New Years Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not only does it serve as the perfect excuse to buy a new dress and let someone else paint your nails for once, but it also provides great reason to bake a cake, cut it into individual servings, then top each one with luscious chocolate mousse and pomegranate seeds. Because the last thing you want to serve at (or bring to) a party is a fussy cake that needs to be cut or cupcakes adorned with those terrible looking (but totally practical) paper wrappers.
The best part about this recipe – aside from the fact these cakes are straight up beautiful and delicious – is that you don’t have to use the exact recipe I’ve provided below. You can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe (or any flavor cake) or even replace the chocolate mousse with peanut butter mousse. I’ve topped mine with a heavy dusting of cocoa powder and pomegranate seeds, but feel free to use shaved chocolate, flaked coconut, gold sprinkles, or any of your favorite cake toppings.
If you’d prefer not to cut the cake into rounds, you can leave it as a full sheet. However, cutting it into rounds will leave you with leftover scraps that you can make into a delicious trifle. Unfortunately you won’t have enough mousse for the cake and the trifle, but you can double the mousse recipe with ease (or top the trifle with the recommended ingredients).
Chocolate Mousse Cakes
Makes 12 3″ cakes or one 8×12″ sheet cake
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups vegan buttermilk
- 6 ounces good quality dark chocolate
- 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8×12″ metal pan with parchment paper then spray with oil; set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, starch, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and extract; mix just until combined. Alternate between mixing the flour and buttermilk into the sugar mixture in halves. Add the flour first, then the buttermilk. Whisk just until the batter is mostly lump-free.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, tap on counter to remove air bubbles, and bake at 350˚F for 34-36 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooking, prepare the mousse by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.
- Once melted, remove from heat and gently stir in the coconut milk.
- Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and put the bowl filled with the chocolate mixture over top. Using a hand mixer, beat mixture on medium-high speed until thickened and spreadable, about 5-6 minutes.
- When cake has cooled, you can either spread with mousse and serve, or you can cut the cake with a 3″ round cutter and ice each individual cake. Top with sifted cocoa powder and pomegranate seeds, if desired.
- Cake(s) will keep up to three days.
Photo credit: Ashlae Warner