Vegan Chocolate Mousse Cake (Gluten Free)
A momentary pause before I slice into the luminous chocolate still life before me. I say a little prayer to the kitchen gods:”please let it slice cleanly” and away I slice through crackling chocolate swirls, the stained glass-like fig slices, the endless expanse of airy chocolate mousse until I hit the dark crumbly chocolate crust. I gently nudge the cake wedge from the springform base and place it on a plate. Oh yes! It holds its shape cleanly.
I serve towering wedges of chocolate mousse cake to my guests and watch their faces bloom with pleasure as the dark fluffy mousse melts in their mouths. A boisterous table has hushed to soft moans and clinking forks with the concentrated enjoyment of cake.
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked… I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
This cake is garnished with figs from the little fig tree that grows in my garden. In winter after her leaves have fallen I wrap her tenderly in blankets and tarps and put her to sleep for the winter.
My boy turned twenty this week. Twenty! And life with all its paths and choices are open to him. For the time being he is resting his wings with us for the winter months and will fly south or north or east or west when the spring comes.
Remember what that felt like? A long expanse of time where everything was possible? The early days where you wrote your own book day by day as you turned the pages. The breathless anticipation of tomorrow. Who would you marry? Would you marry? Children? Maybe. Exotic countries to wander through. Salty oceans to swim in. Dust to raise on dirt paths. Friends and comrades yet unmet in trains and hostels. Dark nights where you walked boldly under strange street lamps. Mornings where it took a moment to remember where you were. And then that leap out of bed to grasp the coming day, to guzzle, taste, dance, feel, meet, positively inhale the coming day.
Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal.
An airy dark chocolate mousse cake that can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer or made the day you plan to serve it but I would give it a few hours to set up. For this recipe use chickpea cooking liquid (aquafaba) reduced to the viscosity of egg whites. For tips on how to do that click on the above link for my aquafaba page that will probably answer most of your questions.
- 12 ounces silken tofu, pressed to release water
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 10 ounces chopped dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup chickpea liquid, also called aquafaba. Check out my Aquafaba page for tips on how to use it.
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 20-25 chocolate sandwich cookies, I use Newman's own or Glutino brand if I am serving this to gluten free guests.
- 1/4 cup melted vegan butter
- 10 figs or strawberries for garnish. optional
- 3 ounces extra chocolate for melting and drizzling optional
Crush up the whole cookies in a food processor or do it old-school and put the cookies in a plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin.
Sometimes I have a problem with the crust sticking to the base of the pan. So... Cut a circle of parchment to match the bottom of your pan and place it in before pressing in the crust.
Mix the melted butter with the cookie crumbs and massage them to incorporate.
Press it into the bottom of your 8 inch spring form pan going about 1/2 inch up the sides. Slice your Figs or strawberries into thin slices and press them decoratively around the sides of the pan.
You will need an eight inch springform pan to make this.
To your blender add silken tofu, almond extract, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and cocoa. Blend until completely smooth.
Over a double boiler or in the microwave set to low melt the chocolate and coconut oil together. Stir once melted.
Add the melted chocolate and coconut oil to the blender and blend again until smooth.
Scrape the smoothly blended contents from the blender to a bowl and place the contents of the bowl into the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile place your aquafaba and cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar a tiny bit at a time to the whipping bowl. Once it has all incorporated and is at stiff peak stage turn off the mixture.
Remove the set chocolate mixture from the fridge and whip the mixture with a handheld or stand mixer until air has incorporated and the mixture is fluffier and a bit lighter in texture and color (about 3-4 minutes). I have two bowls for my stand mixer which makes this part easier. I actually chill the chocolate mixture in my spare Kitchen Aid bowl.
Gently fold in one measured cup of the whipped aquafaba into the chocolate mixture until completely combined. Now fold in the rest of the whipped aquafaba and gently fold in until no white streaks remain.
Gently fold your chocolate mousse into the springform pan and smooth the top. Be careful not to knock off the fig slices if you are using them.
At this point I cover the top of the springform pan with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to set up or in the freezer.
I recommend that if you will be making the cake the day ahead to keep it in the freezer and then defrost it for a more solid result. I have not had problems with leaking with this cake but better safe than sorry.
When you are ready to serve then decorate the top with chocolate drizzles and sliced figs or strawberries. If you have frozen the cake then allow it to defrost for 20 minutes on the counter.
And there you have it: a luscious chocolate mousse cake to elevate any celebration.