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Dorothy Dean presents: Chocolate Mousse Strawberry Shortcake

This decadent chocolate cake would look great on any holiday table. (Audrey Alfaro)
By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Whether it’s glazed ham, beef Wellington or crusted prime rib, there’s a look on everyone’s face as you present that main trophy of a dish to the holiday table.

You know the look. It basically translates to “Get in my belly.”

And when it comes time for dessert, as full as they may be, their faces will once again have “that look” when they see this show-stopping confection make its way to the table.

Just as decadent as it is beautiful, this chocolate mousse strawberry shortcake is sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

Layers of moist chocolate cake, speckled with bites of chocolate chips, sandwich a velvety layer of creamy mousse, and fresh, sweet strawberries drizzled with rich ganache. The filling is repeated on top and finished off with a sprinkle of chocolate shavings, which can easily be made by grating a chocolate bar.

And this irresistible cake can be made a day or two in advance, making it perfect for holiday entertaining.

I’ve also made this using raspberries instead of strawberries, which was just as delectable.

The recipe uses boxed cake mix, so it’s a breeze to make, great for novice bakers and kids alike. Ask the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, whose dad taught him this recipe when he was only 12 years old.

Want to know the secret to a moist and homemade tasting boxed cake?


Adding a package of dry pudding mix to the cake mix creates not only a thick batter but a dense and deliciously moist cake. Everyone will think you measured and mixed your little heart out, when really – and literally – it was a piece of cake.

Chocolate Mousse Strawberry Shortcake

Adapted from Buddy Valastro

For the cake:

1 (3.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 box of chocolate cake mix, for an 8-inch round cake

2 pints strawberries

1/4 cup chocolate shavings (store-bought or grate a chocolate bar)

For the ganache:

1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

For the mousse:

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

For the cake: Add dry pudding mix and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to dry cake mix and prepare according to the instructions on the cake box. Cool completely. Trim top of cake with a serrated knife, so it is flat, then cut the cake horizontally into two equal-sized rounds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

For the ganache: Place chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. Add heavy cream into small saucepan and heat on medium high, until edges just start to boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate chips. Allow to stand for 3-5 minutes, then whisk briskly to combine, until smooth and shiny. Let cool until thickened and pour into a pastry bag or zip-top bag and set aside until ready to use.

For the mousse: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream, sugar and cocoa and whisk on medium speed to firm, stiff peaks. Be sure not to over beat. Place mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and refrigerate until ready to use. Cover and refrigerate any remaining mousse that didn’t fit in the bag.

To assemble: Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate. Pipe swirls of mousse about 1-inch tall onto the cake, covering the entire surface, being careful not to exceed the diameter of the cake.

Choose 5 strawberries, that are larger and similar in size, and set them aside. With remaining berries, remove stems and cut them into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices on top of the mousse. Snip corner/tip off of the bag of ganache and drizzle ganache over the berries, just enough to stripe them all.

Pipe a dollop of mousse in the center of the cake on top of the berries and ganache. Place the second cake layer on top, pressing very lightly to secure. Pipe swirls of mousse on top of the cake to cover it, then pipe a rosette of mousse in the center.

Stem four of the reserved berries, cut them in half, and place them around the mousse rosette, cut side up and tips sticking outward. Cover the remaining berry in ganache and place on top of the center rosette, then lightly drizzle more ganache over the top and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.