By Victoria Piccione ’16
You can also follow Victoria’s baking adventures on her personal blog Sweet Dreams: Adventures in Baking.
You know it’s going to be a good night when you walk into the dhall and find chocolate cream pie for dessert. There’s something about the light and creamy chocolate filling paired with the crumbly graham cracker crust that causes your stresses from the day to melt away. I know you know what I’m talking about because the excitement is audible as people first see the night’s dessert offering. There are proclamations of satisfaction. You just don’t get that with the lemon shortbread bars. Needless to say, my Saturday brunch was made when I saw that little mound of sugary heaven.
But what if I told you that you could make something with not one but two layers of chocolate mousse? And rather than a disintegrating graham cracker crust that honestly could benefit from a little butter to hold it together, a layer of flourless chocolate cake serves as the base for these two-toned layers of chocolate decadence? Don’t get me wrong; I’ll be the first to admit to embarrassingly excessive excitement when HUDS spoils us with chocolate cream pie. But I’ve also tasted the magic of Cook’s Country Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake and experienced its transformative effect.
The cake takes some effort: with three layers of different flavors and consistencies, there are a good number of steps to this recipe. But none are particularly challenging, and you can work on one layer while the other is baking or chilling. It’s almost like science class in sixth grade where you experiment with colored liquids of different densities that form a beautiful rainbow of layered liquids. Except the cake and mousses aren’t going to move through each other, so…
Maybe the comparison doesn’t work, but the idea is there. The excitement is the same, the thrill of three distinct layers of different colors, the same. Except unlike middle school science class, it’s not water and rubbing alcohol and baby oil, so I can promise you it’ll be much more edible than any retro density-related science project. And for everyone who shares my sentiments that chocolate cream pie is HUDS gold, I promise you that this triple chocolate mousse cake will exceed even your sweetest dreams.
Flourless Chocolate Cake (Bottom Layer)
6 Tbs. butter, cut into pieces
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup brown sugar
Dark Chocolate Mousse (Middle Layer)
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
5 Tbs. hot water
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
White Chocolate Mousse (Top Layer)
¾ tsp. powdered gelatin
1 Tbs. water
6 oz. white chocolate chips
1 ½ cups heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 325°F, and grease sides and bottom of 9” springform pan that’s at least 3 inches in height.
- In a double boiler, melt the butter, chocolate and espresso powder, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium-high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of the brown sugar, beating until combined. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat on high until soft peaks form, about 1 minute longer.
- Whisk one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated and no white streaks remain. Transfer batter to prepared springform pan, smoothing top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 – 18 minutes, or until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center is set but still soft (center springs back when pressed gently with finger). Let cool completely, about 1 hour, leaving the cake in the pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat and cool for about 5 minutes.
- In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the cream, granulated sugar and salt on medium speed until begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 30 – 60 seconds. This is easiest if the cream and bowl/whisk attachment are cold.
- Whisk the cocoa mixture into melted chocolate, then whisk in one-third of the whipped cream to lighten chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream with rubber spatula until no streaks remain.
- Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake, gently tapping pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Smooth top and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes as you prepare the white chocolate mousse.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the water and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
- Place the white chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, then bring ½ cup of heavy cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the gelatin mixture, and whisk until fully dissolved.
- Immediately pour the cream mixture over the white chocolate chips and let sit for about 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is melted and mixture is completely smooth. This may require some reheating in the microwave, but make sure to temper the chocolate by using only short intervals. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally; the mixture will thicken somewhat.
- In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup of cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken, then increase speed and whip until soft peaks form, about 30 – 60 additional seconds.
- Whisk one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture, then fold in remaining whipped cream with rubber spatula until no streaks remain.
- Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over dark chocolate mousse layer, smoothing top. Let chill in refrigerator until set, at least 2 ½ hours.
- Remove the cake from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before releasing from springform pan. Dust top with shaved chocolate or cocoa. Before releasing from pan, run a thin knife around sides of cake. For clean, picture-perfect slices, dip sharp knife in hot water and pat dry between cuts.
- Enjoy, knowing you’ve exceeded even the best that HUDS had to offer!
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.