Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Junior’s has been making this cake for a long time. The idea is simple: take their famous cheesecake but skip the sponge cake layer-you don’t need it for this one. Whip up a chocolate mousse from heavy cream and the best bittersweet or semisweet chocolate you can fund. Then spoon a traditional chocolate ganache over all and decorate with mini chips. Junior’s covers the sides with the chips, but I’ve found it’s easier to put them on top.

NotesThe Junior’s Way

Freeze the cooled cheesecake, which has been crowned with the chocolate mousse, for at least 41 hours before frosting if with the ganache. This makes frosting so much easier, because the ganache sets up quickly on the icy-cold cake, instead of falling off the sides. Use a metal icing spatula (the type that’s 8 to 12 inches long and about 1½ inches wide). First, warm it under hot running water, then dry it with paper towels. This gives lust enough heat to smooth out the sides and level the top quickly without melting the mousse. Pay special attention to-the place where the cheesecake and mousse lavers meet. Your cake will now have that professional Junior’s look.

Cooking Methodbaking


Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer, springform pan

Taste and Texturechocolatey, creamy, rich, sweet

Type of Dishcake, cheesecake, chocolate dessert, dessert


  • Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored granulated gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 3 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Traditional Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Marshmallow Fluff® (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.

  2. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

  3. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top of the cake is slightly golden tan, about 1¼ hours. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away-don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold and set, about 4 hours.

  4. Meanwhile, make the chocolate mousse. Place the gelatin in a heatproof measuring cup, stir in the cold water, and let stand until thickened. Cook in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds or over a pan of simmering water for about 1 minute, until completely melted. Set aside to cool. Melt the chocolate and let cool.

  5. In a large bowl, whip the cream with the mixer on high until soft peaks form. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar and vanilla. Blend in the cooled melted chocolate until the white streaks disappear and the cream begins to form peaks in the bowl. Now beat in the dissolved gelatin all at once. Watch carefully and do not over beat at this stage (the cream might curdle if you do). Stop the mixer when stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  6. Remove the cake from the refrigerator, leaving it in the pan. Spoon the mousse on top of the cake (it will come up almost to the top of the pan) and spread it out to the edges with a metal spatula. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze the cake until the mousse is firm and completely cold, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.

  7. To decorate, make the chocolate ganache and place in the freezer until chilled and thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the freezer and let it stand at room temperature about 5 minutes. Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate (use one that can go into the freezer). Warm a metal icing spatula by holding it under hot running water. Dry it on paper towels.

  8. Frost the top of the cake with the ganache, smoothing it out with the spatula. With a small spoon, make some drips of ganache on the sides. Sprinkle the chocolate chips in a 2-inch border around the top edge of the cake and mound up a few chips in the center. Return to the freezer (don’t cover) until the ganache is set and cold, about another hour. Keep the cake in the freezer until 2 hours before you’re planning to serve it, then transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw, so you can slice it easily. For a special Junior’s touch, spoon some marshmallow fluff on top, leaving some of the chocolate mousse peeking through. Slice with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate. Do not refreeze.


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