This Gluten-Free Chocolate Mousse Cake is rich, decadent and perfect for any celebration! With a brownie-like cake layer and cream-cheese-based chocolate mousse, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream. 

slice of chocolate mousse cake on white plate topped with chocolate shavings

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share this all-time favorite recipe! I make the Gluten-Free Chocolate Mousse Cake for my husband’s birthday (and some of my kid’s birthdays now!) every year. It’s his absolute favorite dessert and nobody can ever tell it’s gluten-free.

This cake probably isn’t the most traditional chocolate mousse cake, but it sure is delicious. The bottom layer is chewy and rich, like a cross between a brownie and flourless chocolate cake.

The mousse in the middle is actually a cream-cheese based layer that is whipped to perfection with heavy cream and melted chocolate. The whole cake is covered in whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Dessert heaven? I think so! Check out this full collection of gluten-free cake recipes.

This cake isn’t hard to make, but it does take a little planning so be sure to leave enough time for the layers to properly cool/set.

Note: Make this cake at least 8 hours before you plan on serving it so it has time to set. It can also easily be made a day in advance.

step by step photos of how to make chocolate cake baseHow to Make the Cake Layer

To make this cake, start by baking the brownie/cake layer.

  1. First you’ll melt the butter/chocolate together and stir until smooth.
  2. Then add the sugar and whisk to combine, followed by the eggs.
  3. Add the flour/salt and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour into a greased springform pan.

Be sure the cake is fully cool before topping it with the mousse.

step by step photos of how to make chocolate mousse layer

Make the Chocolate Mousse

This mousse is secretly really simple to make! My family absolutely loves the cream cheese flavor too.

  1. Start by melting the chocolate. You can do this in the microwave on 50% power or on low heat on the stove.
  2. Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and melted chocolate to a stand mixer and mix until smooth.
  3. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the heavy cream.
  4. Scrape down the bottom/sides of the bowl, then whip on medium/high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Spread over the cooled cake layer.
  6. Refrigerate until set, about 6 hours.

Tip: Be sure to use “heavy cream” because it contains a milk fat percentage of 35% (or higher). Many brands of heavy whipping cream only have 30-35% milk fat, whereas heavy cream has 35% or higher. This mousse needs the extra milk fat to be sure it turns out thick and creamy. I prefer Darigold heavy cream (40% milk fat). Not all brands or cartons label the milk fat percentage, so to be safe, look for a brand that has 35% (or higher) written on the carton. 

If you like this recipe you’ll love this gluten-free peanut butter pie. It has a gluten-free oreo pie crust and a very similar peanut butter mousse! For another special gluten-free treat try these gluten-free red velvet cupcakes.

close up shot of gluten-free chocolate mousse cake on white plate with fork

Once the cake is set it’s time to top it with a layer of whipped cream. I like to add simple chocolate shavings that I make with a bar of chocolate and a vegetable peeler for decoration.

I look forward to making this cake for birthdays every year. It’s always a show-stopper and a crowd-pleaser!

More Amazing Gluten-Free Desserts:

Gluten-Free Cheesecake – My Mom’s delicious recipe for vanilla bean cheesecake with a walnut crust.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake – Hands down the best gluten-free carrot cake around! Topped with a blanket of fluffy cream cheese frosting.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake –  An easy sheet cake you’ll that’s fluffy and moist with a secret ingredient in the frosting.

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake – Delicious on it’s own or as a base for your favorite dessert.

I hope you love this gluten-free chocolate mousse cake as much as we do! Please leave me a comment/rating below to let me know how it turns out for you. 

5 from 60 votes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time: 6 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs 10 mins
Servings 10
With a brownie-like cake layer and cream-cheese-based chocolate mousse, it's a chocolate lover's dream. 

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped or use chips (see note)
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free 1:1 baking flour

For the Chocolate Mousse:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped or use chips (see note)
  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream see note

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Grated chocolate, for garnish (optional)

Instructions 

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan.
  • Combine the chocolate and butter in a saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt over low heat (on the stovetop) or on 50% power in the microwave at 1-minute increments, stirring in between.
  • Cool the mixture to lukewarm, then whisk in the sugar until smooth.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake just rises in center (a tester inserted into center will not come out clean) and springs back lightly to the touch.
  • Cool the cake in the pan completely (the center may fall which is normal).

Make the Chocolate Mousse:

  • Melt the chocolate - over low heat (on the stovetop) or on 50% power in the microwave at 30-second increments, stirring in between.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla and mix until completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom 1-2 times.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then increase the speed of the mixture to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Spread the mousse on top of the cooled chocolate cake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.

Make the Whipped Cream:

  • Using an electric mixer, beat the cream and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the cake. Dust with grated chocolate, if desired. Chill for up to an hour or serve immediately.

Notes

Heavy Cream: Be sure to use “heavy cream” because it contains a milk fat percentage of 35% (or higher). Many brands of heavy whipping cream only have 30-35% milk fat, whereas heavy cream has 35% or higher. This mousse needs the extra milk fat to be sure it turns out thick and creamy. I prefer Darigold heavy cream (40% milk fat). Not all brands or cartons label the milk fat percentage, so to be safe, look for a brand that has 35% (or higher) written on the carton. 
Chocolate Chips: A high-quality chocolate chip works best here. I like Guittard Semi-Sweet best!
Chocolate Shavings: I like to make simple chocolate shavings using a bar of chocolate and a vegetable peeler to decorate this cake. 

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 686IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Categories: , , , , ,

Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    To the girl who wanted to use the coconut Milk. I’m wondering if a teaspoon of gelatin or more in a little water with stabilize it . I feelused this with whipping cream as well. Worth a try.

  2. To the girl who wanted to use the coconut Milk. I’m wondering if a teaspoon of gelatin or more in a little water with stabilize it . I feelused this with whipping cream as well. Worth a try.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this recipe today for my husbands grandmother who has celiacs. It was a hit with everyone! It is very rich though (not a bad thing ).

  4. I see the last step says “Chill for up to an hour or serve immediately.”
    Is it possible to make this cake and leave in the fridge overnight? Is there a reason to chill for only up to an hour?

    1. Yes that will work just fine! The whipped cream layer can be made up to a day in advance and will still be good the next day.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this recipe but substituted the cake part for a gluten-free homemade Oreo cookie crust. It turned out amazing! I loved the richness of the chocolate mousse without being overly sweet! Great balance, easy to make and absolutely delicious!

    1. This cake would be so delicious with a gluten-free oreo crust! Great idea! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      1. So would you recommend making a gluten free Oreo crust and still do the cake layer or just one or the other?

        1. No I would recommend skipping the cake layer if you’re going to do an oreo crust. But mostly I recommend following the recipe as it’s written!

  6. 5 stars
    This was absolutely the best dessert I’ve ever eaten! It was a hit at my daughter’s birthday!
    I won’t ever look for something special to make again; this is it! Thanks so much for the easy to follow directions!

    1. I think this would hold up great with chocolate ganache on top! I would skip the whipped cream topping if you’re going to add ganache though. I hope this helps!

  7. 5 stars
    My new favorite dessert and I don’t even require gluten free for myself. This dessert is easy to make and so darn good. Make this whether you’re GF or not and you will not be disappointed.

  8. I am celiac and I just swapped out the cake for a gluten free brownie mix still using a 9in spring form pan. I’m sure it will be great, but I’m patiently waiting for it to chill ….

  9. Hi there,
    I am thinking of making this dessert for me and my daughter. We both are sadly allergic to gluten, so I am really looking forward to making it. But my only question is could I possibly use something else instead of a springform pan. I was thinking possibly line a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper hanging over the edges so I can pull the cake out? Do you think this would work? If not are there are different pans I could make this in?

    1. A 9-inch cake pan will work great! I wouldn’t use anything smaller than that – but it should work great!

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