Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mousse

As a child, every year on my birthday I would ask my mother for a chocolate cake. Well, that's not exactly true...

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I didn’t have to ask my mother because she knew me well enough to know that the answer would always be the same. “What sort of cake would you like for your birthday?” was always followed with “Chocolate!” and probably some dancing around. And so has the story been all my years of birthdays. Chocolate and dancing. 

Whole Chocolate Cake on a cake stand with raspberry garnish.

In truth, I am not a huge cake fan. I do love the cornmeal layer cake with lemon cream from Comfortable in the Kitchen, but most of the time if I’m offered a piece of cake it really needs to be chocolate in order for me to get excited about it. 

Chocolate cake being assembled with a layer of raspberry mousse on one layer.

This cake recipe might look a little daunting to you because it has quite a few steps. You have to make the raspberry mousse filling, you have to make the cake layers and you have to make the ganache that gets poured over the top. But don’t give up or walk away! All of these steps are very easy and straightforward and I look after you every step of the way in the directions. You can do this and just think how impressed everyone will be…. if you share, that is!

Chocolate Cake on a white plate with raspberry garnish.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mousse

  • Prep Time: 1 h
  • Cook Time: 40 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 40 m
  • Servings:


Raspberry Mousse
  • 3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup water divided
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
  • cup sugar
  • cups heavy cream
Chocolate Cake
  • 10 ounces good quality dark chocolate melted
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate
  • cups heavy cream
  • fresh raspberries for garnish


  1. Combine the gelatin and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl and mix together. Set aside.
  2. Combine the raspberries, sugar and ¼ cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring the raspberries to a boil and simmer stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the berries break down. Transfer the raspberry mixture to a food process or blender and purée until the raspberries are smooth. Pour the puréed raspberries through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, pushing with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Return the raspberries to the saucepan and add the soaked gelatin, stirring over low heat until well combined. Pour the raspberry mixture into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer into stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture and chill for at least 4 hours, until the mousse sets up.
  4. Make the cake layers. Start by pre-heating the oven to 350°F and greasing two 9-inch cake pans with butter. Line the pans with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment paper too.
  5. Break the chocolate into pieces. Melt the chocolate in the microwave by cooking and stirring in 30-second increments or in a double boiler over simmering water.
  6. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs and melted butter, and stir until combined. Pour the melted chocolate, milk and boiling water and vanilla extract into the cake batter and stir until smooth. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pans and place the pans in the oven.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a cooling rack. Cool for 15 minutes, then unmold the cake layers onto the rack and cool completely.
  8. Assemble the cake. Trim the top of cake layers so that both the tops and bottoms of each layer are flat. Place one layer, cut side down, on serving plate or cake stand. Whisk the chilled mousse to loosen it up and spread the mousse evenly over the cake layer. Dip an offset metal spatula in hot water and run the spatula over the top and edges of the mouse to smooth it out. Place the second cake layer, cut side down, on top of the mousse.
  9. Make the ganache. Chop the dark chocolate into chunks and place it in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan, but do not boil. Pour the warm heavy cream over the chocolate chips and stir into a smooth and shiny consistency. Slowly pour the ganache into the center of the cake. In a circular motion, spread the chocolate out so it covers the top of the cake and drips down the sides of the cake. Try to do this in one step to get a nice smooth top to the cake. With an off-set spatula or knife, smooth out the chocolate on the sides of the cake. If you want a totally flat edge, dip the spatula in hot water to smooth out the chocolate. Garnish with some fresh raspberries if desired.
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Comments (20)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    I made this cake for my mom’s birthday and it turned out amazing! I’m only 16 and this was my first time making a cake without a box mix, but the instructions were super easy to follow and it turned out perfect! Absolutely delicious!

    1. Yes you can make the mousse the day ahead but it will start to set up. You will need to stir it before spreading on the cake.

    1. Hi Suzanne. I would use semi-sweet chocolate for the cake, but you could substitute milk chocolate for the dark chocolate in the ganache if you like. Using milk chocolate in the cake can change the texture because it has more sugar and more fat than dark chocolate.

  2. Hi! I’m planning on making this cake for Christmas! Just wondering how far in advance can this cake be assembled?

  3. 5 stars
    I made this as a birthday cake today. I tasted part of the trimming from flattening the top of one of the baked layers…this is the moistest, most delicious chocolate-tasting cake I have ever made! Thank you for this recipe, Meredith!!! As one of our chefs at NECI said: “Good cooking is not rocket science; it’s just a series of small steps, each done carefully.” This cake’s recipe is a perfect example of that statement and so well worth the effort to make it!

  4. I am making a 13 by 9 cake. 2 layers. Should I make double raspberry mousse?
    Thank You,
    Stephanie Barrett

    1. You should probably only need an extra 1/2 batch of the raspberry mousse for a 13×9 cake. Unless you want a really thick mousse layer, then I would go ahead and double it.

  5. Disaster! The ganache (1.5c Heavy cream & 10oz dark chocolate) did get shiny and smooth but it’s thin like milk? As expected pouring it over cake just covered top thinly – ran down edges going everywhere……like a lake. Didn’t dare try to smooth sides as there’s nothing really there to smooth…..all pooled everywhere below cake. Layers were cool as could be….. wondering if I should collect that runny ganache and cool and whip….what a mess. Dunno why this happened – but maybe neighbor will take this cake off my hands

    1. Sorry you had a problem with your ganache. If it is too thin, you can either let it cool down as it will thicken as it cools, or you can whip it which will also cool down the ganache and make it thicker. Anotherr fix is to add more chocolate if your cream is still hot enough for it to melt. But letting it cool down or cooling it in the fridge usually does the trick.

    1. You could use canola or vegetable oil instead of butter. The taste could be slightly less rich but it should still taste good and will be moist.

  6. Generally when I am doing a ganache for a cake my proportion of chocolate to cream is higher, 16 oz chocolate to about 10 oz of cream. I took this from a weird venetian chocolate cake recipe that’s kind of like tiramisu covered in ganache.

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