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  • Writer's pictureAlana Wynn

Mini Chocolate Cakes with Rosemary Mousse

A dessert that could be straight out of a patisserie.

chocolate cake, with a smooth layer of rosemary mousse, topped with a shiny chocolate ganache. Garnished with sugared rosemary.

Homemade Rosemary Mousse

Rosemary is not just for savory foods on your holiday spread, but can be a light and delicious addition to a dessert. This rosemary mousse cuts through the chocolate cake and ganache, making it not overwhelmingly sweet or chocolatey. Which I recognize isn't an issue for everyone :) but it's what makes these simple show stoppers a crowd pleaser.

Small chocolate cake with a layer of white rosemary mousse and a top layer of chocolate ganache.

This mousse uses my basic pastry cream recipe with the addition of 2 rosemary sprigs! To infuse the rosemary flavor into the pastry cream, add the rosemary sprigs to the hot milk as it gets up to temperature. If you want a stronger flavor I would suggest letting it steep for 10 minutes before tempering your eggs.

Making a Gourmet Tiny Cake

To make this layered dessert at home I used acetate to give me the clean visible layers. To assemble you cut out your cake rounds using a circle biscuit or cookie cutter, wrap the acetate around the cake (and tape it closed), then begin layering in your other elements. Super easy! If you don't want to deal with buying acetate you can still pipe the mousse onto your cakes and have the ganache drip off for a more rustic look. Still delivers the desired effect!


Chocolate Cake with Rosemary Mousse

Makes a quarter sheet pan of cake and 2 cups of mousse

Serves: 12

Recipe Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Rosemary Mousse

1 Cup Whole Milk

2 Sprigs of Rosemary


3 Egg Yolks

⅓ Cup Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

½ Tsp. Kosher Salt


½ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Chocolate Cake

½ Cup (145g) Whole Milk

¼ Cup (55g) Oil

1 Shot Espresso OR 1 Tbsp. Espresso powder


1 Cup (120g) Flour

1 Cup (200g) Sugar

½ Cup (50g) Coco Powder

½ Tsp. (3g) Salt

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

Chocolate Ganache

1 Cup Heavy Cream

8oz Chocolate

*High quality chips or a bar, low quality will result in a grainy mixture.

Rosemary Pastry Cream

  1. Begin by making the pastry cream. In a heavy bottomed pot, add milk and rosemary. Turn heat to medium and cook until bubbling. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

  2. In a bowl combine egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk to combine until light in color.

  3. While whisking egg mixture quickly, add a generous splash of the warm milk to temper the egg yolks.

  4. Slowly stream in the rest of the milk while constantly whisking so ensure you do not 'cook' the eggs. Remove rosemary sprigs.

  5. Transfer mixture back to the pot and turn the stove on medium.

  6. Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until it begins to cook. Stop occasionally to see if mixture is bubbling.

  7. Once it begins to bubble, whisk vigorously for 10 seconds, then remove from heat.

  8. Put mixture in a bowl and place in the fridge to cool.


  1. Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks are formed.

  2. Take your cooled pastry cream out of the fridge and use a spatula to break it up, making the mixture smooth again.

  3. Add 1/3 of your whipped cream to the pastry cream and fold it in gently. This lightens up your mixture so that when you add the rest of the whip cream you won't loose the nice airy quality.

  4. Add the rest of your whipped cream to the pastry cream and mix until fully incorporated.

Chocolate Cake

1 Cup (126g) Flour

1 Cup (200g) Sugar

½ Cup (50g) Coco Powder

½ Tsp (3g) Kosher Salt

1 Tsp Baking Powder


½ Cup (145g) Milk

¼ Cup (55g) Oil

1 Shot (45g) Espresso

1 Egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients whisking to combine

  3. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients.

  4. Add your dry ingredients to the wet, whisking until just incorporated. There should be no large lumps of flour remaining.

  5. Add batter to the sheet pan, using an offset spatula to evenly spread it.

  6. Bake mixture for 25 minutes or until when tooth pick inserted to mixture it comes out clean.

  7. Turn cake out onto a cooling rack until cooled completely.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Add chocolate to a heat proof bowl.

  2. Heat the heavy cream in a pot on the stove until bubbles just begin to form.

  3. Pour heavy cream into bowl with chocolate and let it sit for about 2 minutes.

  4. Whisk until mixture is smooth and fully incorporated.


  1. Using a circle cutter, cut out rounds from the cake.

  2. Measure strips of acetate that wrap around the entire piece of cake and tape closed.

  3. Using a piping bag, pipe an even layer over the chocolate cake.

  4. Next add your cooled chocolate ganache to completely cover the mousse.

  5. Place assembled cakes into the fridge until ganache has cooled entirely.

  6. Remove acetate before serving.

Note: If you would like to add even more rosemary flavor use a cake soak of milk steeped with rosemary prior to assembling your cakes. Heat half a cup of milk with a sprig of rosemary and let it sit until ready to assemble. After your cakes are cut out, use a spoon or brush to wet the cake. This ensures a moist cake and is another way to build on your flavor layers!

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