This Mini Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling and Chocolate Ganache is the perfect birthday surprise for a friend. It's super moist and full of rich chocolate flavor. Although it looks fancy, it's a simple recipe with simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now.
For the cake, I made a half recipe of my family's favorite chocolate cake recipe. We call it Nancy's Chocolate Cake, but is commonly known as 'Wacky Cake'. This cake uses no eggs and is super moist. For the cake, you will need all purpose flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, butter, vinegar, vanilla extract, and water.
To make the cake, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. I find that using a wooden spoon to help break up the cocoa chunks so they sift through sieve is very helpful. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the water, melted butter, vinegar, and vanilla to the dry ingredients - yep, just dump it all in. Then use a hand mixer (or kitchen aid mixer), mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes until well blended.
Spray your 6 inch cake pans with Baker's Joy. If you've never used Baker's Joy before, do yourself a favor and pick up a can of it next time you are at the grocery store. It's a nonstick cooking spray with flour and works really well. So much easier than greasing and flouring a pan!
With the pans sprayed, divide the batter between the two pans. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back and when tested with a table knife, the knife comes out clean.
Let the cakes layers cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of each layer and dump the cakes out onto a rack to cool completely. When cool, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also leave them in the fridge overnight. When chilled, cut each layer in half to make 4 layers.
Next, make the ganache. For this cake, I just needed enough ganache for the top and sides of the cake. I used 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. To make the ganache, heat the cream in a pot until it is steaming and bubbles have appeared around the edge of the cream.
You will be really tempted to start stirring and watching the chocolate melt. DON'T! This is where you set it aside and leave it alone for 10 minutes. While you wait, let's make the chocolate mousse filling.
For the chocolate mousse, I used this awesome recipe: from Kitchen Cents. It whips up in less than 5 minutes and is light, airy, and absolutely delicious. All you need is heavy whipping cream, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. It also calls for optional almond extract, but I left that out. Click HERE for the recipe and directions.
Now that the mousse is done, it's time to check on the ganache. Using a whisk, blend the cream and melted chocolate chips until smooth.
The ganache will be runny. That's okay, it will thicken as it cools. Let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes, or pop it in the fridge and check it every 10 minutes. I wanted the ganache to be spreadable and not fall off the sides of the cake. Mine was ready when it kind of glopped off the edge of a spatula. If you're not sure what I mean by the term "glopped" here is a picture ;)
With all the components of the cake prepared, it's time to assemble the cake. Put a small dollop of the mousse in the center of your cake plate. Center the first cake layer on the plate, then scoop 1/3 of the mousse onto the cake layer and spread evenly, covering all the way to the edge. Repeat with the remaining 3 layers.
Using a straight icing spatula, cover the top and sides of the cake with ganache.
Your plate will get messy. When everything is nice and smooth, use a damp paper towel to clean up around base of the plate.
And, since it needed a little something extra, I through on some sprinkles.
There you have it! Be sure to keep the cake in the refrigerator until you serve and to refrigerate any leftovers. Scroll down for the full recipe. Enjoy!
Mini Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling and Chocolate Ganache
For the Cake:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup cold water
Mix until smooth, using an electric mixer on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Spray two 6" cake pans with Baker's Joy or grease and flour the pans. Divide batter between the pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back and when tested with a table knife, the knife comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge of each cake layer and dumping onto a rack to cool. Let cake layers cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
For the Ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat the cream over medium heat until it is steaming and bubbles have appeared around the edge of the cream. Put the chocolate chips into a glass or metal bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate chips. Let stand, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Then, using a whisk, stir until smooth. The ganache will be runny, but will set up as it sits and cools. Let it rest on the counter for 30-40 minutes until thick enough to spread. Or, pop it in the refrigerator and check it every 10 minutes until it is thick enough to spread.
For the Chocolate Mousse
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
For instructions on how to make the mousse, click on over to Kitchen Cents.
When the cake layers are chilled, the ganache thick enough and the mousse whipped, assemble the cake. Put a small dollop of the mousse in the center of your cake plate. Center the first cake layer on the plate, then scoop 1/3 of the mousse onto the cake layer and spread evenly, covering all the way to the edge. Repeat with the remaining 3 layers. Using a straight icing spatula, cover the top and sides of the cake with ganache. Add Sprinkles, and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.