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Recipe: Chocolate Layered Mousse Cake

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Note: This recipe makes two 9 x 5 x 5-inch layer cakes

INGREDIENTS
one box mix chocolate cake, 9 x 13-inch size (baked ahead of time)

for the mousse:
one 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs milk (see hints below)
1 Tbs gelatin powder
1 cup milk
3 cups heavy cream, whipped
sliced strawberries as needed (see hints below)
toasted salted almonds as needed (see hints below)

PROCEDURE
Plan ahead and bake one 9 x 13-inch box mix chocolate cake and cool to room temperature.

To make the mousse add one 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips to a mixing bowl.

Add 3 Tbs milk to another smaller bowl, sprinkle on 1 Tbs powdered gelatin and whisk that in.

Heat 1 cup of milk on the stovetop and, just as the milk comes to a simmer, turn the heat down and whisk in the gelatin mixture.

Then pour the hot milk over the chocolate chips and whisk that until smooth.

The chocolate needs to cool down completely to room temperature and, at some point while that's happening, use an electric mixer to whip 3 cups heavy cream.

Once the chocolate has cooled down, slowly add it to the whipped cream in stages, carefully folding it together with a rubber spatula as you go.

Next, use plastic wrap to completely line two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans, overlapping the edges with the wrap. And then, cut the prebaked and cooled cake crosswise into thirds.

Use a wide spatula to carefully remove one third of the cake from the pan and cut it in half from top to bottom and carefully place one half into each loaf pan.

Top each one with 1/4 of the chocolate mousse, cut another third of the cake in half and place that into the pans on top of the mousse.

Add the rest of the mousse and finish with the third layer of cake.

Firmly press the cakes down into the mousse and then put a tight layer of plastic wrap over the top and place the pans into the refrigerator to set up.

After at least 3 to 4 hours, carefully turn the cake out onto a cutting board, slice and serve with sliced strawberries and toasted salted almonds!

HINTS
You can cut the mousse recipe in half and make just one 9 x 5-inch layer cake but you will have half of the baked chocolate cake leftover.

Use 2 Tbs brandy instead of the 3 Tbs of milk to bloom the gelatin.

Toast the sliced almonds in a medium hot pan on the stovetop in 1 to 2 tsp vegetable oil until lightly toasted, salt to taste and take out of pan to cool.

Toss sliced strawberries with a little sugar if you like.

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