Five simple ingredients are all it takes to make this utterly gorgeous dessert. I find this is a perfect do-ahead dessert as I can make it a few hours ahead or even the night before. It becomes denser as time goes by, so any leftovers can still be enjoyed a couple of days later.–Jo Pratt


You certainly can. Author Jo Pratt herself recommends a few things:

  • Her personal favorite—topping her piece with a generous dollop of orange liqueur-flavored whipped cream.
  • Another of her upgrades includes adding 1 tablespoon brandy, rum, coconut, or orange liqueur to the melted chocolate and butter.
  • Finally, you can try gently folding through 100 grams of finely chopped roasted hazelnuts before transferring to the pan. It just gets better and better, right?
A whole chocolate meringue mousse cake with one slice cut from it.

Chocolate Meringue Mousse Cake

4.87 / 15 votes
This cake is neither too sweet nor too rich, with a deeply chocolatey mousse-like center, beneath a thin crackly layer of cocoa-dusted meringue. What’s not to love?
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories377 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour


For the cake

  • 11 tablespoons (5 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 5 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • Pinch of flaked sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

To serve

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Fresh seasonal berries
  • Crème fraîche or whipped cream


Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Butter and line an 8 inch (20 cm) springform or loose-bottom cake pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, combine the chocolate, butter, and salt and heat until melted and combined. Alternatively, gently melt in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Let cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla paste or extract until thick, pale, and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In a separate medium bowl, or using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment over medium-high speed, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly between each addition, until you have a thick and glossy mixture that holds itself in stiff peaks, about 2 minutes more.
  • Pour the chocolate and butter mixture into the whisked egg yolks and gently mix together with a spatula.
  • Use a metal spoon to gradually fold in the egg whites, taking care not to knock out all of the air. Once all of the egg white has been completely mixed in, spoon the mixture into your prepared cake pan.
  • Bake until lightly crisp on top but slightly wobbly when you give the pan a little tap, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Carefully remove cake from pan and move to a plate.
  • Dust with cocoa powder and cut into slices. Serve with fresh berries and some crème fraîche or whipped cream.

Adapted From

The Flexible Family Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 377 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 5 gFat: 27 gSaturated Fat: 16 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 137 mgSodium: 47 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 24 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Jo Pratt. Photo © 2020 Malou Burger. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I was excited to bake such a simple and scrumptious-looking recipe. This recipe for chocolate meringue mousse cake was so easy, delicious, and had a beautiful light texture. The cake wasn’t overly sweet–as so many desserts can be–which I loved.

I enjoyed that this recipe was one I could do multiple steps at a time and that it resulted in exactly what I expected. It was airy and delicate, yet filling. Quickly devoured by the whole family!

For all you chocolate lovers out there, this chocolate meringue mousse cake is just the ticket. With everyday ingredients and minimal time and effort, you will be rewarded with a super moist, dark delectable cake, easily customizable at serving time. It is charmingly rustic in appearance and somehow manages to be both rich and light at the same time. As the author says, “What’s not to love?”

I used regular granulated sugar with no problems, and 72% chocolate, resulting in a dark and perfectly mildly sweet cake. Baking time for me was only 30 minutes. Be sure to check it on the early side so as to retain moistness. Whipped cream and raspberries were the perfect accompaniment, but it would be equally at home with a scoop of ice cream.

I love the rich chocolatey flavor of this chocolate meringue mousse cake so much so that I kept going back over three days and stealing tiny slivers. The first day, I couldn’t get nice slices from it but topping it with whipped cream and a few raspberries hid any issues. The texture and taste were best the second day and I could get a fairly neat slice.

When entertaining I like to be able to make a few dishes in advance and being able to make the dessert the day before is perfect. I used a 10” springform pan and it baked in 30 minutes. The cake came out having a nice crust but maintained a bit of a wobble.

A delicious cake that absolutely lives up to its name. With a smooth mousse-like interior and a slightly crunchy exterior, I found this recipe for chocolate meringue mousse cake easy to make and even easier to eat. Like many chocolate tortes, it has only a few ingredients, always a plus. The quality of your chocolate will be noticeable here—this recipe presents a nice opportunity to splurge and buy high—quality dark chocolate.

It also falls into my favorite category of desserts, “small but mighty,” meaning that a small slice has enough flavor and texture to leave you feeling completely satisfied. It is important to note that this cake will rise quite a bit and then deflate some when cooling. This may cause the top of the cake to crack a bit, which provides some nice visual texture.

This chocolate meringue mousse cake is honestly quite easy to put together and it only uses five basic ingredients. It’s neither too sweet nor too bitter. However, I did feel that it’s quite rich and one slice of this delight is enough to satisfy your sweet cravings.

My only complaint with it is that it deflated shortly after being pulled out of the oven. It was quite disappointing in that aspect as it didn’t look that great. Anyway, the taste is amazing—crunchy meringue-like layer on top and a soft chocolate mousse kind of center.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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4.87 from 15 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I just removed this wonderful looking cake from the oven. It looks great! My one question is – can it be refrigerated overnight? I am planning to serve it as my husband’s birthday cake tomorrow night along with his favorite French vanilla ice cream.

    Thanks for another winning recipe!

    1. Miriam, yes, you can refrigerate it overnight. Our testers commented that the flavor actually improved overnight, however, the crispy edges will likely soften a bit.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this chocolate mousse cake last night and it Is so easy and delicious. I had all the ingredients on hand but only had a 9 inch spring form pan instead of 8. I reduced the bake time to 28 minutes and might try 26 minutes next time because I like a gooey center but it worked perfectly fine with the larger pan. Definitely will make this again

    1. Thanks, Susan. I’m delighted that this turned out so well for you. It looks fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Oh my god! Does that look GOOD!!! And whipped cream flavored with Grand Marnier? Why did it take someone so long to tell me about that possibility?

    I note that one of your recipe testers says it improves as it rests for a day but does the crunchiness hold up over time? Seems like that would be a wonderful feature of the cake.

    Saving this for some complete decadent occasion.

    1. Thanks, Rainey! When you make it, do let us know what you think. I suspect a bit of crunchiness might be lost, but perhaps that is a worthwhile tradeoff for enhanced flavor?