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!

You also might like this flourless chocolate torte, gluten-free chocolate lava cake or these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. 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. You also might like these gluten-free brownies!

  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.

You might also like this gluten-free oreo cheesecake.

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 127 votes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time: 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes
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

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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
    Made this one for my husbands birthday and my daughters birthday. It’s a HUGE hit. I’m making it for my dads birthday this weekend! I wasn’t able to find the heavy cream.. so I used the heavy whipping cream from Trader Joe’s. The mousse wasn’t as light as it probably should have been but it is still DELICIOUS.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! This cake SO good! I made this for my daughters wedding, but changed up a litttttttllleeeee bit (made it NOT gluten free) so thankful for this website ! Xoxo

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for Easter this year and everyone who had it requested I make it for their birthdays lol. Sooooo good.

    I would half the recipe for the base though. For me it was too thick

  4. Do you really mean 2 cubes of butter or was that a mistake? It seems like an awful lot for only 1/4 cup of flour…I’m planning to make it for Easter, hopefully you will be able to let me know in time, thank you!!

    1. That is correct! The base is kind of like a flourless chocolate cake. It has just a little flour to hold it all together.

  5. 5 stars
    Oh wow! One of the best desserts EVER! The brownie base was amazing. Even great the second day! This is my go-to dessert to amaze and impress. It’s that good!

    1. Yes that will work great! The mousse will be slightly sweeter but still delicious. I would use a high-quality chocolate chip like Guittard.

  6. 5 stars
    Best gluten free cake ever. No one could tell it was gluten free. Not sure if I should be happy or mad are so much could not stop. Thanks for making me feel normal again for creating something I could share with my family even though I am celiac

  7. Hello Erin. I really would love to make this but I need to know what you suggest I can use as a substitute for heavy whipping cream. All brands I have looked at contain Carrageenan which makes me sick. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Trader Joe’s Whipping Cream or the brand Organic Valley have no carrageenan. So does Horizon Organic that they sell at Target. I hope this helps!

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. We have made this cake twice now, and it’s already a family favorite. I love the cream cheese in the mousse. This cake is absolutely delicious!

  9. 5 stars
    Finally, there is a chocolate mousse cake in an easy way, gluten-free, thank you, excellent work We need more fun recipes❤️

  10. 5 stars
    I made this. It turned out perfectly. I have to say it’s the most heavenly new treat I’ve eaten in a very long time. I test recipes all the time and this one is absolutely going in the recipe book. It’s amazing. Thank you so much! FYI, I saved a piece to see how it was a few days in…just as good as new!

  11. 5 stars
    Making this for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. She has celiac disease.
    We looked at different recipes and decided this looked the best.

  12. 5 stars
    I’m not usually a chocolate person but WOW, the three layers of deliciousness in this are sure making me one! It’s super beautiful too so it’s great for special occasions. Thanks!

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t tried freezing this myself so I can’t say for sure – but I worry the mousse won’t hold up well to freezing.

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