This is the Best Mocha Mousse Cake with layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and white chocolate mocha mousse topped off with a shiny chocolate glaze. It is decadent, chocolatey, light and creamy all in one - and reminiscent of a delicious cup of mocha coffee! Honestly, it's hard to explain how good this cake is in words - you have to try it to get it. The flavors and textures are just out of this world.
Now, I am not going to lie and say that this is an "easy" recipe. It is definitely not as quick and a lot more involved than my usual recipes, since it has a few different elements. However, it is also not highly technical or complicated! I have kept all the individual elements fairly easy to make, so you just need a little bit of patience. And let me tell you, it will 100% pay off. The cake not only looks like a complete show-stopper, it also tastes divine.
WHAT IS MOCHA?
Mocha is a popular coffee drink with chocolate in it, and the term is used to describe desserts or drinks with the yummy chocolate and coffee combination. Originating from a port city in Yemen, the name "mocha" pays homage to the city's historical significance in the coffee trade. Today, the drink is popular around the world, with many different variations such as white chocolate mocha, mocha espresso, mocha Frappuccino, etc.
Let's quickly go over the different ingredients needed to make this mocha mousse cake (all quantities are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, organized by each element of this cake):
- Eggs - these are added to the chocolate genoise sponge cake, but the mousses are egg-free
- Granulated sugar
- All purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Water - used for the simple syrup as well as blooming the gelatin
- Gelatin - I use powdered gelatin, which is a lot easier to work with than gelatin leaves. Specifically, I use the brand Rossmoor, which is halal, and sold at select South Asian & halal grocery stores. It is also available on Amazon here
- Heavy cream - make sure to get heavy cream or heavy whipping cream which can be whipped up to a light and fluffy consistency
- Semi sweet chocolate - get good quality chocolate you like the flavor of!
- Instant coffee - I usually use Nescafe but you can use any instant coffee which is soluble in water
- White chocolate - get good quality chocolate you like the flavor of!
- Vegetable oil - a small amount is added to the chocolate glaze to make it shinier
USING ACETATE TO MAKE NEAT LAYERS
The neat layers of mousse in this cake are achieved by using an acetate collar. This is the exact one I use. This holds the mousse in as it sets, and since it is see-through, allows creating even, clean layers. Once the mousse is set, the acetate collar can be carefully removed.
Place the chocolate sponge cake on your serving stand. Then carefully cut the acetate and wrap around the cake. You want a nice snug fit, and make sure the acetate is straight, not tapered. A good way to check this is to flip the collar upside down and see if it gives the same fit around the cake or not!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST MOCHA MOUSSE CAKE
Check out this short video in which I show the process of making this cake:
An important note: This is a more delicate recipe than my recipes usually are! So please follow all instructions carefully.
The full detailed recipe is in the recipe card below, but let me give you guys a quick overview of what you will need to do:
1. Make the chocolate sponge cake
This is a light and airy chocolate cake that relies on whipping eggs and sugar together for its texture. Make sure to be very gentle when folding the batter so as to not deflate it.
Bake the cake and set aside.
2. Make the simple syrup
This is a *simple* mixture of sugar and water which is brushed onto cakes to keep them moist.
3. Make the chocolate mousse
To keep things simpler, the mousses in this cake are ganache based, not custard based. This means they don't have eggs and don't require cooking, making things a lot quicker and beginner friendly! It does use gelatin, though, as this cake is quite large and the gelatin helps the mousse hold shape. So bloom the gelatin, make the ganache, add the bloomed gelatin, and then fold in whipped cream.
4. Make the white chocolate mocha mousse
This is very similar to the chocolate mousse, but uses a white chocolate ganache, a little more gelatin (since white chocolate is less stable than semi sweet), and has coffee in it. I did try variations of this mousse without chocolate, but they did not set, so the white chocolate is a must.
5. Assemble the cake
For this, you will place the cake on the serving stand, gently scrape off a thin layer on top, and brush with simple syrup.
Then wrap an acetate collar around the cake and tape it up. This will hold all the mousse and also allow you see the layers so they can come out very neat. Add the chocolate mousse and neatly spread it out.
Place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes until the mousse feels set on top, then add the mocha mousse and spread out. Now, transfer to the fridge overnight so the cake fully sets.
6. Decorate with chocolate glaze
Make the chocolate glaze just like a ganache, and let it cool down for just 5 minutes. Carefully remove the acetate from around the cake, and neaten the edges with an offset spatula.
Pour the glaze on top of the cake, and use a spatula to spread it out. I like letting some of the glaze drip off the sides!
7. Serve and enjoy!!
Finally - you are ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor. They will be well worth it! Slice up and serve the cake. This cake is best enjoyed cold, and needs to be refrigerated at all times.
Tip: To keep the clean layers of mousse, hold your knife vertically and move it inwards from the edge of the cake to the middle, then pull back outwards in the same direction. This will make sure the mousses don't mix together and give you beautiful slices!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The only element of this recipe that needs eggs is the chocolate cake. If you don't consume eggs, you can use a different eggless chocolate cake recipe you enjoy. Opt for a light cake, not a dense or rich one.
The chocolate cake is made with a genoise sponge. You need to make sure you whip the eggs and sugar thoroughly, and then use a very gentle folding motion to add the dry ingredients. If you are not gentle, you will knock out the air, resulting in a dense and rubbery cake.
Yes! If you are not a fan of coffee, you can skip it, and make a chocolate mousse cake instead.
Unfortunately, I have not had success with this recipe without gelatin. The mousse layers are thick and don't hold shape properly without gelatin. So I do recommend using powdered gelatin like instructed in this recipe.
I get Rossmoor gelatin, which is halal, from Pakistan any time I travel there, but I know it is also sold in some Indian / South Asian / Halal supermarkets in the US! It is also available on Amazon (although I haven't purchased from there).
If you don't have access to acetate, you can make this cake in a springform pan, but it will likely be a bit more challenging to get the mousse in clean layers and remove it from the pan.
Yes! You can make this cake 2-3 days ahead of time and keep in the fridge. I would recommend removing the acetate collar and decorating with chocolate glaze when you are ready to serve. The collar will protect the cake from drying out.
Store this cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. This cake should not be kept at room temperature or frozen.
MORE CAKE RECIPES
If you're new to Bake With Zoha, you should know we love cakes here! You will enjoy these recipes:
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