Mia Francesca Trattoria

Restaurant Raleigh
4100 Main at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC 27609

Recipe: Vanilla and Caramel Mousse Cake


Vanilla and Caramel Mousse Cake with a Dark Chocolate Ganache
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mia Francesca Trattoria
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 People
  • For the vanilla cake layers:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • For the Caramel Mousse:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 envelope powdered gelatin, softened (or 3 leaves sheet gelatin, bloomed)
  • For the Vanilla Mousse:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • For the Chocolate Ganache icing:
  • 16 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans and line the base of each with parchment paper.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and set aside.
  5. In a medium sized bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, making certain to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition.
  7. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the creamed sugar mixture, followed then by a third of the buttermilk.
  8. Repeat this process, starting and finishing with the flour mixture, scraping down the bowl between additions.
  9. Stir in the vanilla extract and scraped vanilla bean seeds.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops of lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the middle of the layers comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool completely in their pans before handling and cutting.
  12. In the meantime prepare the two mousses.
  13. For the caramel mousse:
  14. Gently bring 2/3 cup of the heavy cream to a low simmer in a saucepan.
  15. Set aside to cool slightly.
  16. Whip the other 1 1/3 cups of heavy cream to stiff peaks and refrigerate until needed.
  17. Prepare the gelatin before moving on to make the caramel (If using powdered gelatin: sprinkle the envelope of gelatin over 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl and allow to set up.
  18. For leaf gelatin:
  19. Paces the sheets in a shallow bath of ice water and allow to bloom for at least 5 minutes).
  20. Place the ¼ cup of water in the bottom of a deep, heavy pot.
  21. Pour the sugar into the middle and add the corn syrup.
  22. Gently stir the three together in a combing motion with your fingers to combine.
  23. Begin to cook once thoroughly combined over medium high heat and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is a golden amber, about 5-8 minutes.
  24. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the warmed cream (the mixture will bubble up so be extremely careful); stir in the softened butter until melted.
  25. Stir in the softened gelatin.
  26. Let this mixture cool to room temperature before folding in the whipped cream.
  27. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until slightly thickened.
  28. For the vanilla mousse:
  29. Whip the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and scraped vanilla bean seeds together until it holds firm peaks, then cover and refrigerate as you prepare the meringue.
  30. In a clean bowl, begin to whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until foamy.
  31. Continue to whip until the whites have doubled in volume, about 3 to 5 minutes. Very slowly begin to add the sugar to the still whipping whites, and continue to beat until the whites hold firm, stiff peaks.
  32. Take half of this meringue and very gently fold it into the prepared whipped cream.
  33. Fold in the remaining meringue.
  34. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  35. To assemble the cake:
  36. Remove the cooled cake layers from their pans.
  37. Slice each in half width-wise so that you will have four cake layers total.
  38. Place the first layer on a plate and brush with a little simple syrup or flavored liqueur (something like Godiva White Chocolate or crème de cocoa would work well); spread half of the caramel mousse evenly over the first layer.
  39. Top with the second cake layer and repeat brushing with syrup or liqueur if using; spread the vanilla mousse evenly over this layer.
  40. Top with the third cake layer, and finish by spreading the last of the caramel mousse evenly over it.
  41. Place the last cake layer ontop and refrigerate for at least two hours to make sure the mousses have time to set between the layers.
  42. Once ready prepare your chocolate ganache.
  43. Place the finely chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate into a medium sized bowl.
  44. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium high heat. Pour over the chopped chocolate and let rest for one minute; slowly whisk the two together until combined.
  45. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place on a wire rack that is resting ontop of a piece of parchment paper. Starting from the middle of the cake pour the ganache over top, allowing it to freely flow over the top and sides of the cake. You shouldn’t need to even out the ganache at all as the weight should create a thin layer over the top of the cake.
  46. Refrigerate until time to serve; make sure to cut with a warm knife so the ganache won’t crack and break. The cake will keep for 3 to 4 days under proper refrigeration.
  47. ** If you’d like the sides of the cake to look more polished, use an offset spatula to gently “ice”the sides of the cake with the ganache until covered. Use chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, coconut, or candy pieces to press up the sides of the cake for a more finished look.

2014-01-10 17.35.41

Vanilla and Caramel Mousse Cake2014-01-10 17.35.41


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Please check out the video demonstration of our IRON CHEF Zach’s making traditional Italian Biscotti

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