Grab some milk or coffee and pull on your spanx—it’s time to get indulgent. This Valentine’s Cake is built on a chocolate graham cracker crust, then layered with chocolate mousse and a simple chocolate cake layer, and finished with chocolate ganache and Pirouline cookies.
It’s one of my favorite creations, so much so, I ate two slices while shooting instead of afterwards during clean-up. I love the textured layers of crunchy cookies, silky mousse and soft cake.
And hey, it’s totally perfect for your Valentine’s sweetheart—that is unless you are my sweetheart. So for anyone else who has someone in their life that isn’t a chocolate lover, stay tuned. I have more Valentine’s desserts coming that do not incorporate chocolate.
Until then, enjoy this cake and don’t leave out the Pirouline cookie topping – it makes the cake!
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Yield: Makes one 8 inch cake
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
- 12 full-size graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2-4 tablespoon of water
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
- ¾ cups brewed coffee
- ¾ cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cups sugar
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 14 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips’
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon instant espresso granules
- 1 ½ teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin
- 4 teaspoons cold water
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 8 oz. chocolate (at least 60% cacao)
- 8 oz. heavy cream
- 1 14oz. can of Pirouline cookies
To make graham cracker crust:
Preparation: Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place graham crackers in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. Add in sugar and pulse until combined. Remove ¼ cup of crumb and set aside for crumb coat finish on cake. Add melted butter in and pulse until mixture starts to clump, add water one tablespoon at time to if needed to help the mixture clump (mixture should stay clumped when pressed between your hands).
- Press crumbs into bottom of cake pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until dry. Transfer to a wire and cool.
To make chocolate cake:
Preparation: Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch cake pan with parchment and lightly cover with bake spray and dust with cocoa powder.
- Place coffee, milk, water, butter, and cocoa powder in a medium size saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted. Remove saucepan from heat, add sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Place flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl place eggs and vanilla lightly whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour egg and vanilla mixture into cooled chocolate mixture while continuously whisking with the other hand to evenly incorporate the two mixtures. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into cake pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.
To make chocolate mousse:
- In a heat proof bowl set over simmering water (not on—think bain marie), add in chocolate, butter and espresso granules. Stir until melted then remove from heat set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes.
- In a shallow bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Let stand until gelatin has bloomed; mixture will become solid. Place bowl in the microwave on low and heat for 10 seconds or until mixture dissolves and resembles syrup consistency. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled stir gelatin mixture into chocolate mixture.
- Place heavy cream in a chilled bowl and on medium-high speed beat until medium peaks form. Turn off mixer and stir 1/3 of cream mixture into chocolate mixture to lighten. Add in remaining cream and fold until combined. Do not over mix.
To make ganache:
- Place chocolate pieces in a food processor bowl.
- Place cream in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes on high or until it starts to bubble along the edges. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for two minutes. Pulse 2-3 times or until mixture is smooth. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Place a parchment collar around the inside of the cake pan for easy cake removal.
- Divide mousse mixture in half and place each half in a pastry bag fitted with a large round pastry tip. Pipe first bag onto graham cracker crust. Then layer mousse with cake. Pipe remaining bag of mouse on top of cake layer.
- Transfer cake to refrigerate and chill for about 2 hours. Remove cake from refrigerator and pour ganache on top, using an offset spatula evenly spread and cover top of mousse. Finish with sliced Pirouline cookies. **Optional: Add strawberries on top if desired.
- To remove cake from pan. Place cake directly on top of a can or glass that is at least 3 inches or higher and pull sidewall of cake pan down. Remove parchment collar.
A few notes:
- For best results use a removeable bottom cake pan or a springform pan.
- If you do not have a food processor to process graham crackers, , place crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until a fine crumb is reached.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pirouline as part of an ongoing relationship. However, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands like this that help make this site possible!