Chocolate Mousse and Brownies are great individually, but put them together in a Mini Chocolate Mousse Cake and the result is romance on a plate!
Post Valentine’s Day, still feeling the love
When I look for desserts to make for Valentine’s Day, chocolate usually is prominently featured. Chocolate Cake Pops are fun to share, and Dark Chocolate Pudding is smooth and lovely, but if I want something rich, decadent, and elegant, Chocolate Mousse Cake is at the top of my list. A chocolate brownie base topped with a creamy chocolate mousse (two items that definitely belong together), this dessert is romance on a plate. However, I can’t have something that large sitting in my refrigerator without major willpower, so how about a Mini Chocolate Mousse Cake instead? Yes, please! Luckily, Christina Lane from Dessert for Two provided a recipe for just that…yay!
About that Chocolate Moose…er…Mousse
There are many recipes for chocolate mousse…some use egg whites and cream, others whole eggs and cream, some cook the eggs, some not, and with and without butter (my favorite recipe is from The Muppet’s Swedish Chef , “You put the chocolate on the moosie…here, moosie, moosie, moosie!” Hahahaha!…that cracks me up every time). (uhm…the point, please?) The reasons for all these differences in ingredients seem to be how firm or loose you want the final product. Do you want luxe pudding in a bowl or something that will hold its shape out of a mold? Frankly, there are so many factors that go into the final texture of the mousse, from the ingredients to how and what order you combine all the ingredients, that I just rely on the recipe writer to tell me how the final product should be…that’s why they’re the writers and I’m just the…uhm…maker (they’ve done the work for me, and I don’t have time to reinvent the wheel).
Mini Chocolate Mousse Cake
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (60g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 Tbsp (32g)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla (I doubled the amount)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (30g)
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (25g)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (240mL), cold, divided use
- 3 oz dark chocolate plus more for chocolate shavings (not chocolate chips), chopped)
- 1 tsp vanilla (again, I doubled the amount)
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and spray a 6” round springform pan with cooking spray
- Dice the butter into equal pieces, and place in a bowl with the sugar and cocoa powder. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stop, stir, and microwave for another 30 secon
- Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, and stir the salt and vanilla in briefly to cool the mixture. Stir the mixture for about a minute to cool off the butter. Then, add the egg and mix well.
- Sprinkle the flour on top, and then stir vigorously for 50 strokes, using a wooden spoon (this step makes your brownies chewy).
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake on a small sheet pan for 24-28 minutes. It’s okay for the brownie to stay a little gooey in the center
- Let the brownie cool completely; you can make this a day ahead of time.
Make the mousse
- Beat the egg with the sugar for about 2-3 minutes, until it’s pale yellow and foamy.
- Beat in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream just for a few seconds to combine. Pour everything into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place over medium heat.
- Stir constantly while the mixture starts to thicken, about 3-4 minutes (do not let it boil or simmer. It will start to coat the back of a spoon when it’s thick enough) Remove from heat. (this step is how this mousse becomes able to hold it's shape out of the mold)
- Add the chopped chocolate to the pan, and cover. Let sit undisturbed for 1 minute.
- Remove the lid, and whisk very well to dissolve the chocolate.
- Pour this mixture into a bowl and chill it for about an hour (it will start to firm up).
- Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of cream in a clean bowl until soft peaks are just starting to form.
- Remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge, and break it up into bite-sized pieces. Begin adding these chocolate mixture pieces to the bowl while beating the cream. After a few minutes, everything should be homogenous and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract to the mixture, and beat just to combine.
- Scrape the mousse on top of the brownie in the springform pan and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
- When ready to serve, pop open the springform pan (place one hand under the pan and let the rim of the pan fall around your arm).
- Top cake with shaved chocolate and serve.
Oh, this cake was gooooooood!!! Smooth, creamy, decadent mousse balanced by a chewy, slightly salty brownie, I had a hard time not taking the whole cake and hiding in a closet with a spoon. Luckily, I learned that I had just enough willpower to share, first with my husband on Valentine’s Day, then with him, my daughter, and my son-in-law the next day (but only just!). Making Mini Chocolate Mousse Cake for my special sweethearts was my way of showing my love (for them, and for my tummy!). Chocolate mousse and brownies are happy together like my family and I!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
p.s. Happy Birthday to my beautiful Southern Belle (and Birthday Princess)…may you always have that smile that lights up a room, that playful spirit that keeps you young, and that enormous talent and drive that propels you into a bright future.