I baked this vanilla and strawberry mousse layer cake with my friend, Julia, because we wanted to use it as a canvas for a mirror glaze (more on that in my next post). What I found was that the cake looked beautiful even without the glaze, the fresh strawberry smell was intoxicating, and the taste was heavenly. This is a cake that can be finished with a mirror glaze, but certainly doesn’t demand one.
As with any layer cake, this vanilla and strawberry mousse layer cake requires more work than a basic dump cake, but unlike most layer cakes, this one is assembled upside down inside a cake pan so you don’t need to worry about the cake being crooked or lopsided. And, because the layers are all covered on the outside by the mousse, you can relax a little bit about getting them completely even.
Here’s the gist of how this mousse cake assembly works:
First, you bake a vanilla cake. I, of course, suggest that you use my ultimate vanilla cake, but if you’re a box mix person, there is no reason that won’t work here. You can bake the cake in the same sized pan that you’ll be using for the layer cake or something larger. It doesn’t matter that much, as you’ll be cutting it down afterwards.
Then, make the strawberry mouse and put a one inch layer at the bottom of the cake pan you plan to make the layer cake in. I strongly suggest using a silicone pan as it will make it easier to remove the cake when you are done.
When the mousse layer is set (the freezer is easiest for this), cut your cooled cake to be the same shape but a slightly smaller circumference than the cake pan you are using and cut it horizontally into thin layers.
Add a layer of cake on top of the mouse.
Top with more mousse.
Top with another layer of cake.
Fill the remainder of the pan with mouse and level with a bench scraper.
Freeze for at least three hours to let the cake set. Then, remove from the pan and invert. Spend a minute smiling at how pretty it looks. But, bring to room temperature before serving.
In the recipe below, I walk through all of this in more detail with instructions specific to the pan that I used. Feel free to hit me up in the comments with any questions that you have.
Vanilla and Strawberry Mousse Cake
- 1 recipe ultimate vanilla cupcake batter unbaked
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries washed and hulled
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 13 grams gelatin one packet
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Divide cupcake batter evenly between two 7.4 x 7.2 x 2.3 inch heart-shaped silicone baking pans. (If you don't have these pans, you can substitute any pans with a four cup volume. However, depending on the depth, baking times may vary.)
- Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
- Turn cakes out to a cooling rack to cool. Wash and dry cake pans thoroughly.
- Blend strawberries and milk in a blender until fully combined.
- Pour 1/3 of the strawberry mixture into a heatproof bowl.
- Sprinkle gelatin on top, a little bit at a time, whisking well after each addition. Be sure to evenly distribute gelatin when you are sprinkling so as to avoid clumps.
- Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until gelatin completely dissolves.
- Return contents of the bowl to the blender along with the cream cheese and blend to combine with remaining strawberry mixture.
- Pour into a medium-sized bowl, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens to the consistency of Greek yogurt.
- Whip heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture a little bit at a time until fully incorporated.
- Pour strawberry mousse into the bottom of each cake pan, filling to about one inch. (If you are using a pan that isn't silicone, line the pan with plastic wrap pulled as smoothly as possibly). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes. Cover the remaining mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Cut each vanilla cake into three thin layers for a total of six layers. You'll only need four of the six layers. (I trust that you can find something to do with the extra ones. Eating them immediately comes to my mind.)
- Trim the border of the four cake layers by about 1/4 inch.
- Place a layer of cake on top the mousse layer in each cake pan.
- Top with another layer of mousse.
- Top each with the remaining cake layer.
- Cover with remaining mousse and level with a bench scraper.
- Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
- Unmold and bring to room temperature before serving.