A showstopper of a Strawberry Mousse Cake made with a Gluten Free Chocolate Genoise Sponge. Make ahead of time for the perfect dinner party or celebratory dessert.
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Originally posted 4th July 2016. Updated 15th August 2022
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Improving my Strawberry Mousse Cake with a new Gluten Free Chocolate Genoise Sponge
My gluten free Strawberry Mousse Cake has been on the blog since 2016. But I’d never been 100% happy with it until now… Why? Because I knew the Chocolate Genoise Sponge needed a little re-working. But on the back of the success of my recipe for Gluten Free Trifle Sponges (made with a plain genoise sponge), I have finally achieved yet another baking goal… And that means I can finally unveil my 100% delicious new recipe…
Okay… It may look a bit ‘rough around the edges’… But then I’m not a professional baker and neither do I have the time to faff with making stuff ‘look’ perfect. If it tastes perfect, then that’s all that matters.
Either way, whether gluten free or not, my Strawberry Mousse Cake is a delightful showstopper, that will sit proudly on any dessert table. And is the most wonderful way to round off a balmy afternoon barbecue or garden party.
Strawberry Mousse Cake or Strawberry Cheesecake with a sponge base?
If you’ve checked the ingredients before reading this, you’ll have seen that the mousse includes Mascarpone Cheese. Having recently updated my recipe for Blackberry Cheesecake with Coconut (which is also super-light, being topped with a Mascarpone mousse), I have thus debated whether the recipe shared here is a Strawberry Mousse Cake or should be defined as a Strawberry Cheesecake with a sponge base.
Having explored the technical definition of a cheesecake, it appears the fundamental consideration is less the filling and more the base… All definitions seem to specify that a cheesecake base is made from broken biscuits (and occasionally pastry). None offer the option of cake… Thus, I am happy that cheese or no cheese, THIS recipe is for a Strawberry Mousse Cake.
How easy is this Strawberry Mousse Cake Recipe?
The beauty of this dessert is that it looks more complicated than it actually is. Genoise sponge may have a general reputation of being ‘tricky’, but it honestly isn’t. Either way, I’ve offered a few tips below to help you…
And once you’ve made the chocolate cake for the base, placing the strawberries and making the mousse is easy peasy. Even the ganache is straightforward. As with all recipes however, it’s important to follow instructions. They are your guide to a great result.
Tips for a perfect Gluten Free Chocolate Genoise Sponge
The method for making a gluten free Chocolate Genoise Sponge is the same as for a ‘standard’ Genoise. You will require some basic equipment, but otherwise, the following key tips can be offered for this recipe…
- Line the tin with good-quality non-stick baking paper. I always use Lakeland Baking Parchment, which has never let me down.
- Grease the internal sides of the tin with a little butter (I use an old butter wrapper for the sleekest of smears). The alternative is to use a pastry brush and coat the inside with melted butter. And if the tin isn’t nicely non-stick, it’s also advisable to dust the butter with a little flour mixed with cocoa.
- Use LARGE eggs that are as fresh as possible for the best result. That is… UK large. If you are not in the UK, check the comparable egg size for your region of the world using my Egg Size and Weight International Comparison Chart.
Mixing and whisking tips
- When whisking the eggs and sugar, it is important to set the LARGE Pyrex Bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. However, make absolutely sure that the base of the bowl is NOT touching the water.
- Do not stop WHISKING until the eggs and sugar have almost tripled in volume. This can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient. Getting air into the mix at this stage is essential for the Chocolate Genoise (which has no other leavening) to rise.
- Remember to SIFT the flour and cocoa before it is added to the mix. It can be sifted straight into the bowl… While some recipes advise sifting several times, I have never found it makes much difference to the final sponge.
- Add the melted butter by drizzling it around the edges of the bowl (rather than as a single ‘pool’). This supports a lighter and more even folding process.
- Fold LIGHT and HIGH to keep as much air in the mix as possible. And be sure to use a large metal spoon or a Silicone Spatula Spoon.
- But be careful not to over-fold! The folding is finished when there is no more obvious flour or butter visible.
Tips for baking gluten free Chocolate Genoise Sponge
- Most importantly… Be careful not to over-bake. The top should JUST spring back if gently pressed and a Cake Tester will come out clean. Remember however that the cake will continue to bake for a short time with the heat of the tin after being removed from the oven… So keep a very close eye, especially in the final stages of baking and definitely don’t let the edges ‘catch’ and start to burn.
- After removing from the oven, allow the sponge to cool in the tin for 5 to 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Carefully remove the backing paper.
- It is also important to cover the cooling cake with a clean tea towel to ensure it stays moist.
Can I use an alternative sponge base to make Strawberry Mousse Cake?
Technically a Strawberry Mousse Cake can be made with ANY sponge… Chocolate or not. However, using Genoise sponge gives a lightness that is unlikely to be equalled by using a basic sponge cake. If chocolate isn’t your thing, then it’s fine to use my plain Genoise Trifle Sponges Recipe (at about two-thirds the amount).
Alternatively… For a ‘heavier’ sponge, my ‘go to’ Gluten Free Chocolate Cake will make for a different dessert experience. Or try the sponge recipe used for my naturally gluten free Squidgy Chocolate Cake.
Can I make this Mousse Cake using different fruit?
Yes. If you don’t fancy a Strawberry Mousse Cake, then it’s fine to sub the strawberries for an alternative. You may need to leave off the fruit border (depending on the fruit used), but otherwise, it’s a reasonably straightforward switch. Just be sure to simmer (with a little sugar) in a pan to reduce the liquid. And blend well before adding into the mousse mix. If using a fruit that has a lot of pips (such as raspberries or blackberries), or a very fibrous skin, I would recommend additionally pushing any purée through a sieve for a smoother mousse. Good alternative fruits would be…
- Blackberry, raspberry, tayberry, loganberry.
- Nectarine or peach
Is this Strawberry Mousse Cake Recipe safe for Coeliacs (Celiacs)?
Providing the Strawberry Mousse Cake is made with a gluten free sponge, then yes… It is safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease). By that, I mean one that is made using a gluten free flour blend. I use my Gluten Free Alchemist white baking flour Blend A (which can be found at the bottom of my ‘What is Gluten Free Flour?’ page)… However, any good alternative flour blend should work fine.
As with all gluten free cooking, it remains important to check ingredient labels for risk of cross-contamination or ‘may contain’ warnings (see my page on Coeliac Disease + Food for more information).
If you are not gluten free, then it’s fine to make the genoise sponge using a standard recipe.
One of the great things about making a Strawberry Mousse Cake for dessert is that it can be made ahead of time. Providing you have the fridge space to store it, it will last well for a couple of days after the mousse has been added to the tin (and providing the strawberries used for the border were fresh and nicely firm). I would, however, leave it in the tin (which should be side-lined with baking paper) until the day of serving, to ensure the best freshness is maintained.
If choosing to serve the mousse cake just after making, I would still advise getting ahead with the strawberry purée, as this needs to cool completely and preferably be chilled, before being whisked into the Mascarpone.
Equally, the chocolate genoise will need to be cold before topping with the strawberries and mousse, so is best made with a little foresight.
Do I need any special equipment to make Strawberry Mousse Cake?
In addition to the large Pyrex Bowl, saucepan, hob and fridge already mentioned, you’ll need a few other bits of equipment to make your Strawberry Mousse Cake…
- Some accurate kitchen scales are always essential… These are the scales I use.
- An 8-inch or 9-inch loose-bottomed, extra deep spring form cake tin.
- A high-powered robust electric hand whisk. (This is important… there’s a LOT of whisking involved. And that includes over a pan of simmering water).
- Blender (stand blender or immersion blender) for making the strawberry purée.
- A wire rack for cooling the cake.
How to store Strawberry Mousse Cake
Strawberry Mousse Cake can be stored for two to three days in the fridge. It MUST be refrigerated however and I would advise that if possible, it is in an airtight container to avoid any fridge smells being absorbed and to keep it moist. It can be served direct from the fridge.
Strawberry Mousse cake is NOT suitable for freezing.
Ready to make my recipe for Gluten Free Strawberry Mousse Cake?
And that’s it! The recipe for my Strawberry Mousse Cake with a Gluten Free Chocolate Genoise Sponge can be found if you scroll down a little further. Enjoy!
If you do make it, let me know. I love hearing about and seeing your gluten free creations. Simply leave a comment at the bottom, rate the recipe or tag me into your delicious photos on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
For all our other recipes, head over to the Gluten Free Recipe Index… And browse our deliciousness and inspiration!
Other delicious gluten free fruity desserts at Gluten Free Alchemist
Strawberry Mousse Cake with a Gluten Free Chocolate Genoise Sponge
- 8 inch/20 cm deep non stick springform cake tin (or 9 inch for a larger, less deep cake)
- small heat-proof glass (Pyrex) bowl
- oven + hob
- large heat-proof mixing bowl
- large saucepan
- Electric hand whisk
- large metal spoon or silicone spatula-spoon
- cake tester
- sharp vegetable knife
- Small saucepan
- 70 g plain gluten free flour blend sifted. eg GFA baking blend A – See NOTES
- 20 g cocoa powder sifted
- pinch fine sea salt
- ¼ scant tsp xanthan gum – OPTIONAL ➔ If using GFA Blend A flour, this isn't really needed, but for some more rice-based flours, it will be necessary to provide greater structure.
- 40 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) melted
- 100 g white caster sugar (super-fine sugar)
- 3 large eggs UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 600 g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 300 g double cream (heavy cream)
- 500 g Mascarpone Cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 70 g icing sugar powdered/confectioners sugar
- 300 g fresh strawberries approx weight (to line tin) of even size, hulled/de-stalked and cut in half vertically
Chocolate Ganache Decoration
- 40 g dark chocolate good quality – chopped
- 40 g double cream (heavy cream)
- Prepare the non-stick baking tin, by base-lining with baking paper and lightly rubbing the inside with a little butter.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- In a bowl or container, weigh and thoroughly mix together the flour, cocoa, salt and xanthan gum (if required). Set aside.
- In a small heat-proof bowl, melt the butter (in a microwave (covered), set to medium on 30 second bursts). Set aside.
- Get ready a large heat-proof bowl and a large saucepan with an inch or two of water (over which the bowl sits snugly, but doesn't touch the water).
- Bring the water to a very low simmer.
- Weigh the sugar and crack the eggs into the large heat-proof bowl and whisk continually using an electric hand whisk (set over the barely simmering water) for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Keep whisking until the mixture is pale, has almost tripled in volume and a lasting trail (of a few seconds) can be formed on the surface when the whisk is lifted.
- Remove from the heat, before sifting the flour-cocoa mix across the surface and gently drizzling the melted butter around the edge of the bowl.
- Quickly and gently fold the dry ingredients and butter into the mixture using light and high sweeps with a large spoon (in a circular folding motion), retaining as much air as possible. Fold until the mixture is even, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and very gently smooth the surface.
- Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until well-risen. The top should just spring back when pressed and a cake skewer inserted will come out clean. Keep a close eye and check minute by minute at the end to be sure it isn't over-baked.
- Leave the sponge to cool in the tin for 5 to 10 minutes, before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. To ensure moisture is retained, cover with a clean tea towel while cooling.
- Wash and dry the baking tin as it will be needed again.
Strawberry Puree (for the mousse) – This may be done ahead of time
- Hull the strawberries for the mousse (600g) and cut into quarters.
- Place in a saucepan with the caster sugar and set on the hob over a low heat.
- Stir frequently until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries have started to release their juice.
- Continue to heat and stir, crushing the strawberries against the side of the pan as they soften.
- Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the simmering strawberries have reduced a little, then remove from the heat and cool completely.
- Once cool, blend into a smooth puree using either a stick or stand blender. Set aside in the fridge to chill.
- Base-line the clean baking tin with a fresh circle of baking parchment and line the inside of the tin with a strip of baking paper as well.
- Place the chocolate genoise sponge base back into the tin.
- Carefully place a ring of halved strawberries around the inside of the cake tin, sitting on top of the sponge base and facing cut side outwards.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cream for the mousse with 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the Mascarpone with the cold strawberry puree, vanilla and remaining icing sugar until well-blended and smooth.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the blended strawberry mixture.
- Spoon the mousse onto the sponge base and spread into an even layer and so that it fills around the top of the strawberry-lined sides.
- Place in the fridge to set (2 to 4 hours).
- When fully set, carefully remove the mousse cake from the tin by releasing the clips and lifting off the outer rim, before carefully removing the baking paper surround. Transfer the cake to a serving plate ready for decorating.
Decorating with Ganache
- Place the chopped chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan set over a low heat until JUST starting to form simmer bubbles at the edges. Do not let it come to the boil.
- Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.
- Prod the chocolate to ensure it is below the surface of the cream and leave to stand for 2 to 3 minutes so that the chocolate starts to melt.
- Gently stir the cream and chocolate until the chocolate has completely melted and the ganache is smooth, shiny and even.
- Set aside at room temperature, gently stirring intermittently until the ganache is completely cool and has reached a good consistency for drizzling.
- Decorate the top of the mousse cake with drizzles of ganache and finish with a couple of extra fresh strawberries.
- Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist