one of my all time favorite desserts. It’s relatively quick and easy, and is always impressive. So, when I saw a recipe that takes that love, and multiplies it times three, and then puts it into the form of a cake – lets just say it took my breath away. I made this cake for Valentine’s Day, and I was kind of worried that I’d be pressed for time. It’s quite a lengthy recipe, but don’t let that intimidate you. As with most Cook’s Illustrated recipes, it looks a lot worse than it is. But, it’s their descriptiveness and attention to detail that always make their recipes sure fire winners. I worked on it here and there all morning, and by lunchtime the cake was done and chilling in the refrigerator.

It was all I could do to wait until after dinner to unmold and serve it. I’m pleased to report that it’s everything I thought it was going to be. Often chocolate desserts are so sweet they hurt your teeth. Not the case here. The use of bittersweet chocolate really creates a great balance. I’m not a big fan of white chocolate, but the extra boost of sweetness it lends to the top layer is welcome. This will definitely be a new addition to my repertoire of special occasion desserts. It was just perfect!

22 Comments

  1. Posted February 22, 2012 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

    What a beautiful looking cake. It looks so professional. I love the contrasting layers and how perfectly neat they are. Great recipe.

  2. Posted February 22, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    Absolutely gorgeous—bookmarked!

  3. Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    I made this last year for a friends birthday party and it was a huge hit. I really need to make it again. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    This looks great!! I, too, love Cook’s Illustrated. :)

  5. Posted February 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    This is such a beautiful dessert! Definitely a must make for special occassions!

  6. Posted February 22, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    So gorgeous, and looks so delicious. Your photo is stunning as well!

  7. Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

    I literally gasped when I clicked on the Tastespotting link for this in my RSS feed. It looks absolutely beautiful and delicious – I can’t wait to make one for myself. Err, I mean to share with others. ;)

  8. Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

    you photographed this SO WELL!!! amazing!

  9. Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    A stunning and delicious looking cake.
    I don’t think anyone can resist it.
    I just love, especially as it has no gelatin in it

  10. Anita
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    This looks so delicious. I want to make it for a friend at work. Does it hold up ok in the fridge? I’d have to make it the night before.

    • Laura
      Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

      Holds up terrific in the fridge. I made it on Valentine’s Day, and enjoyed a slice 3 nights later – it was fine!

  11. Posted April 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    I made this a few weeks ago for Easter, and my cousin, sister and brother-in-law couldn’t believe it wasn’t from a bakery! I have a dinner party tonight, so it’s the perfect excuse to make it again. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Heather
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    Am I missing something or does the bottom layer have no flour in it? Is this gluten free?

    • Laura
      Posted August 11, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

      Heather – that is correct, the bottom layer is more of a flourless chocolate cake than a mousse. So, yes – gluten free!

  13. Scarlett
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    I cant wait to try this!! I have cake club on Moday at University and hope this will impress everyone!! Thanks Laura!

  14. Scarlett
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Oh! How many does it serve?!

    • Laura
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

      Scarlett – it’s very rich, so a small slice will suffice. I’d say about 15.

  15. Karin
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. I made it first in April and have found 3 additional excuses since then (and am at this moment adapting it into a Black Forest cake). It is absolutely wonderful!

    • Laura
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’d love to hear about the Black Forest adaptation if it turns out well. Thanks for the sweet comment!

  16. Karin
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    6 months later I’m back to this recipe once more and am finally seeing your reply! The Black Forest version was a huge hit. It was a cross between the recipe for Swiss Black Forest Cake in The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and (mostly) this one. I wish I had written it down at the time, but I believe I made a recipe and a half of the bottom layer and baked it in two pans to make two thin cake layers, then sprinkled them after baking with a kirsch syrup (the soaking liquid from the Brandied Burgundy Cherries in TCB, mixed with kirsch liqueur). I used one cake layer as a base, topped it with the middle chocolate mousse layer, pressed in the brandied cherries with some cut sides against the pan edges so they would show, topped with the other cake layer, then most of the white chocolate mousse layer, with a bit reserved to pipe rosettes on top, onto each of which I put another brandied cherry, and sprinkled chocolate shavings over the center. It sounds a bit fussy, and I guess it was, but honestly not that much more so than the original Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe. All I had to do was make the Brandied Burgundy Cherries in advance; other than that, it was just assembled a little differently. I’ve been ordered to bring it again to this year’s Oktoberfest, so I guess it was a success!

    • Posted April 30, 2013 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

      I would love a copy of your adaptation, it sounds wonderful – and right up my alley with those brandied cherries!

      • Karin
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

        You already have everything but the cherries, and they are here:

        Brandied Burgundy Cherries (from the Cake BIble by R. L. Beranbaum)

        Ingredients:
        1 lb. (454g) Pitted bing cherries in heavy syrup
        1 oz. Sugar
        2 oz. Kirsch or Cognac or cherry-flavored brandy

        In a colander suspended over a deep bowl drain the cherries for 30 min. Reserve 1/2 cup syrup.
        In a medium saucepan combine the syrup and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cherries and simmer, covered, 1 min. Remove from the heat. Transfer the cherries with a slotted spoon to a pint jar and add the kirsch or Cognac to the jar. Cool, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before using.

        When you make the cake, you pour out the syrup from the cherries and add additional liqueur to total 1/2 cup, if any is needed. This is what is brushed on the cake layers.

        Hope you get to try it sometime!

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