Double Chocolate Mousse Cake {FFwD}

This week’s pick for French Fridays with Dorie seemed like a solid choice. Who doesn’t love chocolate? And baked mousse cake couldn’t be all bad, could it?

I will admit that the recipe seemed a little daunting. Although the ingredients list is short — bittersweet chocolate, espresso/coffee, butter, sugar, salt, and eggs — there are four variations suggested in the recipe. And whichever one you make, there are multiple steps, including mixing, baking, cooling, baking again (or not), more chilling, etc. It wasn’t that any of the instructions seemed particularly difficult. For me it was the fact that all of the options are given throughout the recipe. So rather than following the recipe straight through, you have to jump here or there depending on which variation you’re making. It reminded me of those choose your own adventure books from when I was a kid, but not nearly as much fun.

I decided to make the twice baked version, in which about 1/3 of the mousse is spread in the pan, baked for about 15 minutes, then cooled. Then the rest of the mousse is dumped in, and the whole thing is baked for about half an hour.

Sounds easy enough, right? And perhaps it is. But apparently not for me. My first issue started with the pan. Dorie says to use the ring from an 8-inch springform (not the bottom). I remember thinking two things when I first read this part of the recipe. First, I don’t have an 8-inch springform. My spingform pan is 9 inches, which I didn’t think should be too big a problem, although the thought did occur to me to increase the amount of mousse a bit, an idea that I completely forgot about when it came time to actually make the recipe.

The other thing that occurred to me when I read about using the springform ring and placing it on a Silpat or parchment paper was: Won’t it leak? But if Dorie said it was OK, I would believe her. So I made the mousse, preheated the oven, buttered my ring, put it on a Silpat on a pan, loaded in the mousse, and put the whole thing in the oven. And here’s what I ended up with:

I’m too embarrassed to show you a picture of the bottom of my oven. Suffice it to say the smoke detector went off every time I opened the oven door for the rest of the day.

I cooled what was left of the crust, then topped it with the remaining mousse.

I baked the cake for about 20 minutes, at which point it seemed to be done. I figured since it was spread more thinly in the pan than the recipe envisioned, it would bake more quickly, and it did. I cooled it in the pan for a few minutes, then unmolded it. I didn’t even try to get it off the Silpat, as we were just snacking on it at home, and I’d had enough disasters for one day.

If you have Around My French Table you know that Dorie’s cake is pretty thin. But not nearly as thin as mine. The combination of the too-big pan and losing a good bit of batter from the bottom of the ring left me with a wafer-thin cake that even Mr. Creosote could have finished without exploding.

After all the trouble I had with this cake, I figured it better be pretty good. And you know what? It was. In fact, it was absolutely delicious. I was skeptical about the layers, thinking that since they were made from the same mousse, they couldn’t be all that different. But each had its own distinct flavor and texture. The cake was rich, moist, and very chocolatey. The coffee really brought out the chocolate flavor.

When I bake this cake again, I will make a few alterations to the recipe. First, I will use the entire springform pan. This business of using just the ring doesn’t make sense to me. Why not use the whole pan and remove the cake when it’s baked? And since I will be using my 9-inch springform pan again, I will double the mousse filling, which should result in a cake that’s a bit thicker than the one in the book. Which to me sounds perfect.

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42 Comments

  1. Kayte said,

    January 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I’m using the bottom an a parchment circle, no doubt about it, this type of mess would just absolutely throw me. Thanks for the research. End product looks wonderful!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      My parents were here when I made this mess, and when I ran the self-cleaning cycle, they cracked open one of the sliding glass doors. I didn’t realize it was still open until about three days after they’d gone. I couldn’t figure out why the house was so cold!

      • Kayte said,

        January 23, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        LOL…that IS FUNNY. It’s downright scary that our kids are depending on us all to be the adults and trust us with their safety, etc., isn’t it? Things like this happen here as well…more often than I care to think about.

  2. Cher said,

    January 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Sometimes, I just think when those things happen it is just my oven telling me that it’s been too long since I gave it a good clean down. It couldn’t possibly be the recipe or anything I did, right?

    • gaaarp said,

      January 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Well, my oven did need cleaning. That wasn’t the first spill collecting on the oven floor!

  3. Flourchild said,

    January 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Im glad after all the isues you had it turned out to be yummy!!!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks, it was good, if a mess.

  4. Kathy said,

    January 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I think it’s funny to post your mishaps…that’s what trying new things is all about. Sometimes things so smoothly with no problems and then there are those other times! Your cake still looks yummy!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

      That’s what I like about group baking, too. It allows me to figure out if it’s just me, or perhaps (as here) something about the recipe that isn’t clear.

  5. January 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I Jus posted mine and i did have a few mishaps but that was coz of me , i didn have a spill like this !
    But urs looks so delicious , though i can imagine the cleaning!
    IT does rise well quite to the top , but didnt spill over!

  6. Anne-Marie said,

    January 22, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Mr. Creosote! Oh what a wonderful image! Nice to meet a fellow Python fan. Sorry about your leaking cake and your smoke alarm. Hey–at least you know it works! I have not made this cake yet and feel so lucky to have tips from folks like you who slogged through it. Sounds like it’s work it.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 22, 2011 at 9:49 am

      I would definitely leave the bottom of the sprinform on and line it with buttered parchment. And if you’re using a 9-inch pan, make 1.5x recipe.

  7. Margaret said,

    January 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Because of your problems I weighted my ring down and it didn’t leak any. I was really surprised. Mine was also really thing, but good.

    Had to take the battery out of our smoke detector. I used to burn a lot of what I was trying to cook and never put one back in.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      Only one of our four smoke detectors goes off when I’m baking. I take it down, remove the battery, and set it on the counter so I’ll remember to put it back up. I’m a stickler for having working smoke detectors. (At work, they refer to me as Fire Marshall Phyl.)

  8. stephirey said,

    January 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Boy, I agree with so many things in your post. I found the recipe a little daunting too…too many choices and having to go back and forth and figure it all out. I had ooze too, but not nearly as much as yours! I also only had a 9″ pan (but since have finally found an 8″ at Sur La Table and bought it!). I too, like you, found the cake absolutely delicious, even with my issues. Love your drip picture (I have a warped sense of humor…quite similar to my warped springform pan!)

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks, I think!

  9. January 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Glad to hear that you liked the taste of the cake even though it was thin. Mine was thin too and, like you, I was worried about no bottom on the spring form pan. Certainly wasn’t something I was used to. Anyway, your cake looks yummy 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks, Renee. It was really good, despite the missteps along the way.

  10. sara said,

    January 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the cake despite the mishaps! I multiplied the recipe time 1.5 and baked in a 9-inch springform and it worked well, with a pretty thick cake. I also used the bottom of the pan because I was worried about leakage…I think the reason for not using the bottom is that it *did* stick quite a bit despite being well-greased, but obviously that’s better than setting off the smoke alarm! 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      I think using the bottom of the pan with buttered parchment paper would do the trick. I’ll find out the next time I try it.

  11. betsy said,

    January 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Wow! I thought I had an oozing problem but you win the prize! Even though the cake is flat, it looks tasty. Glad you liked it.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      Too bad there’s not a prize for oven mess!

  12. pragmaticattic said,

    January 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I didn’t have the ooze that other seem to have had. But, then, I used a real cake ring, which is very heavy and may hold the batter in better than a springform. It is interesting that you had two textures. My problem was that I just got one texture. And my cake was very thin, too, even though I had no batter loss and used an 8″ ring. I agree that doubling the batter would be a good idea.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      I’m really tempted to double the batter and bake 1/3 as crust, another 1/3 as a second layer, and the rest unbaked as mousse.

      • pragmaticattic said,

        January 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

        Yes!! Great idea.

  13. January 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Oooh, I’ve had the bottom of my oven looking like that before. Not fun. Your cake looks yummy though – I’ll take any leftovers if you need to get rid of them. 😉

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

      I’m thinking of investing in one of those oven mats to catch drips.

  14. January 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I think we all ran in to some form of trouble with this cake. But nonetheless it tasted great!! Glad that you (and I) were both able to salvage some to actually taste 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      It was delicious, wasn’t it? And I ended up getting a clean oven out the deal.

  15. Abby said,

    January 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    You made me laugh out loud with the choose-your-own-adventure cookbook idea! Surely there’s a market for that…?! =) Glad that it tasted good in the end…just wait until you try NM’s: LOVED it!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      I really want to try his, but it looks like a lot of work. I’ll probably wait until we get there in the book.

  16. January 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Just call it Chocolate Pizza and there. lol. I don’t think she tested this one out or otherwise she would have just written it to use the WHOLE pan. That instruction was just so curious to me.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      There seemed to be several important omissions from the recipe. I guess they can’t all be perfect.

  17. Karla said,

    January 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Oh that dreaded smoke detector! I’m with ya, sister!

    Glad you enjoyed the cake anyway – I did as well, although I only did the once-baked version. I’m going to try the twice-baked version this weekend!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks, brother!

  18. jayne said,

    January 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Mine oozed, too. But all that was forgiven when I tasted the cake. Glad your story had a happy ending!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      I really want to make this again, sans ooze, to see how it comes out.

  19. Liz said,

    January 21, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Gosh, I’m sorry you were one of the early bakers who had the dreaded ooze…BUT so happy you still had something wonderfully yummy to sample! I did have to giggle at your mention of the smoke detector…that’s happened to me more than I care to admit!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      Whenever the smoke alarm goes off here, one of the kids says, “Is it a real emergency, or is Dad baking?”


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