Dark chocolate, coconut & passion fruit mousse cake

Dark chocolate, coconut & passion fruit mousse cake

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(4 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 45 mins plus cooling and at least 4 hrs chilling

A challenge

Serves 12

Sandwich our best ever chocolate sponge with a fruity coconut mousse and smother in a rich ganache for a stunning party centrepiece

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal744
  • fat53g
  • saturates26g
  • carbs52g
  • sugars36g
  • fibre4g
  • protein9g
  • salt1.2g
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    For the chocolate sponges

    • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
    • 200g plain flour
    • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

    • 280g light brown soft sugar
    • 200ml buttermilk
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

    • 100ml strong coffee or espresso
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    To decorate

    • 4 tbsp coconut rum liqueur (I used Malibu)
      Dark rum cocktail with a lime slice



      Rum is a type of spirit based on sugar cane. First produced in the 1600s on slave plantations in…

    • toasted coconut shavings, to serve (optional)

    For the passion fruit & coconut mousse

    • 6 gelatine leaves
    • 6 ripe passion fruits (the skin should be crinkled when ripe)
    • 160g can coconut cream
    • 85g golden caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp coconut rum liqueur
      Dark rum cocktail with a lime slice



      Rum is a type of spirit based on sugar cane. First produced in the 1600s on slave plantations in…

    • 300ml pot double cream

    For the chocolate ganache

    • 200g dark chocolate, around 70% cocoa solids, finely chopped
      Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

      Dark chocolate

      dahk chok-o-let

      Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

    • 300ml pot double cream


    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.

    2. Measure the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a jug. Add the egg and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool. These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.

    3. To make the mousse, put the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water, one at a time, so they don’t stick together. Set aside for 5 mins to soften. Scoop the pulp and seeds from the passion fruit into a sieve suspended over a bowl, and push through the juice – you should have about 100ml. Put 1 tbsp of the seeds in a small bowl and set aside. Save 2 small empty passion fruit halves and discard the rest.

    4. Pour the coconut cream, passion fruit juice and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut rum liqueur. Add the gelatine to the hot liquid, a leaf at a time, squeezing out the water before you add them. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Fill each reserved passion fruit half with some of the mixture, place in a small dish and chill until needed. Leave the remaining mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour the double cream into a large bowl and whip until it’s holding its shape. Add half the passion fruit mixture, fold together, then add the remaining mixture and fold through again.

    5. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of cling film. Slice each sponge in half through the middle and drizzle each layer with 1 tbsp coconut rum liqueur. Place one of the layers into the tin, flat-side down, and spread with a third of the passion fruit mousse – don’t worry if a little trickles down the sides. Layer the remaining sponges and mousse on top, finishing with a layer of cake. Cover the top of the cake with cling film and chill for at least 4 hrs, or preferably overnight.

    6. When the cake has chilled and the mousse is set, turn out onto a cake stand, so the base now becomes the top, and remove the cling film. Using a palette knife, scrape any passion fruit mousse off the edges of the cake, to give it a smooth surface. Place the cake back in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.

    7. Put the chocolate and cream in a pan and gently heat, stirring now and then, to make a runny chocolate sauce. Leave to firm up at room temperature until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

    8. Remove the cake from the fridge. Spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake with a palette knife until completely covered. Decorate with a ring of toasted coconut shavings, if you like. Remove the filled passion fruit shells from the fridge and place these on top too, topped with the reserved passion fruit seeds. Chill until ready to serve, but bring out of the fridge 1 hr before slicing (don’t forget to serve the passion fruit jellies to your favourite guests too). Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 days.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    naomibrook01's picture
    2nd Nov, 2017
    Such a great cake! Never done anything quite so technical before and found it pretty straight forward. I added some mango as my passionfruits weren't all ripe. Plus used vegetarian gelatine and it worked out great!
    cakengifts.in's picture
    18th Apr, 2017
    Best combination (chocolate + coconut), thank you for sharing this nice article. I love this recipe very much.
    18th Feb, 2016
    Fantastic the office loved it, Im just about to make it again.
    5th Feb, 2016
    Delicious according to my husbands work colleagues, easy to make kids loved it to. Thanks.
    26th Aug, 2015
    What would people recommend as an alternative to the coffee as I really dislike coffee
    15th Sep, 2015
    Hi julia_leonard, my recommendation is to use the coffee anyway. It's often used in chocolate cakes not as a coffee flavouring per se, rather as a way to increase the chocolati-ness of the chocolate cake! Feel the fear and do it anyway! Good luck :0)
    8th Jun, 2016
    I made this cake for my husband 's birthday and it turned out beautiful. My brother even said it was the perfect came, the best he had ever tasted! I wanted to leave a tip for any vegetarians wanting to include the mousse. I put a small bag (the whole contents) of ' just ' brand raspberry flavour alternative to gelatine into a pan with the coconut cream, 100ml of raspberry juice and the sugar and liqueur (actually I used rum). I brought it to the boil and then left it to cool and thicken before folding in the whipped cream. Left it to set for a couple of hours and it worked very well sandwiching my sponges. I hope other bakers find this useful. I bought the veggie jelly from holland and Barrett.
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