Alice Medrich’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
As far as I’m concerned, chocolate mousse cake is a classic. Like chocolate chip cookies and brownies, it will never go out of fashion. This tricolor (a.k.a. triple mousse cake) requires a few more steps than the recipes I typically post. That said, we’re heading into the holiday season, and you’ll be needing at least one show stopping dessert for your Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or Hanukkah table. This recipe was created by the queen of all things chocolate, Alice Medrich.
For those of you not familiar with the name, Alice Medrich founded Cocolat in Berkeley back in 1976. She has since published dozens of cookbooks dedicated to the art of chocolate desserts. I first discovered her back when I was the pastry chef at LuLu.
I have made a few adjustments to her recipe. For the melted chocolate base I opted for Crunch bars. I think the puffed rice crispies add a nice texture to the silky cake. In the original recipe, Alice uses a “Swiss” method to temper her eggs, whipping them and the sugar over a bain marie. I find this method tedious and dangerous. You can easily burn the eggs or yourself. Instead, I’m using the “Italian” method of cooking the sugar into a hot syrup, then, adding it to the whipping eggs. It’s a much easier process. The milk chocolate and white chocolate mousse are egg free and I removed the espresso from the milk chocolate, making it kid friendly. Now, you just fold some melted chocolate into whipped cream. How simple is that?
This recipe still remains the best chocolate mousse cake I have ever tasted. This dessert is sure to be a hit with every chocolate lover!
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
2 ounces (60 grams) Crunch bar, melted
Dark Chocolate Mousse:
8 ounces (224 grams) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons (112 grams) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup (80 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) water
Milk Chocolate Mousse:
9 ounces (255 grams) milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1 1/2 cups (355ml) heavy cream
White Chocolate Mousse:
9 ounces (255 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1 1/2 cups (355ml) heavy cream
2 ounces (60 grams) melted dark chocolate, optional for decoration
You will need an 8×3 inch (20cm x 7.6cm) ring mold or cheesecake pan with a removable bottom.
To make the base for the dessert, trace an 8-inch (20cm) circle on a piece of parchment paper. Turn parchment upside down on a baking sheet (you should still see the tracing through the paper) and tape the edges to the baking sheet to keep them from curling. Melt the chopped Crunch bar in a small microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on high at 20 second increments until you can stir it and all the chocolate is melted. Spread the chocolate evenly over the traced circle. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until hardened. When hard, remove tape. Turn paper upside down and peel gently away from chocolate disk. Place the disk in the bottom of pan or ring. If it breaks, simply put the pieces in place (it won’t be noticeable). Refrigerate the pan/ring either on a cardboard cake circle, or, on top of the cake stand you intend to use to serve the cake.
To make the dark chocolate mousse: Place the chocolate and butter in a medium-large microwave safe bowl. Heat on high, stirring every 20 seconds, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a small pot, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium heat until it reaches 230F (112C). The original recipe calls for a thermometer, but if you don’t have one (I never use one) you can easily gauge the temperature by following these simple steps. Watch the boiling sugar. When it thickens and creates small bubbles. You know the temperature is close. Dip a cool spoon into the syrup and let it drip off. If it creates a thread, rather than running off in drops, it’s done.
Immediately remove the syrup from the heat so it doesn’t continue to cook. Whip the eggs in a stand mixer on high speed until foamy. Slowly pour the hot syrup into the whipping eggs. Continue to beat for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the melted chocolate and whip on medium until almost blended. Use a spatula and finish by folding the mixture until the eggs and chocolate are thoroughly blended. Immediately, before the mousse begins to set, scrape it into the cake pan or dessert ring and spread it evenly. Refrigerate the pan while preparing the milk chocolate mousse.
To make the milk chocolate mousse: Place the milk chocolate and water in a medium-large microwave safe bowl. Heat on high, stirring every 20 seconds, until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Set aside and let the chocolate mixture cool to 85-90° F—a small dab on your upper lip should feel slightly cool, not cold. (If the chocolate is too cold, the mousse may turn out grainy).
Whip the cream in a small bowl, just until it is thickened and slightly fluffy, and barely beginning to hold a shape: When you tilt the bowl, it should flow to one side, fluffy but still pourable and not at all stiff. Scrape the chocolate into the cream and quickly fold until the two are incorporated. The mousse should seem much too liquid and soft—it will firm up later. Immediately scrape it into the pan on top of the dark chocolate mousse. Refrigerate the pan.
To make the white chocolate mousse: Repeat the steps for making the milk chocolate mousse (above), using the ingredients for the white chocolate mousse. Immediately scrape the mousse into the pan on top of the milk chocolate mousse. Quickly spread the mousse with a long metal spatula, leveling it against the rim of the pan.
Refrigerate the mousse cake for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, before unmolding. The dessert may be completed to this point and refrigerated in the pan, covered, up to 2 days in advance. Or, wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.
To prepare the chocolate shards to garnish the top of the cake, melt the remainig 2 ounces of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth. Place a piece of parchment onto a small sheet pan. Spread the chocolate onto the parchment in a thin layer. Place the sheet pan in the freezer and freeze the chocolate.
To unmold the mousse cake **from a ringmold**, warm all sides of ring briefly with a hot, wet, wrung out towel, or using a hair dryer. Gently lift the cake ring until it easily slips off. If it doesn’t slide off, simply continue to heat using a warm towel or a hari dryer. To unmold **from a cheesecake pan**, place the pan on top of a large food can or similar heavy object (taller than the height of the cake pan). Unlatch the cake pan and heat the sides with a hairdryer until the cake ring slides off.
Break the frozen chocolate into shards and insert the shards gently into the top of the cake. Serve immediately or transfer the cake back into the refrigerator.
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