Chocolate Mousse Cake

For Valentine’s Day Chad and I decided to stay in and make dinner. We decided he would be in charge of the actual dinner, and I would take care of dessert (although we really just helped each other and ended up doing both together, which was fun).

I had my dessert options narrowed down to creme brulee or cheesecake, when I found a recipe for a copycat version of Black Tie Mousse Cake (the Olive Garden dessert). Of course I had to make it.

The recipe was NOT user friendly at all. No temperatures were included for stove top directions, so I had to wing it, which led to a minor disaster. But I’ll add them for you, in case you ever decide to try this recipe. The recipe just wasn’t written very well. I will attempt to fix that.

So here we go:

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients: (this is a full list, I will break it down by layer with the instructions)

Boxed cake mix (devil’s food works best)
2 teaspoons knox unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
22 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
4 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar +1/2 teaspoon
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter


Bottom Layer: Cake

Boxed Cake mix

1) Bake as directed on box in two 8 inch round cake pans. Let cool.

2) Cut one cake in half and place into bottom of springform pan. Press cake to flatten it.

**The rest of the cake is extra, you can keep it/toss it/whatever. You could also just bake half the cake mix in an 8 inch round, and use the other half for cupcakes.

Second Layer:  Chocolate Mousse


1 teaspoon knox unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1) Melt chocolate and cream cheese together using a double boiler, on medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool.

2)Soften gelatin with cold water for 1 minute, then add boiling water, stir until dissolved and clear. (This takes a few minutes.)

3) Let gelatin cool while you start whipping the heavy cream and sugar. As cream starts to thicken, add gelatin. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. (I used a mixer instead of trying it by hand, it’s faster that way.)

4)  Add 1/4 of the cream to the chocolate mixture in double boiler and mix thoroughly.

5) Fold chocolate mixture into remaining cream mixture. Don’t stir, the cream will lose the air that makes it fluffy. Just carefully fold in.

6) Spread chocolate mousse onto cake and refrigerate.

Third Layer: Custard


3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon knox unflavored gelatin
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Beat egg yolks until pale.

2) Add sugar, flour, and gelatin, then beat until mixed.

3) Bring cream and vanilla extract to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, reduce temp. to low.

4) Add a small amount of cream to egg mixture while stirring. Gradually add until all of the cream has been added and then pour entire mixture through a strainer into the pan.

5) Cook on low heat, stirring frequently until custard begins to thicken. **If you cook the custard at too high a temperature it will curdle and separate. Trust me. It happened. I have pictures.**

6) Cool slightly, then pour on top of the chocolate mousse layer and freeze while getting the fourth layer ready.

Fourth Layer: Chocolate Ganache


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
18 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Bring butter and cream to a boil over medium heat.

2) Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes to soften chocolate.

3) Stir until smooth.

4) Let cool until it starts to thicken (about ten minutes).

5) Remove cake from freezer and release from springform pan.

6) Pour about 1/3 of ganache mixture over cake and use a spatula to spread it evenly across the top and sides. While this is still wet, press chocolate chips onto the side of the cake.

7) Refrigerate rest of ganache until firm. Then you can use a decorating bag and tip to decorate however you want.

In case you’ve never made custard before, I will give you a picture of what it looks like if it’s cooked at too high a temperature and a picture of what it SHOULD look like. I ruined my first batch and had to make a second.

**Warning-the overcooked picture is absolutely disgusting.**

Overcooked Custard:

Properly Cooked Custard:

Obviously there is a big difference. The original recipe didn’t say what temperature to cook the custard on, so I had no idea. Now I know, and hopefully that will save you from the mini disaster I had. 🙂

This dessert was time consuming. It ended up being delicious, although I don’t think it tasted much like the Olive Garden version. I don’t think Olive Garden uses a custard for their third layer. I’ll have to see what else I can find out there.

Regardless, this was the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. Because of how much time it took to make I will only make it on special occasions, and I may tweak the recipe a bit, but if you have the time I would suggest making it.

Middle of the finished product:


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