Chocolate and Pistachio Mousse Cakes

My floors are scrubbed, lavender sachet under the pillow and my grocery list complete. My parents are arriving tonight and everything must be perfect. I impose the silliest things on myself when my mom comes to visit. I know none of this is important to her because she comes to see me, but deep inside, I still feel like the 10 year old girl who has to report to her parents. Some things never change.

So I made a little something for them. Little mousse cakes with chocolate genoise soaked in a kirsch syrup, with pistachio and chocolate mousse. You might be wondering what the red color is for. Well, I always add a bit of red coloring to chocolate spray to bring out the dark in the chocolate. Spraying chocolate is a messy, messy job in a small kitchen, that’s why you might be interested in this.

Chocolate Genoise

6 whole eggs
180 grams sugar
80 grams cornstarch
80 grams flour
20 grams cocoa powder
20 grams butter, melted and cooled

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Place this bowl over a double boiler and continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the eggs feel hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer and whip in high speed until the eggs triple in volume and they form a thick ribbon.

Sift the cornstarch, flour and cocoa powder together into a bowl. Add the sifted mixture to the whipped eggs in three batches folding each time slowly to avoid deflating the batter too much. Finally add the melted butter and fold so that the butter doesn’t all fall to the bottom of the bowl.

Divide this batter into two half sheetpans that have been sprayed and lined with parchment paper. Spread the batter evenly and bake in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cake cool. The cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen.

Kirsch Simple Syrup

100 grams water
100 grams sugar
2 Tbs kirsch or to taste

Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup cool and add the kirsch.

Pistachio Mousse

55 grams pate a bombe
3 grams gelatin leaves
85 grams pistachio puree
225 ml heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Mix pate a bombe and pistachio paste together. Soften the gelatin in ice water. Melt the soften gelatin with a bit of whipped cream in the microwave for about 7 seconds. Whisk it and quickly whisk into the rest of the whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream and pate a bombe base together.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

55 grams pate a bombe
85 grams 70% chocolate
225 ml heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Add a third of the cream to the melted chocolate and whisk. Add the pate a bombe to this and fold. Add the rest of the cream and fold. If the mousse is a bit runny, place the bowl in the refrigerator so it has a chance to harden a bit so it is easier to pipe.

Assemble the Cakes

Line ring molds with acetate paper and place them on a sheetpan. Measure the circumference of the ring mold and cut a strip of cake accordingly. Place the strip of chocolate genoise around the ring mold and a disk on the bottom. Soak the cake with simple syrup. Pipe the pistachio mousse inside the ring mold almost to the top. Top with another disk of genoise. Soak the top disk of cake with some more syrup. Let the cake sit in the freezer until the pistachio mousse sets.

Place the chocolate mousse in a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe a rosette on top of the cake. Freeze the cakes overnight. For the velvet look, spray the cakes with chocolate spray when these are still frozen.

And if you are interested about reading about my favorite things, visit Joslyn at Simple Lovely. She is amazing.

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96 Responses to “Chocolate and Pistachio Mousse Cakes”

  1. Tartelette says:

    I do the exact same thing when my parents come to visit. Down to vacuuming until we leave for the airport!
    Well now you know if you ever come to visit why there is a brown streak on one wall of the kitchen…no kidding…and B. never fails to remind me :)
    Is there anything better than chocolate cake and pistachio? Nope, not at the moment!!

  2. Lovely, as usual!

    I clean and clean and clean when I know my mom is coming over. I do it for other people, too, but especially for my mom.

    Hope you have a great time with them, Aran!

  3. wow these loor marvellous so so creamy delicious. You always amaze me. :)

  4. leaca says:

    Your site makes my mouth water. It is a good thing I do not cook that well, or bake that is. The photography is beautiful as well.

  5. Vanille says:

    These cakes are amazing ! These flavors and texture…

  6. linda says:

    Cute and delicious cakes, love their height.
    I think we’re all the same when our mothers visit ;)
    Have a wonderful time with your parents!

  7. emi says:

    they’re beautiful ! I read your blog for a week now and I’m totally in love !!!! everything is so perfect …

  8. Anonymous says:

    so cute! it is remind me the dessert Cecile of japanese pastry chef Hidemi Sugino do you know it?

  9. omg they look absolutely amazing!!!

  10. chipima says:

    These look amazing Aran! Hope you have a lovely time with your parents.

  11. Can dessert be stunning? Looking at these, yes.

  12. Marianna says:

    lovely lovely cakes! i was wondering however for the pate a bombe, can you substitute the corn syrup with glucose syrup??

  13. Aran says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Anis- No, I do not know that pastry. Can you send me a link to it?

    Marianna- yes, absolutely. in fact, that is what I used!

  14. Christy says:

    Have a real good time with your parents! Don’t forget to take loads of photos!

    BEAUTIFUL mousse cakes! Excellent tip on the canned chocolate spray too! I’ll keep that in mind for next time. Love the effect but LOATHE the clean up, so this is perfect!

  15. nadia says:

    Oh aran i can understand that feeling. These look fantastic and i agree, what a great combination of flavors. Your mum to watch your create in your kitchen that must be priceless for you both!

  16. Marija says:

    They are perfect! I can almost taste them :)

  17. Haha, I know exactly what you mean about your parents, particularly your mother. I always want my apartment to be gleaming when she visits! These cakes look delicious, btw!

  18. they are like little bite-sized jewels. if i came to visit you the place i’d go is into the kitchen!

  19. veron says:

    Aran, this is amazing. Not just how it looks but the flavors you used. Thanks for the tip on the spray :).

  20. Oh your parents are so lucky ! these look so delicious…
    and thanks for the links !

  21. Bea says:

    Will you make these for moi too if I come and visit???? Triple yum. All the things I love, starting with the chocolate.

    Enjoy their parents’ stay! Precious!

  22. Bea says:

    your parents’ stay, I mean, of course ;-)

  23. Anonymous says:

    ARANTZAZU, bieldu bat.

  24. Sophie says:

    Beautiful desserts, any mom would be so happy to have one of these prepared by her daughter :).

  25. Emily Rose says:

    I understand the frantic cleaning when the parents are about to arrive! When I gave birth to my daughter 12 days before my due date- the only thing I could think about was how my house was a mess and that my parents would be arriving before I could clean it up!! The cakes are, as usual, beautiful!

  26. Tea says:

    Can I just ask you to do a demo at the Culinary Institute? :))

  27. gasp! how on earth do you do that! you can’t find cakes in shops that look that good! the cake part actually looks like a paint roller texture. but brown. so maybe painting the living room brown. have fun with the parents–im going home in 2 weeks!

  28. Oh Aran, your parents will be overjoyed to be welcomed with this treat! I love it when my parents visit and the house looks as though it is for sale, it is so clean. Have a wonderful time!

  29. it look´s so beautiful and delicious! ;)

  30. Mansi says:

    gosh! your mom must be so proud of you! I could sweep your floors too for a batch of those!:)

  31. Esti says:

    pasarlo bien!
    (y llena el armario de gelocatiles para C.)


  32. cindy* says:

    beautiful aran!

    i always find myself cleaning everything when my mother comes to visit from the ceiling fans to the base boards.

  33. Hope you enjoy the time with your family! They are definitely in for a treat with this dessert!

  34. ChichaJo says:

    I know exactly what you feel! I am the same way with my mom…even though I’m an adult, around her I am still that girl who wants only to please and impress :)

    I am sure she will be more than impressed when she sees these beautiful cakes!

  35. limonana says:

    wow this is to die for!!! so incredible…these should knock the socks off any mama!!

  36. Aran: Can I come visit you? Please, please? I think it’s lovely how you prepare for your mom.

  37. wow.. these are amazingly beautiful!! i am always impressed with your talent!!

  38. Merveilleux ! c’est tout…

  39. Alexa says:

    Gorgeous, delicious dessert, Aran. Standing ovation!!!

  40. farida says:

    looks amazing! piece of art.

  41. Your mousse cakes are amazing!!

    I love the kindness and the love you put on everything you do…

  42. Jen Yu says:

    Aran, you are amazing. Your creations have such a delicate and beautiful touch. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me every time you post something new.

  43. Hi Aran, this is fabulous. Just love those mini cakes. Simplicity, so well crafted and drop dead gorgeous . . . . . just like Aran!

  44. PheMom says:

    I’m sure she doesn’t need you to do all that before she comes, but I’ll bet is makes her all warm and happy inside just the same – which is the whole point right? I don’t even have words appropriate to say how really gorgeous these are… as always!! Enjoy the visit!

  45. Mrs.French says:

    I am the same way…I think my momma could care less, I am the one who puts these goofy expectations on myself…

  46. Y says:

    Lovely little cakes! I hope your parents were very pleased with them :)

  47. Stunning as usual! I wish I had the patience to make something like this. Enjoy your visit from your parents:-)

  48. Cakebrain says:

    This is what dreams are made of…your photos are amazing.

  49. the mousse cakes look delicious. i was totally ready to lick my computer screen, but that might have looked disturbing at the office. i love the combination of chocolate and pistachio! i wish i could bake…

  50. Vera says:

    Aran, what a gorgeous dessert! Have a great time with your family!

  51. MiKel says:

    Aran, cada vez que entro aqui me dejas flipadisimo!!
    Como siempre, enhorabuena..

    un bss, Mikel

  52. It´s beautiful and very spongy. Great!

  53. Buba Cooks says:

    Tu blog es alucinante, esta receta preciosa como todo lo que haces! Felicidades!Eres una artista

  54. Gabriela says:

    Egunon Aran! Ya han llegado los aitas despues de “ese largo” viaje?. Creo que ésta vez van a necesitar algo más que tu pastel de chocolate y pistacho para poder recuperarse. Por cierto además de quedar precioso tiene que estar riquisimo, ¿porqué nos gustará tanto el chocolate?.
    Disfruta de ellos, del tiempo y de los cielos azules , aqui ya ha llegado el frio , la lluvia…el invierno, tiempo para recogerse y atrevernos con alguno de esos regalos que nos haces desde Jupiter. Muxus para todos

  55. Aran says:

    Hola Gabriela- Ya llegaron mis padres ayer. Jontxu esta super emocionado con ama y aitite. A ver si venis otra vez enseguida!

  56. pea & pear says:

    I am always speechless when I reach your site. These look so amazing. Though I am certain your mother doesn’t care what condition your house is in, I am sure she is very impressed and proud when she arrives…especially to these treats!!

  57. From the flavors to the presentation, this is simply sublime.

  58. Lori says:

    Those look exquisite. Mind you this is not a word I use very often. However it is totally applicable here.

  59. redmenace says:

    Lovely pictures! The recipe is also amazing! I can relate too! My mom sends me straight back to being a kid every time!

  60. It’s the same everywhere…guess what? My Mom lives 5 miutes from where i do…stressful life huh? LOVE the beauty of the cakes. Choclate & pistachios are a rocking combination; you just make them more so Aran. Hope your Mom has a wonderful time with you & the little fella!

  61. Bridget says:

    Have a wonderful visit with your parents!

    I’m a little sorry that I saw these pictures just before lunch. Salad no longer sounds good…I need one of those cakes!!! ;)

  62. Oh, wow! These are truly gorgeous. You just keep producing incredible pastry day in and day out! A tremendous treat for your parents. Enjoy your visit!

  63. Lesley says:

    Wow, your baking is astounding. I need to pay more attention to you!!!

  64. Suzie says:

    Never seem a good idea to visit your blog before lunch, but i always do………
    they are soooo cute..

    Just wondering, would freezing mousse damage the texture of the mousse??
    More question,… how can i make pistaschio paste at home?? cant buy in london/.\ thanks

  65. Aran says:

    hi suzie- no, freezing will not damage the texture of the mousse. i freeze mousses often since it’s the best way to keep them for a few days. to make pistachio paste, take raw pistachios and a bit of sugar and grind them in a food processor until a paste forms and the oils start to release. thank you!

  66. bbaking says:

    Oh, my. WOW!!!

    These look amazing!!!

  67. Those just look stunning! The mousse, the cake…it all sounds so good. And good tip about the spray for color–I never would have known!

  68. baker dave says:

    Aran: two technical questions, What are the size of the ring molds you used? Second, did you make all the pate bombe all at once then divide what you need for each mousse?


  69. Aran says:

    Baker Dave-the ring molds I use are about 3″ high and 2″ in diameter. Yes, I made a batch of pate a bombe and took as much as I needed for each mousse. Thanks!

  70. Maybe says:

    Deep down inside I think we all want to appear perfect in the eyes of our parents… Trust me, with such wonderful cakes, it’ll be fine :o)

  71. Anonymous says:

    out of curiosity … when do you choose to use cornstarch instead of regular flour.

  72. Aran says:

    Anonymous- Cornstarch s a binding starch but it doe not contain gluten like wheat flour does which contributes to a tender sponge.

  73. Ces gâteaux là, il faut absolument que je les fasse. En premier lieu, faire la traduction pour ne rien oublier, j’aimerai les faire pour Noël et je dois m’entraîner.

  74. Yulinda says:

    Hallo Aran,
    i really like your blog, the cake look always so amazing. I read earlier on the comment, you said to make the pistachios paste just grind the raw pistachios with a bit sugar until a paste forms. My question is after the grinding, do you roast them on a pan, before you mix them with pate a bombe?

  75. Aran says:

    Yulinda- No, I don’t roast the pistachios at all. It’s better to keep them raw for better flavor.

  76. Aran, I just found out your blog and it made my day! You´re so amazing, your life story is so fantastic! All the best for you

  77. Aran, your mousse cakes look divine! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us. We are excited to have it included in this week’s FoodieView Recipe Roundup.

    Take care- Michele

  78. Angela says:

    I think many of us do the exact same thing when our parents visit. Clean, clean, clean!

    What a beautiful dessert to create for your parents, though. I love the red velvet spray—never seen that before!

  79. Anonymous says:

    This is such a gorgeous presentation. I have one technical question, if you don’t mind: When you place the strip of chocolate genoise around the ring mold, is there a trick to keep it from falling off the ring mold before you pipe the mousse?
    Thank you for posting!!!

  80. Aran says:

    Anonymous- just press tightly with your fingers. if you have soaked it a bit, it should stick to the side.

  81. van says:

    Hi Aran,
    Just discovered your blog.
    You have beautiful photographs,
    I also love baking & photography.
    Want to try this mousse cake but how to bake both at the same time?
    One on top shelf? and second?

  82. van says:

    Also, I have gelatin in envelope
    how many do i need instead of using the gelatine sheet?

  83. Aran says:

    Hi Van- First of all, thank you for your kind words. What do you mean about baking both cakes at the same time? There is only the one chocolate cake. The inside is a mousse. I’m sorry I’m confused. Also, I can swear by this gelatin conversion because I have never done it myself, but I hear that 1 gr of sheet gelatin equals 1 gr of powdered gelatin. Thank you!

  84. van says:

    Hi Aran,
    Actually, i didn’t read the instruction very well about baking the cake.
    Anyhow, about the gelatine, each of
    envelope i have is 7g. I don’t know
    for sure how many envelope i need? I’ll try.
    By the way, just want to introduce myself, I am from Montreal, I’ll comeback to your site, like your writting too.

  85. Fe says:

    Wow! The cakes look amazing. I am going to give it ago and make some for my partner’s 30th. How many little cakes can I make with the above recipe? Thanks.


  86. Fiona- honestly, I can’t remember but I want to say it makes about 8 of those ring molds which are 3×2. Hope it works out. Thanks!

  87. Fe says:

    Hi Aran,

    I am planning to make 30 mini cakes for my partner’s 30th and don’t have a freezer big enough for all of them. Will it be ok if I make it from the day before and put it in a very chilled fridge? Thanks.


  88. Fiona- it should be fine. Hope you like them!

  89. These cakes are gorgeous. Unbelievable :-)

  90. This pistachio and chocolate mousse Cake is a Dream come true.

    The photos are phantastic I will share it on my facebook fan page

  91. Hmmmmmmm… nice cakes, thx for the wunderfull Post!

  92. Barb Miller says:

    My daughter has breast cancer and is just finishing chemo. She will be home for three weeks at Christmas and wants me to make this Chocolate and Pistachio Mousse Cakes. But it’s complicated. No Pictures..disappointing. What are line ring molds..what do they look like . I just can’t picture this. Why are you using chocolate spray?? Why do you line ring molds with acetate paper..another thing I can’t picture. How far ahead can you make this? I don’t want to disappoint my only daughter. Time is very precious to us because it might very well be limited out last Christmas. Can you change the metric measures to tablespoon, cups or ounces. Also some pictures would be helpful. It’s a lot to ask I know but I want this Christmas to be everything to her. Thank You in advance for any help you can give.

    Barb Miller

    • Aran says:


      I completely understand and I hope this is a special Christmas for your family with your daughter home.

      I am European and this recipe comes from my days as a pro pastry chef hence the grams.

      I will be emailing you the conversion and notes.


  93. […] Blogger, Megan Feil of Gourmet De Ville left our mouths watering this morning with her latest article, “Irresistibility Factor of Chocolate Mousse Cakes Magnified with Dumante Verdenoce”. Feil referenced a chocolate mousse cake from Best Winning Food Blog nominee, Cannelle et Vanille which brilliantly paired ingredients including “chocolate genoise soaked in a kirsch syrup, with pistachio and chocolate mousse.” Recipe here. […]

  94. Hank you so much, the pics are so beautiful I cannot resist, I love the chocolate, and this cake looks like the perfect balance between sweetness and bitter with the incredible taste of chocolate.
    Thank you for sharing. Liên

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