Chocolate Mousse Cake

A version of this cake has always been one of my favorite Passover treats. The ‘new version’ includes a gluten-free chiffon cake, versus the original version that was made with cake meal. If you’d like a simple, gluten-free chiffon cake to have over the holiday, use this one! Just leave out the mousse and whipped cream.

You will only need about half of the chocolate chip chiffon cake for the final desserts. So either make double the mousse and make two cakes OR, just enjoy the other half of the cake with tea of coffee. When I was growing up, a wedge of this cake was often considered breakfast during the week.

Finally, though I much prefer using butter and real whipping cream for this, you can absolutely replace the butter with margarine and replace the whipped cream with whipped parve topping if you need a parve dessert.

This will serve 10-12 people, easily.

Chocolate Chip Chiffon Cake Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 227 grams / 8 oz granulated sugar, divided (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light oil (canola, vegetable, cottonseed, etc)
  • 185 grams / 6 1/2 oz potato starch (1 cup)
  • 85 grams / 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients

  • 340 grams / 12 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 56 grams / 2 oz butter
  • 170 grams / 6 oz granulated sugar, divided (3/4 cup)
  • 8 large eggs, separated

Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the water and oil and mix well. Sift the potato starch in and mix well, making sure all of the potato starch is mixed in and there are no clumps. Add the grated chocolate and mix in.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whip (or hand mixer), start to whip the egg whites and salt on medium-high until frothy. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar as you whip the eggs, and continue whipping until the egg whites are stiff.

Add approximately 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture and fold it together. Then add the next 1/3 and gently fold together, and then fold the remaining 1/3 in. You should mix this together gently, so that you don’t deflate the egg whites, but also trying to eliminate any clumps of whites.

Pour the batter into a tube pan with a removable bottom and spread it out evenly. I like to gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any potential air pockets.

Bake for 30 minutes, turn the pan and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out cleat when you stick it in the middle of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn it upside down and let cool completely. Once cooled, use a knife with a thin blade and run it around the inside and outside edges of the cake. Carefully remove the outer pan from the cake and run the knife under the bottom of the cake. Cut approximately half of the cake into small cubes.

For the mousse and assembly:

Line a 23-cm (9″) springform pan with plastic wrap and set aside.

Place the chocolate, butter, and 1/4 of sugar in a bowl set over a pot with about 1 inch of water in it, set over low heat. Gently melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until it’s all melted, the sugar has dissolved and it’s all mixed well. Add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking briskly so that the yolks are incorporated and don’t have a chance to set or scramble. Set aside while you prepare the egg whites.

In a clean mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites together with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Place the bowl over the double boiler and keep whisking until the mixture reaches 165°F / 75°C and the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the bowl to your stand mixer and use the whip on high until the whites have cooled and formed stiff, glossy peaks.

Fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Gently fold another 1/3 of the whites in, and then fold the last of the whites in. Try to fold gently, not deflating the egg whites but also making sure there are no clumps of whites left in the mousse.

Gently pour about 1/3 of the mousse into the plastic-lined springform pan and use a spatula to smooth it out. Place a layer of cake cubes over the mousse, gently pushing them down a little. Pour another 1/3 of the mousse on top of the cubes and spread it out, then add another layer of cake cubes, gently pushing them down again. Pour in the rest of the mouse and use the spatula to spread it over the cake evenly. Gently tap the cake pan on the counter, eliminating any air pockets there may be.

Loosely cover the cake with the plastic wrap and freeze for several hours or overnight, until solid.

Whipping cream and assembly:

Once the cake is frozen, whip the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla on medium, until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-whip it (if you go beyond stiff peaks it will separate and turn into butter). Use an offset spatula to cover the cake in whipped cream. You can decorate this any way you like. I like to melt some chocolate and drizzle it on parchment paper, making swirly decorations. Then chill until firm and use these with strawberries to decorate. Or you can grate some chocolate and sprinkle it on top — whatever you like!

Once it’s covered in whipped cream, you can either return it to the freezer (loosely cover with plastic wrap AFTER it’s frozen again) or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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