Sheet Pan

Spicy Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake

February 14, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 cake
Author Notes

I start this with an important note, baking and desserts are decidedly out of my comfort zone. With that being said, and the impending Valentine's Day holiday - I decided to push myself outside my comfort zone. My two absolutely favorite desserts are crepes and chocolate mousse. Maybe it because I have been obsessed with all things Parisienne since my college study abroad but I figured why not try to combine them into a dessert. We have Smith Island Cake here in Maryland that has always intrigued me so this is my take on that layered pancake-like creature with buttercream insides. To make it lighter I used crepes (starting with a basic crepe recipe from Martha Stewart and Alton Brown) that I spiced up a bit and changed the ratio of flour and added cocoa, then I made a ginger-anise infused chocolate mousse. For the chocolate mousse I started with a basic recipe from Serious Eats. Now is this beautiful? Not when I make it - let's call it rustic :) but delicious? oh yes. —meganvt01

Test Kitchen Notes

This chocolate-y & spicy decadent dessert is beautiful, as well as absolutely delicious. There are a lot of steps in this recipe, however each step overlaps with the next perfectly that as the crepe batter is resting, the mousse can be made, then while it's resting, the crepes can be made, etc. Then, there's a half hour of rest time before serving ...just enough time to take off your apron and boil the kettle for a cup of tea! Or perhaps this might be better suited to a fruity, spicy glass of red wine! —Victoria Ross

What You'll Need
  • Spicy Chocolate Crepes
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup good quality dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground corriander
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Ginger-Anise Infused Chocolate Mousse and Assembling Cake
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • crystallized ginger and shaved chocolate, to garnish
  1. Spicy Chocolate Crepes
  2. Blend all ingredients (except last melted butter) in a blender for 25 seconds. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Brush with melted butter and pour in 1/3 cup of the crepe batter, swirling the batter quickly to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, until set. Flip and cook for 45 seconds. Remove to sheet pan to cool Should yield 10 crepes.
  1. Ginger-Anise Infused Chocolate Mousse and Assembling Cake
  2. Place the milk, ginger and anise in a small saucepan and heat over medium high to bring to a boil. Stir the mix carefully while heating to avoid scalding. When the mixture boils, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the solids from the milk.
  3. Heat chocolate in a microwave safe bowl - 30 second intervals, stirring after each heating. When the mixture was almost melted (about 2.5 minutes for me) remove and continue to stir and use the residual heat to finish melting.
  4. whisk the milk, rum, and vanilla into the chocolate, just until combined.
  5. Whisk in the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, just until combined.
  6. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or a bowl and a hand mixer), beat the egg whites at medium until medium peaks. Add the sugar and increase speed to medium high until stiff peaks (but still remain glossy).
  7. Add 1/4 of egg whites to chocolate - folding in to lighten the entire mixture. When it is well combined, add the remaining egg whites - folding using a J-shaped motion to very carefully combine. Stop when you have the mixture just combined. Chill for one hour - not more or the mixture will become dense and difficult to spread.
  8. Assembly - place one crepe down, spread (gently) about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mousse mixture, cover with another crepe - repeat until the tower is complete.
  9. Whip the heavy cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Top the crepe tower with whipped creme, caramelized ginger (chopped) and more shaved chocolate. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ifjuly
  • Bill Masters
    Bill Masters
  • MBR
  • ErinC
  • Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
    Judy at My Well Seasoned Life

Recipe by: meganvt01


22 Reviews

ifjuly July 21, 2020
My husband and I have birthdays together in July and it's always wayyyy too hot here to think of turning on the oven to bake a cake...this recipe came to the rescue this year! It still feels special and centers on choc which is our favorite, but no oven baking, and fun/novel way to celebrate. As others have mentioned including the recipe tester in intro comments, it is a fair amount of steps and kitchenware but does generally all segue tidily time-wise. I ended up with an extra crepe or two and used it to see if filling and rolling it up cannoli-style works and it does, so for less wow-factor visuals that's always an option too (and doesn't require making sure the mousse is in that sweet spot timing-wise of spreadable but not too melty). I gotta say meganvt01, I'm really digging your recipes (the steak and blue cheese slaw sandwiches were a huge holiday hit earlier this month); thank you so much for sharing them!
Bill M. February 16, 2015
I made this for my partner and my best friend and his husband. We shared VDay together 2/14/15. What a wonderful desert. Of course mine turned into a dome instead of a cake, but the next time I'll work on making it more level. Do put the crepe batter in a blender. I didn't have one and whisked until my hand fell off and still had lumps but in the end no one could tell.
MBR February 15, 2014
A lot of work, but worth it. Added orange zest to the whipped cream which worked well w/the rest of the orchestra.
Molly F. February 13, 2014
I made this yesterday....I halved the recipe, and used a 6 inch frying pan for the is so rich that small slices are enough, and I would serve it to 6 people.
Next time I shall add cointreau and orange rind, as suggested by Monitouille...thank you Megan!
Emma February 13, 2014
Is this recipe okay to freeze? Or should I make the mousse the day of?
Molly F. February 12, 2014
I am assuming that the 5 tbs. melted butter go into the crepe batter?

Also there is reference to both crystallized ginger and caramelized ginger. Again, I am assuming that the author meant crystallized?
meganvt01 February 12, 2014
Yup - 5tbs in the batter the rest for cooking. Caramelized ginger should have been crystallized. Thanks!
Robin February 3, 2014
Sounds wonderful. I would serve it with a ginger beverage my friend discovered in Jamaica. Make a simple syrup and add grated ginger and freshly squeezed lime juice (or other citrus.) Serve in a tall glass with ice. In place of star anise, I'd use a little sambuca.
cora May 6, 2013
this looks yummie! Can it be done with out the egg yolk?
Ceege March 25, 2013
Oh my. This sounds like the perfect dessert for my "ladies luncheon" I hold every year. How far in advance could this be prepared. If not the whole thing, then what parts could be made the day before (I know the crepes would be okay with wax paper in-between but not sure about the rest of it). Thanks for any ideas and suggestions. Can't wait to try this.
meganvt01 March 25, 2013
I agree with you about the crepes - they have enough moisture to hold up the day before. I haven't tried to make the mousse ahead of time but I think - based on how the cake was the next day - it would lose a good bit of volume and possibly become stiff. I think a few hours in advance is the most you could do - if you tried that i'd let the mousse warm up a bit before you tried spreading it in between the layers of cake. Let me know how it goes and I hope you like it and it turns out as beautifully as it did when Food52 made it :)
ErinC February 11, 2013
Made this last night---very good, and the crepes held up pretty well throughout the construction of the cake! I also thought the mousse was quite good--rich, but that's what we wanted! :)
Monitouille May 20, 2012
I was so inspired that I did my version of your recipe! you can check it at my blog, absolutely gorgeous
Monitouille March 10, 2012
I made it! changed a little the spices, added some orange zest and cointreau, the chocolate mousse is amazing and the whole cake delicious!!
meganvt01 March 10, 2012
Thank you! So glad you liked it.
Lucas4Food March 4, 2012
made it! really good. mine did not look as pretty but it was surely savory.
Lucas4Food March 4, 2012
update: took my first bite AFTER placing it in the refrigerator: so worth the wait. There are a lot of steps to make this, but it is absolutely worth it.
meganvt01 March 10, 2012
Thanks so much!!
Lucas4Food March 4, 2012
made it! really good. mine did not look as pretty but it was surely savory.
cateler March 2, 2012
I'm with Judy on the WOWs. This is just exquisite to look at - can't even imagine how wonderful it tastes! Ginger, anise and chocolate - genius.
Judy A. March 2, 2012
Wow, wow and a lot more WOWS. This looks great and I know just the crowd to serve this to. Congrats.
Anitalectric March 1, 2012
This is gorgeous.