Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cake
Get this show-stopper of a recipe for peanut butter chocolate mousse brownie cake. Rich, decadent, and totally amazing, plus it can be made ahead of time!
We’re not messing around today.
This cake is a little crazy. It’s slightly over-the-top. And yes, it’s absolutely one of the yummiest desserts I’ve ever tasted.
While this peanut butter chocolate mousse brownie cake does involve a few steps to get each of those luscious layers deliciously perfect, each step of the recipe is simple as can be.
Considering the whole peanut butter, chocolate, brownie thing is waaaaay high up on Brian’s list of favorite flavors, this is a no-brainer of a Father’s Day dessert for him. Athough I can see myself finding a million excuses to make this cake.
It’s hard to describe the happiness those light and fluffy layers of peanut butter and chocolate mousse piled on top of the rich, fudgy brownie bring to my life.
Of course on top and in between all that gloriousness is dreamy chocolate ganache and enough mini Reese’s peanut butter cups to feed a small army.
Speaking of an army, this peanut butter chocolate mousse brownie cake will serve about that. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your guests will need a huge honkin’ slice to be satisfied.
Even the slice I show in the picture above could probably have been cut a little thinner. Although I had no problem devouring it completely, just for the record.
Read through the recipe to get a grip on the steps involved. The cake can easily be made ahead of time but it requires a few chilling periods and probably a little self-control to make sure the mousse actually makes it onto the cake.
And I certainly don’t need to state this out loud (but of course I will), if you’re looking to stockpile some rock star points in the kitchen, this cake will most certainly do the trick.
One Year Ago: Banana Bars with Browned Butter Frosting
Two Years Ago: Brown Sugar Rhubarb Muffins with A Little Bit of Streusel On Top
Three Years Ago: Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cake
- 10 tablespoons 1 1/4 sticks of salted butter
- 1 ¼ cups (265 g) sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (71 g) all-purpose flour
- 12 ounce (340 g) bag mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped and cut in half
Peanut Butter Mousse:
- ¼ cup (57 g) cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup (38 g) powdered sugar
- ¾ cup (191 g) peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
- 9 ounces (255 g) semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks (or use good-melting chocolate chips)
- ¼ cup (57 g) cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup (85 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray.
- For the brownies, in a medium microwave-safe bowl (or in a pan on the stovetop), melt the butter, sugar and cocoa powder at 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is well-combined.
- Let the mixture cool to warm room temperature. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix until the batter is thick and smooth. Stir in the flour until combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until the brownie is set around the edges and only moist crumbs come out when a toothpick is inserted in the center (not wet batter). Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies cool completely (in the pan).
- Top the cooled brownie layer with about 20-22 of the mini Reese’s peanut butter cups that have been cut in half (so about 40 halves total on top of the brownie layer).
- For the peanut butter mousse, in a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer (or in an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth and lump-free. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until lightly and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the heavy cream and mix, starting on low speed so it doesn’t splatter everywhere, mix until well-combined. Add the remaining cup of cream and mix until the mixture is very thick, 4-5 minutes (UPDATE: according to many of your comments and depending on the type of mixer you are using, this may be too long! Stop mixing after it gets thick, even if it’s only after a minute or so). Dollop large spoonfuls of the peanut butter mousse over the mini peanut butter cups and brownie layer. Spread into an even layer. Refrigerate while making the chocolate mousse.
- For the chocolate mousse, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 1-minute intervals, 50% power, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a large bowl (I use the same one as the peanut butter mousse after I’ve quickly wiped it clean) with an electric handheld mixer (or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whip together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump-free. Add the vanilla extract and 1 cup of the heavy cream and mix, starting on slow speed so it doesn’t splatter, until smooth, 1 minute or so. Add the rest of the heavy cream and mix until thick and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
- When the chocolate is completely cool (this is critical! If it’s warm at all, it will make the mixture soupy – it should still be melted but cool to the touch), fold it into the whipped cream mixture using a large spoon or rubber spatula to gently stir the mixture up and over until it is well-combined. Whisking too quickly might deflate the whipped cream mixture.
- Spread the chocolate mousse evenly over the peanut butter mousse. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight).
- Run a long thin knife under hot water and wipe clean. Run the knife around the edge of the brownies to loosen from the sides of the pan. Undo the springform pan and lift off the sides. You can serve the cake on the base of the springform pan or use a wide spatula in between the parchment and pan bottom to lift off the cake and place on a serving platter.
- For the ganache, combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl (you can do this in a pan on the stovetop) and microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is glossy and smooth (it should only take a minute or so in the microwave). Let the mixture cool slightly so it isn’t super hot but is still pourable – slightly warm room temperature is fine. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake; it doesn’t need to cover the entire top and it’s ok if it drizzles down the side. It should look a bit rustic.
- Pile any extra peanut butter cups in the middle of the ganache. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or serve right away, the ganache will be a little soft and messy, but that’s ok). Use a long thin knife to cut into thin slices (running it under hot water and wiping clean can help with neat slices) for serving.
Recipe Source: inspired by this recipe at Life, Love and Sugar (used an easy homemade brownie recipe, made my own peanut butter and mousse layers and used ganache instead of frosting)
123 Comments on “Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cake”
Perfect again ! This is our second time making this cake and turned out amazing again. We don’t have 40 percent heavy cream in Canada so we use 33 percent whipping cream and still fabulous. We do whip the cream in a cold metal bowl separately for each mousse layer until stiff peaks and then whip just to combine (less than 20 seconds) with the peanut butter and the chocolate. For the chocolate mousse we use still warm and get some little speckles of hardened chocolate but less than when we let it cool completely – and is dreamy perfect ! This cake is my husband and 18 year old daughter’s fav recipe on this site and we have been cooking exclusively from Mel since my daughter was about 3- thanks Mel!❤️
You MUST whip your heavy cream separately for both the peanut butter and chocolate mousse and then fold in the cream cheese mixtures!!
I’ve made this recipe several times now, and I wish I could post pictures because it’s been gorgeous and smooth sailing each time! The chocolate does separate a bit when I incorporate it into the cream, but our family sees it as a positive more than anything. I’ve never had trouble with the peanut butter going in, and it turns out every single time. I guess I would say I’ve just gone with my gut. This recipe is so good, and incredibly rich… you want to eat a ton, but a tiny slice will see you through. We’ve fed at least 16 people with leftovers. Lol
Terrible recipe! I should have read the reviews, which I normally do. The peanut butter layer separates, even after I did a second batch and watched it carefully. The chocolate seized up when added to the hwc mixture, even tho it was completely cool. The portions have to be incorrect. I made this for my dil’s birthday tonight and have no time to make a new cake. Disappointed is an understatement!
Horrible! READ THE REVIEWS! I made this recipe just as written and had the EXACT same issues as everyone else! I watched the bowl like a hawk to make sure the peanut butter mousse did not get over whipped and yet it still turned out awful. I made sure the chocolate was perfectly cooled before adding it to the whipped cream and it still did not incorporate correctly! Infuriating! There is NO way this recipe truly has the 4.34 stars like the top of the page says it does – there are sooo many negative reviews! I only wish I had read the reviews before I started baking 🙁
I want to make this for my son’s birthday, but I’m pretty nervous after reading the reviews. Hmm…
Wow, you aren’t kidding that it’s rich! But totally worth it. 🙂 I did NOT use any of the peanut butter cups – would have been way too sweet for us. I didn’t have any issues with the peanut butter mousse – and it was delicious! Chocolate mousse was easy and yummy – but the chocolate did sieze up when folded in. Everyone actually like it that way, though. I did my brownie sugar free, and added espresso powder to the brownie, the chocolate mousse layer and the ganache – and some extra salt, which helped to cut the sweet and give an additional layer of flavor. Beautiful cake!
This is really delicious!
Five stars on taste 3 stars on difficulty that peanut butter mousse can be a nightmare.
Next time I make it I will only use one and a half cups of cream and stop as soon as that last 1/2 cup mixes in. The chocolate mousse was perfect the peanut butter separated after adding that last cup. however we still ate it and enjoyed it as a family. Giving it a whole night in the fridge really made it better I think.
Lots of good comments on the mouss the chocolate mousse instructions are perfect the peanut butter is tricky in the future I will only be adding one and a half cups of the cream.
If I can’t get the peanut butter mousse to turn out successfully I will probably scrap the peanut butter and make a mint mousse and add Andy’s mints and turn it into a mint chocolate brownie delight.
Going into making this recipe I had the full expectation it might not turn out and when it didn’t it definitely helped me not feel like it was a complete disaster! The first day the peanut butter mousse was pretty soft and questionable but throughout the week as we munched on it the dessert got better and better and it set fine and it wasn’t a problem to us. We could eat it and enjoy it as a family and if I never figure it out I’ll still make this dessert at least for my family!
This IS a showstopper! Oh my goodness people, I have made this for my peanut butter loving husband for this birthday, and for my sis in law for hers, and everyone raves about it! SO yummy! I hadn’t made mousse before and I did have to start over after my first try, but I think it’s just getting familiar with new things, my second try it was amazing and now its a special occasion favorite!
I was so nervous about making this dessert because of the reviews but mine turned out great! So here is what I did:
I could not find any cream with milk fat of 40% (I live in Canada) so I had to make due with 33% and mine turned out fine!
Peanut butter mousse: admittedly the first time I made this it turned out absolute trash so I had to throw it out and start over. What I learned? Because the peanut butter should already be mixed and fluffy before you add in the cream it is very easy to over mix it! Once I added the 1st cup of cream I only mixed it for approx 15 seconds, and the same for the second cup and it came out perfect. The first batch became grainy and runny because of over mixing it.
Chocolate mousse: the cream part took a bit longer to whip for this one. I say I only mixed it for about a maximum of 1 minute. It came out great and I made sure to only fold in the chocolate once it was room temperature.
Can’t wait to serve this later!
Show stopper dessert. Thanks, Mel!
I had the absolute worst time with this recipe to the point of tears. I am an experienced baker and had very similar issues as others with grainy peanut butter mouse and a chunky chocolate mousse. Followed the recipe to a tee, bought really high end ingredients and wasted my afternoon and money putting this together. I do not recommend this at all and Mel, I love your recipes. This one is a miss.
My peanut butter mousse was really lumpy and didn’t mix well. It also came out very oily. Do you know where I went wrong? The peanut butter I used was Dutch calve without added sugar and with very tiny pieces of nuts. I also hand mixed it. (The chocolate mousse came out great though!)
I think it might be the peanut butter you used. I’ve only ever used traditional peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy) – the texture of the peanut butter can make a difference. Is the PB you used grainy at all? Do you have to mix in a layer of oil before using?
I normally love all the recipes I make from MKC, and I’m a fairly experienced baker, but this recipe was just frustrating. I ended up making the peanut butter mousse layer twice, because the first time it didn’t turn out at all. The chocolate mousse layer also didn’t turn out, but I don’t have enough heavy cream to try again. Like another person who commented, the chocolate was cool when I tried to incorporate it into the whipped cream, but it didn’t incorporate and just created a chocolate chip whipped cream type of consistency.
I made the mistake of letting my daughter look at your website with me to pick her birthday dessert and she picked this! After reading reviews I was quite nervous. The peanut butter mousse turned out well but my chocolate mousse is more like a white moose with chocolate chips in it. Does that just mean my chocolate portion was not cool enough when I combined it? Because it’s like the chocolate hardened. I just used semi sweet chocolate chips so was it the type of chocolate I used that caused that to happen? It’s totally fine and I’m still using it just wondering what I did wrong.
Hey Jane, it seems like maybe the chocolate hardened when it hit the cream mixture for the chocolate mousse layer. Semisweet chocolate chips should be fine – what brand did you use?
Thanks for the response! I used toll house. Yeah it totally hardened. It tastes like chocolate chip mousse. Ha! It felt pretty cool to me before I combined it. Not cold but not very warm at all.
Can you use milk chocolate for the chocolate mousse layer, instead of semisweet?
I haven’t tried that but you could experiment!
Absolutely delicious!! Enormous success on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes, I brag about your work to every foodie I meet :))
I’ve made this amazing cake for my husband’s birthday 2 years in a row and now going into our third.
The flavor and different textures are amazing. Everybody loves it.
Thanks for a great recipe! You’ve made a lot of people in Paraguay happy.
This was absolutely delicious! I made it for my husband’s birthday and now every time someone else has a birthday, they request this cake! I found your directions easy to follow and everything turned out great the first time. I added swirls of peanut butter frosting in between peanut butter cups on the top of the ganache. Thanks for sharing!
I live in North Carolina and cannot find 40% milk fat cream! Can I use devin double cream?
I don’t know what that is, Celia – sorry! If there’s another brand of heavy whipping cream that has whipped up thick for you in the past – that should work!
I made this and it was fantastic. Everyone raved about it! I used full fat cream cheese. I whipped until thick, about 1 minute. I’ve over whipped heavy cream before so I knew to stop before it separated. I also made extra peanut butter mouse and put another layer on top of the chocolate mousse. The brownie recipe part was delicious and good enough to stand alone, so I’ll use that as my go to for brownies now too. I will definitely make this again!! Thanks Mel.
I tried making this dessert and every time I would try and add the heavy whipping cream to the peanut butter mixture it would start to seaparte and get liquidy. I used a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. I was upset because I followed this recipe to the T. Just was wondering what could’ve made it separate.
Ok so this was extremely awesome and everyone loved it and wanted more. BUT I swore I would never make it again because I had to make it multiple times. Like many others my mouse separated, or became grainy, or whatever you want to call it. I am a very experienced baker an I have used heavy whipping cream many times; but never mouse.
But my problem started with the peanut butter mixture. I mixed the first 3 ingredients (cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla) and it was creamy. As soon as I added the Jif, the mixture became chunky. Didn’t make sense – at all. As I added the whipping cream it started to become creamy so I thought I was going to be ok. I took 5 steps away from my mixing bowl to get the pan of brownie, returned to find a separated, grainy mixture!!! 🙁
I’ve made peanut butter cheesecakes, had no problem. So I read the reviews and started over and decided to mix them separately. Again when I mixed the peanut butter mixture and the chocolate mixture, they became chunky instead of remaining creamy. So I then added milk to them to make them creamy. I then whipped my whipping cream separately and added the peanut butter mixture to the whipped whipping cream and then the chocolate mixture to the whipping cream. In the end it turned out delish and wonderful.
I am wondering… I always use 1/3 less fat cream cheese when I bake – in my cheesecakes (when I use 3 bars of cream cheese) and everything else. It’s never makes a difference. Could that be the reason it didn’t work?
Hi Beth – thanks for your detailed review. Yes, using low fat cream cheese will definitely affect the consistency of the different layers. I, too, use lowfat cream cheese in a lot of recipes but never in this one. You aren’t the only one who has had issues with the mousse separating, though; I definitely think there’s that sweet spot of combining it but not overmixing.
Hi Beth –
I also used low fat cream cheese and it went smooth for me (7% fat cream cheese), but I used a different approach to preparing the mousses. You can read my comments below if that helps.
Mel: I think it would be a great idea to mention what type of cream cheese you recommend for the recipe, or at least the recommended fat percentage for the ingredients. For an example I used 7% fat cream cheese, 36% fat non-sweetened heavy whipping cream, 35% fat heavy cream, 24% fat cocoa powder and 82% fat butter. A lot of people reading these recipes might not be from the US (my case for example), and it’s really important to have an idea what ingredients to look for 🙂 I think for most cakes and sweets the % of fat from the ingredients could make a huge difference, specially for more complex recipies.
Hi Mel –
First of all thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. However I have had some issues with it. I did not have any issues with making the 2 types of mousse, but I had two other issues. The volume of my cake was huge, I used an 10.2 inches wide and 2.9 inches tall springpan and I was unable to fit everything properly, so I used an 11 inch springpan the second time. I converted the measurements from cups in ml, so I assume that was an issue ? I converted 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into 500 ml heavy whipping cream (I used 36% fat as this is the most common one in supermarkets here). Mousse was great in texture and smoothness, no problems. But the volume of it was quite huge for one cake 🙂 Am I doing something wrong ?
Now for the second issue, can you please provide further instructions on making the brownie on an oventop ? I have a gas oventop, and I tried melting the butter (I use 82% fat butter) at medium fire, then added the sugar while the doublebottom sauce pan was still on the fire, waited til it melted nicely then added the cocoa (I used 22% fat high quality cocoa powder), while the pan was still on the medium fire. Used 82 grams of cocoa powder (I think I converted properly). The problem is that when I add the last of the cocoa powder the composition suddenly becames very grainy and sticky. After I let everything to cool to room temperature and I mix the eggs and everything, I end up with a lot of the lumps from the cocoa adding step, and they do not go away even after serious mixing with a wooden spoon. Waiting for your thoughts on my issues. Thanks in advance !
Hi there – I do think the conversion of measurements could contribute to the amounts being too much for the pan size, although it IS quite a tall cake and my pan is also very full when I make it. As for the brownie part, I think that’s normal to have the grainy texture after adding the cocoa. My suggestion would be to use a whisk instead of a wooden spoon – that will help incorporate the mixture better. Let me know if you have other questions!
Hi Mel –
So I think I discovered where the issues where, and I fixed some of them. Thought I should share. So first of all the brownie fudge layer, I used the same ingredients as you did, but a different technique. I put the butter, cocoa, sugar and salt all together in a small bowl that I placed over a bath of hot steam, and removed the bowl from the hot steam bath exactly when the butter melted completely, not a second later. If you place everything directly on the stovetop, a little bit of the sugar has time to melt, making everything in the mixture sticky and crunchy. Also I realized that adding the eggs one by one, in two separate steps, makes a huge difference too, and I would recommend placing the brownie in the oven for only 25-35 minutes, 30 was ideal for me. I used Emily’s technique for the mousse layers this time, and it was way easier and the composition was soo smoth and nice. I mixed the whipping cream with sugar and vanilla using a hand mixer, until the composition had a nice firm texture, then added two full spoons of the resulting whipped cream into the peanutbutter mixture/chocolate mixture (depending on the mousse layer I am working on), then incorporated everything back into the first bowl where the whipped cream was. The result was perfection. I did not let the chocolate cool entirely, I handled it when it was quite warm, but definitely not hot. The result was perfect, exactly like your photo, and it tasted AMAZING ! My only issue now is that the peanutbutter mousse is very fragile. I wanted to transport a piece of the cake to my dad today, and after 10 minutes of driving, because of the car vibrations, the peanutbutter mousse started to collapse because of the weight of the chocolate mousse, ganache and reese’s from on top of it. Am I doing something wrong ? Or should I just keep the cake in the complete springpan even when adding the ganache ? It would not have that rustic look, but at least the mousse would not collapse 🙂
Thanks for the update! I appreciate you taking the time to detail your experience. As for the PB mousse, you could try adding more peanut butter for a sturdier layer, because you are right, it is a little delicate. But I think your suggestion of keeping it in the springform pan is really key, especially if transporting.
Sure wish I would have read all of the comments before making this. I’m a fairly experienced baker and have worked with mousse before so I didnt think it would be a problem. Was I WRONG. The peanut butter mousse separated and the chocolate mousse is chocolate chippy.
If you want to make this, be sure to make a test run ahead of time. It may be a case where you take inspiration from the recipe, but find another one that is not as fussy.
…and now back to figuring out what I am going to do for a dessert for my god daughter’s bridal shower.
Would you be willing to what what brand of peanut butter you used to make this recipe?
I usually use creamy Jif or Skippy
How long can this be left refrigerated before serving?
Probably 8-12 hours, at least.
Just made this for my church dinner. It only lasted about 10 minutes. It was delicious!
A friend made this for my 70th birthday. It was heavenly!!!!! I can not wait for a special occasion to make this for my family. It looks like a bakery item and taste that way too. Simply fantastic.
I made this cake for someone who can’t eat dairy, subbing Tofutti cream cheese and nondairy whip for the dairy versions (and omitting the Reeses pieces altogether). It was delicious!
I’m sure it would have been even better in its original form, but still great in its nondairy form. Just sharing this in case this helps anyone else.
This sounds a lot like my peanut butter pie recipe, but minus the chocolate mousse. Sounds divine. Can this be stored in the freezer? And for how long? Looking forward to 4th of July celebration to make and serve. Although I will be skipping the candy pieces, as I find them much too greasy. Thanks for yet another way to blend PB and C. Yum.
I haven’t tried freezing but you could experiment! I think it should work fine!
My son has requested this for his birthday cake. I am NOT going to try to change his mind! However, a question: I generally save part of my kids’ birthday cakes in the freezer (because face it, after two days, we’ve kind of reached our limit and the cake is reaching it too). I then pull it out roughly a month past their birthday to celebrate their “baptismal birthday” and it’s been a nice family tradition. How would this cake freeze? Should I just serve it frozen at that point? Crazy good ice cream cake or would it be ruined? Thanks!
Hmmm, to be honest, I’m not sure how this cake freezes, but it’s probably worth a try! Fun tradition!
This was amazing!!!!!
I made this for our Valentine’s Day dessert and it was so yummy! I was nervous about the mousse working out, but it turned out perfect! I hope you don’t mind, but I thought I would share what I did to try and prevent grainy/soup mousse, just in case anyone works themselves up like I did and is worried about making this spectacular dessert!
– I have a hand mixer and a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, so I decided to use my hand mixer so I could have a better control and kind of “feel” when the mousse was thick enough. I’d definitely recommend the hand mixer.
– Really the only change I made was to make the chocolate mousse layer in the same way you made the peanut butter mousse. I beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth and then, once the chocolate was cooled down (I was impatient, so it was probably a warm room temperature), I beat the chocolate into that mixture. Once that was all combined, I beat in the heavy cream one cup at a time (although I added a splash more because my chocolate mousse seemed really thick and I wasn’t sure it would spread well) until it was all incorporated and thick and creamy. Both layers turned out great, although the PB layer is softer set than the chocolate, but chocolate hardens more in the fridge than Jif does, so that’s not surprising.
Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Mel! My hubby’s favorite combo is peanut butter and chocolate, so this got a huge thumbs up and an ‘A+’ from him – and me!
(sorry if this double posts, I wasn’t sure it went through…)
Thanks so much for adding your experience, Michelle!
Mel do you think nutella would be a good substitute to PB ? As an immigrant, i never ate PB growing up and im still unsure about my feelings towards it. Has anyone here tried substituting Nutella…?
You’d have to experiment; I haven’t tried nutella and I think it might affect the consistency. If you try it, I’d cut down on the sugar since nutella is sweeter than PB. Good luck if you try it.
I would really like to try this recipe, but we don’t have cream cheese around here and I was wondering what could I use instead. Would mascarpone cheese work?
That’s certainly worth a try – I haven’t made that substitute myself so I can’t say for sure but usually mascarpone subs well for cream cheese.
Okay, I’ll try it and let you know how it turned out. Thank you! 🙂
After reading through all the comments, I made sure to watch my peanut butter mousse very carefully while I was mixing. I stopped it and checked it after just a couple of seconds of mixing, and I thought it wasn’t thick enough, so I turned the mixer back on for another second or so…and bam–grainy! (Not actually grainy; just separated so it appears “grainy.”) I’m really not exaggerating the amount of time it took to start separating. And it was also too thin. (After reading other comments that said mixing for the full five minutes didn’t help, I didn’t want to try that.)
I started experimenting to see if I could fix it. I mixed in some powdered sugar on a low speed (probably about 1/2 a cup–I didn’t measure) and that helped bring it together really well. Then I stirred in some extra peanut butter (about 1/3 cup) by hand with a whisk, to help counteract the sweetness of the extra sugar, thicken it up, and of course, to add more peanut butter flavor. It worked like a dream! My mousse still could have been a little thicker (after it was out of the fridge for a few minutes, it started to collapse just a little bit), but overall it worked just fine and was delicious.
After the issues I had with the peanut butter mousse, I decided to try something different with the chocolate mousse. First, I whipped the cream and sugar up by themselves until I got stiff peaks. Then I removed the whipped cream from my mixer bowl and whipped the melted chocolate (still warm to the touch but not hot) and the cream cheese together. (I totally forgot about the vanilla, but I would have added that to the cream before whipping if I had remembered.) Then I folded the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. It worked perfectly. Next time, I would try the same thing with the peanut butter mousse–whipping the cream, mixing the other ingredients separately, then folding together. It does dirty one more bowl, but I think it’s worth it to get this recipe perfect!
Mel, I wonder if the issue might have to do with different mixers? I’ve noticed you use a Bosch, and I (and probably many other readers) use a KitchenAid.
Hey Emily – thanks for leaving such a detailed comment! I think you may be right – mixer (and the speed) may have something to do with it.
The issue wouldn’t be the equipment that is used to make the mousse but the time that one let’s it whip. I make peanut butter mousse fairy regularly and one reason for a broken mousse is how long you whip it.
If you cream the pb and the cream cheese together first and add the whipped cream after, you can avoid that. I use a paddle attachment for that part and the whisk attachment for the heavy cream. A nice cold bowl, attachment and cold whipping cream will ensure those stiff peaks you want. To combine I never use my mixer to do so. I gently fold them together and only half the whipped cream at a time.
I hope this helps! Don’t be afraid to dirty a few extra dishes and happy cooking!
Hi Mel. I’m making this this weekend for my husbands bday. I’m nervous about the mousse layers bc some have had troubles. Would a fudge sauce work to mix in with the cream? Too thick? I’m a pretty confident cook…but am worried. Do you think I’ll have troubles following directions? I think if I would have just made it without worrying I would have been fine!
Also, how would you suggest breaking up the steps if I wanted to space it out a bit? And how far in advance could I peep it? I’ve never had anything close to a problem with your recipes and just love everything I have tried! Thank you for all you do for your readers
Hey Bryn – I think the key is not overmixing the mousse layers. If you read through all the comments, that’s the key. I’ve made this several times with no issues and have updated the recipe with some notes to help. You could definitely make all the mousse layers a day in advance and refrigerate (although the chocolate layer may be a bit harder to spread). Having said that, I’d hate for you to have issues! I’ve never tried using a fudge sauce to mix in with the cream so I can’t say how that would work.
Thank you! I think I can I think I can I think I can!
Oh Mel! This ended up being so much easier than I had anticipated. Each layer came together easily and the end result was stunning. At first bite several people commented on how rich it was…but finished their slices :). Rave reviews and already a request for a future bday party. Thank you for another great, tried and true, never fail recipe.
Oh phew! I’m so glad it worked out and everyone loved it!
Made this for my sister’s birthday over the holiday weekend. It turned out perfectly with the moderated mixing times. This dessert really was special. The mousse tasted so light in spite of the fat content, and it wasn’t overly sweet… Fantastic! I must add that the chocolate mousse really could stand alone. It truly tasted European in its subtle, rich sweetness.
Thanks for checking in on this! So happy it worked out and I agree, that chocolate mousse is fantastic!
Made this yesterday. Followed other advice and only whipped each mousse layer around 1-1 1/2 minutes. Only slightly cooled the chocolate before adding it. Turned out great!
So happy to hear that, Laurie! 🙂 I’m glad reading the other comments helped.
You guys! Thanks for your patience (and I’m sure a lot of frustration) on this recipe. I’m just barely getting back from Africa (actually I’m currently on a plane from Amsterdam to SLC) and was reading through the comments so sad that several of you had issues (and happy that some of you had it work out). I know it’s after the fact and way too late for most of you but let me see if I can help. First, let me say that I know how it goes to get your hopes up for a recipe and make it only to have issues and I’m so sorry for that! Really, really sorry. It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed in the recipe since many of you struggled with the same components.
The chocolate layer: for those of you who had lumps of chocolate from folding it in to the cream, did they soften and dissolve after refrigerating at all? I know I harped on the chocolate being completely cool so it doesn’t deflate and melt the whipped cream but it looks like too cool may cause issues, too. I’ll be making this again soon to troubleshoot the issues and will pay closer attention to the chocolate temperature.
The PB layer: although I didn’t have issues with it being grainy and soupy, it sounds like from everyone’s comments that overmixing may be the factor here. I’ll edit the recipe to indicate less whipping but mostly have people check out the comment thread before making.
Again, I’m so sorry! I had a big pit in my stomach reading through these comments; I hate disappointing any of you with a recipe that wasn’t completely foolproof. Thanks for your patience!
A photo of what it should look like would be very helpful. Ran to the store to make second attempt at the PB layer and am disappointed to find this didn’t turn out AGAIN. I am a fairly experienced baker but a mousse without gelatin is new to me and with vegetarian coworkers, I was trying to be accommodating for our office birthday celebration. I cannot turn to the store again so I will be trying something else – what a waste of time and money.
I had the same problem with my PB mousse. Made it twice, was grainy after just a few minutes of mixing both times.
Annie – I am so sorry! I am sure Mel will be addressing the issues people have had with this recipe when she gets back.
OMG This is amazing. It looks so yummy in pics. Thanks for sharing this with us !
I made this for Father’s day and it was a hit. Used a kitchen aid and only beat it about a minute or two to get fluffy. My store only had the 4 cup containers of whipping cream so I also only used 1 3/4 cups of whipping cream in each of the mouse layers since I didn’t want to buy another whole container for the last 1/2 cup. The chocolate layer looked a little lumpy with chocolate bits but after 4 hours of chilling most disolved. I did have a little issue with it not holding the shape perfectly after putting the weight of the Ganache and pb cups on top but sliced it still looked very impressive and tasted fantastic!
Kelley – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Thank you so much for the feedback. I am so glad it worked out for you for Father’s Day.
I had the same grainy PB mousse problems as everyone else – twice and I gave up. Maybe with a kitchenaid I mixed too long (only a couple minutes before it went grainy).
Thank you for the feedback Erin. I am bummed this didn’t work out for you! Mel will probably provide us with a magical answer when she gets back.
Made this for Father’s Day and the whole family loved it! I noticed my PB mousse got slightly grainy but I stopped whipping just in time to save it. And as for the chocolate mousse I completely misread the directions and wound up adding everything to the melted chocolate, adding the cream and whipping it all together. I got great results this way. I will be making this again! Thank you again for yet another awesome recipe, my husband absolutely loved it!
A – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Thank you for the feedback. I am glad it worked out for you minus the slightly grainy texture. I am so sorry so many people haven’t had success with it so it is good to hear some Father’s Day success :).
For anyone who is having trouble with the PB mousse, the first time I made it, it was looking good and thick but I decided to whip it just a little longer and when I turned back to my mixer, it was soup. I tried it again and it only took maybe a minute to whip to a thick consistency. I have a Kitchenaid, so perhaps the speed I whipped it at was faster than the recipe. So watch closely and don’t overwhip. Hope this helps.
Thank you for the feedback Sarah. I am sorry so many people had trouble with the recipe!
I’m having the same problems. My PB mousse was looking fantastic, and after about 30 seconds of mixing, it got chunky. I tried it twice with the same results, following directions to a T.
Hello Lizzie – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
Hi Mel! Could you make this the day of and keep it in the freezer for less time? Thanks in advanced!
Hello Muneeka – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am not sure how the freezer would effect the texture of the mousse, but it would be fine refrigerated for a day. Good luck!
Me too!! My chocolate mousse looks like chocolate chip mousse because once he cooked chocolate touched the cold cream – it solidified!! And my first attempt at the pb mousse left it wet and separated. The second batch was better – I used cold cream cheese and no vanilla.
I suppose making a good mousse is harder than I thought.
Hello Shondel – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
I also had all of the major issues above! My PB mousse separated completely twice! And with my chocolate layer the chocolate just hardened and mixed weirdly. I love your site but I am struggling with this recipe. I did everything exactly like the recipe suggested.
Hello Traci – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
My pb mousse was grainy too!
Hello Jeanine – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
I’m also have the same problems as Shauni, Erin and Jaci. My PB mousse layer didn’t whip up light and fluffy, definitely more grainy… And my chocolate also separated out and hardened. The whole thing is in my fridge right now, resting before tomorrow’s supper. Each layer still tastes yummy… It just won’t as beautiful as the blog picture and perhaps have a bit of a different texture than it should. Used the right cream, made sure it was cold and set the timer… Hmmm…
Hello Adrienne – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
Mel, I’m a long time fan and I love your website and recipes! I’m not sure what I did wrong with this one, but I feel like I had the exact same experience as Erin mentioned above! I’ve never made a mousse before, but I followed all your directions exactly–used heavy whipping cream, beat 5 full minutes, allowed the chocolate to cool, etc. The same thing happened with both mousses–it seems thin and grainy and won’t set up nicely like in the beautiful picture, even after refrigerating quite awhile?! 🙁 Is there a chance beating 4-5 minutes is too long? Is beating on high too fast, or did I beat past the point of “mousse”?
Hello Shauni – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
Help! My mousse is definitely not a mousse. I looked fine until a minute after I mixed in the last cup of heavy whipping cream. It looks grainy and won’t get thick. I followed the directions and used everything just like you said. Any suggestions? I am going to try it again.
Shoot Erin! Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Hopefully I can help troubleshoot a little. Was everything cold when you whipped it? Did you use full-fat whipping cream? If you try it again, you could try refrigerating the mixture before you whip it and make sure to whip it for a full 4-5 minutes. Let me know if it turns out.
Is there a reason you can’t mix the melted chocolate in before whipping the chocolate mousse layer?
Hey Danielle, Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. The main reason is for texture. By folding it in at the end you will maintain a fluffy, mousse-like texture. You can certainly experiment and see how it goes, just make sure the chocolate is completely cool before adding it. Good luck!
When I folded the cooled melted chocolate into the whipped cream mixture, the chocolate separated out and hardened. I tried it twice, following the instructions carefully both times but it happened the same way both times. It still tastes delicious, but for future reference, what suggestions do you have?
Hello Jaci – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so sorry that happened! I am not sure what went wrong since Mel has made this multiple times with success, but I will have her respond personally when she gets back. Sorry that it didn’t work out.
Do you think this could be made a day or 2 before and kept in the fridge?
Yes! At least a day ahead for sure.
Yum!! This will be our Father’s Day dinner. If we have room, green beans for dessert.
This looks amazing! Have you made this using natural peanut butter (the kind you need to stir) or only “regular” peanut butter? Wondering if it would affect the consistency/texture in a negative way or if it wouldn’t make much difference because it’s a chilled cake . . . . .
Good question, Leah. I haven’t made this with natural peanut butter. I want to say it will work – but I do think it might make the mousse a little grainier.
This looks amazing!! If you wanted to make vanilla mousse instead of peanut butter mousse, could you just leave the peanut butter out? Or would you have to make other changes as well?
The peanut butter helps stabilize the whipped cream giving it that thick, mousse-y feel so if you left it out, it really would just be whipped cream, which isn’t a bad thing – it will just be a bit softer.
This looks amazing!! If you wanted to make vanilla mousse instead of peanut butter mousse could you just leave the peanut butter out? Or would you have to make other changes as well?
That cake looks so delicious! That is amazing you can make something that looks so beautiful and yummy.
This will definitely be on my father’s day menu! My husband will go nuts for this!
Are you kidding me?!?! I”m trying REALLY hard to stay away from sugar and then you go do this? How can I resist?
Oh. My. Goodness. I must have this!
Do you think it would work to freeze the mousse and brownie layers, defrost in the fridge, and add the ganache layer on the day you serve it? Have you ever tried freezing this mousse recipe?
Hmmm, I’m not sure, Nan. I’m worried the mousse might take on a grainy texture if it’s frozen and since I haven’t tried it, I’m not completely sure how it would work out. The brownie layer will freeze just fine – I’m not sure about the rest.
I tried freezing this before topping with ganache. It worked perfectly! No graininess at all. It was really handy to be able to make this fairly involved dessert in advance. It was a BIG hit with all the dads at our Father’s Day celebration. Thank you for another great recipe!
Hello Nan. Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. I am so glad to hear this worked well for you, especially since there were a lot of people who had trouble with it. Thank you for reporting back.
Mel this is a dream cake xoxo
still dream about that vanilla bean mouse cheesecake and now this!!! you are good!
Oh my gracious. You are speaking my language today!
Can I just give an “amen” to how over-the-top delicious this is. I tasted it in person. I still crave it every night. You won’t be disappointed.
OMG Mel! This looks soooo good! My husband is also a peanut butter and chocolate fanatic and I think this just might have to make an appearance for Father’s Day! Yum!