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Chocolate cake with mousse filling and covered with ganache – best ever extravagant chocolate cake

This was an anniversary cum birthday cake. It had to be special. For the chocolate aficionado, it can not be better gift than anything else.

chocolate cake

Though the cake was baked in the oven but the first imaginary seed germinated weeks before in my mind, slowly the vision becomes more clearer. I knew how and what kind of cake I wanted to bake.

All things are complex before they are simplified into few easy and simple steps. Flavors were sorted out. Cacao bars were gathered each having a percentage not less than 85 %.  Quality matters and so the brands !

Only brown sugar and honey. No confectioner sugar. And no butter. Just vegetable oil.

Buttermilk vs yogurt vs sourcream. Finally the sour cream wins.

Vanilla, espresso and orange extract, it was bloom time !

Eggs ! yes just two !

Tender crumbs ! All credit goes to cake flour.

rich chocolate cake

This is no ordinary chocolate cake, but a rich and extravagant one.

This chocolate cake was super rich, extremely moist with bold flavors and the best cake I have ever baked in my life.

Dark and bitter, the way we liked it always.

Best because I have not tasted anything so good before, best because people were talking less and was more focussed on the cake, best because when they forget the etiquettes and started licking the fingers. When they dont shied away from asking for a second slice, and I was so reluctant to serve another one.

The following day and day after, the compliment poured on me from all un expected quarters, filled with recipe requests. And it slowly sinked in me that the cake was a hit !

chocolate cake slice

Crumb by crumb as I tasted it all along the day, an in-depth analysing of the same revealed to me at last that I have found “my chocolate cake recipe” today. I do not want to improve (add or subtract) anything in it.

Natural cocoa forms the base of the cake, filled with rich chocolate mousse and covered with dark chocolate ganache, and so loaded with chocolate that it will satisfy any self-respecting chocolate lover. Espresso really bloom the chocolate flavour and intensify it further. So if you have not used espresso powder before in your chocolate cake, then please think again !

Every chocolate lover must have a chocolate cake recipe, that is tried and tasted, reliable, can be recommended and finally we found our chocolate cake recipe. This is a keeper for sure.

chocolate cake slice

An old style chocolate cake, no fancy designs, no flowers and no fondant works and comes with no frills attached. This is for pure chocolate lovers !

This recipe of chocolate cake has been adapted from Ina Garten’s Beatty’s chocolate cake.

Chocolate extravagant cake with mousse filling and covered with ganache - best chocolate cake ever
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and covered with chocolate ganache- a heavenly piece of chocolate cake and the best ever I have baked.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: European
Serves: 12
Chocolate cake base (two 9 inch round cake)
  • Cake flour : 2 cup + 4tbsp
  • Light brown sugar : 1½ cup
  • Honey : ½ cup
  • Natural cocoa : ¾ cup + more for dusting
  • Baking powder : 2 tsp
  • Baking soda : 11/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1 tsp
  • Espresso powder : 2 tsp
  • Sourcream : 1 cup
  • Vegetable oil : ½ cup
  • Eggs (large) : 2
  • Orange extract : 2 tsp
  • Boiling water : 1 cup
Chocolate mousse with gelatin and without eggs
  • Heavy whipping cream : 1¾ cup
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips: 8 oz
  • Butter (unsalted) : 4 tbsp
  • Vanilla extract : 1 tbsp
  • Gelatin (unflavored) : 1 tsp
Sugar syrup : 1 cup
Chocolate ganache made with 6oz dark chocolate with 85% cacao content : 3 cup
Chocolate cake base
  1. Preheat the oven at 350 F.
  2. Grease and dust the baking pans with cocoa. Dust the sides of the baking pan well.
  3. In a bowl containing boiling water, add the cocoa powder and espresso and let it bloom for few minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs, add the oil, honey, sourcream and the orange extract. Blend it well.
  6. Now add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl slowly, blend it with hand mixer until just combined. Do not overmix the batter.
  7. If you feel it is not combined yet, use silicone spatula and with cutting action blend the ingredients.
  8. Divide the batter into two 9 inch round cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, finish cooling on a wire rack and after cooling it completely, if you are not procedding with the recipe, then wrap it with a cling film and refrigerate it until later use.
Chocolate mousse
  1. Bloom the gealtin in ¼ cup of cold cream for 10 minutes.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with butter and vanilla extract. Cool and stir till it comes to the body temperature.
  3. Warm the gelatin slowly by putting the gelatin and cream mixture in a hot water bowl.
  4. Add this gelatin to chocolate mixture.
  5. Beat rest of the cream until you get medium stiff peaks.
  6. Add the gealtin - chocolate mixture and stir it.
  7. Do not overwork on the mousse.
  8. Cool it to room temperature and cover it with cling wrap and let it set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight until set.
Assemble the cake
  1. Bring the cake base to room temperature. While working on chocolate room should be sufficiently cold. So switch on th AC if it is too hot.
  2. Spray or brush the chocolate cake with sugar syrup. I have used one part sugar to 2 part water ratio for the syrup.
  3. Let the cake soaked in syrup for half an hour.
  4. Put one layer of cake base on a cake board or plate you are using.
  5. Take out the mousse from the fridge, dip the icing spatula in hot water and then scrape the mousse and generously apply over the base. Repeat the steps until you have used all the mousse. Spread the mousse evenly over the cake.
  6. Now put another layer of the cake base over the mousse topped base. Press it gently so that the mousse oozes out of the corners.
  7. Now take out the chocolate ganache from the fridge (it should be spreadable) and cover the cake with this.
  8. Let the cake sit for 40 minute, before slicing it out.


Every baker’s dream is to bake a perfectly flat-topped cake. But most of the time it forms a dome and then we have to scrape it to make it even. Some even uses cake strips to get the flat-topped cake !

Now this is no fluke. And no photoshopped ! The cake shown in the picture is real. So four things that helps me to get this perfectly flat-topped cake are

a) First, I have used cake flour. Cake flours are more softer, finer and more delicate than the regular all-purpose flour.  It gives a delicate structure to the cake.

b) Second, though professional bakers wont recommend to grease and flour the cake pan. But I do it every time. Very lightly grease the sides of the pan, and dust it with cocoa powder. For chocolate cakes, I do not dust with flour. If the sides are not sticky, then cake batter will be free to rise evenly.

c) Third, increase the leavening agent in the cake batter. That is increase the amount of baking powder and baking soda slightly. Plus tap the cake pan after filled it with batter to release the gas bubbles as much as possible. I did it at least 10 times.

d) Fourth, room temperature also plays an important part. Room should not be at high temperature or humid. 50 -60 F should be okay.

Once the cake is baked and cooled sufficiently, wrap it with cling film and refrigerate it until required.

wrap the cake


Chocolate mousse without eggs ! I know ! I know ! How can you call it mousse without whipping egg whites into it. I was feeling so lazy to whip the egg whites, hence gelatin ! And anyway this mousse is not dessert piece right ? It is going to be used as a filling ! Convinced ! Well !

chocolate mousse without eggs

 Cover the whole cake with thick ganache ! Yes, you have read it right ! No buttercream frosting fan here ! So it has to be the ganache. For making chocolate ganache with perfect glaze, please refer this post  on southern chocolate cake. And if ever in your life you have messed up with the ganache, then refer this post on truffles where I have mentioned how to revive the grainy or dead ganache. If your ganache has become oily, then add few drops of milk into it.

And after working on this cake for hours, I had left with no energy to put fancy designs on it. I know we eat it with our eyes first, but we taste it with our tongue ! 😉

Here’s a slice for you !

best chocolate cake

Reader’s request :  Substitutions

I can absolutely understand that you want to make this luscious cake and feeling frustrated for not getting all the ingredients available in your part of the world. Well, am no baking expert but will try to suggest few substitutions that might work well for you. And please remember that this is mere suggestions and have not used in the recipe and have never worked with the substitutions before.

Cake flour : cake flours are tender, delicate and bleached which strengthen their protein and very low on gluten. So use sifted (10 times at least) all purpose flour (bleached) . You can make cake flour at home – combine 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.

Eggs : This recipe uses two eggs. Eggs are required as it the protein will give the structure to this delicate cake.

The best substitution I can think of – use silken tofu without altering the taste.

Orange extract – all kind of pure extracts including vanilla are alcohol based. Hence never replace them with juice. Either skip the orange extract or use 2 tbsp freshly grated orange zest.

Sour cream : I have used it because am so fond of it. Use buttermilk or plain thick set yoghurt.

Espresso powder – little compromise with the color part. You can use instant coffee powder too.

Happy noshing !

Until next





  • Reply
    Lisa Teiger (@cateringnyc)
    May 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

    interesting – my favorite chocolate cake is my grandmother’s recipe that I grew up with – it was our most requested birthday cake. She used buttermilk and cake flour, dark baking chocolate (unsweetened) and cocoa – almond essence too – and her “icing” was quite simple – whipping cream, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla – Light and fluffy on the cake the first day and then second as it sunk a bit, weeping and seeping into the cake, almost better. I have to dig out the recipe and bake on again soon. But for now can’t taste due to health issues. ALas – still enjoy reading your culinary journey!

    • Reply
      May 29, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Hi Lisa and welcome to Saffronstreaks. I can so much relate to what you said. I call these heirloom recipes and I treasured them. Since in my culture baking is not part of our cuisine, having lived in western world for so many years, it has widened my outlook on baking and all kinds of cakes. After doing experiment with few recipes, I finally arrived at this one. I guess this belongs to old style chocolate cake. Mine has been adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. Crumb was so tender and moist and yes I learnt to use cake flour for all my fancy tortes. Thanks for sharing your views and family recipe.


  • Reply
    May 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

    very nice recipe..can i use self raising flour instead of cake flour? I havent seen cake flour in the shops.

    • Reply
      May 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Thanks Jyoti. Self raising flour comes with added leavening agent. So it will be difficult to control the amount of leavening agent in the recipe. However, you can make cake flour at home -combine 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch. I have never used substitutes though. What makes cake flour / pastry flour unique is that these are made from soft wheat, have very low gluten, delicate and softer 27 times than All purpose flour. And if you are using all purpose flour in the recipe, then sift the flour at least 10 times.
      Flour to flour, texture of the crumb varies.


  • Reply
    May 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    HI sukanya,can I substitute the sour cream for yoghurt or buttermilk?

    • Reply
      May 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Yes Sherry, absolutely. If you are using yoghurt, then keep it in mind to use only the plain ones, not flavoured ones. And also try to use the thick set yoghurt with as much little water as possible.


  • Reply
    May 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    recipe is too yummy…cant wait to try it ….i am based in blore so ….abt the ingredients…..can i replace orange extract with orange juice….if so how much quantity? for expresso powder can we use the nescafe powder? lighth brown sugar – u mean demmera sugar ?

    • Reply
      May 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Thank you so much Akanksha ! If you do not have orange extract (alcohol based) then do not replace it, simply omit it from the recipe. Else use 2 tbsp of freshly grated orange zest. Or simply go with pure vanilla extract.
      Yes you can use nescafe instant coffee powder, but you may not get the dark color. Keep it in mind to bloom the coffee powder in boiling water first.
      Yes demermara sugar is brown sugar. The one I have used in the recipe is tight packed, that is sugar granules are close packed. If your brown sugar crystals are loosely packed then slightly increase the suagr proportion by 1/4 cup.

      Thanks for trying it out and would love to know the results too.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I have such good intention of putting my hands to it right away!!! You are so right, we all need our favorite chocolate cake recipe!!

    • Reply
      May 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Hee hee be my guest Amrita ! For this month’s DB challenge I was so prepared but at the last moment have to postpone it. May be sometime later would bake this lovely princess cake, and above all would love to try my hands on marzipan.
      What about you ?

  • Reply
    May 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Was really waiting for your take on this months DB Challenge..the Princess cake.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Well I made the Princess cake in a complete Chocolate Avatar, was a big hit at home and esp so since it was for my daughter’s 2nd birthday!! I tried my hands on marzipan but did a messy job, am not very happy with it but am happy to attempt and learn through my mistakes.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I will def try it. I will use the original recipe and search for the orange extract. Thank you so much for sharing it .

  • Reply
    June 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Lovely and marvelous cake… My wishes for the anniversary

    • Reply
      June 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks for the wishes.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Hi Sukanya!

    We’ve recently launched the site Recipes.in where users can search through hundreds of thousands of recipes from Indian food sites and blogs.

    We noticed that you have a great number of tasty recipes on your blog and would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here, where you can add your own blog: http://www.recipes.in/top-food-blogs

    Our concept is already live in 36 countries, the US, Mexico, UK, France and Spain amongst others. We deliver thousands of visitors to food blogs daily. Some of the top food blogs receive 10,000+ visitors from us on a weekly basis.

    Hopefully your food blog will be up there in the top!

    Kind regards,


    • Reply
      June 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks for the invite and for those lovely words. We will surely add our blog on your site repository. Lets see we can make it to the top or not !


  • Reply
    kumar's kitchen
    July 7, 2013 at 5:13 am

    simply out of the world,so luscious & creamy,way to food heaven
    view our blog

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 4:53 am

    I made two cakes for my daughters birthday… This recipe and another one. The other one was GROSS in comparison to this recipe!!! It’s by far the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever tried. Thank u for sharing!!

    • Reply
      May 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing the review on chocolate cake. So pleased to know that it was a hit on your daughter’s birthday. Best wishes for her.

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