Small Batch Recipes For Baked Goods And Desserts

Berry Mousse Genoise Layer Cake

This Berry Mousse Genoise Layer Cake is an easier take on a classic Charlotte Russe cake.  Layers of soft Genoise sponge cakes are topped with a homemade berry jam, and filled with a mixed berry mousse filling.   

Genoise layer cake with a berry mousse filling

Berry Mousse Genoise Layer Cake

I have 3 words to say about this cake – GIVE ME MORE!  This Berry Mousse Genoise Layer Cake is made from soft Genoise sponge cake, it is not too sweet, and the berry mousse filling could be eaten right out of the bowl!  

It is nice to have a cake recipe in your lineup that is a refreshing alternative to fluffy yellow cake with buttercream frosting.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love a classic yellow cake, but this particular cake is pretty impressive. 

This recipe is adapted from the Raspberry Charlotte recipe in the America’s Test Kitchen: The Perfect Cake Cookbook.

What Is A Charlotte Cake

If you have made a Charlotte Cake before, some of this will be familiar, and if you have not, Google the Charlotte Russe Cake and you will see where I adapted my recipe from. 

The classic Charlotte cake is more of an ‘icebox’ cake.  Where pieces of cake are set in a mold, then a mousse filling is poured into that mold.  Most notably, the cake part is Ladyfingers.  However, there are many recipe interpretations of the Charlotte, and the one constant is a mousse-type filling.  

What Is The Difference With This Recipe And A Classic Charlotte

  1. Easier Assembly – For this recipe, I want an easier cake to assemble and for the berry mousse to be the star of the show.  And a classic layer-style cake accomplishes this.  So, no arranging cakes in a mold here!
  2. Different Cake – Rather than using Ladyfingers, I want a cake that is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the berry mousse.  Which is why we use Genoise sponge cake layers for this recipe.  
A slice of berry layer cake on a plate

What Is A Genoise Sponge Cake?

Glad you asked.  The Genoise originated in France and is the French equivalent to a classic yellow cake in America. 

Some sponge cakes use leavening agents to help the cake rise (i.e. baking powder).  But, for the Genoise, eggs are the only leavener.  The eggs are whipped with  sugar until they triple their volume, which gives the cake rise. 

Making a Genoise cake is completely different than your traditional yellow cake, and there are some technical steps to perfecting it.   

  1. The consistency of the eggs and sugar when mixed – The method for achieving optimal results for the egg and sugar mix is called ‘ribboning’.  This refers to what the drips of batter look like when you pull the whisk from the batter.  When the batter reaches this stage, you have successfully incorporated the right amount of air into the mix.  The fluffy egg mixture will help the cake to rise.  
  2. When to add the melted butter – First:  Add some of the cake batter to the melted butter.  Second:  Very carefully fold the butter mixture back into the remaining cake batter.  The reason for such caution is we don’t want to deflate the eggs in your batter.  Deflated batter can result in a flat, dense cake.
Top view of berry mousse layer cake with fresh berries

Tips For Making The Berry Mousse Cake

Preparation Tips

  1. Read ALL of the ingredients and instructions first – Before you even get started, you will want to make sure you know what step to expect next.  
  2. Gather everything you need for each part of the cake first – Have all of your ingredients, equipment, and instructions in an accessible place.  There is nothing more frustrating when you have to run around the kitchen mid-preparation to get what you need.
  3. Make the jam ahead of time if you can – Jam can be refrigerated days ahead of time.   

Mousse Filling Tips

  1. The mousse starts out as a berry curd – The berries will get cooked down with sugar.  Then they get mixed with egg yolks and cornstarch, which makes a berry pudding.  What makes the filling a mousse is the addition of whipped cream to the berry pudding.
  2. Take your time – The mousse filling is probably the most laborious part of this recipe.  I make the the first part of the mousse filling – cooking down the berries – after I make the jam (if I make the jam the same day).  This allows the cooked berries to come to room temperature.  And it is ok if it sits for  while you prepare the next steps.  
  3. Part 2 of making the mousse filling – Make and fold in the whipped cream into the cooked berries while the cakes bake and cool.  Now that the cakes are in the oven, your stand-mixer is available to make the whipped cream!

Cake Tips

  1. Use cake flour – The finer consistency of cake flour makes for a tender crumb.  Although, if all you have is all-purpose flour, that should work fine.  
  2. Sift the flour – This is a must for a smooth and silky batter.  And yes, sift it twice. 
  3. Room temperature eggs – Eggs whip up better when they are at room temperature.
  4. Take your time – Whipping the eggs to ribbon stage will take a few minutes.  The eggs triple in size and the mixture will look like a loose whipped cream.  And when you lift the whisk out of the batter, the strands of batter that fall will look like ribbons sitting on top of the batter.
  5. GENTLY fold in the flour – We don’t want to waste all that time it took to get the air into the eggs!  So, carefully fold the flour into the egg batter.
  6. Don’t skip adding a LITTLE of the batter into the butter – This step essentially ‘tempers’ the melted butter so it doesn’t deflate the batter.

This will be a cake that you will savor every bite of!

More Beautiful Cake Recipes

A slice of layer cake with creamy fruit filling and fresh fruit

Berry Mousse Genoise Layer Cake

This Berry Mousse Cake is an easier take on a classic Charlotte Russe cake.  Layers of soft Genoise sponge cakes are topped with a homemade berry jam and filled with a mixed berry mousse filling.   
Prep40 mins
Cook25 mins
Cooling Time4 hrs
Total5 hrs 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 8-Inch Layer Cake
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss

Equipment

  • 2 – 8-Inch Round Cake Pans

Ingredients

Mousse Filling

  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 pound (3 and 1/4 cups) fresh or thawed frozen berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups heavy cream

Berry Jam

  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup seedless mixed berry jam (raspberry or blackberry works if you cannot find mixed berry)

Genoise Cake

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 and 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Mousse Filling – Part 1

  • In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch until combined.  
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, sugar, butter, and salt.  Mash with a whisk and stir until no dry sugar remains.  Cover over medium heat, whisking frequently until mixture is simmering and the fruit is almost completely broken down – about 4 – 6 minutes. 
  • Temper the eggs to make berry curd – Remove the fruit mixture from the heat and while whisking constantly, slowly stream about half of the fruit into the egg yolk mixture to temper.  Whisking constantly, return the tempered egg mixture to the remaining fruit mixture in the saucepan.  Return the saucepan to medium heat and continue to whisk and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles – about 1 minute.  
  • Strain the fruit mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over the gelatin mixture.  Press on the fruit solids with a spatula or the soup ladle until only the seeds remain.  Scrape the underside of the strainer to make sure all of the strained fruit is in the bowl.   Discard seeds and stir the fruit mixture with the gelatin until the gelatin is dissolved.
  • Set aside, stirring occasionally, until the curd is lightly thickened and reaches room temperature – at least 30 minutes or up to 1 and 1/2 hours.  

Jam

  • In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice.  Let sit until the gelatin softens – about 5 minutes.
  • In a microwave-safe dish, microwave the jam whisking occasionally, until the jam is hot and fluid – about 30-60 seconds.  Add softened gelatin to jam and whisk until dissolved and set aside.

Genoise Cake

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Lightly grease 2, 8-inch round cake pans.  Fit the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper. Grease and flour the the pans.   
  • On a piece of wax paper, sift the cake flour.  Return the sifted flour to the sifter and add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and sift back onto the wax paper. Set aside.  
  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave – about 20 seconds.  Set aside.
  • In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs and remaining sugar.  Use the whisk attachment from the mixer to combine the ingredients by hand first.
  • Attach the whisk attachment to the stand mixer and mix the eggs on medium speed until the batter is airy, pale and has tripled in volume (it will resemble soft whipped cream) – about 4-5 minutes.  You will know that the eggs are properly whipped when you lift the whisk and the batter falls back into the bowl in a 'ribbon' that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds.   If the 'ribbon' immediately sinks to the mixture, continue to whip for a few more minutes.  Add the vanilla extract during the last moments of mixing.
  • Detach the mixing bowl from the mixer.  Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour mixture over the batter.  Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the flour stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated.
  • In 2 more additions, sprinkle and gently fold in the remaining flour.    
  • Temper the butter – Spoon about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl of melted butter.  Using the rubber spatula, fold the butter into the batter.  Then transfer this mixture back to the batter in the mixing bowl and very gently, fold until incorporated.  The batter is extremely fragile at this point, so be sure to fold very, very gently so the eggs do not deflate.
  • Carefully pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.  Bake immediately for 25-27 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched, and the cake starts to come away from the sides of the pan.   
  • Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes.  
  • To remove the cake from the pan, test if it is ready first.  Gently tap the pan on the countertop.  If the cake does not appear to release from the sides of the pan, run a knife around the outside of the cake.   Invert the cake onto the cooling rack and remove the pan and slowly peel off the parchment paper.  Cover the cake with another cooling rack and invert again.  Let the cake cool completely right side up.

Mousse Filling – Part 2

  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a handheld mixer, mix the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  • Transfer 1/3 of the whipped cream to the fruit filling.  Whisk gently until the mixture is lightened.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream with a spatula, until fully incorporated and no whipped cream streaks remain.

Assembling the Cake

  • Set one layer of cake on a cake platter.  Spread half of the jam mixture on top of the cake all the way to the edges. Next, take half of the mousse and spread on evenly to the edges. The mousse will be sturdy and should be spread on thick.  Top with the second cake layer and spread on the remaining jam. Top with the remaining mousse and smooth out the top, and any mousse the spilled out of the sides, with an offset spatula or the back of the spoon.  
  • Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours, to allow the mousse to set.  Serve the cake at room temperature. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Preparation Tips
    1. Read ALL of the ingredients and instructions first – Before you even get started, you will want to make sure you know what step to expect next.  
    2. Gather everything you need for each part of the cake first – Have all of your ingredients, equipment, and instructions in an accessible place.  There is nothing more frustrating when you have to run around the kitchen mid-preparation to get what you need.
    3. Make the jam ahead of time if you can – Jam can be refrigerated days ahead of time.   
    Mousse Filling Tips
    1. The mousse starts out as a berry curd – The berries will get cooked down with sugar.  Then they get mixed with egg yolks and cornstarch, which makes a berry pudding.  What makes the filling a mousse is the addition of whipped cream to the berry pudding.
    2. Take your time – The mousse filling is probably the most laborious part of this recipe.  I make the the first part of the mousse filling – cooking down the berries – after I make the jam (if I make the jam the same day).  This allows the cooked berries to come to room temperature.  And it is ok if it sits for  while you prepare the next steps.  
    3. Part 2 of making the mousse filling – Make and fold in the whipped cream into the cooked berries while the cakes bake and cool.  Now that the cakes are in the oven, your stand-mixer is available to make the whipped cream!
    Cake Tips
    1. Use cake flour – The finer consistency of cake flour makes for a tender crumb.  Although, if all you have is all-purpose flour, that should work fine.  
    2. Sift the flour – This is a must for a smooth and silky batter.  And yes, sift it twice. 
    3. Room temperature eggs – Eggs whip up better when they are at room temperature.
    4. Take your time – Whipping the eggs to ribbon stage will take a few minutes.  The eggs triple in size and the mixture will look like a loose whipped cream.  And when you lift the whisk out of the batter, the strands of batter that fall will look like ribbons sitting on top of the batter.
    5. GENTLY fold in the flour – We don’t want to waste all that time it took to get the air into the eggs!  So, carefully fold the flour into the egg batter.
    6. Don’t skip adding a LITTLE of the batter into the butter – This step essentially ‘tempers’ the melted butter so it doesn’t deflate the batter.
Keywords Genoise, Layer Cake, Mixed Berry, Mousse, Standard Size Cake
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