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For The Caramel Mousse

  • 1 ½ teaspoons Unflavored powdered gelatin I used Knox
  • 2 tablespoons Cold water
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • ½ cup 1 stick Unsalted butter at room temperature, chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy cream cold

For The Chocolate Cake

  • 4 ounces Bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Hot coffee
  • 2 ¼ cups All-purpose flour spooned then leveled
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup Granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup Firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Whole milk

For the Chocolate Mousse

  • 2 cups Semisweet chocolate chopped
  • 4 ounces 1 stick Unsalted butter
  • From 6 large eggs Egg yolks
  • Scant 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups Heavy cream cold


Make the caramel mousse:

  • Add water and powdered gelatin to a small bowl. Mix until combined and set aside.
  • Sprinkle sugar in one even layer over a 4-quart saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and allow the sugar to melt. When the edges of the sugar begin to melt and darken, using a heatproof spatula, quickly begin pushing the melted sugar towards the center of the pan to help the mixture.
  • Continue pushing the edges this way until all the sugar has melted evenly and is a nice amber color. Once this color is achieved, quickly remove from heat and immediately add the butter and vanilla bean paste (be careful – It will pop and spit). Slowly pour the room temperature heavy cream, followed by the gelatin mixture and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool completely.
  • Once the caramel has cooled, add the cold cream to a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high until it reaches stiff peaks. Gently fold the heavy cream into the caramel until combined and no white streaks remain. Transfer the mixture to a medium sized bowl and cover. Place in the freezer to set, about 2-3 hours. While the caramel mousse sets, bake the cake.
  • Makes enough mousse for 2 layers.

Bake the cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, three - 8 x 2 inch deep round baking pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and set aside. Add height to your springform pan by lining it with a ring of parchment paper about 2-3 inches deep and set aside.
  • In a small heatproof bowl, place the finely chopped unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. Add the hot coffee and stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • To a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir quickly with a fork to combine.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment (a hand mixer works here as well) over medium/high speed, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer to low/medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture and beat to combine. The mixture should look sort of billowy, like a mousse.
  • Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but be sure not to over mix or the cake will be tough.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans. Bang the pans on your counter to smooth out the batter and remove any air bubbles. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake starts to separate from the sides.
  • Remove pans from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 8-10 minutes. Carefully invert the cakes (one at a time) over the wire rack and lift the pan. Remove the parchment paper and then, to prevent cracks, reinvert the cake onto a wire rack so that tops are right side up. Allow the cakes to cool completely and then cut each layer in half. What you’re looking for is 5 layers of cake rounds. Reserve the final slice for later use. Or eat that situation right then and there. No one is judging you.
  • As the cakes bake, make the chocolate mousse.

Make the chocolate mousse:

  • Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water stirring occasionally until melted. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Combine the yolks, sugar, and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of an electric mixer, or a medium sized bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until very warm and thickened. Once thickened, remove from heat, place in electric mixer and whip until cold and very thick. If you don’t have an electric mixer, just bust out a whip and give it some arm action. Set aside.
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer using a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, add the heavy cream in a stream and whip until it holds stiff peaks. Set aside. Working quickly, add the melted chocolate to the thickened yolk mixture and fold thoroughly. Add the heavy cream to the yolk/chocolate mixture and fold quickly, but gently until no white streaks remain.
  • Place in the freezer to chill for about 30 minutes.
  • Makes enough mousse for 3 layers

To Assemble:

  • Grab your collared springform pan. Begin by placing a slice of chocolate cake on the bottom. Alternate between layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and caramel mousse until you reach the very top, ending with the chocolate mousse. Smooth out the layers of chocolate and caramel mousse so they drape over and cover the chocolate cake layers. Cover the top of the springform pan with a round layer of parchment, smooth the parchment, then cover the parchment paper with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer to set completely, about 2-3 hours. Remove from the freezer and place on your counter for about 10 minutes or so to soften. Slice and serve that bad boy.
  • Serves about 12.
  • Chocolate cake recipe adapted from: Joy of Baking
  • Caramel Mouse adapted from: Design Sponge