Velvety chocolate magic

I hate to waste my calories on things that look impressive, are relatively tasteless and yet still fattening. So, I almost never buy or eat layer cakes from the majority of ‘bakeries’ or ‘baked goods’ sections. For one thing, they rely heavily on Crisco (a truly deadly product) for their icings, instead of real butter cream.  But cakes with butter cream are often so bland, that I don’t bother eating them either.

chocolate mousse cake

This variation simply uses chocolate syrup to decorate the plate and cake.

On the other hand, a very small amount of something rich and delicious, is worth every bit of work I have to do to take it off.

In keeping with my favorite chocolate dessert formulas, here is one that I think everyone will love if they give it a try. It is not difficult, and it will deliver, trust me.

This cake consists of a soft, velvety topping floating on a thin, fudge-like cake.  The combination is magical. You can experiment with garnishes and flavorings.  I have suggested chocolate curls here because they look ornate but are really easy to make. If you really want to get fancy, make white chocolate curls.

white chocolate curls

As an alternative, add a bit of cherry liqueur to the cake and plate it on cherry glaze or garnish with fresh cherries, or cherries marinated in liqueur (but no maraschino cherries, please). My favorite decorative and flavor addition is homemade caramel sauce laced on the cake and onto the plate.

By the way, there is no wheat flour in this cake, so it is gluten-free.

mousse cake with whipped cream

This variation has whipped cream that was smoothed over the top of the cake and then chilled.

Beth’s Favorite Chocolate Velvet Cake 



  • 5 1/2 ounces of high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces
  • 7 large* eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Mousse topping

  • 5 1/2 ounces of high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 large* eggs
  • About 2 ounces of chocolate curls (made by dragging a vegetable peeler across a bar of warmed chocolate) for garnish (or one of my earlier suggestions; even just chocolate shavings on top of whipped cream will do the trick)

*Always use Grade A large eggs – do not use any other size



  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350F.  Lightly butter the inside of a 9-inch springform pan.  Dust with flour+ and tap out the excess.
  2. In a large metal bowl set over a pot of hot, not simmering, water, melt the chocolate.  Remove from the heat.  Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Whisk in the egg yolks.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer on low speed, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Gradually beat in the sugar, beating them until they form stiff, shiny peaks.  Stir one fourth of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder.  Spread evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake until the top is puffed, cracked, and crisp, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake from the sides.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan.  Don’t worry if the cake falls.

+Any kind of flour, including fine almond, coconut or gluten free can be used.

chocolate mousse cake 2


  1. Melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water, or in a microwave on medium power.  Remove from the heat. Cool, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is tepid.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer at low speed, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar until combined.  Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the cooled chocolate.  One at a time, beat in the eggs.
  3. Spread the topping evenly over the cake in the pan.  Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap (I always double wrap it). Refrigerate until the stopping is set, at least 4 hours or overnight.


  1. Rinse a thin or dip a thin, sharp knife under hot water and run it around the inside of the pan to release the cake.
  2. Remove the sides of the springform pan.
  3. Garnish the top of the cake with the chocolate curls.
  4. Using the same thin sharp knife, rinsed or dipped again in hot water, slice the cake.
  5. Serve the cake chilled.  The cake should be served within 24 hours.
mousse cake with cocoa dusting

This variation shows an uneven topping, added in spoonsful and dusted with cocoa.

Images: WikimediaCommons


16 Comments on “Velvety chocolate magic”

  1. Wow, that is funny. What a great recipe that is – a very flour-laden, rich cake. I love the idea of adding Guinness to it – a nice dark strong beer. Both the beer and the chocolate are so nutritious. Breakfast, why not? Love Great Barrington, one of the nicest towns on earth. Thank you for all of this – great start to my day. 🙂


  2. I’m very impressed by your broad background and talents!

    It didn’t go unnoticed by me that your recipe is flour-free, which is great for people who are avoiding wheat and gluten (or white flour in general). What are your thoughts on adding black coffee to chocolate cake recipes? (I know coffee is awful for the adrenal glands…so, anyone trying to rescue their adrenals should stay away from the java).


    • Thank you Kim, for the kind words.

      I often add black coffee (powdered) to chocolate recipes. If you look for my favorite French mousse, a couple of weeks ago, that is added in.

      There is such a small amount of coffee added to most chocolate recipes that I don’t think it should be a concern. People with delicate thyroid glands should avoid coffee. I am one of those but I still drink it in moderation.

      Usually when coffee is added to chocolate it is to disguise the fact that the chocolate is of lower quality. A recipe like this one requires good chocolate (above 56% and ideally at least 72%). Just like cheap beer is sometimes disguised by adding salt.


      • I didn’t know that! I will certainly keep that in mind when I go into my rarely seen “Martha Stewart” mode, which usually coincides with the December Solstice 🙂


    • Yeah, why not? Coffee and chocolate are so alike and coffee drinkers start their day with it (I do). Oh, and more to your point, cake is little different from pancakes, doughnuts,sweet rolls and toast with jam, so it is a great breakfast meal. Especially coffee cake with nuts. I am going to put a link to a blogger that just posted a fab coffee cake — it can be made with Bob Red Mill’s gluten-free flour instead of the whole wheat flour she puts in this. This chocolate mousse cake is also such a great dessert and people will think it is really complicated, but it isn’t. 🙂

      Here is the coffee cake:


  3. What a treat! Thank you for sharing. I will definitely be trying them out. I’m not much of a baker – sadly no sweet tooth – but I like treating my friends when they come around, and since four of them have wheat intolerance it will be great to have such a great-looking desert, and I bet very tasty too, to surprise them with. You are a treasure (love the post variety on offer)


    • Thank you so much for being so supportive. I love your blog too!

      I do jump around, don’t I? As for the gluten free – more and more people are making the switch so I now go out of my way to look for formulas that can substitute or avoid flours with gluten. 🙂


  4. Yum! Off to the market right now to buy ingredients. I feel cake should be included with every meal, so I purposely bake an extra one, cut it into slices and freeze whatever I don’t consume immediately. I am hesitant to admit how many slices actually make it into the freezer. Thanks for the new recipe! Diane


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