Do you enjoy chocolate…in triplicate? Simple (really!), decadent, rich, three layer chocolate torte that will wow your friends, amaze your family, be the hit of the party! A triple chocolate layer cake, with a gooey brownie base, creamy ganache center and mousse top.
Do you have a group of women you can call on during thick and thin? Those you lunch with, go to the pool with, trade babysitting with, bring meals to when they are sick, do pilates and eat cake with? If so, you are so very blessed. I am triply blessed with several such groups! This one has been gathering for great food, laughter and friendship for years. We are unofficially the Birthday Club, as we celebrate each others birthdays, taking turns hosting, or we meet at a restaurant to celebrate each and every precious one. We came about lunching in a rather backwards way…
…we actually started as great friends with small children who wanted to get in shape by doing Pilates together once a week, then our instructor moved out of state. While we
halfheartedly, um, vigorously & energetically tried to find another instructor, we ultimately decided it was much more fun getting together and eating! Oh we still exercise, it’s not easy hefting those pitchers of water, or lifting the plank of salmon off the grill, sometimes we even jog out to the patio. I guard these times fiercly, I love the days we do this!
A few weeks ago we celebrated Cheryl, she loves chocolate, so I thought this would be a fantastic choice for the day. For this occasion I cut the brownie and ganache recipes portions in half (but made the full amount of the mousse) and made a mini (7″) torte since we wouldn’t need a 10″ torte like the one below. The one below is full size, sometimes I’ll double the mousse on top and this time I had extra Kahlua Buttercream frosting from another project, so I did a little extra decorating.
It looks elegant, tastes even better and it’s the easiest layered torte you can ever make. It just takes some time between layers to cool and such, so plan ahead.
Don’t let the steps scare you away, can you whip up a pan of brownies in no time, then you can make this!
Let’s start with the brownie base, I really like Ghirardelli Triple Fudge Brownie Mix, but any brownie mix will do! The fudgier the better!
Add your mix, eggs, oil (or melted butter, yum even richer!) water, and extra chips to bowl…
Mix well with wooden spoon, about 2 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour into prepared 10″ springform pan, if you don’t have one, TJ Maxx or Marshalls usually have them pretty cheap. Bake!
Once finished baking, please don’t overbake, you want this nice and fudgey. Remove and cool completely on wire rack, then place in freezer or refrigerator until ready to pour on ganache.
Once frozen or firmed up make your ganache. Grab your chocolate chips (semisweet and milk chocolate) and your whipping cream and place in microwave safe bowl. I tried using half and half one time, I don’t suggest it, while it was still delicious, it never firmed up and made a gooey mess when I released it from the springform pan.
Heating in 30 second intervals (chocolate melts faster than you think and continues melting as you stir, so don’t overcook and burn your chocolate). This first picture below is after the first 30 seconds, remove and stir well. Doesn’t look like it did much, but wait…
After second 30 seconds, stir well!
After third 30 seconds! Keep stirring…
Look at how beautifully smooth that is after only 1 and a half minutes, you might be tempted to just zap it for 90 seconds, don’t! I guarantee you it will ruin your chocolate and you’ll end up with a grainy, goopy, “burnt” chocolate mess. Waste of good chocolate and whipping cream!
Stir in your butter (softened) into chocolate mixture until fully incorporated, it should be nice and smooth.
Pour in vanilla and whisk to mix.
Pour over brownie base and return to freezer for 30 minutes minimum before placing mousse on top, this needs to firm up first so you have three distinct layers.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling a little salty, I’ll sprinkle a little course sea salt (just a pinch) over the top of the ganache, or a little fleur de Sel, yummy!
Now for the chocolate mousse layer, measure out your butter, hopefully everyone knows about these handy-dandy guides that are all on quarters of butter!
The same goes for cream cheese, some wonderful person decided to put guides on, now you have to make sure your packaging is on straight, but generally it’s pretty good.
This is all you’ll need for your chocolate mousse
Start by creaming your butter and cream cheese together until smooth…
Next, add the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder…
Now add your milk…
Next add in your vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down sides and bottom so all the white ingredients are incorporated…
Mix until super creamy and smooth
While your chocolate cream is mixing, pour your whipping cream into a bowl and whip it! I used a whisk attachment on my hand-held mixer here.
Whip until stiff peaks form, but not so long it becomes butter!
Place whipped cream into bowl with chocolate cream mixture and fold GENTLY into all whipped cream and chocolate cream are incorporated. Take your time, you don’t want to de-mousse the mousse!
Remove brownie base and manage center from freezer and spread mousse evenly over top, return to freezer if serving later or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. If frozen, let stand at room temp for 30-45 minutes or place in refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving.
When ready to serve, slide a butter knife around edges to loosen from pan, spring the form and lift off carefully. If desired, you may smooth the sides of the cake with a knife or offset spatula (I usually run under hot water, to help smooth). Garnish if desired!
If you would like to put the chocolate garnish on top, following the directions on the package of melting chocolate, melt just ¼ cup, you don’t need much.
Once melted, spread using an offset spatula, onto parchment paper until thin and allow to harden…
Using a pastry scraper, scrape up “shards” of chocolate and place on cake.
I sprinkled a little sea salt on top of these…
Dedicated to my dear friends, Cheryl, Heather, Jenna and Linda! I love you ladies!
- BROWNIE BASE
- 1 pkg fudge brownie mix (Ghirardelli Double Chocolate is my favorite) (may use GF Brownie mix)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup water
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli bittersweet 60% cacao)
- GANACHE CENTER
- ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ⅔ cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Pinch of salt
- CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- ¾ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- ¾ cup whipping cream (whipped separately)
- CHOCOLATE GARNISH (OPTIONAL)
- ¼ - ⅓ cup melting chocolate (Ghirardelli is my favorite)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, 325 for a dark pan
- Grease a 10" springform pan with non-stick spray
- Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a wooden spoon 2 minutes.
- Stir in ⅓ cup chocolate chips.
- Bake base for about 20-25 minutes, do not overtake, slightly underdone, just pulling away from the sides and set in center.
- Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
- For the ganache:
- Combine ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips, ⅔ cup milk chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat for 30 seconds, stir well, repeat in 30 second intervals, should only take 2-3 times, stir until melted and smooth.
- Add 2 butter and vanilla and stir until incorporated.
- Pour over top of cooled brownie base and place into freezer or refrigerator to set for at least an hour.
- For chocolate mousse:
- In a mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until creamy.
- Add powdered sugar and blend until smooth.
- Add cocoa, vanilla and milk and mix well until creamy and fluffy.
- Scrape sides down often so all the butter and cream cheese are thoroughly mixed in to the mixture.
- In a separate bowl, pour the whipping cream in and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold cream cheese mixture into the whip cream.
- Sometimes if I'm feeding more people I'll double the mousse recipe.
- Spread on top of cooled ganache.
- Freeze until firm, or if serving soon, (refrigerate at least 30 minutes) until ready to serve.
- If frozen, remove from freezer one hour before serving.
- Garnish if desired.
- Chocolate Garnish: Melt ¼ cup of melting chocolate (I like Ghirardelli melting chocolates) just 20-30 seconds in microwave and spread thin on a piece of parchment. Let cool slightly and scrape into large shards with spatula.