Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Layered Mocha Mousse Torte

This recipe is a favorite in my family – my mom has been making it for as long as I can remember, and I’ve even taken to making it from time to time, despite my love for always trying new things.  It’s a great-no bake dessert, it looks fancy and sophisticated, but it’s actually pretty easy to make! Plus, it tastes like heaven – pillowy mousse and coffee whipped cream, layered with coffee-flavored chocolate wafer crumbs. Nothing wrong with that!

I made this torte a couple of weekends ago when my family was in the city for my Dad’s birthday. This is one of his favorite desserts, so I figured it was the least I could do since they were making the trek out to the city. Since Kevin and I moved, we haven’t entertained much, so it was fun to have my family over to see our new place. And not only did they visit, they came bearing gifts! My mom brought homemade cocktail mixes (we had an incredible watermelon drink with blueberries and mint), and she also brought along goodies from her garden: loads of fresh and stewed tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and pesto! It was like Christmas came early, and my family came with it. After they spent their day strolling around the city, they came over for cocktails on our new deck, and then when the time came for dinner we wandered over to Tremont 647. As if that wasn’t enough family fun for the weekend, we hit up SOWA the next morning for some Speed’s hot dogs (for my brother), window shopping and even more fresh produce.

So now, about the torte. This torte is amazing. I rave about all things sweet all the time, I know, but I would never tell you it was outstanding if it wasn’t completely true! The torte is sophisticated but simple, aesthetically pleasing but also palate-pleasing. It requires few ingredients, and just a bit of patience to boil the sugar to the right temperature, then to let it set up in the fridge when assembly s done. It’s basically just layer upon layer of flavor, loads of heavy cream (not light on the calories but absolutely worth it), coffee and sugar, and a bit of dedication when assembling it to achieve the pretty layers. It has a great depth of flavor from the coffee, a nice crunch from the cookie crumbs, and an incredibly silky, luscious texture. It’s extremely rich, you only need a small slice… but I can attest to having gone back for seconds a time or two…

Layered Mocha Mousse Torte

Ingredients for crust
2 1/2 cups ground chocolate wafer cookies (from about 1 1/3 9-ounce packages)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for fillings
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 teaspoons instant coffee powder

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water

5 large egg whites

2 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350°F.

1) For the crust: Blend ground cookies and coffee powder in processor. Set aside 3/4 cup cookie crumb mixture. Add butter to remaining crumb mixture and process until crumbs are moist. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake crust until just firm to touch, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

2) For the filling: Stir chocolate, butter and 1 teaspoon coffee powder in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Set chocolate mixture aside while preparing meringue.

3) Stir 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil syrup without stirring until candy thermometer registers 240°F, tilting pan to submerge bulb, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks.

Gradually beat hot syrup into whites. Continue beating until medium-stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold 1/3 of meringue into lukewarm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining meringue. Set chocolate meringue aside.

Combine 1/4 cup cream and 5 teaspoons coffee powder in large bowl; stir to dissolve. Add 2 1/2 cups cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon and beat until firm peaks form. Fold 1 1/2 cups coffee whipped cream into chocolate meringue, forming mocha mousse.

Spoon half of mocha mousse over bottom of crust. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons reserved crumb mixture over mousse. Spoon half of coffee whipped cream over crumbs. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons crumbs. Repeat layering with remaining mocha mousse, crumbs, coffee whipped cream and crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead; keep refrigerated.) Run knife around pan sides to loosen torte. Remove pan sides and serve.

3 Responses to “Layered Mocha Mousse Torte”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    This cake looks amazing! I love that it has a cookie crust. Have you ever thought about doing a giveaway of one of your desserts? I’ve always wanted to try one of your creations, they always look so good!

    • Taryn says:

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 I haven’t thought about that, but maybe I will! I’m interested in launching an online Esty-esque bakery “store” of sorts, so that just might be the place to start.

  2. Megan says:

    Gorgeous!! Not that I’m surprised. 🙂

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