A mousse cake might seem like an impossible baking feat, but it actually couldn’t be simpler to prepare! These caramel mousse cakes are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, but still pack a powerful flavour punch. A healthier fancy dessert, which anyone can make!
Is it Friday yet? Please say yes.
It’s been a long week in a series of long weeks – and I need my weekend. Time to regroup, to sleep in, to have breakfast at 11 am, to bake at a time other than it’s-getting-late-shouldn’t-you-be-thinking-of-sleep-rather-than-brownies o’clock.
A few weekends ago, I felt like eating a fancy pancy dessert, and so… these happened. These, of course, being the most delicious gluten and dairy free caramel mousse cakes.
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Okay, don’t start freaking out. Deep breaths now. Yes, a mousse cake is a fancy pancy dessert straight out of a posh restaurant. And YES you can totally make it! Trust me.
The first part is making the chocolate shells. You’ll need a silicone mould (I’ve used this one from Amazon, it works beautifully), melted dark chocolate, a spoon, and a large plate or tray. All you need to do is about half-fill each half-sphere mould with melted chocolate, spread it around with a spoon, turn the silicone mould upside-down over the plate and let the excess (luscious, delicious, tempting) dark chocolate drip off.
And into the freezer it goes for about 20 minutes. A second chocolate coat (for a chocolate shell that won’t break) and back into the freezer. Easy. Peasy.
The dairy free “caramel” mousse of the mousse cake is ingenious (if I do say so myself) and quite unexpected. Remember the marshmallow frosting from the marshmallow brownies and the pumpkin cupcakes? We’re using that, with a twist.
The twist comes in using coconut sugar. This keeps the dessert refined sugar free, and gives it the wonderful caramelised flavour… without actually using caramel.
All you need to do is heat egg whites, coconut sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl above simmering water to 150 ºF (65 ºC) – at which point the egg whites are safe to eat and the sugar is dissolved – and then transfer the yummy mixture into a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and whisk whisk whisk until pale, fluffy and utterly divine.
The mixture is then piped into the frozen chocolate shells… and back into the freezer they go.
The final part of the mousse cake is the cookie bottom. 5 ingredients, endless flavour.
We’re keeping things dairy free by using coconut oil. That’s creamed together with coconut sugar, and then eggs, flour and salt are added. The cookie dough is refrigerated, rolled out into a single sheet, baked and circles are cut out. Simple, right? Simple as… mousse cake?
The left-over cookie scraps are the we’re-almost-there-and-we’re-totally-rocking-fancy-desserts encouragement-meets-reward treats. Enjoy.
Finally, the mousse-filled chocolate shells are taken out of the mould, put onto the cooled cookie bottom and (if you can wait that long), some decorations are put on top.
Because what is a fancy pancy dessert but an excuse to use borderline pretentious decorations?
I decided on spun sugar domes that fit the chocolate shells, but if you want to keep it 100% refined sugar free, you can use a dusting of cocoa powder, white chocolate cigarellos… or, you know, go all the way with gold leaf. The possibilities are endless, and it all depends on: (a) how impatient you are to dig in, (b) how lazy you are, and (c) how many people are circling around you with puppy eyes, waiting for a bite (or ten).
1) Making a mousse cake isn’t all that difficult, even if it’s a fancy pancy one.
2) Being gluten and/or dairy free shouldn’t (and doesn’t) prevent you from enjoying sophisticated desserts.
3) It’s not Friday yet. But Thursday is basically just almost-Friday, so it’s OK.
Caramel Mousse Cakes (Gluten & Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Option)
For chocolate shells:
- 8 oz (225 g) dark chocolate, melted (I used 70% dark chocolate, but choose whichever you prefer, use sugar free chocolate for 100% refined sugar free version)
For caramel mousse:
- 3/4 cup (113 g) coconut sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
For cookie bottom:
- 1/2 cup (80 g) coconut oil, room temperature (but not melted!)
- 1/2 cup (75 g) coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup (150 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used a simple store-bought blend of rice, potato and maize flour with no added xanthan gum)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
You will also need:
- silicone mould (Note 1)
- baking thermometer (Note 2)
- round cookie cutter, about 2 3/4 inch (7 cm) in diameter (the diameter of the cookie cutter has to be the same as the diameter of the silicone mould hemisphere domes)
- decorations of choice (e.g. spun sugar, white chocolate cigarellos,...)
For chocolate shells:
- Half-fill each hemisphere silicone mould with melted dark chocolate and spread it around the sides with a spoon.
- Turn the silicone mould upside-down over a large plate or tray and allow the excess dark chocolate to drip off.
- If needed, clean up the silicone mould surface and freeze the chocolate shells for at least 20 minutes or until the chocolate is solid.
- Repeat the process with a second coat of chocolate. Freeze the chocolate shells until needed.
For caramel mousse:
- In a heatproof bowl above a pot of simmering water, heat all caramel mousse ingredients until they reach the temperature of 150 ºF (65ºC). At (and above) this temperature, egg whites are safe to eat and the sugar has melted.
- Transfer the mixture into a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer with double beater attachment) and whisk the mousse mixture at medium-high speed until it is greatly increased in volume, fluffy and has cooled to room temperature. (This usually takes 10 - 15 minutes.)
- Pipe the caramel mousse into the frozen chocolate shells and smooth out the tops.
- Freeze until needed.
For cookie bottom:
- Cream together the coconut oil and coconut sugar.
- Add the egg and mix well.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the wet ingredients. Mix well until you get a smooth, slightly sticky cookie dough.
- Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1/2 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line a baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.
- Roll out the cookie dough until it's about 4 - 5 mm thick.
- Bake the cookie dough as a single "sheet" in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 10 minutes or until light golden on top and golden brown around the edges.
- While still hot, cut out 6 circles using the round cookie cutter. Allow to cool.
- Remove the frozen, filled chocolate shells from the silicone mould and place them onto the cookie bottoms. Decorate with decorations of choice.
- The caramel mousse cakes keep well in a closed container in the fridge for about 1 week and in the freezer for about 3 weeks. If you keep the in the freezer, allow them to thaw for about 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
Looking for more dairy free yum? You’ve come to the right place!