I am aware of the fact that I mention my passion and admiration for French patisserie quite often here on the blog. Many of my recipes are French inspired and I often publish petite cake recipes. It is because I really really like it and I want to share my passion for French patisserie with you my dear readers. I want to share that an amateur pastry chef - such as me - can make pretty looking and of course delicious petite gâteaux. It is not that complicated as it might seem like and it does not necessarily require any special kitchen tools for making little exquisite cakes. The only important thing you need to keep in mind is time. Allow enough time to make the cakes because the cakes - in particular mousse cakes - often need to be in the freezer for a couple of hours. Some petite gateaux takes more time than others but if you plan the preparation time wisely it takes less time than you think.
Well, lets talk about the cake I would like to introduce you today: it is a very chocolaty little cake. The cakes consist of a brownie bottom, a very creamy and light chocolate noisette / nougat mousse and a chocolate mirror glaze decorated with ground hazelnut brittle. It is a decadent and definietly rich cake but it is incredible delicious. It is a dream cake for any chocolate lover.
When I made the cakes for the first time I decorated the cakes with ground brittle because I thought it it looked pretty. I still think that the britle makes a beautiful decoration but it is more than decoration. The brittle gives the cake a nice crunch and is a delicious contrast to the creamy mousse and soft brownie bottom. Do not omit the brittle because it is more than decoration.
Happy baking time and bon apétit!

NOTE:  I have difficulties to find the right translation for the chocolate that I am using for the noisette mousse. In German it is called "Nougat", nougat, but is not the white chewy nougat that one might associate nougat with. The German variation of nougat consists of nuts (mostly hazelnuts), sugar, cocoa butter and mass. The consistency is mellow and it is more like a chocolate. I read that this kind of nougat is also called Wiener (Viennese) nougat. If you have a better explanation let me know
I used this noisette chocolate which is a German brand that is in particular known for its marzipan. It might be difficult to get hold of this chocolate. This brand might be easier to find but any German nougat chocolate works. Or feel free to contact me and I can help you out with nougat chocolate.

Update ( 17th August 2016): I got a lovely comment from Pia and she solved my problem. The "German nougat" that I tried to explain is gianduja/ gianduia chocolate. Thank you Pia!

Makes 8 little hemisphere cakes ( 7 cm / 2.75 inches in diameter)

Noisette Mousse

  • 50 g / 2 ounces chocolate (45 -50 %)
  • 75 g / 2 1/2 ounces noisette / nougat chocolate / gianduia chocolate, see my note above
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 sheet gelatin (1.5 g), soaked
  • 185 ml / 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Chop the chocolate and nougat chocolate finely. 
  • Pour the heavy cream into a saucepan and bring it almost to a boil. Set the saucepan aside and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, then add the gelatin and stir again until the gelatin is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature. 
  • In the meantime whip the heavy cream until it is creamy. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. 
  • Place hemisphere moulds on a flat plate or board. I use moulds that are 7 cm / 2.75 inches in diameter. Fill the hemisphere moulds 2/3 with the mousse. Freeze the moulds for at least 6 hours or overnight. 

Brownie Bottom

  • 100 g / 3 1/2 ounces chocolate (70 %)
  • 150 g / 1 stick butter and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 145 g / 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon strong coffee, cold
  • 2 eggs (medium size)
  • 75 g / 3/4 cup pastry flour, sifted
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 F°. 
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a cake frame on the baking sheet ( the size of the pan: 22 cm 22 cm / 8.5 inches x 8.5 inches).
  • Place chocolate and butter in a saucepan and melt over low medium heat. Stir occasionally, so the chocolate does not burn. 
  • In the meantime add eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk with an egg whisk for a minute. 
  • Add the butter chocolate mixture (make sure it is lukewarm and not hot) to the egg sugar mixture and mix well. Add the flour to the mixture and stir until the flour is just combined. Do not overmix the brownie batter. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. 
  • Bake the brownie for 8 to 10 minutes. 
  • Let the brownie cool completely. Cut out circles, with a round cookie cutter, in the size of your hemisphere moulds (mine have a diameter of 7 cm / 2.75 inches).

Chocolate Glaze

  • 95 g 3 1/2 ounces milk chocolate
  • 30 g / 1 ounce dark chocolate (70 %)
  • 25 ml / 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 10 g / 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 sheet gelatin (1/2 g), soaked
  • Chop milk and dark chocolate very finely. 
  • Add heavy cream, maple syrup and water in a saucepan and bring the mixture almost to a boil. Set the saucepan aside and add the finely chopped chocolate. Mix until the chocolate is melted and add the gelatin to it. Stir the mixture until smooth. If the mixture is very thick, add a few drops of water and mix again. 
  • If you do not use the glaze right away, pour the glaze into a jar and let it cool to room temperature. Cover the jar with a lit and store in the fridge. You can keep the glaze for a few days in the fridge. If you want to use the glaze right away, let the glaze cool until it is lukewarm. 


  • Ground hazelnut brittle for decoration
  • If you made the glaze in advance, place the glaze (it has a very thick consistency) in a saucepan and gently reheat the glaze. If the glaze is too thick (which often happens when stored for a few days in the fridge) add a little bit of water to it. 
  • Pour the glaze into a jug (I use a measuring jug) because than it is easier to pour the glaze over teh cakes. When glazing the cake it is important that the glaze is lukewarm and not hot. 
  • I recommend not glazing all cakes at once. Glaze three or four mousse cakes at a time, so you can make sure that the cakes are frozen. The glaze thickens up over time. If this happens to you, do not worry. Reheat the glaze again. 
  • Unmould the mousse cakes and place each hemisphere cake onto a brownie circle. Place the frozen cakes on a wire rack and place a deep plate under the wire rack in order to catch the excess glaze and so you can reuse the glaze again.
  • Pour the glaze over the frozen the cakes. Make sure that the mousse cakes are frozen when pouring the glaze over the cakes. 
  • Sprinkle the lower part of the cakes with ground brittle. 
  • Carefully place each cake on a cake board and let it defrost in the fridge.