Chocolate Mocha Mousse

June 17th, 2019

My family goes to the same spot in Jamaica every year, and my dad always tells us that he swears the restaurant at the resort we stay at puts something in their chocolate cake to make it completely addictive. He might be right, because I always find myself going back for an extra bowl or four. Finally, after several years of listening to this, I asked one of the waiters what was in the cake my dad raves so much about.

He kind of laughed, and told me that it was actually a chocolate and tia maria cake. No wonder it was so addictive. But it speaks to a fundamentally true dessert concept: while chocolate is good, chocolate, coffee and liqueur are great.

Well, I have managed to turn my dad’s favorite dessert into a chocolate mousse. And I’ve realized, now, what my previous mousse recipes were lacking, and what made them go wrong: they needed several very generous splashes of liqueur.  Ok, well, maybe that couldn’t have saved all of my previously chronicled mousse failures, but it was actually a large part of the texture problem. The chocolate section of the recipe needed something to make it a little bit lighter, so that it could incorporate itself into the egg and cream without deflating them: water and liqueur.

I didn’t figure this out entirely on my own, though. My DVR helped quite a bit, because it happened to record an episode of America’s Test Kitchen, which is pretty much my favorite cooking show, and in that episode, they tackled chocolate mousse.  With this knowledge, and adding a few of their tweaks to my prior recipe, I was ready to boldly go where I’d never (successfully) gone before.

But, if I do say so myself, this one knocked my expectations out of the park.  It was just incredible.  I served the mousse in pretty little dessert cups at the end of a great dinner party, and everyone loved them. And now that I have the basic principles down, there will be plenty more chocolate mousse recipes where this one came from — it’s a perfect dish to entertain with because it’s made ahead of time, and everyone loves chocolate. But don’t take my word for it — go make it yourself!

Chocolate Mocha Mousse

For the Chocolate Mocha Mousse:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tablespoons tia maria
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp water
3 eggs, separated
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

For the Whipped Cream:
2 tbsp tia maria
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp chocolate shavings

1. Combine chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, 4 tbsp water water and 3 tbsp tia maria in a double-boiler, and heat until chocolate melts to a smooth consistency.
2. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate warm, but not hot.
3. Beat together the egg yolds and 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir a little bit of the warm chocolate into the egg yolks, and then stir all of the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate.
4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites and one tablespoon of sugar until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
5. Beat one cup of heavy cream until it forms soft peaks (do not overbeat!). Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
6. Spoon the mousse into serving dishes. Refrigerate the dishes, covered with saran wrap, for at least 8 hours or up to one day.
7. Immediately before serving, whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup sugar to soft peaks. Beat in 2 tbsp tia maria until incorporated. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream onto each of the mousse dishes, and garnish with chocolate shavings. Serve.

Makes about 10 small-ish servings, or 6-8 medium-sized ones.

Tags: desserts · food

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marc @ No Recipes // May 8, 2008 at 9:01 am

    That looks delightful. Makes me not want to go to work and fire up the KitchenAid instead.

  • 2 sue bette // May 8, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Lovely! I am trying to get into the desert thing but I have no sweet tooth – but I think that mousse might be a bit of a gateway desert for me – so count me in on this recipe!

  • 3 VeggieGirl // May 8, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Oooh, that cake from your trip to Jamaica sounds HEAVENLY; and your Mousse looks even better :0)

  • 4 Kristen // May 8, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I was lucky enough to be at this dinner party and indulged in this dessert.  Soooooooo good! The liquer in it was perfect.

  • 5 Joy // May 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I’m inviting myself over to your dinners! Haha. That looks heavenly.  And I wholeheartedly agree with the choc + coffee + liqueur part.

  • 6 Jen (Modern Beet) // May 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’m usually not much of a dessert maker (though I excel at being a dessert eater!), but this looks easy enough and super delicious!  Plus, it’s my sister’s birthday this weekend, and I promised to cook her a birthday dinner — she’d love these as dessert.

  • 7 katy // May 8, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Marc — I feel that way most mornings. 🙂

    Sue Bette — No sweet tooth!?  I’m not sure if I’m jealous or just plain frightened.  I wonder if these will change your mind…

    Kristen — I miss you!!!  Come back from China!

    Joy — You are invited anytime!

    Jen — Oh, they’d be a perfect birthday dessert!  Let me know!

  • 8 Neen // May 8, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Oh yay, I ‘m so glad that you finally were able to conquer chocolate mousse! I know you’ve been struggling with that for a while. 🙂 And isn’t America’s Test Kitchen fabulous? We don’t own a TV, but my Mom got my partner a subscription of Cook’s Illustrated for Hanukah (he’s a scientist, they test stuff repeatedly, it was a match made in heaven). It’s brilliant stuff.

  • 9 emily // May 8, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    hahah the first time we asked what was in the cake (spoon “bread” almost) the person we asked laughed “knowingly.”  Dad and I were convinced we were eating something illegal.  oh man oh man..this looks delicious and addictive!!

  • 10 katy // May 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Neen — I have *definitely* been trying to get this to work for a long time!  You know what they say — the fourth or fifth time’s the charm?

    Emily — Ha!  I know, that cake is on my to-bake list.  It was sickeningly good.  I’m only making it when I have plenty of mouths to feed — like yours this summer!!!

  • 11 My Sweet & Saucy // May 9, 2008 at 1:13 am

    What a delicious sounding (and looking) mousse!  I love adding a little liquor in my recipes too…always makes them better!

  • 12 Ann // May 9, 2008 at 8:37 am

    The first time I ever made chocolate mousse was years and years ago for a boyfriend. I also made a very lovely crab quiche that night. Well, the boyfriend ate the quiche without comment and then proceeded to slurp up the mousse (again, without comment) as if it were mere packaged pudding. That was the last straw. I broke it off soon after, citing incompatibility as my reason.

  • 13 NuJoi // May 9, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I am all over this!

  • 14 bill // May 9, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Ann – I don’t care for crab quiche (really, any seafood), but anyone who slurps up mousse deserves that response.

  • 15 Paula // May 9, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Your mousse looks fabulous! I’m going to have to make this soon!!

  • 16 katy // May 9, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Bill and Ann, YES.  I agree.

    Everyone else — please remember to email me if you try the recipe!

  • 17 Donald // May 10, 2008 at 3:30 am


    One of my baby sister’s is having a graduation party in a couple of weeks and my mom has enlisted me a a cook for said party. Consider this your notification of intent on my part, that said recipe will be implemented, used, devoured.

  • 18 Elle // May 10, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Ooooh, how good does that look??!!  I’ve never made mousse, but you made it look so simple, and so pretty!

  • 19 sweet mary // May 11, 2008 at 7:11 am

    I’ve made many successful chocolate mousse recipes, and I’ve been looking for (and am soon to develop) a more perfect recipe.  This one looks quite promising, however there is a contradiction in it that makes it a confusing.  The recipe says to mix in the 1 c cream in step one to heat it, and again says to whip the cream and fold it into the mousse at the last step.  I presume one does not heat the cream, but thought others (looks like no one has actually read the recipe) might want clarification.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  Also, for the whipped cream topping, ingredients list says 1 c cream, directions say 1/2 c.  Again, I presume it is 1 c, but please clarify.  Thanks for recipe!

  • 20 katy // May 11, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Gilda — You’re completely right — in the first step, it should be “water and tia maria” instead of whipped cream — I have no idea how I wrote that!  For the topping, I’m a little confused, because it looks to me like it says 1/2 cup in both the directions and the ingredients…

  • 21 holler // May 11, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I have borrowed *ahem*, this recipe to try at my next dinner with friends!

  • 22 brilynn // May 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Oh how I love mousse, and mousse with liqueur is certainly better!

  • 23 Jitterbean Girl // May 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Oooooh, this looks heavenly.  I’m so serving this at my next dinner party!

  • 24 chocolate mousse // May 29, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    […] Mocha MousseDelicious chocolate mousse with a generous splash of coffee liqueur for flavor! Chocolate MousseWhile the chocolate cools, whip the cream until it forms medium-stiff peaks. […]

  • 25 Sophia // Sep 18, 2009 at 6:06 am

    I made this mousse for my mom’s 40th birthday dinner last weekend. I searched all over the web for a mousse recipe with an actual mousse texture.  Everyone LOVED it, couldn’t believe how fantastic it was. Thank you for such a great recipe!

  • 26 caramel mousse | Sugarlaws // Jun 18, 2010 at 5:34 am

    […] I already have a great recipe for chocolate mousse, and this time I wanted something a little different.  When I thought back to the flavors I really […]

  • 27 Tanya R. // Jan 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This looks DELICOUS!
    So, I have to make a friends birthday cake for tomorrow and she said she wanted a chocolate coffee cake. Would it work to use this mousse as a filling to a chocolate cake I would make? Just wondering your thoughts on this! Also, what would you suggest for a frosting then?
    Thank you! LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! xxx

  • 28 Katy // Jan 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    You could totally use it as a filling!  It’s pretty light, so it won’t add a lot of height, but it will totally taste delicious! 

    You could try this one for the frosting!  Maybe with a little coffee to replace some of the cream for flavor?

  • 29 Tanya R. // Jan 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    So if I use this one for the frosting, could you recommend a filling for me? I really appreciate it! You ROCK! xxx

  • 30 Katy // Jan 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Ha, sorry, my mistake!  I meant that you could use THIS one for the frosting:

    But I forgot the link!  I think the mousse would work better for filling than frosting, since it won’t ever really harden!

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