Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

This gluten free chocolate mousse cake is the perfect moist, rich chocolate cake topped with light, eggless chocolate mousse. A showstopper!

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

We began this decadent chocolate mousse cake with our recipe for one bowl gluten free chocolate cake. That’s one of the 10 best gluten free chocolate cakes, and there was no reason to reinvent the wheel.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

But there was still the matter of the chocolate mousse. I’ve made chocolate mousse the traditional way, with raw egg whites and it’s classic and delicious.

But this time I made it with whipped cream in place of egg whites. You really just need the lift to help the chocolate mousse rise high and hold its shape on top of the rich chocolate cake.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

See for yourself, my friends. Rich, chocolatey and decadent. No doubt about it.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

How to make a clean mousse-topped chocolate cake

To make a beautiful layered cake like this, an acetate cake collar is really ideal. You can buy them online at Amazon.com and at most kitchen supply stores.

But if you don’t have one, you can fashion one from aluminum foil (heavy-duty works best). Just spray the inside of the collar with cooking spray so that the mousse doesn’t stick to it. It’s really quite easy, and you can make the cake way ahead of time.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake

C’mon. You know you want to impress the pants off of everyone at your next gathering. Go for it!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 8-inch cake


1 cup + 2 tablespoons (158 g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I used my Better Than Cup4Cup blend, but any of the others should work fine)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

11 tablespoons (55 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch-processed in this recipe, but made it with natural cocoa powder and it worked fine)

3/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3/8 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (126 g) sour cream, at room temperature

6 tablespoons (84 g) vegetable oil

1 egg + 1 egg yolk (90 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) warm water (about 95°F)

1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed is best, but natural will work, too)

1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water

10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, chopped

2 cups (16 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup (29 g) confectioners’ sugar


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round (or springform) baking pan and set it aside. I did not bake my chocolate cake in a springform pan, but did assemble the chocolate cake in one.

  • Make the cake. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the sour cream, oil, eggs and water, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter should be very thickly pourable. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth into an even layer and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 30 minutes). Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate mousse. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder into the warm water until it dissolves completely. Set it aside. In a small, heat-safe bowl, place the chopped chocolate and chopped butter, and place over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Melt the chocolate and butter over the simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Alternatively, you can melt them together in the microwave in short, 30-second bursts, stirring well in between. Remove the melted chocolate and butter, and whisk the cocoa powder dissolved in water into it until smooth. Set the bowl aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and whip again until stiff, shiny peaks form. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of whipped cream slowly, carefully folding the ingredients together and taking care not to deflate the whipped cream more than necessary. Fold until no white streaks remain.

  • Assemble the cake. To assemble the cake, you will need a springform pan and either a 4-inch tall acetate cake collar (like you see in the photos) or one fashioned out of aluminum foil, with the inside sprayed with cooking oil to prevent the mousse from sticking to it. First, cover the base of the springform pan tightly with plastic wrap, and place the inverted cake on top of the base. Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife if necessary to fit it inside the lip of the base of the pan. Fit your cake collar around the cake(or makeshift cake collar), then clip the sides of the springform pan to the base to enclose the cake and collar. Spoon the chocolate mousse onto the enclosed cake, and smooth the top. Refrigerate the cake until the chocolate mousse is set (about 2 hours). Slice and serve chilled.

  • Concept and chocolate mousse adapted from Donna Hay’s Chocolate Mousse Cake, as selected by YOU from my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest Board. Chocolate cake is a smaller version of my One-Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cake.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please please pick you your copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! Your support keeps me going!!

Comments are closed.

  • Laura
    May 2, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    I am planning on making this for Mother’s Day, but my dad is on an almost-zero-carbs diet for medical reasons. Could you tell me about how many carbs are in a slice of the cake? thanks!

    • May 2, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      I honestly have no idea, Laura! There are plenty of online nutrition calculators available. I recommend you use one of those!

      • Laura
        May 2, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        ok, thanks!

  • May 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    […]  We’re having a few friends over to watch the race, grill some steaks, and maybe bake this gluten free chocolate mousse cake. Hope you have your hat picked out for the Derby […]

  • Lyn Cronin
    May 2, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    Dear Nicole, could you please explain what is the difference with kosher salt and normal salt. I know that kosher is to do with the Jewish religion but I am interested as I have never heard of it before. If there is a big difference, where would I buy kosher salt. I live in Brisbane and I am not aware of any kosher stores. I look forward to you response and learning something new. Kindest regards, Lyn.

    • May 2, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Lyn, kosher salt is, presumably, derivative of Jewish kosher dietary laws, but it is in wide use outside of that and my use of it has nothing to do with anyone’s religious observance. It’s a coarse salt, similar in grain to lightly flaked sea salt. I recommend you google the types of coarse salt you do have available and see if you can find something that compares them to kosher salt.

  • […] Chocolate mousse cake. […]

  • Jenny Dominguez
    May 1, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Have you tried making this without eggs? My fiancee is gluten and egg allergic. I know he would love it if I made this for him. Thanks!

    • May 1, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions, Jenny. Feel free to experiment!

  • Cud
    May 1, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    This looks and sounds amazing – just one question, have you tried it without sugar? Or by using Grade B Maple Syrup by chance – ideas as to what that would look like? I’m needing to avoid refined sugar…

    • May 1, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      No, Cud, you cannot simply swap out granulated sugar and add in a liquid sweetener like maple syrup. I suggest you look for a Paleo recipe!

  • Janelle
    April 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    I am going to make this Chocolate Mousse Cake for my birthday cake, finally being able to have a cake and be able to eat it.

  • April 30, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    So luscious. Who says we miss out on a gluten free life eh?

  • Mare Masterson
    April 30, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    Okay, I have asked this before, but this time I am so serious….will you please adopt me! Unfortunately, this has to wait because I have not been a good girl (stress eating and not exercising) and my A1C level was up…doctor not at all happy.

  • Laura
    April 30, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    I don’t need gluten-free foods, but this looks heavenly! Could I just use regular flour in the same amount? What about the xanthan gum – can I leave that out or substitue something else? Thanks!!!

  • Josef Jan Rosenfeld
    April 30, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    just shared on the Orgran Facebook page.

  • Margaret Schultz
    April 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Is there any non-dairy sub for sour cream? I have successfully used coconut milk for whipped cream (awesome!) but don’t exactly know how to bypass the sour cream…I might just have to make it, taste it and then figure out the substitutions….looks so fantastic.

    • April 30, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Sounds like you’ve got a plan, Margaret! I’m afraid I don’t know about substitutions as I haven’t tried them.

    • Mare Masterson
      April 30, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Tofutti makes a non-dairy sour cream.

      • Margaret Schultz
        April 30, 2014 at 7:26 PM


    • Elisse Hay
      April 30, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      Hi Margaret, I regularly substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt in Nicole’s recipes for good quality coconut cream. I find coconut products close enough to milk to keep my world turning ;)
      Also as a dairy-free hint… I make my own chocolate by using 1 quantity of cocoa, one quantity of coconut oil(or cacao butter if I’m feeling decadent), and 1/2 quantity of sugar. Especially for these recipes where we just melt the chocolate anyway I find it works really well.
      Let me know how it goes for you? :D

      • Margaret Schultz
        April 30, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        Thank you. Didn’t know if the sour cream did something different taste wise than coconut milk. That is an easy substitution. I’ll try it!

  • MsGF
    April 30, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Sounds delish!

  • Marin
    April 30, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Hi Nicole!
    I was wondering if you have any favorite gf blogs that you reference. If you so could you make list? Thanks!

    • April 30, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      Hi, Marin, I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean. Sorry!

  • Mel
    April 30, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    1) I saw this on my FB feed and nearly fell of my chair and then 2) saw it had already been shared over 1,600 times and really did fall of my chair (although I understand why – it’s amazing) and 3) once again wish that you were my next door neighbor and would just make it for me, darn it. Oh, and 4) I always learn so many interesting things reading through your comment thread. I had no idea that chocolate could be a gluten issue and I’m really grateful to know that as I bake things for gluten-free friends occasionally. So helpful to know!

    • April 30, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      Aw, Mel, you’re the best. Chocolate is not by its nature gluten-containing, but there are often cross-contamination issues. I tend to stick to a few brands so I don’t have to sweat it. ;)

  • Lisa Wood
    April 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Any suggestions on how to make the mousse dairy free? Please reply to my email address.

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Lisa, I haven’t made this dairy free so you’ll have to experiment. I am not available to respond to you by email, though. Sorry!

      • Marin Tin Tin
        April 30, 2014 at 2:28 PM


        Use one full fat coconut milk and df chocolate. For the butter use spectrum shortening or coconut oil and it should turn out great!

    • Margaret Schultz
      April 30, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      refrigerate a can of coconut milk and scoop off the think stuff, use as whipping cream substitute-fantastic.

  • Rochelle Sherman DelBene
    April 30, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Oh man this looks so delish!!! I’ve got to try it-my mother’s day gift to my mom!

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Sounds perfect, Rochelle!

  • Donia Robinson
    April 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    You’re killing me! With the DF chocolate cake recipe in book 2 and coconut milk (that cream layer in the can), perhaps this could even be dairy free! If I make it that way, I will report back!

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Definitely report back about how you do, Donia!

    • Mare Masterson
      April 30, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      There is an awesome Chocolate Avocado Mousse at guiltykitchen that you do not even taste the avocado in. Definitely dairy free and gluten free. I served it to my boss as part of his birthday meal and he was over the moon for it…and he is a food snob like me!

  • Lucy
    April 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    This looks go yummy! I rarely make chocolate anything since my girls dislike chocolate, and I would have to share with the hubby and well we don’t need the extra pounds…lol. The next time I bake a cake for the teachers at our school may well be this beauty!

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      Really, Lucy! They don’t like chocolate?! More for you and your husband, then. :)

  • Deborah
    April 30, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    And dutched chocolate causes acidity in the body–better to use raw, just dissolve first.

    • Anneke
      April 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      Deborah — I am sure we all appreciate the head’s up about the brands of chocolate not being GF. Generally, however, suggesting substitutions on ingredients without complete information is not that helpful. Unless you have made this recipe with the raw cocoa sub and can provide specific info (what is it, where would you purchase it, what do you mean by dissolve?), you may just be adding to the confusion that people often feel when baking GF. Any time a substitution is made, the chemistry of the recipe changes, something the Nicole always cautions against. I know all of the recipes I have made with Dutch processed cocoa have been highly successful.

      • April 30, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        Thank you, Anneke! I could not agree more.

  • Deborah
    April 30, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I called Ghirardelli just yesterday about another issue and thought to ask about this as my husband and daughter have celiac disease. There is NOTHING on the wrappers to indicate otherwise. We found out the hard way that Godiva has the same issue, despite Cheesecake Factory offering the only supposed GF dessert with Godiva whose website specifically indicates should not be consumed by celiacs.

    • Donia Robinson
      April 30, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      So it’s a production contamination issue?

      • April 30, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        I know that Godiva says that none of their products are reliably gluten free.

    • Jennifer S.
      May 4, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      This info is completely inaccurate about Ghirardelli. Please do more research before posting again.

  • Jennifer S.
    April 30, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    This looks crazy delish! But yea – I’m not making myself a cake for mothers day… maybe I’ll make it for another mother that deserves a treat! Then I’ll stay and sneak a piece, teehee!

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Sounds like a plan, Jennifer!

  • Deborah
    April 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Be careful what chocolate you use as popular brands such as Godiva and Ghirardelli are NOT GF!

    • Jennifer S.
      April 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      what? I always thought Ghirardelli was GF – why wouldn’t it be?

      • April 30, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        I generally use Scharffen Berger.

        • Anita
          May 1, 2014 at 4:43 PM

          Nicole, Where do we get this brand of chocolate?

    • Lucy
      April 30, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Oh good to know, I too thought Ghirardelli and Godiva was GF.

    • Beth
      April 30, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      I just called and confirmed, for the last two years NONE of their products are gluten free. Man, now I know where my contamination issues are coming from….. darn it, darn it, darn it!!!1

      • Jennifer S.
        May 4, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        Not accurate.

    • Jennifer S.
      May 4, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      Not accurate

  • Anneke
    April 30, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Since I’m the mother, someone better use this recipe to impress the pants off me!!

    • April 30, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Good point, Anneke!! And you’ve got plenty of capable bakers in your house. :)

  • Jen Sepesy Qualk
    April 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Can I sub almond meal for the flour??

    • April 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      I’m afraid you definitely can’t do that, Jen. Almond flour is a completely different sort of animal and cannot be substituted in my recipes that call for an all purpose gluten free flour.

      • April 30, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Thank you! I appreciate your quick response! :)
        The cake looks amazing! I’ll have to get some gluten-free flour!
        Thanks again!

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