It's good fashion sense to own a few quality pieces. You can put them together to create lots of great outfits. I feel the same way about food. This chocolate mousse and chocolate cake (almost closer to a brownie than a cake really) should be staples in your recipe box. The possibilities are endless. I use the same cake for the base of my Coffee Nutella Cheesecake, and my chocolate peanut butter stacks.
I've used this mousse in chocolate mousse pie, as a filling in a chocolate mousse cake, and as a filling for cupcakes.
This particular combination of mousse and cake is definitely a winner. It can be made ahead of time, it's very elegant, and it is fantastically delicious. I've made the 10" version shown here for a crowd. I've made a 4" version several times for a very large individual birthday cake, and I've also made 2" individuals. I don't have 4" or 2" spring form pans. I use a 4" cake pan to make the cake (fill the batter up about half way). Once the cake is cool, make a parchment paper collar, about 4" - 6" above the cake (tape the parchment paper securely so the parchment paper remains vertical. Fill the collar with mousse layers as you would the spring form pan; after chilling, remove the parchment paper, and top with chocolate shavings. This is a great dessert to impress.
10" Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake: Serves 16-20
For the Cake: (adapted from King Arthur)
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 10" springform pan with baking spray.
Melt the butter, stir in cocoa powder. Cover and let cool.
Beat the eggs for 3 full minutes. Gradually add sugar, and beat 2-3 more minutes. Stir in butter/chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the flour and salt until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick just comes out clean. Cool completely.
For the Mousse: (adapted from Epicurious)
8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, separated
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 2/3 cups heavy cream, separated
Place the chocolate in separate medium-size bowls. Drop a pinch of salt in each bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into each bowl.
Bring 1 1/3 cups heavy cream to a boil. Pour half the cream (2/3 cup) into the bowl of dark chocolate and the remaining 2/3 cup cream into the bowl of milk chocolate. Let sit for one minute. Then stir until smooth.
Two Options for the Heavy Cream:
Option 1: Whip the 2 2/3 cups cream to firm peaks. Divide the cream equally into two large bowls (use a scale to make sure the cream is divided equally).
Option 2: Pour 1 1/3 cups heavy cream into each of two large bowls. Beat both bowls of heavy cream to firm peaks.
Ok, no matter which option you chose, you now have two large bowls, each containing 1 1/3 cups heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks. Gently fold the semi-sweet chocolate mixture into one of the bowls of whipped cream. Gently fold the milk-chocolate mixture into the other bowl of whipped cream.
Pour the dark chocolate mousse into the springform pan, on top of the cooled chocolate cake. Chill for an hour. Chill the bowl of milk chocolate mousse as well.
*Note: Some springform pans are not exactly the size they should be. Ideally, you want the two mousse layers to be equally thick. So only pour the dark chocolate mousse in until it fills half of the remaining space between the cake and the top of the springform. You may have some mousse leftover. Spoon into wine glasses or ramekins and chill.
Stir the milk chocolate mousse until smooth again. Pour on top of the dark chocolate mousse. It's ok to fill it almost to the top of the pan. Smooth the top. Chill for 6 hours, or overnight. Carefully remove the springform pan.
Decorate with chocolate shavings or curls if desired.
You could make a gluten-free cake instead, or just omit the cake and serve chocolate mousse. Still delicious!